The World Baseball Classic has come and mostly gone, leaving us a sparsely attended but passionately watched Caribbean final that should be a boon for Puerto Rico or the Dominican Republic.
I'll leave it for others to debate why the power teams of the USA and Venezuela went out so quickly, instead focusing on the lack of injuries. In fact, there's only one of any note, though there have been some minor injuries here and there, but nothing that doesn't happen at normal spring training.
The pitch limits have been especially controversial, almost becoming a part of the tactics. Some teams appeared willing to take more pitches, knowing that there were only so many any particular pitcher had in him. But where did these pitch-count restrictions come from and are they effective?
The fact is, no one seems to have any basis for the numbers, though they appear to have served their purpose. As the game moves towards the regular season, we have to wonder why these same sorts of tactics don't work in reducing injuries.
Will Leitch does a great job looking at how much we don't know about pitching in this article at New York, but misses the broader point. No one, aside from "some guy with a website" is looking into this. Did the Nationals commission a study that would show the exact forces of the so-called Inverted W? No, they looked at film and correlated to injury.
If I told you that the new car you bought had half the horsepower and got half the mileage you were told at the dealer, what would you do? I'd get it to a mechanic who would likely put it on a dynamometer. Sure, you could just drive the car and say "wow, this doesn't feel right" but I'd be very worried about driving a car in that condition. That's basically what teams are doing all the time.
Brett Marshall, the pitcher Leitch uses as his example in the article, had Tommy John surgery, but the Yankees have never thought enough of the process to find out exactly what forces Marshall's easy motion is generating. Were the changes he says he made post-surgery positive ones or is he headed back for another elbow ligament inevitably?
Brandon Sisk, Casey Kelly and others have added their names to the list of prospects that will miss a year of their careers rehabbing rather than competing. We'll have more, I'm sure, and even bigger names.
At what point does a team throw everything aside and say "We've got to figure this out?" If there are any owners out there that want to save a couple million dollars this year, you know how to find me.
Powered by the Promus exuding stent, on to the injuries: