MLB RT 15 MAY 2014
1. Jose Fernandez of the Marlins is the latest pitcher to be rumored to need TJ surgery. What the heck is up with all the pitching injuries and so many TJ surgeries this season?
ARCHIE: There is one theory that the mound should be lowered, again, to reduce the torque on pitcher’s arms and legs. This theory claims the greater the downward slope the greater the stress/torque on the arms and ergo, more injuries when players grow larger and stronger muscles.
If that were true then why were they so many less injuries back in the day when the mound was 5 inches or so higher than today’s?
I actually think it is a combination of young kids building muscle too strong too early in their careers and trying to throw harder and faster along with still the real possibility of introducing those things that aide their body in growing stronger.
When they do increase muscle strength and mass, the rest of their bodies, i.e, tendons and such, cannot sustain the extreme stress. Also, the same motions it takes in throwing hard is the same as trying to “bend” the ball more and this adds a different type of strain on those same tendons. Therefore they go from one extreme to another way too often.
JOE: I got two theories… neither that I can immediately prove but that I think are strong possibilities…
(1) Players today do too much weight training or muscle building. The player’s body can’t deal with all that muscle. Muscled-up bodies are putting too much stress on tendons and whatever else a pitcher uses to perform his craft. In short, the extra bulk and the pitcher’s frame don’t mesh and the undue stress is causing the problems.
(2) I think more peeps, than we think, are still using PEDs in some form or another. Draw the conclusion…
So, either one of these, or a combo of the two, I think is/are what is contributing to all the injuries and therefore the excessive ops.
STEPHAN: I don’t know this to be a fact, only an opinion. I think that the way pitchers are releasing the ball, and rotating the shoulder and elbow. Your body is not meant to throw a 90 plus mile per hour fast ball. You have to use the proper mechanics in order to keep off the injury list. Unless you are a pitcher like Maddux, Glavine, and lately, Buehrle, Danks. Those who don’t throw that hard, but can still pitch with sucess. Every pitcher is going to have some sort of arm trouble. I just think with the way pitchers are starting to dominate the game, everyone is trying new techniques to stay ahead, but not go the route of PED.
SANDY: Some of these younger guys are throwing harder and certain pitches, like the cut fastball the arm isn’t meant to turn or bend that way and a lot of pressure is put on the elbow. Throwing pitches every 5 days at 90/100 mph will strain the strongest of ligaments.
2. Dan Uggla averaged .263 in five seasons while playing for Florida. He has not broken .240 in any season with the Braves and has a cumulative BA of .203 with Atlanta. What should the Braves do with him?
ARCHIE: IF they can’t make a trade and get someone that can produce some offense, then they should send him to Triple A and get some use out of him there. But, he has become too much of a liability in the lineup. I think Freddi G will give him at least another 4 or 5 games to get out of his funk, and I hope he does. But after that, all bets are off.
JOE: Trade him for whatever they can get… preferably pitching prospect(s)… on whatever level they can get them. After all trading avenues are exhausted… If that can’t be done then drop his butt.
STEPHAN: Being an avid Braves fan, I really like Dan Uggla, and he has his moments where he has sparks of brilliance, and shows All Star caliber potential. However, the stats don’t lie. Uggla is on the wrong side of his career right now, and has not been able to do much offensively or defensively since coming to Atlanta. The Braves should start shopping Uggla, to see if they can get any decent player for him. Ramiro Pena has been seeing some playing time, but is he going to be the answer? He is only hitting .190 with 2 home runs. The problem lies here is that Uggla is the highest paid player on the Braves roster at 13.1 million. If you trade him, then Atlanta is going to eat a lot of that money. So you are going to have to get something worthwhile in return in order to trade him. In my opinion he still has enough flashes of the old Marlins Uggla to keep him around, again UNLESS you can get someone that is better than Uggla
SANDY: Trade him, maybe he needs a change of scenery, if a trade doesn’t pan out, just release him, assuming his salary isn’t guaranteed.
3. The 1995 Braves had the best starting pitching staff with Maddux, Glavine, Smoltz, Merker and Avery. But even with that line up of starters, there are currently 9 teams carrying a better ERA than the ’95 Braves staff. What can we contribute towards so many teams flourishing in pitching this year?
ARCHIE: In my honest opinion, the one thing I have been bitching about the past 5 years or so has come around to where it is reflecting in stats now; that being the proliferation of strikeouts throughout all of baseball. There is way too many Mark Reynolds and not enough Tony Gwynn’s. Did you know; Tony G NEVER EVER struck out more than 40 times in a season? In comparison, here at the 40 game mark of this season there are already 27 players that have struck out more than Tony Gwynn’s greatest season total. EVER! I don’t believe it is because the pitching is better. I think it is because there is a radical decline in batting skills being either taught or overlooked due to the value placed on the long ball.
JOE: Considering that the first question asked is valid… all the TJ ops… that’s a curious stat.
My guess is that it’s a cyclical thing and it’s time for the good pitching to shine. Plus, I subscribe to the old adage that good pitching will usually prevail over good hitting. And, right now the pitching is simply just better. Plus there are a lot of new names coming on the scene… players who have been in the minors who normally would not be in the majors but because of injuries are getting the chance to show what they can do and taking advantage of the opportunity.
And… too many Triple A hitters trying to hit major league pitching.
STEPHAN: I think honestly that pitchers are just getting better, and are better conditioned. Pitchers are not going deep into games like they have been in the past. Therefore, they are getting more rest than the everyday players. Before you would have pitchers going 8 innings and throwing 130 pitches, now they are barely getting through six innings, and pitching just under 100 on average. They are rested, and able to outperform the everyday hitters.
SANDY: I could say “see question 4”. I see a lot of players swinging at bad pitches outside the strike zone. Also I’ve seen a lot of batting averages under .200. Some caused by injury and too may bench players playing full time. Also some managers have pitchers on pitch counts and if you’re taking a pitcher out in the 5th because of too many pitches that will keep an ERA lower. Sometimes a bad hitter and there are a lot of them, makes pitchers look good, stop swinging at balls outside the strike zone.
4. The A’s lead the AL in total Base on Balls taken with 176 while the Orioles are dead last with 86; a difference in 90 BBs. In the NL the Dodgers lead with only 137 and the Padres are last with only 96; a difference of only 41. Why is there such a disparity in Walks among teams in the AL compared to the NL?
ARCHIE: In the NL from top to bottom there is not that much disparity in teams when it comes to plate discipline but in the AL 176 – 86 is quite significant; especially considering they are the league that uses the DH. It would appear the AL teams that are built with more veterans, Boston, TB, Oakland and Cleveland walk more times than those built with much younger lineups, Baltimore, KC, Seattle and Detroit. The NY Yankees would be the biggest exception to this rule; they have the oldest team by age and are near the bottom in taking a walk.
JOE: The DH? Hitters are more choosey than pitchers? That’s my only guess. As for as the AL disparity… I haven’t the foggiest.
STEPHAN: Base on balls to me is all about how patient your players are at the plate. I don’t think there is any difference in the two leagues. I just think you have more patient hitters on certain teams.
SANDY: National League players are more free swingers and the AL players seem to have more patience at the plate and take more pitches and don’t swing at crappy pitches.
5. Give your rundown for the American League ASG starting lineup.
ARCHIE: J.Abreu, 1st Base, CWS; 2nd Base, Y. Solarte, NYY; 3rd Base, J. Donaldson, OAK; SS, A. Ramirez, CWS; Catcher, K. Suzuki, MIN; OF: Shin Soo-Choo, TEX, J. Bautista, TOR and M. Cabrera, TOR. My starting pitcher I would select Scherzer over Buehrle.
JOE: I gotta say I was surprised at some of my choices… not normally players that initially would come to mind.
With that said… here is my AL All-Star team as of right now:
Jose Abreu/Chicago White Sox/1B; Jose Altuve/Houston Astros/2B; Miguel Cabrera/Detroit Tigers/3B (tough choice between him and Josh Donaldson); Alexi Ramirez/Chicago White Sox/SS; Nelson Cruz/Baltimore Orioles/OF; Jose Bautista/Toronto Blue Jays/OF; Michael Brantley/Cleveland Indians/OF; Joe Mauer/Minnesota Twins/C; David Ortiz/Boston Red Sox/DH and Masahiro Tanaka/New York Yankees/SP
STEPHAN: 1B Jose Abreu – I give Abreu the nod over Pujols mainly because he is starting off on fire, and is showing no signs of slowing down for the White Sox
2B Ben Zobrist- I admit I am biased here because Zobrist grew up and went to High School about 20 minutes from me in Eureka Illinois. Since there is no real clear cut player at the second base position. Zobrist gets my vote.
3B Alexi Ramirez- Leads all AL third basemen in batting average, home runs, and runs batted in. Easy choice here. SS Josh Donaldson- No clear cut choice at the shortstop position. Donaldson leads all SS in all three major offensive categories. C Matt Wieters- Despite a recent injury, he is probably the best overall catcher in the American League. DH Victor Martinez- .336 Batting Average, and is third in the AL in Home Runs. OF Jose Bautista- This guy can hit, and now his average is up around the .300 mark. He is having an MVP type year. OF Mike Trout- Off to an decent start, but still a popular choice. OF Adam Jones- Right there among all AL outfielders in the three top offensive categories. I think his glove in CF gets him the nod over the others.
SANDY: 1st Miguel Cabrera, 2nd Howie Kendrick, 3rd Yangervis Solarte, SS Alexei Ramirez, OF Michael Brantley, Nelson, Torii Hunter, C Kurt Suzuki, DH David Ortiz
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