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glorydays

Strasburg out for up to 2 years... what we can learn from it.

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BTW here's more about the "inverted W" and if you look at the names of the pitchers and the injury histories they've had, you can see the correlation.

http://www.chrisoleary.com/projects/Baseball/Pitching/RethinkingPitching/Essays/DeathToTheInvertedW.html

I think we should stay far away from potential pitching prospects that have this delivery, especially first round draft picks.

I haven't read the rest of the thread, but I want to address this...

What bothers me with the inverted-w argument is the cherry picking that goes on. When a pitcher has an inverted delivery and they get injured we hear about it. When a pitcher with an inverted delivery stays healthy, we don't hear about it. When a pitcher without an inverted delivery gets injured, we don't hear about it.

You link to an article that cherry picks a few pitchers who have gotten injured with an inverted-w delivery and act like it's proof of something.

I'm not saying pitchers with inverted deliveries don't have a higher injury risk. They might...and I have my own theories why that type of arm action way be riskier for a pitcher. But they are just theories. I don't present them as fact because there is no actual proof an inverted arm action carries more risk -- especially when you're talking about an inverted arm action that is way more borderline than extreme. Now, I think we do see some correlation, but correlation does not equal causation. And there are many counter-examples to draw from.

One of the most durable pitchers in Major League history (Mickey Lolich) had an inverted delivery. Jesse Orosco had an inverted delivery. Francisco Rodriguez, Don Wilson, Adam Wainwright, Josh Beckett (borderline), Aaron Heilman, Pedro Martinez (borderline), ...I can go on.

Hell, the article mentions John Smoltz and he had nine straight healthy seasons, seven of which he pitched over 200+ innings. He underwent Tommy John surgery in 2000 and returned to pitch four straight healthy seasons out of the bullpen and then three more seasons as a starter, again pitching 200+ innings.

Man, that inverted-w really hurt his career. He was only able to pitch 16 healthy seasons, 12 of them as a starter, only ten of which he threw over 200+ innings.

It also needs to be said that Strasburg's inverted delivery was actually very borderline. When you look at a still image of him in mid wind-up it might seem like a big deal. But keep in mind his elbow drops down to at or below shoulder's level. His elbow goes higher than his shoulder for a fraction of a millisecond. To illustrate this:

strephen-strasburg.gifstephen-strasburg-side.gif

The timing of Strasburg's arm action is similar to another borderline inverted pitcher: Bob Feller...

bob-feller.gif

When is the point of maximum stress on a pitcher's arm? It's not when the elbow is above of the shoulder. It's when the arm is rotated around into release (external rotation). And this is where Strasburg's delivery is violent. He puts a tremendous amount of torque and whip on his arm. It reminds me of Tommy Hanson (who also is borderline with his elbow and shoulder), except the ball comes out of Strasburg's hand about 4 - 8 mph faster. Despite the smoothness of the delivery, Strasburg's arm action during external rotation is still violent. It was less of a red flag with with Strasburg because of the ease in which he repeated it.

In any case, I expect Strasburg to bounce back just fine. That doesn't mean he won't be another Prior, but it's important to note Prior's career was complicated by his collision with Marcus Giles in which he fell right on his shoulder, tearing it in the process, rather than his mechanics. I don't recall Prior having any arm related problems before his collision with Giles.

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