• They Don’t Make UCLs In The USA Like They Used To…

    Posted by on April 17th, 2014 · Comments (9)

    Some interesting stats via Captain America -

    Since 1977 there have been 372 documented TJ surgeries in MLB… 345 (93%) have been performed on American players while 27 (7%) have involved international players… Since 2010 there has been 124 TJ surgeries and an astonishing 83 in the last 2 years!

    How do the numbers stack up proportion wise based on the MLB player constituency? Not even close. It fluctuates daily but over the past few years when the vast majority of TJ surgeries have occurred, MLB has been comprised of roughly 60% American players and 40% International…

    I still think there’s something missing here in terms of the stats. But, assuming that it’s correct that Americans are more likely to blow out their UCL in the majors, there’s got to be a reason, right?

    Comments on They Don’t Make UCLs In The USA Like They Used To…

    1. Evan3457
      April 17th, 2014 | 12:13 pm

      Depends on the number of pitcher innings by group, Steve. Pitchers are more disproportionately white than position players. Currently (as of 2012) about 70% of major league pitchers are white, and 30% are not, but you’d still have to break it down by innings pitched to be relatively certain. Maybe the minorities are disproportionately represented in the rotation, and the whites are disproportionately represented in the bullpen. Perhaps that’s why 40% of the TJ surgeries are International, and 60% are American; heavier use.

      Source of data: http://sabr.org/bioproj/topic/baseball-demographics-1947-2012

    2. April 17th, 2014 | 1:19 pm

      Evan3457 wrote:

      Pitchers are more disproportionately white than position players.

      That’s what I was thinking.

    3. cgehring
      April 17th, 2014 | 4:58 pm

      Dr. James Andrews was asked why there seem to be so many guys needing TJ surgery these days.
      His answer: it’s not an anomaly, it’s a trend. And an alarming one, he says, in that so many more of the surgeries he’s performing are for high school pitchers as opposed to professionals with a few years under their belt. Kids are bigger and stronger these days, and their ability to throw harder is outpacing the development of their ulnar collateral ligaments.
      But the biggest risk factor he and his researchers are seeing: year-round baseball. The fact that not only do pitchers throw year-round, but that they are pitching in competition year-round, and don’t have time to recover. Also: young players are playing in more than one league, where pitch count and innings rules aren’t coordinated. Another factor: the radar gun. Young pitchers who throw over 85 or so are at risk, and all of them who are on a major league track are throwing that fast or faster, and are going up in effort when scouts with guns are around.
      Ultimately, you can’t prevent these injuries. Even for the major leaguers, most of whom were damaged in high school only to have the UCL injuries happen once they’ve hit the pros.

    4. Raf
      April 17th, 2014 | 5:10 pm

      From what I’ve been reading over the years, it seems that improper training has been the reason behind so many pitcher injuries.

      Steve, have you checked drivelinebaseball.com? There is a lot of good stuff there, I’ve linked to some of their articles in the past. They also have a facebook page.

      It’s surpeising to me that with the money invested in pitching, that so many teams don’t take an advanced approach to developing pitchers.

    5. Raf
      April 17th, 2014 | 5:14 pm

      Evan3457 wrote:

      Depends on the number of pitcher innings by group, Steve. Pitchers are more disproportionately white than position players. Currently (as of 2012) about 70% of major league pitchers are white, and 30% are not, but you’d still have to break it down by innings pitched to be relatively certain. Maybe the minorities are disproportionately represented in the rotation, and the whites are disproportionately represented in the bullpen. Perhaps that’s why 40% of the TJ surgeries are International, and 60% are American; heavier use.
      Source of data: http://sabr.org/bioproj/topic/baseball-demographics-1947-2012

      It will be interesting to see a few years from now, as more “travel ball” players make it to the majors.

      On that note, I would think that winter ball would be the equalizer in terms of innings accumulated on young arms.

    6. Corey
      April 17th, 2014 | 5:45 pm

      My guess is that it’s cause pitchers are being babied more. That’s one of the main differences between now and 15-20 years ago.

    7. Raf
      April 20th, 2014 | 10:47 am
    8. BOHAN
      April 20th, 2014 | 11:10 am

      Pitchers being babied way to much now… The Asian, the Spanish (i.e. Domincans) all the throw all the time especially when they’re young… Todays pitcher is on to short of a leash

    9. Raf
      April 20th, 2014 | 11:34 am

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