Why do MLB Pitchers get hurt so often?
The main reason why MLB pitchers get injured is due to poor pitching mechanics.
The Problem lies within pitching mechanics, not high pitch counts. Throwing a baseball is a very unnatural motion and science has proven throwing to be detrimental to shoulder health, and in some cases elbow health. One of the main problems with the throwing motion is pattern overload. Unfortunately there is no way to prevent this from occurring, however pitching mechanics will greatly affect a pitchers durability.
Look at one time top prospects like Kerry wood and Mark Prior. These guys were once phonemes but could never stay healthy enough to live up to their potential. The reason why they were always injured was not because they through too many pitches or they went over their innings limit but instead because they have bad mechanics. If you readily perform an unnatural motion over and over again with bad mechanics, there is an injury waiting to happen. It is not a question of if it will happen, but of when it will happen.
Check out Mark Prior’s Inverted W=The Death of his career!!
Take Nationals phoneme, Stephen Strasburg, for example. This kid has been babied like crazy and what good has it done? Two trips to the DL and probably done for the season. This is why I don’t think an innings limit or a pitch count is effective. The reason why he is having health issues is because he has MEDIOCRE mechanics. While they may not be as bad as Mark Prior’s, he will continue to have health issues throughout his career UNLESS he can make the necessary adjustments to improve his mechanics.
Not as bad as Mark Prior’s but still visible Inverted W
I like to compare bad pitching mechanics to bad mechanics in the weight room. If you have an athlete who performs max effort deadlifts with a rounded back week in and week out, it will only be a matter of time before he or she hurts their back. Instead of performing deadlifts with shitty form, they should be building a solid foundation of strength and mobility which will allow them to get in proper position to perform a deadlift and maintain health. Likewise, pitchers should refine their mechanics and start to progressively build their pitch count.
Check out the career of Roy Halladay. Roy had a short stint in the majors before he was sent down to the minors to correct his throwing mechanics. They dropped his arm angle from over the top to three quarters (a much more natural motion). The rest from there is history.
No Inverted W visible
Front offices should closely monitor the mechanics of their young pitchers because solid mechanics will help prevent injuries. In addition to improving mechanics pitchers should focus on overcoming muscular imbalances caused from pitching, especially in the shoulders and hips. By perfecting their mechanics and by building a strong and power body, pitchers will be less likely to be injured and will be able to have long and durable careers.
Tags: baseball injuries, how to prevent elbow injuries, how to prevent shoulder injuries, how to prevent throwing injuries, importance of pitching mechanics, kerry wood mechanics, mark prior mechanics, roy halladay mechanics, stephen strasburg mechanics