Tag Archives: closer

Million Dollar Question – What Is With The Amazing Number Of Tommy John Surgeries This Season?

Million Dollar Question – What Is With The Amazing Number Of Tommy John Surgeries This Season?

Is it just me or is the term ‘Tommy John Surgery’ becoming more and more commonplace and less and less ‘unusual’ than it was 5-10 seasons ago.

It seems like every 3-4 days my MLB app on my phone tells me that another pitcher is opting for Tommy John Surgery and is out for a year.

This year specifically, the number seems to be soaring.  I believe that the last count I had was 13 pitchers since Spring Training have had the surgery – and we are just in the middle of the month or April.  Not August, APRIL!!

Sheesh.

And it seems to be effecting both young and older players, and not just starting pitchers either…  Names like Kris Medlen, Brandon Beachy, Patrick Corbin, Jarrod Parker, Matt Moore, and phenom Jameson Taillon have all gone under the knife recently.

Some other notable pitchers that have been sidelined for the same surgery include Brian Wilson, Steven Strasburg, Adam Wainwright, and John Smoltz.

So, what is the reason for all of these major operations?  Poor technique?  Poor conditioning?  Not warming up the arm properly?  Not enough rest between activity?

I am very eager to hear what you think.  Personally, I think it has more to do with technique than anything else.  Very few pitchers use their legs the way that they should, so more emphasis and strain is put on the arm to bring force to the hitters.  If there was more attention paid to technique at an earlier age  where using the mound and your legs and core was part of the training, I think we would see less and less of these problems.

Tommy John scar

What do you think?

 

1987 HEADLINE: Dennis Eckersley Traded To Oakland A’s

1987 HEADLINE: Dennis Eckersley Traded To Oakland A’s

On this day in 1987, the Chicago Cubs traded future Hall of Famer, Dennis Eckersley to the Oakland Athletics.

As part of a 5-player, 2-team trade, Eckersely and Dan Rohn were shipped to the Oakland A’s in exchange for Brian Guinn, Dave Wilder, and Mark Leonette.

Now I don’t know about you, but I would have to say that the A’s got the better end of that deal… You agree, right?? :)

Million Dollar Question – Would You Pitch With Protective Headgear??

Million Dollar Question – Would You Pitch With Protective Headgear??

I am an assistant coach for my older son’s Little League team. This is his first year playing and he is in a ‘Coach Pitch’ age group.  We have games 2-3 times per week and I try to sneak to the field with him a little early to get a few more reps at the plate before the game starts.  8 games into the season and he is doing very well and I am a proud dad.

In this league, the pitcher (coach) must be on his knees while throwing.  The distance from home plate to the ‘mound’ is only 46 feet.  And trust me when I tell you, it is very close.  Even though very few of these kids have fully developed swings, a shot off of a metal bat is still coming at you quickly.

Last week while in the batting cages, my son ripped one right back at me that caught me in the stomach.  I gasped and he cringed.  After standing up and stretching, I took a few deep breaths, followed by 12-14 steps backwards and then forwards and then I was ready to resume my role on my knees as a pitcher.  No damage was done, though he apologized to me for the next three days.  I told him to do it again, blast it right up the middle!

Would a padded undershirt have helped?  You bet.  And just imagine if I took one in the heart or throat or head – it could have been a lot worse.  A lot worse.

After the incident in the cage, we both moved on.  We’ve had games and more practice sessions since but when the Aroldis Chapman incident happened late last week, I was a bit startled by what I saw.  Now, I was not startled to see a pitcher get hit by a line drive – but I saw myself in that position – and it is not a fun feeling…

Would I wear a protecting helmet if I was pitching in the majors?  You better believe it!  And I would do it as a coach to a 7-8 year old Little League team as well.

How about you??  If you were a major league pitcher, would you wear appropriate headgear to ensure that your head did not look like this?

Aroldis Chapman staples

Let me hear it!

Oh, and in case you were wondering, in my league, the defensive pitcher that stands next to the pitcher/coach must wear a helmet.  And the first baseman does too.

‘Wednesday’s Word Association’ – When I Hear The Name “Craig Kimbrel”, I Think Of…

‘Wednesday’s Word Association’ – When I Hear The Name “Craig Kimbrel”, I Think Of…

From dictionary.com:

Word Association, Noun.  

Definition – the connection and production of other words in response to a given word, done spontaneously as a game, creative technique, or in a psychiatric evaluation.

Ex: Dog –> Bark

‘Wednesday’s Word Association’ – When I Hear The Name “Craig Kimbrel”, I Think…

ELITE

Craig Kimbrel

With the recent retirement of Mariano Rivera coupled with the contract extension that Kimbrel just signed with the Atlanta Braves, I got me to thinking about how Kimbrel’s name can be associated with the term ‘best in the game’ at his position now that Rivera is gone.

In four seasons, the numbers are unreal – 139 saves, 1.39 ERA, 15-7 record, .902 WHIP, 381 strikeouts, 82 walks, 4.65 K:walk ratio, 15.1 K:9 innings.

ELITE, indeed.

Enough said.

And now, When You Hear The Name “Craig Kimbrel”, You Think Of…

2013 Topps Update ‘Postseason Heroes’ Subset – Mariano Rivera

2013 Topps Update ‘Postseason Heroes’ Subset – Mariano Rivera

The 2013 Topps Update baseball card set includes a subset tagged as ‘Postseason Heroes.  And with that theme, you would expect to find cards of modern players like Albert Pujols, Edgar Renteria, and Pablo Sandoval but none of these guys made the checklist.

That does leave room for some nice surprises…

This is the card of Mariano Rivera from the set:

img425

Mariano Rivera’s postseason resume is incredibly impressive.  In 19 big league seasons, he made it to the postseason 16 times.  He has played in 7 World Series match-ups, winning 5 titles.

Rivera has a postseason record of 8-1 with 42 saves.  He has a postseason career ERA of 0.70 and has allowed a total of 13 runs in 141 innings of work.  He has struck out 110 batters in those 141 innings while striking out 21.

Million Dollar Question – Will Topps Honor Mariano Rivera In Their 2014 Series 1 Release??

Million Dollar Question – Will Topps Honor Mariano Rivera In Their 2014 Series 1 Release??

While I have yet to see a final checklist for the 2014 Topps Series 1 release, I am eager to see if Topps will do anything to honor the recently retired Mariano Rivera.

I have yet to see anything that says that they will, but I would be shocked if they did not.  Rivera is the class of the sport, and he is wildly popular among collectors – well past Yankees fans and collectors.

Surely something to honor him is in the works for Series 1, right??

What do you think??

rivera 2014

2006 Headline: Bruce Sutter Voted Into National Baseball Hall Of Fame

2006 Headline: Bruce Sutter Voted Into National Baseball Hall Of Fame

On this day in 2006, Bruce Sutter was elected into the Baseball Hall Of Fame.  He received 400 of 520 votes cast, good for a 76.9% clip.  The 2006 ballot was Sutter’s 11th appearance as a potential member.

As a relief pitcher, Sutter has 300 career saves.  His record is just below .500 at 68-71.  But it was Sutter’s daily dominance that established him as one of baseball’s finest closers.  Sutter won the Cy Young award in 1979 and finished in 7th place for the MVP as well during that season.  With 37 saves, 101 strikeouts, and a 2.22 ERA, Sutter was a huge part of the success that the Cubs had in 1979.  In his career, Sutter has finished in the Top 6 for the Cy Young in 5 of his 12 years as a major league player.  In addition to that, Sutter has finished in the top 8 for the MVP in 5 seasons as well.  These are remarkable numbers for a pitcher, and a reliever at that.  Over the course of his career, Bruce Sutter struck out 861 batters while walking just 309.  That’s good for a 2.79 K:walk ratio which is solid for a player that pitched his innings during ‘crunch time’.

Bruce Sutter was part of the 1982 championship winning team in St. Louis.  In the 4-game series, Sutter won 1 game and saved 2 more.  He was one of many key cogs in the wheel that gave the Cardinals their 4-game sweep and World Series title.

Sutter plaque

1992 Headline: Tom Seaver & Rollie Fingers Voted Into National Baseball Hall Of Fame

1992 Headline: Tom Seaver & Rollie Fingers Voted Into National Baseball Hall Of Fame

On this day in 1992, both Tom Seaver and Rollie Fingers were elected into the National Baseball Hall of Fame.  Both pitchers amassed amazing individual and team accolades during their brilliant careers – Seaver as a starting pitcher, and Fingers as a reliever.

Tom Seaver won 311 games during his major league career while amassing 3,640 strikeouts.  Being a member of both the ’300 wins’ and ’3000 strikeouts’ clubs, Seaver is in very rare and elite company.  Seaver is a former Rookie of the Year, a 3-time Cy Young Award winner, 12-time All-Stat, and World Series Champion.

Rollie Fingers set the standard for the ‘closer’ role in baseball.  His is a member of the ’300 Saves Club’ with his 341 career saves.  Fingers has a career ERA of 2.90 and a lifetime strikeout to walk ratio of 2.64.  His ability to seal wins during his tenure with the A’s, Padres, and Brewers set the bar for his competition and the future of the closer role.  Fingers was a 7-time All-Star as well as a Cy Young and MVP winner.  He was part of three World Series championship winning teams in the 1970′s with Oakland.

Tom Seaver collected 425 of 430 votes cast during his first year of eligibility in 1985.

Rollie Fingers hauled in 349 of 430 votes cast in his second year of eligibility to gain entry into Cooperstown.

Happy Birthday Lee Smith!!!

Happy Birthday Lee Smith!!!

Lee Smith turns 56 years old today.

I am a big fan of Lee Smith’s - he is one of my favorite relief pitchers of all-time.

With 478 career saves, good for 3rd place in major league history, I consider Smith to still be a very underrated and underappreciated player.  And with so many records being broken by today’s group of relievers, I have to wonder how Smith would do if he was playing in today’s game.

During his 18-year career, Smith tallied at least 30 saves 11 times and 40 or more saves 4 times.  A closer like that would be an All-star in today’s game and he’d be earning a minimum of $10 million per year.  In contrast, Smith was an All-star just 7 times and the most he made in any one season was $2.8 million.

Happy Birthday Mr. Smith!!!   You are still valued and appreciated by this baseball fan!!!

Happy Birthday Mariano Rivera!!!

Happy Birthday Mariano Rivera!!!

Mariano Rivera turns 44 years old today!!

Quite possibly the greatest closer of all-time, and certainly the best closer in post season history, Rivera has many reasons to celebrate today!!

Among them would be that he is one of the most highly regarded relief pitchers in World Series history.  His efforts during the post season have helped the new York Yankees nab 5 World Series titles during his reign as the team’s closer.

Mariano capped his major league career in dramatic fashion at the end of the 2013 season.  He was classy each and every step of the way.  And while he still dominated when on the mound, he allowed us a few opportunities to truly take a deep breath and enjoy the moments with him.

His numbers in 2013 were typical Rivera – 64 appearance, 6-2 record, 44 saves, 2.11 ERA, 64 innings pitched with 54 strikeouts and just 9 walks allowed.

Happy Birthday Mr. Rivera!!!  Thank you for the memories…