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!!


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?


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

  1. A couple thoughts on arm injuries. Players begin serious baseball activities at a much earlier age today and everyone wants to throw as hard as they can. I wonder if anyone has correlated the increased average speeds with the number of arm injuries including TJ surgeries?


  2. When I pitched in high school it was during that period where athletes in all sports started to weightlift. I didn’t really get into that into well after my pitching days were over. I think bulking up a little does add some mph to your fastball, but could have a negative affect on sensitive joints like the elbow.

    I doubt Nolan Ryan picked up too many weights in his day, but all of the pitchers listed above grew up in this age where lifting weights is the common thing to do in the off season.

    I remember really wanting to throw the curve ball and at that point in time I was told you can’t, you’ll ruin your arm. I really don’t see how arm angles at a young age could have this big of a ripple affect. My suspicion is the stress from excessive weight and then going out doing repetitive motion.

    Now, when I lift weights during my lunch hour and come back to the office and type and use the mouse for the rest of the afternoon, my wrists and hands are achy.

    • Charley- That is an excellent point. The intense regimens that many of these guys put themselves through could be the cause, or at least they doing help the joints and connective muscles. Nicely done by you!

  3. Pitchers that throw breaking balls at an early age are not helping themselves. Pitchers would help themselves by throwing more long toss sessions as well. Pitchers are way too coddled these days.

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