From USA Today:
If there was an overwhelming negative from the inaugural tournament in 2006, it was the effect it had on pitchers in the regular season. The anecdotal evidence and high-profile individual cases were well-chronicled in the summer of ’06, but the full toll hasn’t been as apparent.
To gauge it, USA TODAY analyzed regular-season statistics of every major league pitcher who participated in the spring tournament.
The results show nearly four out of every five pitchers recorded a higher ERA in 2006 than in the previous year (among the 59 who pitched at least 20 innings each year). And more than one in three spent time on the disabled list in ’06.
ERAs went up 5.6% throughout MLB in 2006, but the increase was significantly higher among WBC pitchers: 18.4%. And while every trip to the disabled list obviously wasn’t related to the tournament, 14 WBC pitchers landed on the DL with arm or muscle injuries in April and May.
Of the 59 who pitched 20 or more innings in the majors in 2005 and ’06:
Ã¢â‚¬Â¢78% posted a higher ERA in 2006;
Ã¢â‚¬Â¢42% registered an ERA that increased by one run or more.
Ã¢â‚¬Â¢The average ERA of the WBC group jumped from 3.69 in ’05 to 4.37 the following season, while the ERA throughout all of the majors increased less than a quarter of a run (4.28 to 4.52).
Injuries also were a factor. Among the 77 pitchers who appeared in the majors in ’05 and played in the WBC, 36% were placed on the disabled list by at some point during the ’06 major league season.
Some believe the answer won’t be known until there are more results, but with the Reds two young guns throwing in the WBC, it’s another reason that I hate this thing.