Baseball Prospectus’s Will Carroll, who writes BP’s “Under the Knife” segment, offers some initial comments about Homer Bailey‘s disabled list visit. The BP article above is on their paysite, but the comments about Homer are included as a preview.
Bill James was asked about 21 year-olds pitching in the big leagues the other day on his paysite (specifically concerning Matt Cain) and his comments were essentially that any 25 year-old still pitching in the big league as a rotation starter who began by pitching in the rotation at age 21 should be considered a success for the team.
James went back over 50 years in finding pitchers for his study. The study included great success stories such as Roger Clemens, C.C. Sabathia, and Don Drysdale. The list, however, was filled more with guys like Mark Lemongello, Balor Moore, Steve Trout, and Dave Rozema. Guys who got early starts and had potential, but didn’t make it, typically because of arm injuries, and were pretty much done at age 25.
Too much use too early can cause problems. Thus, the Reds reluctance to use Mike Leake more than 150 innings this season. They have said they have similar plans for Aroldis Chapman. James’s conclusion:
“…in all honesty, for a pitcher to tread water after pitching that well at age 21 is actually much BETTER than the usual outcome. The usual outcome is that the pitcher would have arm injuries at age 22 or 23, and would never be the same again.”
I suppose the moral is we shouldn’t go by what we remember, for recollection isn’t always accurate. That’s why I keep score for every game I see, even the ones I’m coaching. What I remember isn’t always what happened, or I can’t remember why it happened that way. That’s where information can show situations in a different light.