On the podcast this week, we had a new segment called “This Week in Tommy John” it was just meant to be a joke really on how many players it seems are going to go under the knife this season. With Kyle Drabek’s official announcement that he would have to get the surgery for a second time, we have now reached TWENTY pitchers since the start of 2012 Spring Training that have had to have work done on their elbow. Braves Brandon Beachy and Blue Jays Drew Hutchison could be victims #21 and #22 in just a matter of days. Last season there were just 14 players in the Majors that were subjected to Tommy John surgery. Here’s a complete breakdown of the pitchers that are missing the rest of this season, in order of undergoing surgery.
Joel Zumaya, Twins
No surprise that Zumaya who has had an injury-plagued career was the first on the list this season way back in spring training.
Arodys Vizcaino, Braves
Joakim Soria, Royals
This was a huge blow to the Royals as they were looking to contend with a quality bullpen. Jonathan Broxton has filled in admirably in the closers role for Kansas City, but having Soria with Broxton, Greg Holland, Tim Collins, and Aaron Crow would’ve possibly been the best bullpen in the American League.
Sergio Escalona, Astros
Ryan Madson, Reds
A free agent signing for the Reds in the offseason. Madson will possibly never pitch in a regular season game for Cincinnati as he was signed to just a one-year deal. Like in Kansas City, Cincinnati potentially had a great bullpen before the injury.
Jose Ceda, Marlins
Joey Devine, Athletics
The perpetual “closer of the future” Devine’s injuries have kept him away from the Majors.
Michael Kohn, Angels
Scott Baker, Twins
Baker was the ace of the Twins pitching staff with a 3.14 ERA in the 2011 season. This has helped lead to a depleted Twins rotation that has had to rely on three rookies and Francisco Liriano. Helps explain why they’re in the basement of the AL Central.
Brian Wilson, Giants
The 3rd closer on this list. Thankfully, Wilson’s beard doesn’t have a UCL to tear.
Mike Pelfrey, Mets
George Sherrill, Mariners
Tsuyoshi Wada, Orioles
Danny Duffy and Blake Wood, Royals
The Royals have been hit the hardest with three players needing Tommy John surgery so far this season.
Cory Luebke, Padres
Big things were expected out of Luebke in San Diego after a breakout 2011 season. Instead, we’ll see if he can bounce back in 2013.
Marcos Mateo, Cubs
Andrew Carignan, Athletics
Charlie Morton, Pirates
Morton had changed his game to emulate Roy Halladay in 2011 and had his best season in the Majors. It’s possible that changing his strategy helped contribute to this injury.
Kyle Drabek, Blue Jays
That’s the whole list of twenty pitchers. Beachy and Hutchison are waiting in the wings to be added to the list. The three words “Dr. James Andrews” and the three letters “UCL” are quickly becoming the scariest things in the game of baseball. What do teams need to do to help prevent this from occurring?
-Bryan Mapes (@IAmMapes)
We’re two weeks into the MLB season. Raise your hand if you had the Dodgers at 9-1 and the Angels at 3-6 in Los Angeles. If you put your hand up, put it down. I can’t believe you would lie to me like that. Here’s what I think on this beautiful Patriots Day.
1) I’ll believe in the Dodgers record when they play better teams. The San Diego Padres and Pittsburgh Pirates aren’t exactly the strongest teams in Major League Baseball. Matt Kemp is making his case for the best player in the league. Kemp currently leads the National League in slugging (1.026), OPS (1.548), home runs (6), total bases (40), runs batted in (16), runs (13) and hits (19). Hitting .487 apparently isn’t good enough for the league-lead, thanks a lot David Wright. The Dodgers have the Brewers and Astros on the road, then come home for the Braves and Nationals. We’ll know a lot more about them after those two weeks, than these first two.
2) Santiago Casilla should get a shot at the Giants closer role once again. We talked about it on the podcast and I have to re-emphasize it. Casilla was able to convert 6 of 7 save chances last leason and has been dazzling with a sub 2.00 ERA in each of the past two years. Casilla would be more suited for the clean slate 9th inning role trying to pick up saves. He would be better suited to be able to work himself out of trouble as he’s more prone to walking batters than Sergio Romo. Romo should be saved for the high-pressure situations. Romo’s 13.1 K/9 in 2011 is better served in jams when the Giants need a strikeout to prevent runs from scoring.
3) Don’t get off the Matt Moore bandwagon just yet. My controversial pick for AL Cy Young is off to a shaky start with a 5.54 ERA and a 1.61 WHIP. Facing the Tigers and the Red Sox on the road can do that to you. The Red Sox used their usual game plan of taking a lot of pitches and Moore obliged with four walks in 6.1 innings. Look for Moore to get on track at home this week against the Twins.
4) No Pujols, no LaRussa, no Duncan, no problem for the St. Louis Cardinals. David Freese looks like the real deal so far after those expecting a drop off after his postseason heroics. Carlos Beltran’s under-the-radar signing has paid early dividends. Lance Lynn has stepped right into the rotation spot left empty by Chris Carpenter’s injury with a 2-0 record and a 1.50 ERA over 12 innings. The only setback has Adam Wainwright who still doesn’t seem right coming back from Tommy John surgery.
5) All the teams in the NL East will finish over .500. The Phillies and Braves were the obvious teams on this list at the start of the season and are off to so-so starts. The surprises have been the Nationals and Mets who are 7-3 and 6-3 respectively. The Nationals pitching that I said was the most underrated staff coming into the 2012 season has been spectaular with an ERA under 2.00 through the first 10 games. The Marlins once they get through their off-the-field problems and can focus on baseball will be there in the end. How spectacular was the home run structure going off in Marlins Park? We all owe Omar Infante a debt of gratitude for setting it off. Here’s the link to it.
What do you think so far about the season? Let us know in the comments!