Reality Bites: Elbows, shoulders and the path to contention

It's a lot more fun to drift off to sleep these days. After all we can dream of a young, affordable, dynamic shut down rotation just around the corner.

For some the only question is who will fill out our home-grown Fab Five and who will be in the pen. The list seems endless: Niese, Gee, Harvey, Wheeler, Familia, Mejia, Syndergaard, Tapia, Fulmer etc. Opponents will be dodging lightning bolts from a rotation of aces and number twos, mid rotation hurlers need not apply right?

But how many elbows will hold up? Mejia's already had his Tommy John moment but what are the odds of others following him to Birmingham?

Just how big is the risk of big injury to our future saviors? Well, I dug up this Verducci article from this past April. It was primarily about his theory on bullpen mis-usage but claims: a) 50% of starters and 34% of relievers go on the DL each year, and b) 53% of DL'd pitchers suffered from an elbow injury (up from 23% the prior year which saw many more shoulder injuries)

This ESPN article offers this confusing observation:

In 2003, USA Today reported that in the previous two seasons, 75 of the almost 700 major league pitchers had undergone Tommy John surgery -- almost one in nine.

In addition to that stat now being nearly 10 years old it's unclear whether "in the previous two seasons" means 75 pitchers needed TJ over those 2 years or that 700 pitchers had made starts in the past two years and 75 of them had needed TJ at some point prior even if it was many years earlier.

So an elbow injury struck 25% of starting pitchers, the actual TJ number was certainly lower, maybe much lower. And that's for guys who made it to the bigs without washing out or having injuries end their careers before hitting the show.

Given that Mejia has already had TJ, is that our "almost one in nine" that USA today talks about or are a full 50% of our future starters going to be DL'd?

This FanPost was contributed by a member of the community and was not subject to any vetting or approval process. It does not necessarily reflect the opinions, reasoning skills, or attention to grammar and usage rules held by the editors of this site.

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