March 4, 2009
Always Amazin’: Pelfrey’s Chances on Beating the Verducci Effect
by: Alex Nelson on Mar 4, 2009 8:23 AM | Filed under: News

A nice piece of work from blogger Matthew Artus concerning Mike Pelfrey’s injury risk:

Now we have some meat. To reiterate, 5 of the 7 Verducci Effect candidates suffered significant arm or shoulder injuries in 2008 as a result of increased workloads in 2007. Ignore Gallardo’s stats as he missed most of ’08 due to an ACL tear. That leaves Ubaldo Jimenez, the lone survivor.

In an interesting note, Jimenez’s actual number of pitches thrown did not increase at as extreme a rate as his fellow candidates in 2008 (with exception to Gorzelanny) even though his total innings pitched certainly did.

So what does this have to do with Big Pelf? Well, for one, Pelfrey’s actual number of pitches thrown increased at the same rate from 2006 to 2007 AND 2007 to 2008 as Ubaldo Jimenez’s did from 2006 to 2007.

With five out of seven 2008 Verducci Effect candidates coming down with significant injuries, you can’t feel great about Pelfrey’s chances to avoid it. But Artus does allow that little bit of hope with the Jimenez comparison, and the fact that Pelfrey’s estimated pitch counts are relatively low compared to other injury risks. But you guys know me; I can’t stand seeing a glimmer of hope without dashing it to the floor.

(1) Just because Jimenez hasn’t gotten injured yet, doesn’t mean he won’t this year.

(2) Mike Pelfrey is otherwise nearly completely incomparable to Ubaldo Jimenez in mechanics, arm action, size, arsenal, and pitching tendencies.

(3) There’s always the chance that Jimenez’s arm is unique, for some reason, in its ability to avoid injury.

Now, if I were a gambling man, I’d actually bet on Jimenez getting injured first. His mechanics are notoriously inconsistent, leading to poor control and longer innings, while increasing the potential for mechanics-related injuries. Jimenez throws more breaking balls than Pelfrey, who is almost exclusively a fastball thrower. Jimenez is tall, but not nearly as tall as Pelfrey, who has most of these other factors on his side (or at least more in his corner than Jimenez).

In the end, there’s not much the Mets can do now, other than have a decent backup ready, if possible, and monitor Pelf closely.

4 Responses to “Always Amazin’: Pelfrey’s Chances on Beating the Verducci Effect”

  1. Comment posted by Kneel Before Zod! on March 4, 2009 at 10:13 am (#934944)


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  3. Comment posted by irish8 on March 4, 2009 at 11:09 am (#934978)

    I think the fact that Pelfrey throws predominantly fastballs will help him. It’s typically the breaking stuff that leads to elbow issues. I was always taught growing up throwing fastballs helped build arm strength.

    The person I would be worried about concerning the Verducci Effect is Cole Hamels. When you add the playoff innings he threw something like 85 additional innings. This from somebody with a history of arm trouble.

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  5. Comment posted by Tino Evangelou on March 4, 2009 at 7:40 pm (#935224)

    For some reason I’m not too terribly concerned with Pelfrey, despite evidence to the contrary in regards to young pitchers. He is predominantly a fastball pitcher and doesn’t have any real history of arm trouble.

    Of course, now that I’ve said that, he’ll probably be seeing Dr. Andrews in a month.

  6. Comment posted by stel og stem on March 5, 2009 at 10:14 am (#935328)

    Who were the 5 VE pitchers who got hurt in 2008? You mentioned Gorzelanny as one but who else? Was Carmona one? Thanks?