From SABR members Rob Arthur and Ben Lindbergh at FiveThirtyEight on May 11, 2016:
Last week, Yahoo’s Jeff Passan reported that Angels ace Garrett Richards would miss the rest of this season — and at least part of next year — after undergoing Tommy John surgery. The loss of a talented pitcher who was off to a promising start provided the usual alarming reminder that any arm could be days away from a season-ending diagnosis. But we can serve some chicken soup for the baseball fan’s soul:1 Compared with totals through the same date in recent seasons, 2016’s Tommy John toll has been mercifully light. (Knock on the nearest ulnar collateral ligament.)
Historically, March and April have been the peak periods for Tommy John-inducing injuries. Not only does ramping up from a winter’s inactivity put pitchers at increased risk, but spring is also when pitchers who felt a twinge at the end of the previous season can no longer pretend rest will restore them. From 2005-14, 44 percent of injuries that led to elbow ligament replacements occurred in March or April. The last two springs were particularly costly, yielding record Tommy John totals and depriving fans of full seasons from such prominent pitchers as Yu Darvish, Zack Wheeler and Brandon McCarthy in 2015, and Matt Moore, Patrick Corbin and Jarrod Parker in 2014.
In 2016, however, the parade of early-season elbow injuries has slowed, as evidenced by Hardball Times analyst Jon Roegele’s list of Tommy John patients.
Read the full article here: http://fivethirtyeight.com/features/tommy-john-surgeries-are-down-and-nobody-quite-knows-why/
Originally published: May 11, 2016. Last Updated: May 11, 2016.