Dewan: Tommy John surgery in Major League Baseball

From SABR member John Dewan at ACTA Sports on September 14, 2018:

This month, two of baseball’s promising young pitchers—Shohei Ohtani of the Angels and Michael Kopech of the White Sox—learned that they will likely need Tommy John surgery due to torn ulnar collateral ligaments in their throwing arms. While Ohtani remains in the Angels’ lineup as a hitter, Kopech’s debut season is over after fewer than 15 innings.

In the 2018 Bill James Handbook, Sports Info Solutions added Tommy John surgery information for every pitcher who appeared in MLB in 2017, including surgery dates. This information will be updated for every 2018 pitcher in the upcoming 2019 Bill James Handbook as well. Did you know that several pitchers have undergone multiple Tommy John surgeries? For example, Oakland A’s reliever Shawn Kelley has had two surgeries—the first in 2003 and the second in 2010.

More than 25 percent of the league’s pitchers in 2018 have undergone Tommy John surgery at some point in time. That’s a surprisingly high figure, demonstrating how common the procedure is, as well as how pitchers have been successfully able to pitch in the majors after the surgery.

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Originally published: September 14, 2018. Last Updated: September 14, 2018.