Roegele: An analysis of available Tommy John surgery data

From SABR member Jon Roegele at The Hardball Times on October 9, 2014:

With both the caliber and frequency of players heading for ulnar collateral ligament reconstruction surgery in 2014, Tommy John surgery has been a popular topic in the media this year. The Hardball Times’ Jeff Zimmerman summarized the most recent research in a twopart series on the surgery not long ago. The articles noted at least a dozen examples of Tommy John surgery stories from the mainstream media, with many more going unmentioned.

Despite the flood of information on the topic, there are some interesting ways of looking at Tommy John surgeries that have not been fully explored to this point. As I have recently added additional details to the list of professional baseball surgeries I maintain, here are some new angles that can now be illuminated further.

Recovery Times and Success Rates

Before these related issues can be examined, it is important to define what it means for a player returning from Tommy John surgery to have “recovered.” Does playing at any professional level of baseball suffice? Does a player have to return to play in the same league he was playing in when the surgery became necessary? Is there some minimum number of innings pitched required to be seemed recovered? Should performance be considered in any way? This is a complicated problem, and one that I would suggest does not have one correct answer.

Read the full article here:

Originally published: October 10, 2014. Last Updated: October 10, 2014.