Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Madison Bumgarner at Risk for Verducci Effect

Tom Verducci has his annual list of young pitchers who experienced a big jump in innings who he flags for injury or regression and this year Giants pitcher Madison Bumgarner is on the list.

This could be big news if Bumgarner does suffer from the "Verducci Effect" as he is a big part of the Giants elite pitching staff.

For those not familar with the "Verducci Effect" here is a quick run down:
Drawing on the advice of pitching coach Rick Peterson, I developed a rule of thumb that pitchers 25 and younger should not increase their workload by more than 30 innings. It's the same theory as training for a marathon: you risk injury by jumping from a 10K to the marathon instead of incremental increases. I called it the Year After Effect because the wear and tear often was followed by regression or injury the next year.
Bumgarner had an increase of 73 innings (the innings include everything throughout the year, fall league, minors, majors, postseason, etc). Bumgarner threw 82.2 innings in the minors, 111.0 in the majors and 20.2 in the postseason for a grand total of 214.1 innings.

Bumgarner has the prototypical pitching frame; a large frame with good mechanics. The Giants seem to do pretty well in bringing along their young pitchers without too many arm injuries so I am hopeful that Bumgarner should still do very well next season.

This isn't a scientific study but just something that Verducci does to get an idea for potential overwork of young pitchers. For example the Padres' Mat Latos, the Mariners' Felix Hernandez, who won the AL Cy Young award, the Marlins' Josh Johnson and the Tigers' Max Scherzer were all on the list last year and had very good seasons.

If you're on Twitter you should definitely follow the The Crazy Crabbers. If you're not you should really consider joining, lots of good stuff going on there.

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