Cubs looking for pitching edge through modern medicine

Cubs looking for pitching edge through modern medicine
Tommy John and Dr. Frank Jobe

It started with a desperate, radical idea in 1974.   In the middle of another great season, Tommy John "blew out his elbow", as it was said back then.  In medical terms, John had torn his UCL (ulnar collateral ligament), a pitching injury that remains common in today's game.  It looked like the end of his career, but Dr. Frank Jobe had a long shot solution, one that he felt had a "1 in 100" chance of working.  He would replace the ligament with a tendon from the left-handed thrower's right wrist.

The rest is history.  John went on to pitch 14 more years and win 164 games, including three 20 win seasons.

The surgery has advanced significantly since then.  Nearly 40 years ago, it took Dr. Jobe 4 hours to complete the procedure.  Today it takes less than an hour.  The tendon can also taken from other places, including the ankle and hamstring.  The rehab is quicker as well.  While it once took around 18 months, players can sometimes return now in less than a year -- some of them throwing harder than ever.

Getting good, relatively young and healthy pitchers on the free agent trade market isn't cheap or easy.  Their best pitcher today, Matt Garza, cost the team 5 prospects, including two very good ones in Chris Archer and Hak-Ju Lee.  The Cubs just missed out on Anibal Sanchez who, up until his excellent playoff performance, was once considered more of an under the radar guy.  The Tigers wound up re-signing him for 5 years and $80M, the total amount was double what he would have expected to get otherwise.  The Dodgers signed Zack Greinke for almost double of Sanchez's total at $158M.  The last good young pitcher on the market, the oft-traveled Edwin Jackson, has a rumored price of $12-$13M over 3 years.

But despite nearly 40 years of success stories and medical advancement, teams are still hesitant to make large investments on Tommy John survivors.  The Cubs have decided to take advantage of those lingering doubts and have used it to acquire 3 pitchers this year who would otherwise have been unavailable: Arodys Vizcaino, Scott Baker, and Hector Rondon.  It also has had an impact on their decision making at the minor league level, including Robert Whitenack and the recently drafted Josh Conway.

Arodys Vizcaino is the most talented of the bunch.  Going into the 2012 season, Keith Law ranked him as the 12th best prospect in all of baseball.  His opinion of Vizcaino is so high that when I asked him whom he'd rather have, a healthy Randall Delgado or the rehabbing Vizcaino, he didn't hesitate.  Vizcaino.   The only reason he was available was because he had hurt his elbow twice, the second time it required TJ surgery.

Law is not the only one who is high on the former Yankee and Braves prospect.  Industry sources I have spoken with have indicated that the Cubs have a potential steal in Vizcaino.  Whether he becomes a #2 or #3 starter or a closer, the 22 year old RHP has impact potential because of  a mid 90s fastball, a hammer curve, and a solid change.  He also throws with surprisingly good command for such a youthful power pitcher.

The Cubs were able to pick up Vizcaino when the Atlanta Braves, who just missed the playoffs the season before, needed to shore up their pitching down the stretch.  The Cubs nearly traded them Ryan Dempster for Randall Delgado but when the deal infamously fell through, the Braves turned to lefty Paul Maholm and the Cubs got the higher risk, but higher ceiling pitcher in Vizcaino.  It's a move that could  pay off big as soon as mid-season in 2013.

Scott Baker, 31, would have never been let go by the Twins had he not had TJ surgery early last season.  He had a club option for $9M that would have been a bargain in today's market for the kind of mid-rotation starter Baker is when healthy.  He doesn't have the youth, stuff and upside that Vizcaino does, but has had major league success as a starting pitcher for the Twins.  His track record includes a 15 win season in 2009 but what really stands out with Baker is a very good career 3.44 K/BB ratio.  He throws strikes and misses bats -- and that allows him to be less reliant on his defense to succeed.  With the Cubs expected to have a plus defender at every position except, perhaps, CF.  Baker won't have to do it all on his own and we could expect a jump in his numbers if he's healthy this season.  Baker (90-93 mph) doesn't throw as hard as Vizcaino, but his fastball has been a plus pitch because of movement and his ability to locate it.  He complements his FB with a solid slider and change-up.

Hector Rondon was a fast rising prospect in the Cleveland Indians organization in 2010.  At the time, Baseball America projected him to be the Indians #3 starter by 2013.  Shortly after that writing, Rondon fell on some hard times, most notably the TJ surgery and the subsequent fracture during his rehab.  Still, the Indians didn't want to lose him.  They gambled that teams would be scared off by his 2 consecutive injury-plagued seasons and were surprised, as I was, when the Cubs selected him with the #2 pick overall in the Rule 5 draft.  Had he been healthy, there was no way he would have been  left unprotected. Rondon finally made his way back late last season and was clocked as high as 97 mph.  He continued to throw well in Venezuela this winter.  At this point, the Cubs don't expect Rondon to be that #3 starter, at least not for 2013.  He'll be used out of the bullpen, where the Cubs hope he can maintain the kind of velocity and command he showed in his minor league career and in Venezuela this offseason.

Interestingly, the Cubs didn't take the same gamble with one of their own prospects, Robert Whitenack.  Like Rondon, Whitenack was considered to be a prospect with the potential to be a #3 starter when he was healthy.  Had he not tore his UCL, he would have been one of the Cubs top 10 prospects, and perhaps their best pitching prospect prior to the acquisition of Vizcaino.  Aside from a good 92-93 mph fastball that can reach 96, Whitenack throws a hard slider (he junked his knuckle curve which he had trouble commanding), and a good change-up.  He returned to the mound less than a year after his surgery and while he didn't look like the same pitcher in his abbreviated comeback, the Cubs saw enough to believe that he could return to form in 2013.

The philosophy has even extended into the draft, where the Cubs drafted top 50 talent Josh Conway in the 4th round.  Conway is a power pitcher with a 94-96 mph fastball and nasty slider.  He walked a respectable 18 batters in 55 innings in his last season at Coastal Carolina.  Our friends at Chasing the Dream, did a nice interview with him here that included some questions about his progress.  Regarding his rehab, Conway says, " I am currently a little over 6 weeks and my arm feels great. Dr Andrews did a wonderful job and everyone who has helped with the rehab has been great as well. I am currently in Arizona, rehabbing with the Cubs and couldn’t be happier with the progress."

Other than TJ surgery, the common thread with all of these pitchers is that they all have good fastballs and throw strikes -- the kind of pitcher that can be terribly expensive on the free agent market.  As it is, four of these pitchers (Vizcaino, Baker, Rondon, and Conway) would never have been available to the Cubs (at least not at their respective costs) had they not gotten hurt, and the 5th, Whitenack, would have been left unprotected had it not been for the advancement in TJ surgery and the trust the Cubs place on their medical staff. If that trust pays off, the Cubs could eventually find themselves with a quintet of pitchers that would have otherwise been costly on the open market.

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  • fb_avatar

    Medicine, its the new market inefficiency.

  • In reply to James Knott:

    It may be. If you have an edge there, it's definitely an advantage -- and even a top notch medical staff is cheaper than your average free agent SP.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Sure is different today.

    I played with a guy named Steve Eddy, who pitched for the Angels in '79. He quit baseball to go to medical school, presumably because being a doctor paid better than being a Major League ballplayer.

  • In reply to eaton53:

    Crazy, isn't it? It did feel weird as I wrote that comment!

  • In reply to eaton53:

    Perhaps Eddy felt that if he became a doctor he could make a more meaningful contribution to society than he could being a professional baseball player.

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    Good article though John, I enjoyed it greatly!

  • In reply to James Knott:

    Thanks!

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    I'm hoping Josh Conway can come back and work his way up to the bigs after having TJ surgery. His college numbers looked good until he got hurt.

  • In reply to Zachary Myers:

    A potential steal in the 4th round -- at below slot value too. Seems most think he's a bullpen guy but the Cubs are pretty creative in their quest for quality rotation arms-- wouldn't be surprised if they give him a shot to start.

  • OT John, but have you heard anything in regards to the alternative pitcher that the Cubs were eyeing in lieu of Sanchez?

  • In reply to Good Captain:

    Haven't really. Just saw Tom last night and neither one of us have heard anything on EJax, for example. I think Sanchez was the one guy they were really willing to invest in long term -- but Cubs so secretive these days that it could be that we just don't know.

    Keeping on with the theme of this article, maybe they're looking at TJ survivor Francisco Liriano.

  • Great article, John. It's insights like these that give us an actual basis for evaluating a front office. I hope they're right, but I hope it takes the rest of baseball a few more years to realize it!

  • In reply to TheFiveYearPlan:

    Thanks! I hope so too. It's creative and maybe a cheap way to get some great arms. Have to think they've done extensive studies on performance after surgery.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    And I'm sure they're counting on constant improvement in the surgery, too.

  • In reply to TheFiveYearPlan:

    Absolutely.

  • The real trick is coaching to keep these guys intact as well as pitching well. I'm a big believer in biomechanics, and the hiring of Derek Johnson bodes well for the organization. I hope he'll be given enough time to turn all the pitching coaches in the minors into true believers.

  • In reply to SFToby:

    Maintaining that health will be huge, especially with guys like Vizcaino and Rondon who have been hurt a couple of times. Perhaps Johnson plays a big role. If so, could wind up being the best under the radar hire this year.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    By the way John, great article as always. I think I take your work for granted sometimes because its always at a high standard and don't give you enough props, but I do appreciate all the work you put into it.

  • In reply to SFToby:

    Thanks Toby. Appreciate the kind words!

  • Nice angle.

    All of these moves are pretty low-risk. And if only a couple work out, it'll help the rebuild a ton. I think it's a pretty smart plan.

  • In reply to Diggs:

    Thanks...Doubtful all 5 work out, of course but taking a risk on ceiling is always a good bet. If health is the only thing in the way, it's a pretty good bet considering the arms here.

  • Didn't Baseball America have Whtenack as a possible #2 last year? Thanks for another great article John.

  • In reply to cbbiefun2014:

    If they did, I havent seen it. Highest I've seen is a #3 and without that one plus-plus pitch, that sounds about right. Command looked excellent before he went down so if he can regain that, it could play up his plus stuff more.

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    Great article John. The ceilings seem to have lowered quite a bit on Archer and Lee, so the Garza deal seems more like Garza for a bag of hammers to me right now, especially if the Cubs can lock him up long term.
    It's interesting that the Cubs have built a team that gives each of its pitchers the best chances to succeed. The staff makes them pound the ball low and in and the defense is first rate. Certainly that helps increase the marketability of those short term assets.

  • In reply to Jive Wired:

    Thanks.

    There is some lowered expectations for both players. Lee looks more like an average MLB SS -- great glove, good speed, questionable bat. Archer's command issues still occasionally get in the way of that great stuff, could still be a starter, but maybe a late inning bullpen guy. Still, those are nice assets even at those reduced expectations.

    It's a good point on how there is finally consistency with their approach. Having pitchers induce more groundballs and keep the ball in the park is one thing, but you need guys to catch the ball for it to really work. Cubs have quietly built a pretty good defense this year.

  • I hope that the Cubs do not push these guys too fast in their rehabilitation. The fact that we may not be competitive makes this strategy idea.

  • In reply to 44slug:

    Good point. The Cubs do have some time on their hands right now in that they are not yet in win-now mode, and probably won't be for a couple years.

  • Good stuff. I had Strasburg on my fantasy team this year and it really drilled home the fact that Tommy John surgery is no longer synonymous with drop in velocity.

    You think they stretch Rondon out to be a starter after this year?

  • In reply to Carne Harris:

    Thanks...as far as Rondon, I think it really depends. He'll certainly be in the bullpen this year. Key will be health, of course, but also the progress of his secondary pitches. One of the reasons Cabrera is being tried out as a starter is that both his slider and change showed improvement along with his fastball. There's a chance to have 3 average to plus pitches, especially if his improved command at AA was not a fluke.

  • I've read differing reports on when Baker might be back, any ideas?

  • In reply to cbbiefun2014:

    Nothing is ever certain when it comes to surgery and rehab, but I think he should be back by May. We'll probably see him in spring training but the DL may be a precautionary move more than anything. Leave him in warm AZ for a bit and then bring him up when the need for 5 starters becomes more important.

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    John, do the Cubs have an expert on TJ surgeries? And if they do, do you know what kind of experience and successes he/she has had with the rehabs?

  • In reply to Zachary Myers:

    They have really beefed up their medical staff. Team physician is Dr. Stephen Adams and they have two orthopedic MDs to help him. Dr. Stephen Gryzlo is the team orthopedic and Dr. Michael Schafer is on staff as a consultant. All have great reputations and track records of success.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    At least the Cubs haven't lowered their medical staff payroll.

  • In reply to baseballet:

    Or squandered it on mediocre players.

  • BTW Sanchez's agent says he left money on table to resign in Detroit, we were so played.

  • In reply to cbbiefun2014:

    To some degree, yes. But they didn't know Tigers would match -- in fact, some thought that it wasn't GM Dombrowski, but owner Illitch who insisted they beat the deal. You have to think they were prepared to sign with the Cubs.

  • Hi John and all the other Cub fans here,

    First Time poster, but a long time reader (since May of 2012).

    John, excellent article about the potential value that lies in these guys who have gone thru TJ surgery. Hopefully, this will be one of those "edges" that the Cub's FO has over many of the other teams in baseball.

    Boy, just think if fall those guys return to form, we could have a really dominant pitching staff in a year or two!

    I'm really excited for the Cubs' future.

  • In reply to DetroitCubFan:

    Thanks DetroitCubfan for the kind words and sharing your thoughts.

    It really is fun to think about what could happen if even just a couple of these guys pan out. Vizcaino is the one I'm really excited about. Have heard nothing but good things.

  • John, another topnotch and intriguing article. Keep up the good work.
    We've come a long way since the team trainer "fixed sore arms" by rubbing Coca-Cola into the muscles.
    If only Dr. Jobe had been able to treat Ernie Broglio......

  • In reply to StillMissKennyHubbs:

    ......and only if Coke was served on Hubb's flight, who knows how good Ken could have been.

    Did you know that Ken Hubbs got Ron Santo to quit smoking!

  • In reply to CubsTalk:

    Not pertinent; Hubbs was flying his own private plane.

  • In reply to StillMissKennyHubbs:

    Thanks Hubbs!

    And great point on Broglio. I guess we'll never know.

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    Excellent article, John. It should be noted that not only are teams looking to exploit market inefficiencies for pitchers coming off surgery, but also avoiding injuries in the first place. Strasburg probably most notable example.

    Strict innings limits are new to baseball, and if they were in place 10 years ago, it's likely Prior and/or Wood may have avoided some of the arm problems that derailed their career (though Prior also had that "inverted W" problem too)

    This coming year, I understand Cubs have a 100-inning limit on Vizcaino, which means if he kills it at Iowa, he'll still be shut down at some point. Hopefully we have that problem.

  • In reply to Zonk:

    Don't be surprise that many of our starting pitchers will have a three or four inning limit next season.

  • In reply to Zonk:

    Thanks and excellent point on Vizcaino. if Vizcaino has any time with the Cubs it will be out of the bullpen, I suspect. His bigger impact, hopefully, will be in 2014 -- just in time for things to get really interesting for Cubs fans.

    As for Prior and Wood, we can only wonder but you're right. They certainly would have been handled differently today.

  • Nice piece John! Great info. Do you have any inside info on Garza's bone bruise elbow injury? For example has his type of injury been linked to TJS? Is there a stronger chance that he could have other arm problems? Everything I have seen on Garza's injury has been very vague. I am sure these are the questions other teams are asking about him, and what the Cubs need to know if they are thinking of extending him at all. Just curious. Thanks

  • In reply to Justin:

    Thanks Justin!

    From what I understand, Garza's injury is unrelated to his UCL, so I suspect there is no direct causation to any possible future TJS. That's not to say it can't indirectly cause damage by causing him to compensate for the injury. I suppose that part could be possible but it's really hard to say.

    I think it's safe to say both Garza and the Cubs are optimistic about a full recovery, but it's also safe to say that everyone will breathe easier once he takes the mound too!

  • HAPPY 40th BIRTHDAY to "Baseball Annie" actress Alyssa Milano.

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    So I often talk about numbers games, this is a good example of one. John discusses the ideal situation above -- namely, that all 5 come back. But these can be winning signings even if that doesn't happen. I've often seen the figure thrown around that 80% of Tommy John surgeries are successful these days. Given that, we can actually work out numbers. (Steve Stone time: "For all you young statisticians out there, this is known as the Binomial Distribution.) Here are the probabilities that a given number will make it back:

    0: 0.03%
    1: 0.6%
    2: 5.1%
    3: 20.5%
    4: 41.0%
    5: 32.8%

    So, based on this, we're looking at around a 95% chance we get 3 or more pitchers out of this. Given what we paid for them, and what signing 3 of them fully healthy would have cost, this is still a pretty good deal for the Cubs.

    Obviously, my 80% number played a big part there, but if we drop it to a 70% recovery rate, we have around an 84% chance of getting 3 or more pitchers. 60% gives a 68% chance. 50% yields a 50-50 chance. So, the numbers still work for us, so long as they have a better chance to recover than not.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    Excellent stuff, Mike. It really adds to the article. Thanks for posting those numbers!

  • John, not an UCL guy, but please talk about Travis Wood. He's been really overlooked this offseason. Last season, he have up 2 or less runs in 14 of his 26 starts, 3 or less in 20 of those starts. He'll only be 26 years old on Opening Day. He had a string of clunkers July, but he threw quite a few gems. Why aren't we hearing more about his potential for a big year.

    Speaking of big years, I'm thinking we much closer to being competitive than most might believe. Perhaps Theo & Co. think so too as evidenced by the effort to sign Sanchez. And why not? Maybe it's too early for this kind of analysis/dreaming, but if we don't move Soriano, it looks like our roster is pretty well set and I'm liking it, especially if just a few guys really step it up. Lots of ifs, but if:

    1. Garza is healthy
    2. Shark continues to improve
    3. Baker and Feldman are healthy and regular contributors
    4. Wood flashes a few more of the several gems he threw last year
    5. Marmol and Fuji become one of the top 8th/9th guys in the NL
    6. Those power arms we're stockpiling in the bullpen are merely decent
    7. Our defense is as stellar as most think it will be

    And, these guys do the following, which IS NOT unrealistic

    DeJesus .365 OBP
    Scheirholtz .325 OBP
    Castro .320 Avg, 25 HRs, 95 RBI
    Rizzo .300 Avg, 30 HRs, 110 RBI
    Soriano .260 Avg, 30 HRs, 100 RBI
    W. Castillo .240 Avg, 20 Hrs, 80 RBI
    Stewart .230 Avg, 25 HRs, 80 RBI
    Barney. .325 OBP

    And add in we stay healthy and a pleasant surprise from either Brett Jackson and/or Sappelt.

    Where will that put us? How unlikely are these projections/hopes/dreams? Are you with me?!

  • In reply to Nondorf:

    I'm always up for a little optimism! Count me in!

    I think your individual expectations/projections are not unrealistic at all. The odds of all of them coming to pass are probably low. It's not often everything goes as planned, but those are the kinds of things that happen when a team has a breakthrough year.

    Great point on Wood and I think he will be a better pitcher this year. Stats guru projects him to win 10 games and have a sub 4 ERA. I'll take that from a guy the team considers its 4th or 5th starter any day.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    I am hoping Twood can get back to his 2010 level. He had a similar strikeout to walk ratio to Scott Baker.

    If he becomes the next Scott Baker that would be excellent.

  • In reply to Mitchener:

    I will take that. I think Wood just needs to be a bit finer with his command and I think he has a good chance of doing that this year.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    I recently came across a statistic on fangraphs that projected the number of additional games a pitcher should have/could have won and if I recall correctly, they credited Wood 's 2012 performance w/ an additional 6 "wins". If this assessment is accurate, it puts Woods' performance in a new light.

  • In reply to Good Captain:

    Interesting. I agree he should have won more. Wood could have obviously used better luck and the chance to pitch for a better team. I wonder if they normalized HR rate for him though, in that analysis. If so, I think some of some of that was on Wood. Seemed to leave too many pitches up in the zone last year. That said, even if that's the case, that's something that's correctable. I look forward to seeing how Wood does this season. If he stays healthy,gets support, and continues to hone his command, I'd be surprised if he didn't win 10 or more in 2013.

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    In reply to John Arguello:

    I am a fan of Woods, but in one way he was lucky last year; his BABIP was .249, which is low both for him and vs. the league. He figures to surrender more hits next year. He tends to generate ground-ball contact, but his career is .279, which is more normal for a GB pitcher.

    On the flip side, he was very inconsistent last year, so with a little more consistency he can improve

  • In reply to Zonk:

    That is the one figure that really doesn't bode well for him and we should expect that to go up.

    The hope is that he counters that to some degree by continuing to improve his control and keeping a few more balls in the park.

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    I'm glad you wrote this article John. I've been thinking, based on Cubs actions, that Theo/Jed think this is a market inefficiency. And Theo did this all the time when he was with the Red Sox. It seemed like they would sign at least one rehabbing pitcher every year. Some contributed and some didn't, but they clearly saw it as a way to add value to their team relatively inexpensively.

  • In reply to Kevin Heckman:

    I think he believes that as well. And it really is a low cost, low downside way of picking up a potential stud arm.

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    In reply to Kevin Heckman:

    Hendry did the same thing; Dempster worked out well. We picked up a couple others who didn't can't remember their names now

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    In reply to Zonk:

    Looked it up: Scott Wiliiamson, Wade Miller, Chad Fox.....all signed by Hendry as re-hab projects. Obviously he was 1 for 4, counting Dempster.

  • In reply to Zonk:

    I really liked the Miller gamble at the time, but he was awful. He never regained his velocity and couldn't adjust as a finesse guy.

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    John and Mike, awesome stuff. It looks like the Cubs have found a market inefficiency in injured pitchers, specifically those recovering from TJS. One has to wonder where Vizcaino might be if he'd opted for surgery the first time around. Needless to say, it probably wouldn't be with the Cubs.

  • In reply to Michael Caldwell:

    Thanks Michael.

    And agreed. Maybe it would have been better for Vizcaino if he would have hat TJS the first time around, but better for the Cubs that he didn't!

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    In reply to John Arguello:

    I sure hope he makes it as a starter.

  • I've read where some people have the opinion that young pitchers should just have the TJ surgery early in their career when it's most convenient as a preventative measure and then have it over and done with because recovery is all but assured these days.

    I was looking at some video of Dillon Maples recently and his delivery looks strange, like he short arms everything because he keep his pitching hand in the glove until the last moment. I know the Cubs don't think it will lead to injury, but I'd like to see our new pitching coordinator take a look at him.

    John, can you think of any other prospect we have who's motion looks potentially dangerous?

  • In reply to SFToby:

    Of the major prospects, some scouts don't like Tony Zych's delivery. Others, including the Cubs, don't think it will be a problem and that it actually helps him create deception. It's certainly not a problem with him throwing strikes.

  • Per Heyman, the Phillies are interested in acquiring Vernon Wells.

  • Is Wells better than Soriano?.....No.....

  • We were just joking about it on Twitter. First Michael Young, then Vernon Wells, next a time machine set to 2006.

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    Vernon Wells again? These teams really must be blind. If the salary was taken out of the equation would you want Wells or Soriano in your line up?

    And it looks like if your want Soriano the Cubs will pick up most of that salary. So could the prospect you have to give up justify going for Wells?

    It just doesn't make sense to me.....

  • In reply to bocabobby:

    I find it interesting that the Phillies' management is asking the Angels about Wells but have to be approached by the Cubs to see if they're interested in Soriano.

  • In reply to bocabobby:

    Makes no sense. Especially since they never have really trusted Domonic Brown.

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    In reply to John Arguello:

    Especially since everything you read out of Philly has Dom Brown's name listed as "mud." That kid really needs a change of scenery.

  • In reply to bocabobby:

    In this environment, it doesn't look like the Cubs can receive anything approaching an equitable return for Sorriano so I agree w/ those who believe he has more value to the 2013 team. If Sorriano has another good/solid first half, then I believe the Cubs may yet receive an equitable return in a potential trade.

  • I believe that 80% of TJ surgeries are successful in the respect that 80% of patients go on to have a career. But it appears to me that very few go on to be as good as they seemed to be, or seemed about to be, before the surgery.

    Kerry wood is a case in point. He went on to have a rather successful career, but never showed the HOF talent that he seemed to have before the injury. These surgeries seem to be successful in that they allow the pitcher to regain his velocity. But it also seems that quite a few never regain the pinpoint command that they previously had.

    Strasbourg may be the exception, but in my experience, most pitchers tend to be a level or two lower than they were prior to the injury. That can still be significant with someone as good as Vizcaino, but I will feel much better if he shows good command this spring or summer.

  • In reply to DaveP:

    True...would interesting to see the analysis done with pitchers who have come back at say 85% of what they were before the surgery. Could use something like WAR as a standard to make it simpler.

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    In reply to DaveP:

    We're really pushing the limits of my understanding of this, but I thought that the 80% number is usually used in saying how much more successful the surgery is today than it was even in Wood's day.

  • Doesn't Lim also fall into this category?

  • In reply to BudMan:

    He does. I also think he could surprise, but I wanted to focus on potential long term help.

  • In reply to BudMan:

    Only Problem is that this is his 2nd Tj Surgery. From what i read only 20% have come back from the 2nd surgery.

  • So with the major trade week ended....and the major signings have been completed, here is what i see as who is at the Top, and who is at the Bottom in team rankings.

    1 - Giants....WS Champs...on top for now
    2 - Tigers....Pieces are in place
    3 - Angels.....If not now, then never.
    4 - Rays......Best manager in MLB
    5 - Nationals....Full year of Strasburg will help.
    6 - Blue Jays......Marlin stars will redeem themselves
    7 - Reds........Arm problems on the horizon?
    8 - Dodgers....Lots of money spent, but will not win the division
    9 - Orioles......In a tough division
    10 - A's..........Miracles made by the front office every year
    11 - Cardinals.......Always find a way to win
    12 - Diamondbacks.....Could be this year's Sleeper Team
    13 - Phillies.........Best years behind them
    14 - Braves....Will miss Chipper
    15 - Rangers......No Josh, no more division titles
    16 - Yankees.....Age and Injuries coming on....
    17 - White Sox......Declining fast ...
    18 - Royals........Front office has no idea what to do
    19 - Brewers......See White Sox comment
    20 - Red Sox......Division bottom feeder
    21 - Cubs.......Progress being made
    22 - Mariners......Fans will fall asleep during games
    23 - Indians......Will get nasty by June
    24 - Mets.........Will regret signing Wright
    25 - Pirates.....No doubt, Cubs will beat these guys in 2013
    26 - Padres.....Cannot leap frog over three teams
    27 - Twins........Need to re-build
    28 - Rockies......So many problems to fix.
    29 - Marlins........Stanton's next team could be the Rangers by April
    30 - Astros.........AAA Baseball Team

  • According to Bowden cited on MLBTR, the Cubs and Rangers are "finalists" in bidding for Edwin Jackson. The Padres have dropped out because they won't go four years on anyone.

    Again, this is from Bowden, so "consider the source".

  • Cubs along with Rangers are finalist for Jackson on a 4 yr deal.

    Don't like this deal

  • In reply to Rock:

    No more than 3 years for any average pitcher. Lets hope they
    give him 5 years or more money.

  • I'd go 4 years for Jackson, but for no more than 12 million per year, and without a NTC.

  • Thanks guys. Was just having dinner when the news broke. Article now up.

  • Love the article John. Though his injury wasn't TJ surgery, the Cubs still got a potential front line #2 / #3 starter in Paul Blackburn solely because of his injury. Without that forearm injury, he was a legit 1st rounder, not a supplemental pick. I think I read several teams still had him rated as a 1st rounder.

    Anyways, it shows that this FO will do whatever they can to acquire potential impact talent through any means necessary. Another thing they've done that I'm curious when we start to see the impacts of it (maybe we already are with Rondon) is this big investment they made in scouting and Bloomberg technology.

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