Good points Pro, agree on all. I was just thinking that overuse in terms of breaking balls, not necessarily on fastballs/velocity, would be the issue. But like you said who am I to argue with The Man himself . And re: parents, after watching Friday Night Lights/Varsity Blues I'd imagine that happens a lot in Texas, etc.
Also I looked up Rodon...
Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)
NC State then decided to push Rodon to 134 pitches, sending him back out to start his final inning after he'd already thrown 118 pitches, an acceptable, if upper-bound, number for a 21-year-old pitcher. This was a clear example of a coaching staff putting their own interests over those of a pitcher, a perfect example of moral hazard at work in amateur baseball, one that calls for regulation by the NCAA.
The Wolfpack, despite having two of the best college players in the country this year, are 5-11 in the ACC so far (19-14 overall) and in danger of missing the NCAA tournament, a result that would be devastating given their talent level. The potential cost of missing the tournament is so high that the coaching staff has the incentive to try to win at all costs, including asking players to do things that may not be in their own best interests, such as throwing 134 pitches in one outing. Only one MLB pitcher did that in all of 2013: Tim Lincecum, in his July 13 no-hitter. (In fact, since the start of the 2010 season, only four MLB pitchers have thrown 134 or more pitches. Three were no-hitters, one was Brandon Morrow's 17-strikeout one-hitter in 2010, and all four spread those pitches over nine innings rather than Rodon's 7 2/3 innings.)
Rodon has a potential $6-7 million payday in front of him, and putting him at any risk like this, real or perceived, is wrong. The reaction within the industry, among sources with whom I've spoken, was unanimously negative. Rodon shouldn't have been sent back out for the eighth inning, period.
I hope there are no ill effects from this kind of outing, but it is inevitable that we will eventually see a pitcher used too heavily in his draft year and then blow out shortly thereafter, costing him a large payday. Causality is irrelevant at that point; the mere perception of misuse will lead to serious consequences -- from recruiting to a potential lawsuit -- for the coaching staff in question. That may be what it takes to get the NCAA involved to put a stop to this kind of nonsense.
Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)
As Chris Crawford of MLB Draft Insider noted on Twitter, Rodon has tossed a total of 379 pitches over his last three starts, an average of 126 pitches per start. It’s one thing for a veteran Major League pitcher to average 126 pitches over three starts, but it’s very concerning that the Wolfpack have been riding Rodon’s arm so heavily. As his age implies, the 21-year-old’s arm is still developing and still getting used to a strenuous workload.
ESPN’s Keith Law wrote a column on April 13 raising concern after NC State had Rodon throw 134 pitches. Law criticized Rodon’s coaching staff for making him throw so many pitches:
This was a clear example of a coaching staff putting their own interests over those of a pitcher, a perfect example of moral hazard at work in amateur baseball, one that calls for regulation by the NCAA.
The plight of college athletes has gained some publicity lately with Northwestern football’s quest to unionize and University of Connecticut basketball player Shabazz Napier telling the media that some nights he went to bed “starving”. It’s easy to see the abuse of top-tier pitchers and it’s even easier to see why it happens.
NC State Wolfpack baseball head coach Elliott Avent and associate head coach Tom Holliday don’t get more money or more job security by protecting Rodon. Taking him out of the game after 90 pitches means the team would need to rely on inferior pitchers, making them more likely to lose games. And when the team loses more games, that reflects poorly on the coaching staff. Rodon won’t be giving Avent ten percent of his signing bonus, so what is Avent’s motivation to do anything other than ride Rodon’s arm into the ground, vying for wins?
Unfortunately, Rodon is in a sticky situation. He can’t say no to his manager, as insubordination will stick with him throughout his professional career and it will make him an easy target for controversy. But he also shouldn’t have to put up with being forced to throw nearly 130 pitches every time he pitches. NC State’s season ends on May 17, so Rodon only has another handful of starts to make before he can look forward to starting his professional baseball career. Let’s hope that the miles put on his arm only makes him stronger, and doesn’t make him any more likely to turn into the next Mark Prior.
That picture in the Law article pretty much says it all, look at his face.
Edited by frink85 - 4/26/14 at 9:55am