Pitcher Injury Predictions
by Chris O'Leary
Why should you believe what I say are proper and problematic
pitching mechanics? Because I have a long track record of successfully
predicting injuries to pitchers.
I've been evaluating pitchers and their mechanics since
2006, starting with
Mark Prior and
Anthony Reyes. Over that time, I have developed and refined a Pitcher
Injury Risk Rating Algorithm (PIRRA). I make predictions of pitcher
injuries to demonstrate PIRRA's power.
The pages above link to predictions I have made previously, some of which I
made on my
pitching mechanics analyses page and some of which I tweeted
While many of the names I discuss are familiar only to
hard-core fans, I have predicted the injuries of a number of
prominent pitchers, starting with Henderson Alvarez.
Jose Fernandez's pitching mechanics at length after
Other prominent pitchers whose injuries I predicted include...
The bottom line on Jaime Garcia is that I don't think his elbow problems are a
I think Jaime Garcia is headed for Tommy John
surgery followed a couple of years later by shoulder
Jaime Garcia Pitching Mechanics Analysis
July 21, 2008
If I ran the zoo, I would shut Tommy Hanson down for 2011 and
pray that he heals during the off-season. I would then convert
him to a closer. His timing isn't going to allow him to stay
healthy as a starter.
Tommy Hanson's Pitching Mechanics
Here's a picture of Matt Harvey
that shows the timing problem that I am talking about and
that concerns me. Given that his front foot is down, his pitching arm should be
Matt Harvey Pitching Mechanics Analysis
May 13, 2013
NOTE: I first publicly expressed concerns about Matt
Harvey's pitching mechanics on on May 9, 2013 on the
Steve Czaban Show (Yahoo Sports Radio).
My Matt Harvey comments start at 12:55. Matthew Giles of New
York Magazine can confirm the validity of the above quote.
Named in my
2014 podcast with Will Leitch.
I have written extensively about
Mark Prior's pitching mechanics, what actually caused him to
break down, and why I think
Tom House continues to be part of the problem, not the solution.
This position isn't damaging in and of itself.
However, by coming to this position, Mark
Prior is ensuring that his PAS arm will not be in the proper
position at the moment his shoulders start to turn.
As with pitchers with other timing problems like rushing,
because his arm is so late, he will dramatically increase
the stress on both his elbow and shoulder.
Prior's Pitching Mechanics
I know a lot of people are
extremely high on Anthony Reyes. However, I believe that I see a
flaw in his mechanics that may very well make him the Cardinals'
Mark Prior (and that's not a good thing). By that I mean a pitcher
who shows tons of promise but ends up with continual injury
Concerns About Anthony Reyes
July 25, 2006
I am glad that my St. Louis Cardinals (finally) traded
Anthony Reyes to the Cleveland Indians. I would be surprised if
the Indians get significant value out of this trade due to
Inverted W and resulting timing problem.
Anthony Reyes Pitching Mechanics Analysis
August 11, 2008
BJ Ryan is currently on the Disabled List due to
Tommy John surgery. This is due to BJ Ryan's extremely poor
pitching mechanics...BJ Ryan may have the
worst arm action and timing I have ever seen, even worse
than Chris Carpenter,
Mark Prior, or Kerry Wood...The problem is that, like
Chris Carpenter and Kerry Wood, BJ Ryan has a major
Inverted L in his arm action. You can see BJ Ryan's
Inverted L at Frame 21 of the clip above. This completely
destroys his timing and is the root cause of his elbow
problems. It will also set him up for Rotator Cuff and
Labrum problems in a year or two.
BJ Ryan Pitching Mechanics Analysis
January 15, 2008
There is no question that Johan Santana has been very
successful to date. However, due to his borderline mechanics I
question whether Johan Santana will be able to continue that
level of success. I think Johan Santana could easily
give the Mets the same heartache that Pedro Martinez and El
Johan Santana's Pitching Mechanics
I have written extensively about
Stephen Strasburg's pitching mechanics, both beforehand to
express my concerns and afterwards to explain what happened.
I have made a large number of predictions, some of which
haven't come true. In some cases, and particularly for relievers,
my answer to why those predictions haven't come true is, "Just
wait." However, in other cases, I have missed something and have
had to update my algorithm as result.
I still like the majority of Cliff Lee's pitching mechanics.
That is because he lasted 13 years and, while he currently
isn't playing, he hasn't needed Tommy John Surgery. And he plays
for the Phillies.
So what's going on with his forearm?
As you may know, I am not a fan of the cue "Point the ball at
second base" or "Show the ball to center field" in kids because I
believe it significantly increases the risk of elbow problems.
I have video of Cliff Lee from his time in both Seattle and
Philadelphia where his
Premature Pronation isn't as prominent. However, the more
high-quality images I accumulate, the more evidence I see that
Cliff Lee has a problem with Premature Pronation. In my opinion, that is
what's causing his forearm, and perhaps elbow, problems.
I used to think this was just an issue in kids, because I had
never seen it (obviously) cause problems in adults. That's why I
didn't take more seriously the (at the time) few pictures of Cliff
Lee exhibiting Premature Premature pronation that I had. However,
Cliff Lee's problems, while not necessarily severe, let me to take
a much closer look at the problem of Premature Pronation and led
to my correct predictions about Jose Fernandez.
I still think pitchers should copy Cliff Lee's pitching
mechanics, but not that twist in the wrist of his pitching arm.
The simplest way to sum up what, in my opinion, is going on
with Michael Wacha is this.
He's a different pitcher than he was in college.
As I discuss in detail in my piece on
Michael Wacha's pitching mechanics, in college Michael Wacha
was a low-90s guy who topped out at 94. As a pro, Michael Wacha is
throwing significantly harder, sometimes with an average fastball
velocity above 95 mph.
As with many pitchers (e.g. Noah Syndergaard, Matt Harvey, and
as Michael Wacha's velocity goes up, so too does the load on his
arm and his risk.
Max Scherzer and Clayton Kershaw
While they are hardly clean, they both employ a trick to
give their arms time to catch back up with their bodies. Max
Scherzer is also apparently aware of my concerns about his arm
action and actively works to make sure that his elbow lift doesn't
cause him problems.
About The Author
Chris O'Leary never played baseball beyond grade school due
to a shoulder injury suffered due to poor pitching mechanics. As
a result, he is focused on ensuring that what happened to him
doesn't happen to anybody else.
The Epidemic is one way he hopes to achieve that goal.