A concept that you really have to think about in regard to the development of young pitchers is something known as the "Verducci Effect." Verducci has stated:
“Why can’t they throw 200 innings? Simply put, they’re not conditioned for it yet. It’s like training for a marathon. You need to build stamina incrementally. The unofficial industry standard is that no young pitcher should throw more than 30 more innings than he did the previous season. It’s a general rule of thumb, and one I’ve been tracking for about a decade. When teams violate the incremental safeguard, it’s amazing how often they pay for it.”
Lets look back at some of the players, going back to 2006:
Jesse Litsch: Drafted by the Jays in 2004 in which he made his first major league appearance in 2007. While in the minor leagues he threw 75.2 innings in 2005, 158.2 in 2006, 187.1 in 2007, and 196 in 2007. The jump in innings from 2005-2006 (73IP) is insane and it is no wonder that he had to have TJ surgery this year.
Gustavo Chacin: Was called up by the Jays in 2004 and had a stellar 2005 season in which he went 13-9 with a 3.72 ERA. In 2002 he threw 119.2 innings which was followed by him only throwing 69.1 innings in 2003. I am going to assume that he suffered some sort of injury that limited his innings during that year. It is important to note though that the following season (2004) he threw 167.1 innings; almost 100 more than the year before. He threw a record 203 innings in 2005 and on June 21st they threw him out there going on only 3 days rest. He spent over 3 months on the DL in 2006 with elbow and forearm problems and in 2007 he was also placed on the DL with left shoulder pain. How can you be surprised at the number of injuries he sustained during the 2006 and 2007 season, when you look at the way they abused him.
Dustin McGowan: Drafted by the Jays in 2000, making his first appearance in 2004. He threw 111.1 innings and 2006 and jumped to 162.7 in 2007, Had surgery in 2008 for a torn labrum and missed a majority of the 08 season and has yet to return to the team in 09.
Shaun Marcum: Was first called up by the Jays at the end of the 2005 season in which he was placed in the bullpen. There wasn't a huge increase in the number of innings he pitched as he threw 148 innings in 2004, 157 innings in 2005, 137 innings in 2006, 159 innings in 2007, and 151.1 innings in 2008. He ended up having TJ surgery 9 months ago and has missed the entire 2009 season so far. I think they were careful in dealing with Marcum, as he was transitioning out of the bullpen during the 2007 season.
I could go on and on. The number of injuries to these young guys is insane. I also think it's crazy to think that they have had 12 players so far this season called up to start a game (many of them being these young rookies). Some other pitchers that have suffered injuries and could be included in this list are:
- Casey Janssen
- Robert Ray
- Scott Richmond- debatable
- Brandon League