baseball

Japan's high school baseball looks to save pitchers

15 Comments
By JIM ARMSTRONG

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"High School coaches in Japan will argue if the core mechanics are good then a pitcher won’t hurt his arm throwing every day"

Unfortunately, medical science disagrees with this opinion. As was stated in an article on the website FanGraphs, "pitching is an unnatural movement that puts unnatural stress on the elbow and shoulder joints." Anatomically, the shoulder joint is not made for throwing overhead regardless of whether the mechanics are good or not. The old conventional wisdom of Japanese baseball coaches insisting on daily throwing sessions and "gutting it out" just flies in the face of science. Time for these people to get their heads out of the sand.

7 ( +9 / -2 )

The Koshien high school baseball tournaments are a throwback to the days of regimentation and militarism. The coaches remind me of gung-ho drill sergeants whose job is to whip those wimpy civilians into shape. The whole thing is a huge turnoff. I thought sports were supposed to be fun...

2 ( +5 / -4 )

if i was investing $100+ million in a pitcher id certainly want to protect my investment, unfortunately too many J pitchers hit critical injuries before they they have enough time to prove there worth. its about time J baseball stops grinding there throwers into the ground. MLB doesnt want Japans washed up pitchers. they want the best that will last over time bringing a good return for the investment.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

I thought sports were supposed to be fun...

Unfortunately, this seems to be quite far down the list in Japan.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

What's more sad is the thousands of amateurs out there who would never make it to the pros and earn pro benefits yet have to live with bum elbows.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

MLB doesnt want Japans washed up pitchers. they want the best that will last over time bringing a good return for the investment. And Japanese Pro Baseball wants to stay competitive and become just a 4A training ground for MLB.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

unfortunately too many J pitchers hit critical injuries before they they have enough time to prove there worth. its about time J baseball stops grinding there throwers into the ground

Really? You best switch that to "MLB pitchers". Arm injuries are fairly rare in NPB, nowhere near as frequent as the current epidemic in MLB. I might add that Tanaka's arm was just fine when he pitched in NPB, never injured, but as soon as he switched to the MLB 5 man rotation and pitching more frequently, he got injured.

It seems MLB has no idea how to take care of their arms, despite claims of following "medical science". I'm not saying that NPB and HS baseball federation does either, but their also not the ones pontificating on the superiority of their methods in the middle of an injury catastrophe.

Can any of you name recent Japanese pitchers with arm troubles? Asao? That's about it, right? I could list all the MLB pitchers who went down with arm injuries this year, but I imagine there's a character limit in posts.

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

MLB also has higher level of competition, so the stress on the arm is higher.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

@Pandabelle

Japanese rosters also use a 6-man rotation instead of a 5-man one like they do in the MLB. A good article can be found here: http://www.sportsonearth.com/article/76156074/major-league-baseball-six-man-starting-pitcher-rotations-tommy-john-elbow-injuries#!bgCVVP

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Does anybody have the line score for Anraku's shutout effort yesterday? Why keep the kid on the mound when you're up 8-0 in a qualifying game?

3 ( +6 / -3 )

The proudest possession of many high schools in Japan is not an impressive statue or a new building, but a small glass jar with "Earth of Koshien" written on the label.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

What Japan's rigorous methods do is weed out the injury-prone arms early on while still in high school.

Yes, this method kills a lot of arms before they even get a chance to develop to the next level, but that smaller portion of arms that do survive the method tend to be more durable than most. Extreme survival of the fittest.

At least it's OK for the short-term. But then, that's all the NPB teams need - there are only a dozen NPB teams, while there are hundreds of pitchers every year. They only need the ace pitchers to pitch a few years in their 20s before the mileage on their arms catches up to them - then the teams could just replace 'em with the next batch. Teams don't need to have that ace pitcher healthy for a couple decades.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Starting pitchers in Major League Baseball generally are limited to no more than 100 pitches per outing.

This is only really true for younger pitchers, or in spring training. Veteran pitchers are still throwing 100-120 pitches without problems

2 ( +2 / -0 )

@bfarm

Japanese rosters also use a 6-man rotation instead of a 5-man one like they do in the MLB.

Yes, I know that well. That, coupled with the lower incidence of arm trouble in the NPB vs MLB leads me to think it's the frequency of pitching in game situations rather than the pitch counts that are the issue.

And for those of you thumbing me down earlier - please explain why MLB has far more arm injuries than NPB despite using "superior thinking" in handling pitchers?

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Japanese pitchers are also not always scheduled to pitch regularly either. Teams will typically reserve their better pitchers for "bigger" games on their schedule as well.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

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