A ton of hype around this guy, and rightly so. He is absolutely filthy. His intent and pitch ability looks second to none. If I was a major league team I would take him #1 overall, no doubt.
Look at these 3 pitches… Unreal.
There are some skeptics of his delivery and depending on the team he might fall in the draft because of it. I can’t imagine him falling out of the top 10, but his mechanics alone might scare some teams away.
What do you think of his elbow pickup and deceleration pattern? Would you be hesitant to draft this kid?
Heck no I wouldn’t hesitate. I think we are to the point where TJ is almost an inevitability for hard throwers. We try to claim that we know what causes arm injuries, but it’s still a bit of a crap shoot in my mind. I’d take my chances on a D1-polished, hard thrower with late movement on everything every day of the week. If I was an owner I would just price into the contract the year I expect he will have off to rehab from an arm injury and be super excited every year it didn’t happen.
This dude is fun to watch pitch. Arms like that are rare, and you have to invest in rare talent.
Edit: That fastball that backs up on that lefty is SICK. That’s like Maddux + 6 MPH.
I think saying it’s inevitable that hard throwing pitchers = TJ is lazy. But, at the same time you are right calling it a crap shoot. There are a billion factors, it’s hard to even comprehend.
-overuse/undertrained as a youth
-how they train
-strength, mobility, stability constraints
-pitches thrown per inning/game/year
-time off per year
The list is never ending. I think some of the work out there now, discovering how to overload the muscles and ligaments in the arm to make adaptation and in-turn create better capacity for demand, load and use is a huge step in the right direction, in keeping pitchers healthy.
Maybe inevitable was the wrong word. “Not surprising” and “able to be planned for” might be better.
Potentially controversial view below. Just food for thought - I’m basing on purely on anecdote:
Maybe I’m old school, but I’m skeptical of all of these studies if their prescription is some complicated formula to measure and control:
- Youth workloads
- Time off
- Technical, isolated muscle training in formative pitching years
- Highly specialized mechanics of VERY fine movements and idiosyncrasies of one’s motion
-Tell a kid he needs to “overload” his scap and really decelerate with his large muscles, and I’ll show you a kid that won’t like baseball by the time he’s 16. Just an exaggerated example - I’m obviously making this up.
At what point does it stop being a game and just be one more thing that a helicopter dad can suck the fun out of because “junior might have a chance at the pros.” We may just have to accept the fact that throwing a baseball as hard as we can bears inherent risk to the arm the longer and faster we do it.
Can we help with conditioning and proper mechanics? Hell yeah. Will we stamp out arm injuries? No way. There has to be a risk/reward trade off in there somewhere where the attitude of “yeah he might blow his arm out, but dang it he gets a lot of outs” outweighs the constant worrying and tinkering. So much of our throwing motion is hard-coded when we are 4 years old launching rocks into the nearby pond. The net impact of trying to mitigate injury risk might have some unforeseen negative consequences.
He’s got some filthy filthy stuff
I actually feel the same way. But only being able to throw 40 pitches because your arm is sore or getting rocked because your stuff sucks won’t make a kid like baseball any more than he did before, either. With my brother I have to remind him time to time, that the arm care series he goes through every day is for his health and increases his chances of being able to play longer and have more fun. He’ll take the work if the equals being successful on the mound.
Keeping it fun is huge. For my 14 year old brother he’s finding fun in long toss. I think he likes seeing he can throw the ball 280 feet and the woo’s he gets out of me when he hits me in the chest from that distance. It’s the pushing limits, competitor in him. Also, in bullpens I have him throw different depths with his breaking balls. He’s not just trying to keep it down and over the plate. I’ll try to have him throw a foot outside, a foot in front of the plate, a knee-buckler, an arm-side swing-back, some slurv-ish type stuff.
Keeping it fun but also helping him get better is where I try to spend most of my focus.