Tommy John Velo Increase?


I’m having Tommy John on Feb 24th. I’ve had it completely torn for about 8 months and I sit 85-86 with constant pain. I’m wondering if with good rehab and finally a healthy and FUNCTIONAL elbow will I see velo gains?

Any input is appreciated


Most likely. Certainly will get you feeling better and get that elbow working correctly again. I would expect you’ll make improvements. Good luck and keep working hard.


I agree that you could see velo gains, but please be sure to follow all of your doctors orders and don’t over do it to quickly. Ucl reconstruction won’t be the key to making you throw harder or be a better pitcher. the gains come from the intensive rehabilitation, drill work and throwing you do to recover from the surgery. I hope all goes well and you are back on the field quickly!


You might consider making contact with Dan Blewett.
He is a very knowledgeable pitcher/trainer who has been through two TJs.
I am sure he could give you great, first hand insight.


The notion that TJ surgery itself increases velocity is a myth. You might see a post-TJ increase in velocity from your repaired arm compared to your injured arm. However, if when healthy you threw 90, you’ll probably still throw 90. If all goes well. You might have a slight post-TJ bump in velocity over your pre-injury arm, but that will be due to the year of extensive physical therapy and workouts, and won’t hold. See this, from two articles on TJ:

“Fit and rested, it’s no wonder that many feel better than they did and can often, at least for a time, show an increase in velocity and movement. In most cases, these gains don’t hold long. While Pitchf/x data does not go back far enough to give an extended sample, there does not appear to be a lasting change in velocity for someone who has come back from the surgery and rehab.”

"Two preliminary research projects have recently been conducted that looked at MLB pitchers velocity before and after having Tommy John Surgery. Rebecca Fishbein presented a report at the 2013 Sabermetrics meeting in Boston. She analyzed the average velocity of 44 MLB pitchers before and after undergoing Tommy John surgery between 2007 and 2011.

She reported no significant difference with velocity after surgery (she actually found a mild 0.875 mph decrease in velocity, though this was not significant). Stan Conte reported a similar finding at the 2014 ASMI Injuries in Baseball Course in 32 pitchers from 2007 to 2012. In Stan’s study, there again was no significant difference in velocity before and after surgery (he also found a 0.79 mph drop in velocity, but again not statistically significant).


Thanks for the input. Since finding out I need the surgery I have already read about the studies and the myth of the velo increase. What I’m trying to figure out is if I have been pitching without my UCL and through pain for 8 months and sit 85-86. I’m trying to figure out if now having a healthy elbow with a ligament that is VITAL to have (UCL) if that will give me a bump in the velo.

And what do you mean the increase won’t hold? Some pitchers come off TJ and throw up a 96 and then after a month they can’t touch that number again and are stuck at 91-92??
Why would it not hold?


Can you elaborate on why a pitcher won’t “hold” his gains ?


[quote=“JRS11, post:7, topic:18637, full:true”]
Can you elaborate on why a pitcher won’t “hold” his gains ?
[/quote]The studies on the matter consistently find no lasting increase in velocity after TJ surgery compared to before TJ surgery. In fact the studies often find slight decreases in velocity (see the above articles I quoted). As to why this is, I would ask why would this not be? Why would a post-TJ healthy arm throw harder than a pre-injury healthy arm? TJ surgery - at best - brings a pitcher back to his normal pre-injury healthy condition. It does not make him bionic. As to why some pitchers may see a slight temporary bump in velocity post-TJ, no doubt the fact that they have spent a year resting, conditioning, and undergoing physical therapy is a factor. Once they get back into the routine of throwing and pitching most of the year, they never get another year of rest, conditioning, and physical therapy. They go back to their old ways, to their old velocity (at best).


If the recipient of the surgery ends up reverting to his old ways, well then obviously he will revert back to his old velocity. The guys who end up making the change in their mechanics and lifting/ arm care / shoulder scap work will maintain the gains if they made any.


There are probably too many variables to speak in concrete terms.
There are guys who come back to where they were before. There are guys who exceed pre surgery velo and skill and never revert…usually because they were natural hard throwers and never did serious work before. There are also guys who never come back to play again, have complications, don’t follow their programming or end up with an arm that is permanently damaged.
Like most things, it is an individual thing.


[quote=“JRS11, post:9, topic:18637”]If the recipient of the surgery ends up reverting to his old ways, well then obviously he will revert back to his old velocity. The guys who end up making the change in their mechanics and lifting/ arm care / shoulder scap work will maintain the gains if they made any.[/quote]Well, a pitcher can make changes in his mechanics at any time, from the age of 6 years on! There is no need for TJ surgery to make changes in mechanics. An increase in velocity from changes in mechanics is just that - an increase in velocity from changes in mechanics. The question being asked here is whether TJ surgery results in increased velocity. The studies are consistent that it does not. In fact, the studies have found slight decreases in velocity after TJ surgery (0.875 mph decrease and 0.79 mph decrease), and when there is an increase in velocity it is temporary (see the above two articles I quoted).


Yes, a pitcher can change his mechanics at any time, but getting TJS a number of things play into having a torn UCL and getting the surgery, mechanics being one of them. So, pitchers who feel their injury is contributed to poor or not efficient mechanics would likely change them to prevent a second injury, if in doing so, the pitcher who changes his mechanics sees a velo increase it is due to the mechanics change. But, the change would have never taken place most likely if the pitcher never gets hurt.

Also, if a pitcher has been throwing with no UCL (no stability in elbow joint) having a now stable elbow with a functional ligament, he should be able to throw pain free and also possibly see an increase in velocity? Makes sense wouldn’t it? I have no science or data to back that up, but it just seems sensible to think that. I may be wrong. I am just speaking out of speculation.