Every year, Sports Illustrated writer Tom Verducci lists 10 pitchers that he feels are most likely to be injured because of overuse the season before. This year, the Cincinnati Reds’ Travis Wood made the list.
Here’s how Verducci describes it.
Now it’s time to identify the red-flagged pitchers of 2011 — the 25-and-younger pitchers whose workload last year jumped by more than 30 innings. (All innings are considered: minors, Arizona Fall League, majors and postseason. Pitchers such as Jaime Garcia of St. Louis, who made a big jump from 2009 but were close to a total from previous pro seasons, were not included.)
And it’s true. In 2009, Wood pitched a total of 167 2/3 innings. Just last season, he threw 100 innings in the minors, 102 2/3 in the majors (plus 3 1/3 in the playoffs) for a total of 206, an increase of 38 1/3.
Of course, with predictions like this, the obvious question is, “How accurate has this Verducci guy been in the past?” The answer is a decided so-so.
Last year I red-flagged 10 such pitchers, and four of them were hurt or regressed … and two had so-so results … [b]ut four others had breakout years.
Verducci credits teams wising up to how increased workload can injure pitchers and becoming more calculated in their risk-taking. With the amount of attention pitchers have gotten over the last decade, I could believe it. Still, according to the 2010 results, it sounds like Wood has a 20% chance of being the same and a 40% chance of being even better. I like those odds.