Tom Seaver Partially Correct On Treatment Of Pitchers

Tom Seaver, the best player to ever wear a New York Mets uniform, has forgotten more about pitching than any of us will ever know.

So, in explaining Matt Harvey’s injury, I am buying into his argument pitchers of today are babied. Up to a point.

SEAVER: Go to the whip on today's pitchers.

SEAVER: Go to the whip on today’s pitchers.

We will never again see the likes of pitchers such as Seaver, who 11 times threw over 250 innings. Or Juan Marichal, who threw 30 complete games one season and 27 the next. Think about that for a moment. Fifty-seven complete games in two years is more than a pitcher starting his career today will likely have by the time he retires.

From the high school to college to the minor leagues to the majors, pitchers today are babied. They are handled with kid gloves. God forbid somebody throws over 100 pitches or works past the seventh inning.

They are babied in part because that’s the thinking of today’s managers and pitching coaches, who believe they are protecting their future assets.

That’s the key word – assets.

Look who’s protected and who is not.

High-profile picks Harvey and Zack Wheeler are protected not just because they represent the Mets’ future, but because the club already sunk a considerable amount of money into their future. They are an investment, and as such, they are to be protected.

Like a fine car, artwork, jewelry or cash, they are to be handled carefully as to not squander the investment. You aren’t careless with china or porcelain; teams aren’t careless with pitchers.

I believe Seaver is correct in saying these guys must be built up instead of being held in reserve and “babied.’’

As a part of the body, the arm, elbow and shoulder gets stronger the more it is worked, not the less it is exercised.

It used to be pitchers threw, and threw, and threw. Today everything is monitored, from the innings to the pitches, to the type of pitches thrown. Some teams even monitor and count warm-up pitches.

While the word from above is to be careful with these guys because of the investment made, something else must also be taken into consideration.

A bulk of today’s pitchers are athletes. They are strong, fast and powerful, and as such they throw with incredible violence and torque that pitchers didn’t necessarily have in Seaver’s era, but if they did they were protected by their high volume of throwing.

Seaver is correct, but he didn’t get into the main points, that today’s pitchers are babied because of the investment made in them, and so strong that they outmuscle their mechanics.

Your comments are greatly appreciated and I will attempt to respond. Follow me on Twitter @jdelcos

5 thoughts on “Tom Seaver Partially Correct On Treatment Of Pitchers

  1. And yet it seems everyone is hurt.

    I think I can count 5 or more pitchers in our system who have talent who are getting surgery this year or just had it. Double that for pitchers who are recovering or just recovered from surgery.

    Why is that? I am sure pitchers in the past had injuries. But all these high profile guys who have these surgeries, what does that mean?

    I think it means that for all the babying they are doing something very wrong to destroy their assets.

    Recently I heard Ron I think say that if you cannot prove you can throw 95 they don’t want to know you. They will teach you how to pitch if you can throw the heat. I was just reading about a player in A ball who goes 90-92 but can hit 95 on occasion. I think Doc did about 92/93 and occasionally dialed it up to 95. He was a power pitcher. Now he would be considered a bottom of the rotation pitcher I guess who can only go about 92 and only has 2 pitches.

    • dave: There is no definitive explanation for the injuries, but because of the money they are making management wants to protect these guys. There will be an innings cap on Harvey when he returns and Wheeler next season. Count on it.-JD

    • Doc was 96-98!! But he only threw 2 pitches, his FB and the monster curve. But he controlled both and threw both for strikes.

      Ron was partially right, but it’s probably more like 90. Very few guys throw “95” Harvey led MLB with his average velocity which was just above that.