Under The Knife 3/8/23
It's The Workload
The concept of acute/chronic workload is not tough. At it’s simplest, you measure the work done over the short (acute) period - say, seven days - and compare it in ratio to what’s been done over the long (chronic) period - say, 28 days. It’s not a hard concept, nor new, having been first put forth by Dr. Tim Gabbett back in the mid-2000’s and codified in a landmark 2016 study. Gabbett’s work was mostly on distance sports, but Ben Hansen, now with the New York Mets, reworked it slightly and built the system into the Motus throwing sensor. (Full disclosure: I worked with Ben at Motus.)
I won’t break down the whole system here. You could read any number of articles, watch the video below, read the chapter I wrote on it in The Science of Baseball, or just buy a Driveline Pulse and let it do all the math for you. There’s lots of ways to do it, even by camera, though those systems are very high end and not designed for that purpose. I think in the near future we’ll have those systems in place at more colleges than not.
With the World Baseball Classic underway and the collegiate season gearing up, we have better methods than ever to track these and most simply … aren’t. The cost is arms and I can assure you that pitch counts aren’t working. Everything we’re doing better is only allowing the injury stats to tread water at the pro levels and it’s going much, much worse at youth levels. It’s beyond time to mandate a system and really protect some arms.
For now, we have plenty of injuries to get to:
JUSTIN TURNER, IF/DH BOS (lacerated face)
Spring games don’t count, but spring injuries do. I won’t fault someone for getting hit in the face, nor Matt Manning for having one get away from him. I will, however, wonder why Justin Turner wasn’t wearing a C-flap, which likely would have prevented all but a scare and a hard knock against the protective device.
I’m old enough to remember the last maskless goalie in pro hockey and let me tell you, he was crazy. Going up to bat these days without a C-flap and with 100mph stuff, 40 inch breaks, and not a big focus on control, let alone being in spring training, and everyone should have two flaps, a C flap, and I wouldn’t be opposed to more. (I’m definitely in favor of more protection for pitchers, but they continue to resist anything. They get to learn the hard way, I guess.)
Turner had 16 stitches and a concussion, but he shouldn’t miss much time and his Opening Day is in little danger. He should be able to hit once any symptoms clear and the wound has a couple days to close up. My assumption is he’ll have a C-flap when he comes back and hope he will keep it. I also hope everyone else will follow his lead without needing a hard hit to the face.