Once upon a time, it seemed like every top pitching prospect the Pittsburgh Pirates had would go down with a major injury. Bobby Bradley, Kris Benson, Sean Burnett, Bryan Bullington, John Van Benschoten, and plenty of others were plagued by injuries. Some of those injuries were career altering. But over the last several years, that trend has disappeared.
Under Neal Huntington, the Pirates have been extremely cautious with their pitchers. They promote clean mechanics. They use very conservative pitch counts and innings limits. They restrict individual throwing programs (i.e., long toss beyond the standard 120 feet) until they know that a pitcher can safely use that throwing program.
And yet, as we saw today with Jameson Taillon needing Tommy John surgery, injuries to pitchers are inevitable.
The Pirates' Recent History
With help from Baseball Heat Maps, I gathered the list of Pittsburgh Pirates who have had Tommy John surgery since 2008, when Huntington took over and implemented...
Tim is the owner and editor in chief of Pirates Prospects. He started the site in January 2009, and turned it into his full time job during the 2011 season. Prior to starting Pirates Prospects, Tim worked with AccuScore.com, providing MLB, NHL, and NFL coverage to various national media outlets, including ESPN Insider, USA Today, Yahoo Sports, and the Wall Street Journal. He also writes the annual Prospect Guide, which is sold through the site. Tim lives in Bradenton, where he provides live coverage all year of Spring Training, mini camp, instructs, the Bradenton Marauders, and the GCL Pirates.