Mariner Pitcher Attrition, 1995-2004

DMZ · June 3, 2005 at 12:47 am · Filed Under Mariners 

The War of Attrition

All pitchers appearing on Baseball America’s Top 10 Prospect lists from 1995-2004, with ranking/year for each year appearing in that list, followed by summary of history.

The Mariners have two pitchers who were named to a Baseball America list in this time who made significant contributions to the major league team without suffering a serious injury that cost them at least one full season:

Freddy Garcia, who came to the Mariner farm system in the Randy Johnson trade from the Astros, and pitched for the Mariners for several years.

Joel Pineiro, who was shut down last year with elbow problems and is pitching this year with reduced velocity and serious mechanical issues. He did, however, contribute several years in the rotation

Two. One who wasn’t in our system long.

Pitchers appearing at least once on the Baseball America Top Ten list: 28
Listed pitchers suffering rotator cuff injuries that required surgery: 5
Listed pitchers suffering elbow ligament injuries requiring surgery: 4

Injuries and transaction dates are drawn from news reports, with local (Seattle Post-Intelligencer/Seattle Times/and so forth) preferred. Because of the nature of this kind of research, I have probably made some minor errors in overlooking injuries to particular pitchers. If you have additional citations that would substantially clarify or correct a listing, please let me know in the comments or by email.

Detailed data:

Ryan Anderson, 1/1998, 1/1999, 1/2000, 1/2001, 1/2002
Suffered multiple labrum injuries and did not pitch from 2002 through 2004.

Cha Baek, 9/1999, 5/2000, 8/2004
Suffered elbow surgery in 2001, had ligament replacement surgery, did not play in 2002. Shut down with elbow soreness in October 2004. Returned to Tacoma in 2005, then placed on the DL with “strained flexor bundle in right elbow” (which is the same mystery injury that Joel Pineiro had last year).

Travis Blackley, 7/2003, 3/2004
Diagnosed with a torn labrum in September of 2004, will miss all of 2005 season.

Lesli Brea, 8/1999
Traded to the Mets for Butch Huskey in December 1998, pitched 11 major league innings for Baltimore in 2000-2001.

Rafael Carmona, 10/1996
Pitched 155 unnoticed innings for the Mariners from 1995-1997 and 1999.

Ken Cloude, 2/1997
Tore his elbow in June 2000 and had Tommy John surgery. Missed 2001 season after rupturing Achilles tendon. Diagnosed with “minor fraying” in his rotator cuff in June 2002.

Dean Crow, 3/1997
Traded to Detroit for Scott Sanders in July of 1997.

Shawn Estes, 9/1995
Traded to the Giants for Salomon Torres in May 1995.

Jeff Farnsworth, 7/1997
Selected by the Tigers in the Rule 5 draft in 2001.

Brian Fuentes, 8/1998, 9/1999
Traded to the Rockies in 2001 as part of the Jeff Cirillo deal.

Freddy Garcia, 2/1999
Eardrums, leg problems, traded to the White Sox in 2004.

Jeff Heaverlo, 4/2000, 6/2000, 6/2002
Tore his labrum early in 2002. Didn’t pitch much in 2004 after a shoulder muscle issue.

Felix Hernandez, 1/2004

Rett Johnson, 8/2003, 7/2004
Left camp in 2004 for personal reasons, spent the year in extended spring training. In 2005 was extremely wild in camp and the team released him.

Damaso Marte, 6/1998, 10/1999
Pitched in five games for the team in 1999. Granted free agency in 2000.

Gil Meche, 1/1998, 3/1999
Injured his labrum, went through several surgeries. Did not pitch in the major leagues from 2001-2002.

Clint Nageotte, 5/2002, 5/2003, 2/2004
Currently on the disabled list with a lower back strain.

Joel Pineiro, 6/1999, 9/2000, 4/2001
Shut down in July 2004 with “strained flexor bundle in right elbow” and the team says no ligament damage was found in examinations.

Rafael Soriano, 7/2000, 9/2001, 2/2002, 1/2003
Had elbow stiffness/pain troubles in the minors. In 2002, had a brief trip to the DL with shoulder soreness. In 2004, started to have elbow trouble while coming back from an oblique muscle strain. After that, he had a long series of elbow problems and DL trips (May, “sprain of the unlar collateral ligament in the right elbow”) ending in August of 2004, when Soriano had ligament replacement surgery on his elbow.

Denny Stark, 5/1998
Traded to the Rockies in 2001 as part of the Jeff Cirillo deal.

Makoto “Mac” Suzuki, 5/1995, 5/1996, 9/1997, 4/1999
Traded to the Mets in June 1999 as part of the Allen Watson deal. (Not counted in the stats, but had rotator cuff surgery in October 2000 while with the Royals.)

Aaron Taylor, 6/2003
Tore his rotator cuff, required surgery in late 2003.

Matt Thornton, 10/2002
Missed most of 2002 after undergoing ligament replacement surgery. Shut down in August 2004 with herniated disks in his neck.

Ron Villone, 3/1995
Traded to the Padres in the Andy Benes deal in July 1995.

Matt Wagner, 7/1995, 4/1996
Traded after the 1996 season to the Expos as part of the Fassero deal.

Bob Wolcott, 8/1995, 6/1996
Drafted by the Diamondbacks in the 1997 expansion draft (no, really).

Greg Wooten, 6/1997, 9/1998
Never made it.

Jordan Zimmerman, 7/1998
Pitched in 12 games in 1999, and went on the DL after stepping on his luggage in his hotel room. Tore all the ligaments in his foot before the 2000 season while golfing when he got it caught between a ball washer and the wheel of his cart.

(Zimmerman, On Lou Piniella: “I’ll tell you what, Lou is probably the greatest manager in the game. He doesn’t like rookies, and he doesn’t like pitchers, either. That’s obvious. But he’s a great guy, he’s very knowledgeable and he has a great deal of respect throughout the baseball world. Just everything he brought to the table, you learn something new from him every day. Whether it was pitching or hitting or whatever.”)


57 Responses to “Mariner Pitcher Attrition, 1995-2004”

  1. edwin on June 4th, 2005 10:40 am

    I heard that Oakland does not allow their minor legue pitchers to throw over 85 pitches a game. Two outings ago Feliz threw 98 pitches, and the outing before that I think he threw in the high 80’s. This is off the top of my head so forgive me if I am wrong. Having a kid throwing 98 pitches when he recently turned 19 is crazy.
    I remember last year seeing Travis Blackley pitching too deep into games, he was 21 at the time.
    I believe them having their pitchers on too high of pitch counts is their main cause of injury. They are having them pitch like they are pros, and not like people trying to learn.

  2. John D. on June 4th, 2005 7:34 pm

    Re: PITCH COUNTS – The other night, I heard MIKE BLOWERS say that he didn’t believe in pitch counts. He seemed to feel that MECHE’S main trouble is that he hasn’t been “stretched out,” that the reason that PRICE visited him was to tell him that management expected him to finish the inning despite his already being over 100 pitches.
    I thought that the jury was no longer out on pitch counts. If that’s the case, Mike should get with the program.

  3. DMZ on June 4th, 2005 7:42 pm

    Mmmmmmmm… sort of.

    Pretty much, 120+ is really bad, and reduces a pitcher’s effectiveness in the short and long term, and it gets progressively worse with each additional pitch. 100-120 is not a death sentence, but it’s possible cause for concern.

  4. John D. on June 4th, 2005 8:28 pm

    Re: (# 35) DOCTOR – You’ve probably heard of Dr. JACK RAMSEY and
    Dr. BILL COSBY. There’s something about the word “Doctor” that makes many holders of Ph. D.s and D. Ed.s want to be so addressed. (And if you take them for medical doctors, so much the better.)
    Pardon the comic definition. If I had a doctorate, I might not repeat it (though I think I would). The teller of it, a Pancho Gonsalez, a history professor at the U of Texas, DID have a doctorate. He said,
    “A Ph. D. thesis is the transferring of bones from one graveyard to another.”

  5. Terry Benish on June 15th, 2005 1:45 pm

    The National Pitching Association, url below, has some interesting thoughts on the subject. Tom House was the momentum behind this organization which counts the following people on its board of advisors: Nolan Ryan, Randy Johnson, Mark Prior, Robb Nen, Orel Hershiser, Dave Dravecky, Bobby Valentine, Dusty Baker, John Young, Tom House, Gary Heil, Jim Brogan, Glenn Fleisig, John Iams, Arnel Aguinaldo, Dr. Lewis Yocum, Dr. Rick Heitsch, Dr. James Andrews, Dr. John Conway, Dr. Hank Chambers, Dr. Todd Lanman.

    Generally, the Mariners throughout their organization use “balance point” as their foundational “teach”. It is recognizable by watching the pitchers glove hand which is usually to the side of their body and low and visually looks like they are yanking on their arm. This causes huge shoulder torgue and with time causes injury. Some of the pitchers achieve an elbow forward posture of their pitching arm as they approach release point, causing tommyjohn…

    House works with Randy Johnson, Roger Clemens, Mark Prior and others. Many people think he’s got the safer approach figured out. It also improves perceived velocity…

  6. RickL on June 21st, 2005 6:59 am

    Another interesting source is The site owner is the brother of a former major league pitcher. He says many of the Mariners throw improperly. I don’t know if they are taught that by the organization.

  7. JMB on August 21st, 2005 7:20 pm

    I’d like to point out that Dusty Baker is on the advisory board of the National Pitching Association.