Tom Verducci of SI had a piece up on Tuesday that, in wake of the news on Martin Perez yesterday, feels even more relevant to the Rangers. In it, Verducci mentions a few things that interested me about pitching mechanics, the lack of offense in baseball, and the height of the mound. If you're not inclined to read the whole thing, here's the part that interested me the most:
What can be done? It's time for Major League Baseball to lower the mound -- and for the entire amateur market to follow its lead. When I took part in an MLB Network roundtable discussion last week on the epidemic of Tommy John surgeries, what struck me as most profound was the statement of fact by both Mets team physician Dr. David Altchek and biomechanics expert and former pitcher Tom House that the greater the slope of the mound the greater the forces that are applied to the arm. Reduce the height of the mound and you reduce the forces upon the arm.
It makes perfect sense. What makes no sense is that 13-year-old kids are pitching off the same size mound as major league pitchers. Little Leaguers should be throwing off flat ground. (What's the first step for pitchers as they come back from injury? They throw off flat ground. Why? It's less strenuous.)
There happens to be another compelling reason to lower the mound besides saving the elbows of pitchers: the game needs offense. People, especially inside the game, are not paying nearly enough attention to how the game has been bastardized in just the past five years by the increase in velocity and the specialization of bullpens. Games are getting longer and longer with less and less action -- a terrible combination in any era, but especially this one in which commerce and culture move at a quickened pace. The proliferation of pitching changes (men standing around killing time, pitchers warming up after they just spent the past 15 minutes warming up) and strikeouts are harming the pace of action more than anything else.
It's an interesting piece with an interesting question. I figure it will be some time before we actually see any real progress on this front -- this is Major League Baseball we're talking about -- but I could envision this scenario coming to pass if enough people get behind the idea.
The whole piece is really worth your read, so go read it. Or don't.