A Draft in the Air


Florida Tech’s Jonathan Cornelius may be selected in baseball’s amateur draft the second week of June.

 

Major league baseball’s annual amateur draft is around the corner, and before it’s over some Space Coast names may be called.

If you’re a draft-eligible player, a player’s parent or a loved one, or just a Space Coast baseball fan, here’s what you need to know.

This year’s schedule and format is a bit different from past years.

For the second consecutive year, the first round will be televised on the MLB Network. It’s scheduled to begin on Monday June 7 at 7 PM EDT.

(By coincidence, I’m webcasting the Brevard County Manatees game that night starting at 6:50 PM EDT, so you can guess what will be a running topic of conversation.)

The remaining rounds, 2 through 50, will be held over the next two days. They won’t be televised, but you’ll be able to follow the selections on MLB.com and BaseballAmerica.com.

Baseball America is to the baseball industry what Variety is to the entertainment industry. BA is considered the leading independent authority on amateur talent, extensively evaluating and rating high school and college talent all the way up to draft day.

BA analyst Conor Glassey wrote in the latest issue that “2010 is a bit of an underwhelming year for draft-eligible talent.” He believes that “it’s an especially down year for college hitters” and that “the college crop of arms isn’t as strong as initially hoped.”

The draft is always more art than science. Many articles have been written over the years citing expensive first-rounders who went bust, and late-rounders who turned out to be All-Stars.

Who’s eligible?

High school graduates are, although if a player has earned his GED he can declare for the draft.

That’s how super-prospect Bryce Harper beat the system at age 17. Harper is considered by most analysts to be the likely #1 pick overall in the draft, a pick that belongs to the Washington Nationals. He’ll have until August 15 to sign, but the Nats can’t expect a quick autograph as Harper’s “advisor” is infamous agent Scott Boras.

Note that Boras may only “advise” Harper, not act as his agent. If Boras acts in an agent capacity, Harper loses his amateur eligibility.

Should Harper sign with the Nationals, most likely he’ll report to their minor league complex in Viera. If he fails to sign, he goes back in the pool for 2011 so long as he remains at the community college level.

Players at junior colleges — called “jucos” — are eligible, but not freshmen or sophomores at four-year universities. That’s why you often see top-prospect amateurs head for a juco instead of a university.

It also means that all players with the Brevard Community College Titans are eligible, but only juniors and seniors who played this year for the Florida Tech Panthers.

BA analyst John Manuel published his top Florida prospects on May 26. No Space Coast amateurs appear on the list, alas, except for FIT southpaw Jonathan Cornelius, who ranked #83 on the list of #85 amateurs. Here’s what Manuel wrote about Jono:

The need for lefties could also push Florida Tech’s Jonathan Cornelius up some boards, as he has an 85-89 mph fastball and a nice breaking ball that helped him strike out 95 in 91 innings. He’s ticketed for the 10th-15th round range.

As noted, Tech’s juniors and seniors are eligible. Cornelius is a junior. Eligible seniors are LHP Andrew Buonnani, 1B Michael Demma, and IF/OF Tony Moos.

Juniors have a bit of a negotiating edge, because if they don’t get the signing bonus they want they can return to college for another year, but they take the risk that they may get a lesser offer in 2011 if they have a poor senior season or get injured. Seniors are basically stuck with a take-it-or-leave-it offer.

If you’re draft-eligible but your name isn’t called, don’t despair. Many organizations scour Florida for players — college players in particular — who can be signed as undrafted free agents. These are often college seniors who might project as filling a niche in a minor league organization, such as a setup reliever, a veteran catcher to handle a young staff, or an infielder with a superior glove who can save young pitchers from running up their pitch counts too quickly by making stellar defensive plays.

It may not be much, but it gets your foot in the door.


Florida Tech’s Mike Piazza was signed by the Angels as an undrafted free agent in June 2009 and was assigned to the Rookie-A Orem Owlz.

 

That’s how Florida Tech senior Mike Piazza wound up with the Los Angeles Angels. He was signed as an undrafted free agent on June 18, 2009 and reported to Rookie-A Orem in the Pioneer League. Piazza worked 31 innings in relief and posted a 2.01 ERA with 30 strikeouts and 15 walks. He’s currently assigned to the Angels’ extended spring training at their minor league complex in Tempe, Arizona, the Angels’ version of the Nationals’ camp in Viera.

Darren O’Day, an undrafted reliever out of the University of Florida, was signed by the Angels on May 29, 2006 and went to Orem just as did Piazza. The Orem Owlz’ manager, Tom Kotchman, is a long-time Florida scout who lives near Tampa. Kotchman is wired into many of the coaches in the state, so he knows how to find overlooked seniors and other undrafted players. O’Day made his major league debut with the Angels in 2008 and is currently in the Texas Rangers’ bullpen where he has a 1.93 ERA in 18 2/3 innings.

Having followed the Angels’ minor leagues for thirteen years on my other web site FutureAngels.com, I guarantee you that the Angels will call a number of Floridians’ names in the latter rounds. “Kotch” looks for those role players I told you about who might fill a niche. O’Day took his opportunity and ran with it all the way to the big leagues.

What if a scout hasn’t talked to you yet? What if a scout has talked to you?

To be honest … It doesn’t mean much.

Some scouts approach players to learn more about them. Other scouts prefer to observe on their own. The veteran scouts get to know all the high school, juco and university coaches to talk on background about a player’s traits — not just his physical skills, which are on display every game, but how he behaves in the clubhouse, as a teammate, away from the team, his academics.

Don’t underestimate these questions. Pro baseball is a business. If you don’t take amateur ball seriously, odds are you won’t take pro ball seriously either. If you show up late for practice, if you look like a slob in your jersey, if you’re a party animal, organizations are more likely to shy away from you.

If you’re a top prospect, of course, organizations might put up with more, but very few players fall into that category. So don’t lessen your chances by leaving a poor impression.

Even if a scout has approached you, it doesn’t mean much. Many players have told me they never heard a word from the organization that drafted them until after their name was called. Some had their butts kissed by scouts who said their organization was very interested, only to never hear from that team again.

If you do get an offer to play pro ball, should you accept it?

Only you can answer that question.

If you’re a high school player, you have to ask yourself if you’re emotionally ready for a full-time temporary job with low pay and grueling hours. You won’t be able to attend college full-time, only part-time, and you’ll lose your amateur eligibility. If you sign, it’s quite possible you’ll spend the next three months on long bus rides to small towns in parts of the country you never knew existed, sleeping with at least one roommate in a low-end motel.

It’s also possible that, twenty years from now, you’ll look back on that as the best experience of your life.

I’ve known many former pro players who said their first year of minor league ball was their favorite. They remember every game, every road trip, every teammate.

Now let’s talk to Mom and Dad.

Here’s a dirty little secret … Most scouts will try to convince Mom, not Dad. So watch for that.

But let’s be honest. If your son doesn’t have the natural ability, no organization is capable of turning him into Tim Lincecum or Luis Pujols. All players will receive professional instruction, but it’s only natural that the ones who get the most attention are the ones who have the most investment, i.e. those who received the biggest bonuses. A lot more is at stake if a million-dollar prospect fails than a player who received a $5,000 bonus.

You’re probably worried about whether the organization will raise your son properly. To be honest, some are better about that than others. The Angels are the only organization I know intimately, and I can promise you that they don’t tolerate misbehavior. You couldn’t ask for better father figures than Tom Kotchman at Orem and his pitching coach Zeke Zimmerman.

But there are 29 other major league organizations out there, each with its own standard of behavior. Hopefully you raised your son properly and taught him the values that will help him make the right decision when presented with a dubious proposition.

Let’s also note that drug testing in the minors is much stricter than in the big leagues. Major league players belong to the union. Minor leaguers do not. That means MLB can implement very strict testing rules. If you’re doing marijuana, amphetamines, steroids, or anything else that’s forbidden, don’t think you can beat the system. You can’t. Players get suspended all the time. If you’re caught three times, you’re banned for life. So don’t mess up your one opportunity to play pro ball.

Draft week is exhilarating, frightening, and undoubtedly a lifelong memory. There’s nothing like hearing your name called by a professional baseball organization. I’ll be listening for Space Coast names. If the Angels sign you … I’ll see you in Orem.

Manatees Come and Go


Nick Green was once a top pitching prospect in the Los Angeles Angels minor league system.

 

The minor league camps close today, meaning we should know within the next day or two who will be assigned to the Brevard County Manatees.

MLB.com reports that Nick Green will be assigned to Brevard as a closer. Green was once a top pitching prospect in the Angels’ minor league system, known for his “plus” changeup.

Some of you may know that I’ve followed the Angels’ minor leagues for many years, and run another site FutureAngels.com, so I’m very familiar with Nick.

Green was a full-time starter for Triple-A Salt Lake in 2008, posting a 5.32 ERA in 159 innings. Salt Lake is a high-elevation ballpark, as are several other parks in the PCL’s Pacific Conference, so most pitchers see their ERA suffer when they go to Salt Lake. He was claimed by the Brewers on waivers in February 2009, when the Angels tried to move him off the 40-man roster. A neck injury set him back last year, although he did manage to appear in seven games for Double-A Huntsville and Triple-A Nashville.

I filmed Green pitching for the Angels’ Double-A Arkansas affiliate in June 2007. Click here to watch the video. You need Windows Media Player and a broadband (cable modem, DSL) Internet connection to watch.

I’m waiting to learn the fate of 2009 Manatees catcher Martin Maldonado. The Brewers kept him with the parent club to help with the pitching staff, but he was reassigned to minor league camp yesterday. Maldonado is another Angels alumnus.

The Brewers picked up another Angel farmhand last week. The Angels released catcher Ben Johnson, but Milwaukee promptly signed him and sent him to Triple-A Nashville. Johnson is on the Sounds’ opening day roster.


The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel reports that 2009 Manatees second baseman Eric Farris will skip Double-A and begin 2010 with Triple-A Nashville.

 

According to this post on the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel web site, 2009 Manatees’ second baseman Eric Farris has made the leap all the way to Triple-A.

Most of the 2009 Manatees top prospects seem to be going to Double-A Huntsville. The article reports that Mark Rogers, Amaury Rivas, Michael Bowman and Alex Periard will open 2010 with the Stars. It also says that Evan Anundsen will begin the year on the disabled list with a slight shoulder problem. Lee Haydel and Caleb Gindl also report to Huntsville.

I’ll post more on Manatees assignments as they become available. We should also have news to announce in the next day or two about SpaceCoastBaseball.com webcasting some of the Manatees games.

Build It or They Might Leave

Florida Today broke the news on March 30 that the Washington Nationals would tour City of Palms Park in Fort Myers, Lee County.

The Nationals wouldn’t comment, but clearly Lee County officials viewed this as an opportunity to lure the major league team’s spring training and minor league operations away from Viera.

The Boston Red Sox currently occupy the facility, but are moving to a nearby complex in 2012.

Space Coast Stadium, the Nats’ current spring home, is owned by Brevard County and leased to the team. The Nationals sublease the facility to the Brevard County Manatees of the Florida State League, a Milwaukee Brewers affiliate independently owned by a local group.

Florida Today reported the next day that county officials were caught unaware of the Nationals’ interest in Fort Myers. “The Nationals are under contract to play at Space Coast Stadium in Viera through Dec. 31, 2017,” the paper reported.

The article quoted Kevin Reichard of Ballpark Digest as ranking Fort Myers inferior to Viera. The ballparks at both sites are about the same age, but the minor league complex in Fort Myers is two miles away while the Viera fields are adjacent to Space Coast Stadium.

The Fort Myers News-Press reported today on yesterday’s Nats tour of Fort Myers. The tour was described by a Lee County commissioner as “just looking” and emphasized that no negotiations are being held with the Nationals.

So what’s up?

Baseball organizations always keep an eye on what other teams are doing, as they might see an idea they like and incorporate it themselves.

But that doesn’t seem to be the case here. Fort Myers is hardly state of the art, and it’s a turnoff to have practice fields so far away. Perhaps Lee County can build new practices adjacent to their facility; I’m not familiar with the complex.

The Nats’ lease of Space Coast Stadium runs through the end of 2017, but that doesn’t mean they couldn’t try to find a way to break the lease, or simply buy their way out of the balance.

Major league organizations play hardball when it comes to spring training facility upgrades. They’ll play towns against each other, hoping to extort the best deal possible from taxpayers’ elected representatives.

The Chicago Cubs are the most recent example. The Cubs have been in Mesa, Arizona for 32 years, and HoHoKam Park for the last 14. But the Cubs have floated the idea of moving to Naples, Florida after their HoHoKam lease expires this year. Politicians trying to keep the team in Mesa have floated the idea of a Cubs Tax in which all patrons of Arizona spring training games would pay a fee on their tickets to pay for HoHoKam improvements.

Analysts have questioned whether the presence of major league organizations provides long-term financial benefits to a community more than other potential uses. A stadium doesn’t provide property tax revenue if it’s owned by the municipality, for example. Most jobs are temporary or part-time — ushers, vendors, and ticket-takers. Might a shopping mall or an industrial complex provide more jobs and revenue to a community in the long run? Possibly. But most politicians find it easier to promote the ego boost of big league ball with their town in the byline instead of a mall.

The Nationals could assuage local concerns here in Brevard County simply by explaining the reason for the Fort Myers tour. They’ve chosen to remain silent.

It could simply be no more than a machination to extort more taxpayer-funded improvements at the Space Coast Stadium complex, hoping to frighten Brevard County elected officials into thinking they’ll leave if they don’t get some shiny new toy. If Brevard says no, might they try to leave? Possibly.

I doubt many people in the Space Coast would miss the Nationals, but I do worry about what happens to the Manatees.

If the Nats leave, they would lease the stadium directly from Brevard County. With a capacity of 8,000, Space Coast Stadium is way too big for the Manatees. A park with a capacity of about 2,500 would better suit their needs.

I haven’t seen the numbers, so this is just my speculation, but if the Nats leave I have to wonder if Space Coast Stadium becomes too expensive for the County to keep and they demolish it to sell off the land. That would leave the Manatees homeless, unless the County builds them a new park elsewhere.

That could create a scenario where the Manatees’ franchise could simply leave town and move elsewhere in Florida.

Brevard County has a rich professional baseball history going back to the Cocoa Fliers in 1941. Cocoa Expo Stadium began life as Cocoa Colt Stadium in 1964, the spring training home for the Houston Astros (born Colt .45s). But the Astros left for Kissimmee in 1985, and if it wasn’t for the National League adding the Florida Marlins in 1993 we wouldn’t have either Space Coast Stadium or the Manatees, a new Florida State League franchise added as the Marlins’ Advanced Class-A affiliate.

Hopefully elected officials in Brevard County start thinking ahead about what they’ll do should the day come when the Nationals issue their threat to build a cutting-edge facility for them or else. My preference would be to see the County build a new park for the Manatees, perhaps financed by selling off the land where Space Coast Stadium currently stands. But we’re not at that point yet.

D.C.’s State Secrets


Nationals minor leaguers engage in a baserunning drill.

 

The Washington Nationals for the last few years have been considered one of the worst organizations in baseball.

It was a year ago that Nats general manager Jim Bowden resigned amid allegations that scouts had skimmed money off the signing bonuses of Latin American prospects.

In their five years since moving to D.C. from Montreal, the Nationals have gone from 81-81 in 2005 to 59-103 in 2009. Their record over those five years was 342-466, a .423 winning percentage.

About all they have going for them is a progressive new GM in Mike Rizzo and the #1 draft pick overall in the June 2010 draft, Stephen Strasburg.

So you’d think an organization with such a bad reputation, an organization viewed as a joke by much of the baseball world, would go out of its way to nurture better relations with media, wouldn’t you?

Wrong.

I haven’t said anything publicly until now, but for the last couple months I’ve quietly explored every avenue to play by the rules and obtain a credential so I could shoot photos and video at the Nationals’ minor league complex in Viera.

I’m not going to name names, nor will I divulge private conversations with those who tried to get the Nats’ media relations to see reason.

The bottom line is that their media relations don’t seem to know how to handle legitimate media requests from the cyberworld.

Media credentials will only be issued to mainstream newspapers and television stations.

I’ll fully acknowledge that they have the legal right to control who sees their product.

On the other hand, courts ruled long ago that a baseball game is a news story and therefore Major League Baseball is limited in what access they can restrict.

Baseball and the media have courted each other for over a century. A newspaper story is free advertising. In the minor leagues, many teams are desperate to get any news coverage. In the majors, both sides have a common interest — money. A newspaper’s sports section generates revenue, and it gives the ballclub free publicity.

Some organizations fear the cyberworld, though, because individuals and small businesses running web sites and blogs are not part of that common interest. The cyberworld poses a clear and present danger to mainstream journalism. Newspaper subscriptions have plunged in recent years, forcing most papers to cut back on their coverage. One D.C. paper, the Washington Times, closed its sports department in January.

So you’d think the Nationals’ media relations people would welcome cyberworld writers and videographers to fill the gap.

Nope.

I walked into minor league camp today, figuring no one would mind if I’m just shooting photos and video of the morning drills, especially since there was nothing happening on the major league side at Space Coast Stadium.

I was doing my thing for about fifteen minutes when an older gentleman wearing a Nats cap and jacket, with a Bluetooth in his ear as his only apparent badge of authority, rudely tapped me on the shoulder and stuck his finger in my face. He told me that unless I had a credential, I would have to stand behind a chain link fence to observe.

So I left.

I won’t come back for their spring training activities, major or minor league, even as an observer. I’ve no reason to care now.

Some of you may know that I’ve run another web site, FutureAngels.com, since 1998. I’ve gone to minor league spring training camps around Arizona for twelve years.

Never once did I see a guard demanding credentials of someone shooting photos or video, much less a credential being required.

Other organizations are more than happy to find someone actually cares about their minor league operation, because baseball people know the minor leagues is where they develop their future. They’re proud to show off their baseball acumen.

Let’s also note they understand the desire of players’ parents and loved ones to see their sons pursuing a dream thousands of miles away from home. That was one big reason I started FutureAngels.com all those years ago, to allow parents to see their sons playing ball while they were away from home for six months.

The Angels went through this cyber insecurity about six-seven years ago. I remember a media relations person saying to me, “The problem is we can’t control you.” It was explained that because I didn’t work for them, they couldn’t control my message. A baseball executive said he was concerned because all the coaches and players knew me and trusted me, therefore I might see something I shouldn’t.

Implicit in those remarks was the suggestion that they thought they had the mainstream media under control. Newspapers and TV stations had been co-opted into the publicity machine. They understood that if they wanted privileged access, the scoop or the exclusive, they’d have to “play ball,” pun intended.

Some web sites and bloggers might be willing to co-opt themselves, but because they’re excluded from access they have no vested interest and therefore write with impunity. They can howl at the moon if they want.

That scares the bejeezus out of some P.R. people who are so concerned with controlling the spin.

But the Angels outgrew that insecurity. Today they arrange credentials, access and interviews for established Angels fan web sites and blogs. A blogger establishes a working relationship with a media staff person, submits a request for an interview or whatever and the staff person arranges it if appropriate. The Angels media relations have arranged for a couple fan sites to have recurring gigs on local sports talk shows. In 2009, one fan site was even granted credentials to access the Angels clubhouse post-game.

If you go to the Angels’ minor league spring training, you’ll find dozens of fans walking around glimpsing the team’s future, even on an off day for the parent club. Read fan sites and you’ll find that a lot of people know not only the top prospects, but also the guys on the fringe and even the organization players with no meaningful future. The Angels also draw three million fans a year.

Contrast that with the Nats’ minor league camp today. I saw no one other than three or four autograph collectors standing by the clubhouse ambushing players as they walked by.

If media relations doesn’t want anyone to care … mission accomplished.

Click here to watch a Nationals minor league baserunning drill filmed before I left. Windows Media Player and a broadband (cable modem, DSL) Internet connection required.

The Camcorder Memorial

Camcorder, we hardly knew ye.

My Sony camcorder expired this afternoon at about 3:00 PM EDT. It’s been having problems in recent months, death rattles in retrospect, and while editing video highlights today it simply expired.

I don’t often beg for money, but if you’ve enjoyed the SpaceCoastBaseball.com Video Gallery over the last few months I need your help if I’m going to film more video highlights in 2010.

The bottom line is I need to raise $1,920 to buy this new camcorder:


Your donation can help SpaceCoastBaseball.com buy this new camcorder to film professional and amateur video highlights in 2010 — Florida Tech, Brevard Community College, the Brevard County Manatees, the Gulf Coast League Nationals, the Brevard County Adult Baseball Association, and more.

 

The new camcorder is a Sony HDR-FX7 HDv 1080i Camcorder.

The old camcorder bought six years ago cost about $2,500. The new one has more features — technological advancement, of course — so we’ll be able to zoom in closer and get much sharper footage than over the last six years.

As some of you may know, I am unemployed and in this economy there’s little hope for a job in the near future. I really can’t afford to spend $2,000 on a new camcorder.

So if you want to see video highlights this year, you need to step up to the plate.

The best way you can help is by either making a one-time donation, or by signing up for a voluntary $5/month subscription. Click here to help.

Times are tough for everyone, I realize, but the reality is that without financial assistance I won’t be able to afford a new camcorder, and video memories will be lost to history.

Thanks for your time and consideration.

Panthers, Moccasins Ready to Rumble

The surprising Florida Tech Panthers will be on the road next weekend to play a three-game series in Lakeland against top-ranked Florida Southern College.

Before the season began, FSC was ranked #2 nationally in NCAA Division II. FIT was unranked. But the Panthers have proved to be better than believed, and in the latest

February 22 ranking
FSC was ranked #1 while FIT had moved up to #20. Since then, both teams have lost a game, so we’ll have to see how that affects the next rankings.

SpaceCoastBaseball.com will be in Lakeland next weekend to cover the series with photos and video.

Mike Marshall’s Quest


1974 Cy Young Award winner Mike Marshall, who now resides near Tampa, researches the physics of pitching mechanics.

 

Is he right?

I’ve no idea.

Mike Marshall certainly believes he’s right, though, and he’s amassed a large body of evidence on his web site, DrMikeMarshall.com.

I drove over to Dr. Marshall’s home in Zephyrhills, near Tampa, where we recorded a 70-minute interview. Click here to watch the interview. Windows Media Player and a broadband (cable modem, DSL) Internet connection required.

Marshall first became known to the baseball world thanks to Ball Four by Jim Bouton. Marshall was a cerebral pitcher knowledgeable about players’ union issues, and Bouton’s chess-playing buddy. They were two members of the Seattle Pilots, a 1969 American League expansion team that moved next spring to Milwaukee and became today’s Brewers.

For Marshall, baseball was just a way to pay for his graduate school studies at Michigan State. He earned a Masters of Science in 1967 in physical education, and a Doctorate in 1978 in Exercise Physiology. He used baseball as his research tool, to test how his body performed and apply that to his growing knowledge of biomechanics. According to his web site, his doctorate dissertation was, “A Comparison of an Estimate of Skeletal Age With Chronological Age When Classifying Adolescent Males for Motor Proficiency Norms.”

Mike applied what he was learning to his pitching mechanics. He began his minor league career as a shortstop in 1961 — he hit .304 with 14 HR for Magic Valley in the Pioneer League in 1963 — but switched to the mound in 1965. His career was unremarkable until 1972, when at age 29 he posted a 1.78 ERA in 56 relief appearances (116.0 IP) for the Montreal Expos. In 1973, he posted a 2.66 ERA in 92 games (179.0 IP).

The Expos traded Marshall that winter to the Dodgers for veteran outfielder Willie Davis. Mike appeared in 106 games (208.1 IP), all in relief, helped the Dodgers to the World Series, and was named the National League’s Cy Young Award winner.

Marshall credits a total overhaul of his pitching mechanics, applying what he’d learned at Michigan State. During this time, as he blossomed into perhaps the league’s best reliever, he was an adjunct professor at MSU.

Much has been written over the years about Mike’s theories. The baseball establishment seems to have rejected his proposal to totally change pitching mechanics. Major League Baseball is hidebound on its best days, so it’s unrealistic to expect them to abandon the way pitchers currently throw for a radically different approach.

Mike is fiercely passionate, but also fiercely logical, about the subject. He approaches the issue as a researcher, as a scientist. He argues quite rightly that a lot of money is wasted on creating a major league pitcher only to have him break down. We’ve all seen plenty of free-agent pitchers hit the jackpot only to break down before their contract ends.

The Nationals signed #1 draft pick Stephen Strasburg to a four-year $15.1 million contract. I showed Marshall a clip I filmed last October of Strasburg’s pro debut in fall instructional league. Strasburg hadn’t pitched in game competition for four months, so this wasn’t Stephen at his best, and I told Mike that. In the interview, Mike comments briefly on what he saw, although he acknowledged off-camera he would like to observe Strasburg from multiple angles with a super-slow motion camera to make a more informed judgment.

In any case, Strasburg is an example of a massive investment by a major league organization, which carries with it a massive risk. But I can’t imagine the Nationals sending Strasburg to Zephyrhills to have Marshall overhaul his mechanics. How would GM Mike Rizzo explain to the press that he’d invested $15 million in a guy whose mechanics were so bad he had to be rebuilt from scratch? The end result, of course, is unforeseen. And there are hundreds of pitching coaches and scouts around organized baseball who, trained to teach the traditional mechanics, would strenuously disagree with Marshall’s theories — not because he’s wrong, but it’s all they know.

I’m certainly no expert when it comes to pitching mechanics, much less kinesiology and biomechanics. Marshall is right when he says baseball needs to find a way to reduce pitcher injuries, given the millions and millions of dollars invested in their development. Are Mike’s theories the answer? I can’t tell you. More knowledgeable people than me have tried. But it’s certainly a debate worth having, and if MLB was more visionary they would finance research towards reducing pitcher injuries.

It’s just a lot easier to shovel millions of dollars to an ace pitcher and leave the egghead stuff for someone else.

This article also appears on FutureAngels.com, our affiliated blog.