Jacob deGrom, is one of the most talented pitchers in Major League Baseball and is now a Texas Ranger. While his career in Texas started with a bang, the Rangers placed him on the 15-day Injured List (IL) due to elbow inflammation the end of April.
Texas Ranger ace Jacob deGrom and his currently inflamed throwing elbow
Jacob deGrom was pulled from his last start against the Yankees earlier than expected because of forearm tightness. The following day the Rangers placed him on the injured list. Making this development even more concerning for deGrom, is the fact that he habitually throws 100 mph fastballs to get batters out.
Texas has now lost their ace for a significant number of starts. Fans may be concerned if it was wise to invest in deGrom this offseason, as the two-time Cy Young winner has an extensive history of injuries.
The solution for Texas Rangers pitcher Jacob deGrom's problem, may be simpler than what baseball experts say
The time has come for deGrom to reinvent himself as a pitcher, as relying solely on high-velocity pitches puts his health and career at risk.
It's no secret that deGrom has one of the best fastballs in the league. His fastball has averaged over 98.7 mph this season, and he has been clocked throwing over 100 mph on multiple occasions. But the problem with throwing that hard all the time is that it puts immense strain on the arm. This can lead to elbow, shoulder, and other arm injuries, as we've seen with deGrom's recent injury.
While the adrenaline rush of throwing a 100-mph fastball may be exhilarating, deGrom needs to focus on pitching smarter, not harder. He needs to develop a more well-rounded repertoire of pitches, including off-speed pitches, breaking balls, and other variations. This will make him a more effective pitcher and reduce the strain on his arm, increasing his longevity in the league.
Of course, making such a change will be challenging for deGrom. He's used to dominating batters with his fastball, and it's been a big part of his success in the league. But if he wants to continue pitching at a high level for years, he must start thinking about the long-term impact on his health.
Notably, other successful pitchers in the league don't rely solely on high-velocity pitches. For example, Clayton Kershaw is known for his curveball and slider. Justin Verlander has a devastating changeup, and Max Scherzer has an excellent slider. These pitchers have all had long, successful careers, partly because they've learned to pitch smarter, not harder.
deGrom, this season, is relying on four pitches. He is throwing a 4-seam fastball (52.1%), slider (37%), changeup (8.9%), and curveball (2%). But, again, Jacob deGrom relies a lot on his fastball, and when he throws his preferred secondary pitch, the slider, he has a tremendous average speed of 91.8 mph. For a starting pitcher, this kind of velocity is concerning for the longevity of a 162-game season.
While the former Cy Young may be seen as inhuman for the speed he produces, his joints are not keeping up with the force he is putting on them. As a result, he needs to work on slowing down and changing his selection of pitches.
Jacob deGrom is one of the best pitchers in the league, but his reliance on high-velocity fastballs puts his health and career at risk. It's time for him to reinvent himself as a pitcher, develop a more well-rounded repertoire of pitches, and focus on pitching smarter, not harder. By doing so, he'll be a more effective pitcher and increase his longevity in the league.