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THE VERDUCCI EFFECT
SI's Tom Verducci on the perils of pushing young aces such as the Tigers' Rick Porcello
More than a decade ago I began tracking one element of overuse which seemed entirely avoidable: working young pitchers too much too soon. Pitchers not yet fully conditioned and physically matured were at risk if clubs had them pitch far more innings than they did the previous season. An at-risk pitcher was any 25-and-under hurler who increased his innings log by more than 30 in a year in which he pitched in the big leagues. The breakdown rate of such red-flagged pitchers, either by injury or drop in performance, was staggering.