You'll remember that the Boston Red Sox recently traded for Oakland Athletics closer Andrew Bailey. This was big news, because the Red Sox were in need of a closer, and Bailey's a young and capable fit. This was also mysterious news, because while Bailey has generated numbers, nobody has actually seen him pitch, since the public is barred from attending A's games and the franchise has a TV contract with C-SPAN2.
Enter JB Knox of 1313 Sports, who does the best he can to provide a thorough Bailey scouting report. There's a lot in there, but what grabbed my attention:
What concerns me here is that he is relying on his 4-Seam Fastball a lot more and that is a direct correlation the elbow and forearm pain he has been suffering from. His secondary pitches are his Cutter and his Curveball. Both of these pitchers put serious strain on the inside of the elbow and down to the forearm due to the pressure required from the middle-finger on the outside seems of the baseball. A 4-Seam fastball generally is held with zero palm on the ball as if the ball is a Yo-Yo.
In 2009, Bailey threw 47% four-seam fastballs, and struck out 28% of batters. Then his elbow acted up. In 2010, he checked in at 69% and 22%. In 2011, he checked in at 75% and 24%. Bailey's still been good the last couple years, but he hasn't been what he was as a rookie. That's a thing.
But in the end, I guess all the Red Sox really care about is whether Bailey will remain an effective pitcher. He's been an effective pitcher recently, so that bodes well. Baseball can be simple.