Miami Marlins All-Star pitcher Jose Fernandez has an elbow injury and is expected to need season-ending surgery according to Juan C. Rodriguez of the Miami Sun-Sentinel.
Presumably, that surgery would be Tommy John surgery, something that is hitting Major League Baseball hard this season. Tommy John Surgery repairs torn elbow ligaments and the young, hardest-throwing pitchers are needing it the most.
Fernandez, who is just 21, has an average fastball velocity of 94.6 mph, seventh among all pitchers this season.
Those numbers are similar to some other young, hard-throwing star pitchers who also needed Tommy John surgery.
Matt Moore, Tampa Bay Rays — At age 24, Moore needed Tommy John surgery after just two starts this season. The velocity on his fastball was down to 91.2 mph, a huge drop from 2012 when it averaged 94.1 mph.
Matt Harvey, New York Mets — Harvey was 24 and was the hardest-throwing pitcher in baseball last season (95.4 mph fastball) when he injured his elbow requiring Tommy John Surgery.
Stephen Strasburg, Washington Nationals — The young phenom was just 22 and had the fastest fastball in baseball in 2010 (97.6) when he injured his elbow requiring Tommy John surgery.
But these guys are not alone. Tommy John surgeries in general are on the rise and Fernandez would already be the 18th Major League pitcher to require the surgery since February. Only 19 big league pitchers needed the surgery all of last season.
Here is a look at the number of Tommy John Surgeries required through May since 2005.
The biggest problem for Major League Baseball is that there is no obvious solution that they can control. Changes need to be made at the youth level where young arms are being used year-round and more than ever.
When you see just how much stress is put on the elbow even when just throwing a fastball, it is easy to see why young arms need more time off, not more pitches.
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