Dr. James Andrews, famous for his work on Tommy John surgery, said that the radar gun could be to blame for the major uptick in pitchers needing the surgery.
Appearing on MLB Network Radio, Andrews also pointed fingers at pitchers throwing harder and at a younger age.
“Poor mechanics continues to always be a problem. Breaking balls at an early age continues to be a problem,” he explained. “The radar gun is a problem, because these kids are all trying to throw 90 mph. The red line for the Tommy John ligament in high school is 80-85 mph. The ones that throw beyond that are going beyond the development property of their normal ligament and they’re getting hurt.”
Dr. Andrews also said that year-round pitching contributes to the strain on the ligament, which leads to increased chance of damage and tears.
The Mets recently had three pitchers undergo Tommy John surgery: Matt Harvey, Bobby Parnell and Jeremy Hefner.
In 2013, the Mets started working with a technology company that tracks pitcher deliveries and biomechanics.
According to people with the company, the Mets were KinaTrax’s first MLB partner. The company was allowed to install cameras around Citi Field and have been tracking pitchers since early summer 2013. The goal is to collect data on how pitcher mechanics impact the game, how they compare from season to season and what that information can say about a pitcher’s overall health (MetsBlog, Oct. 2013).