There are a myriad of programs, tools, methods, theories and opinions that attempt to address the rising number of arm injuries in baseball. Countless dollars and research hours have been spent by the medical community and countless time, energy and discussion has been made by the baseball community to quell this epidemic.
For Alan Jaeger, the solution is relatively simple- any high school, college or professional organization that puts heavy limits and restrictions on arms that are, comparatively, being so well trained and conditioned in this day and age are simply deconditioning arms. The current culture (in college baseball especially) places an emphasis on throwing more, rather than less, so pitchers are well protected in general. But when a well conditioned player comes up against a throwing program that places major limits on them (distance, time, workload), arms become very vulnerable to deconditioning.
This is prevalent at all levels but ironically at the “highest” level of baseball (the major leagues), a number of organizations are actually the most conservative. Whether it’s due to the amount of money players are paid, the change in philosophy from a pitcher being on their own or suddenly becoming part of an organization-wide structure or policy, pitchers going into professional baseball can be restricted the most. Through research and experience, about a third of MLB organizations mandate a throwing program that places restrictions on time allotted for throwing (i.e. 10-12 minutes) and distance (i.e. 120-150 feet) — in some cases, it can be very extreme (about a third are considered very liberal and individualized, and the other third are somewhere in the middle). Continue reading →
Our Summer 2015 issue hit the shelves in Omaha and has been flying off them ever since! As always, IP features some of baseball’s best and brightest, and this issue is no different; we actually had to make extra room for content!
article by Chris Burke former 1st round pick and MLB player; current ESPN analyst
One of the best parts about my job as an ESPN college baseball analyst is that I get to travel around and see the next generation of the game’s great players. As a baseball NERD this is quite fun, especially the task of forecasting how a certain player’s skills will translate to the next level. The question comes up often, and while nobody is ever 100 percent sure about a prospect, there are some characteristics that I like to focus on to make my evaluation.
Now, I am by no means an expert in this space, and my experience is very much in the development stage as it pertains to projection, but these are the qualities I look for when measuring a college player’s chances at having a solid pro career.
This issue I will focus on position players (non-pitchers) and in an upcoming issue I will get into pitchers, both starters and relievers.
Projecting Position Players
1) Position profile: There are so many good college players that don’t ever make it to the big leagues, and a big part of that is being what some people call a “tweener,” meaning they’re not quite offensive enough to play their best defensive position, and not quite athletic enough to play a position where their bat would be sufficient.
For instance, a really good college third baseman may get to Double A because of their advanced approach and solid defense, but doesn’t produce enough runs to hit in the middle of the order and can’t run well enough to hit at the top of the order, or play defense in the middle of the field (CF, SS, 2B).
To be a top flight prospect, it really helps to have a clearly defined position.
Both athletes and coaches take what they do very seriously. Sometimes a slump, losing streak or even winning can become all-consuming. For many people in all levels of baseball, faith is the focal point and helps these ultra competitive individuals keep balance in their lives. If eyes are taken off the mark, families, careers and even personal health may suffer.
Recently, I was able to reach out to several baseball men to see if there is a special verse from the Bible that helps them maintain focus and a healthy outlook during the season. They all love to compete and they are all winners, but they also understand what it means to “keep the main thing the main thing.”
Manny Cervantes, Head Baseball Coach, Asbury University
Proverbs 3:5-6: “Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek His will in all you do, and He will show you which path to take.” Manny feels these verses have been a great encouragement because they summarize what his mission needs to be each day. “I will please God if I pursue honoring Him in whatever He has me doing; whether I’m talking to one of my current players or a recruit, coaching in a game, or coming home to my wife and kids after a tough loss. I’m learning that God doesn’t expect me to be perfect, but rather that I pursue pleasing Him every day by loving Him and loving others. This is easier said than done, but it’s the only way to find true satisfaction in life.” Continue reading →
Morgan Cummins (CMC ’07) was an assistant coach for the Claremont-Mudd-Scripps Stags for two years in 2008 and 2009 and was named the program’s head coach in 2015. For the previous five years he coached in a variety of roles at Coronado High School. In 2014 he served as the interim head varsity coach and led the team to the CIF quarterfinals.
As a player for CMS, Cummins was the team captain for three seasons, a NCAA Division III first team All-American, four-time All-Conference selection and a two-time All-West Region player. He also is a CMS Wall of Fame Scholar Athlete. Following his career at CMS, Cummins continued his playing career for a season in the Florida Marlins organization for the Class A Jamestown Jammers.
Cummins graduated from Claremont McKenna with a Bachelor of Arts in History and Government in 2007 and in 2012, completed his master’s degree in school counseling at National University.
What is a typical “day in the life” for you during the fall/spring/summer?
In the fall our players are on their own to complete the offseason training program. I equip them with a Division I-caliber program and it is up to them to find the time in their schedule to fit it in. Due to our high academic demands, some days are better than others for how much each player can get in. Captains usually run some practices on the weekends when there is less class and it is easier to get everyone together. In November, we have three weeks of workouts as a team. The typical week is three practices a week for two hours each. After that period, players are on their own again to complete the training program.
In the spring, we come back a week early, where we get one week to just be “baseball players.” Practices and games six days a week consumes the majority of the spring.
In the summer, some of our players choose to do internships while others play summer baseball.
article by Darren Fenster Minor League Manager, Boston Red Sox Founder & CEO, Coaching Your Kids, LLC @CoachYourKids CoachingYourKids@gmail.com
In each of the past two off-seasons, I have had the pleasure of traveling to the other side of the world to run a week-long baseball camp for 40 of Taiwan’s best high school players as identified by the Chinese Taipei Baseball Federation. This is basically Taiwan’s equivalent of USA Baseball’s National Team trials here in the states, with a bit more emphasis on instruction than competition.
The original opportunity came in the fall of 2013 when one of our international scouts reached out to see if I would be interested in organizing and executing a camp that will enable a different culture of baseball see and experience the way we do things here in the States professionally. While the chance to go to a different country to teach the game I absolutely love sounded awesome, there was just one small problem:
I don’t speak a lick of Taiwanese… and the kids who would be participating in the camp didn’t speak English.
So right off the bat, the essential key to being an effective coach- the ability to communicate- was a hurdle that would make the challenges of putting together a great camp that much harder. Luckily, I was soon assured that myself and the other American coaches joining on the staff would each have our own translator. Crisis averted!
Go to any foreign speaking country and you’ll quickly experience the communication barriers that exist from the moment you land. Every language is different and sometimes the specific way to say something in one language cannot be interpreted in another, either because the words or phrases simply don’t exist or are understood in a completely different context. So when we relate that fact to teaching a sport, we risk the distinct possibility of having things lost in translation for no other reason than what we want to say cannot be said in the exact way that we want to say it. That was apparent on day one of that first trip to Taiwan in 2013, and we knew right away that we had to change our approach if we wanted to make an impact. Continue reading →