June 5, 2017
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It’s a rough break for a player who until now had been a bulwark of health, averaging 158 games from 2013 through 2016 and collecting two American League MVP awards in this time.
Trout’s injury might take him out of the running this season for a third MVP and send his Angels tumbling to the bottom of the AL West. They weren’t the deepest team to begin with.
But Trout’s injury is unlikely to cost him much, if anything, in the long-term. Even if it were a serious injury that could keep him out a year or longer, he wouldn’t have that much to worry about regarding his Hall of Fame chances.
There you go. It’s not like Wainwright is still allowing a ton of line drives, but those line drives are all being hit directly at fielders (his line-drive percentage has dropped from 25.9 to 16.7, btw). He’s not allowing nearly as much hard contact, and the BABIP and averages for opposing hitters have both tumbled. Why? We’ll get there in a minute.
First, another note: As we mentioned earlier, Wainwright is 35 years old. He turns 36 on Aug. 30.
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We hear all the time that pitchers have to adjust later in their careers to compensate for lesser stuff,and that’s a real thing that pitchers have to deal with. And Wainwright has talked about that, too. But this isn’t like CC Sabathia trying to figure out how to remain effective when his average fastball velocity dropped from around 95 mph early in his career down to around 90 mph when he reached his early 30s.
As you can see in this chart from the wonderful website Brooks Baseball, Wainwright’s velocity with all his pitches has stayed remarkably consistent. He’s basically throwing as hard now as he did in 2009, the first of four times he finished in the top three of the NL Cy Young vote.