DVS Analysis: The State of Youth Pitchers (2015)

The number one risk factor negatively impacting youth pitchers in the game of baseball today is the current culture in which they must develop. 

The average number of youth and professional throwing injuries continue to rise.  More pitchers are having a second Tommy John Surgery, and more pitchers on average getting their first Tommy John Surgery at earlier ages. Coincidence? Not if we conclude the patterns of our youth match the patterns of our professionals.

The DVS Model continues to show any pitcher with a DVS Score of 12 or below gets injured more often and accumulates fewer innings pitched compared to a pitcher with a DVS Score of 13.  The average DVS Score of a youth pitcher is 11.6.  Just .6 points below the current MLB average 12.2.

DVS has partnered with I.T.S. Baseball and Baseball Rebellion to track DVS Scores among a wide range of pitchers across various states, countries, ages, and ability levels.  The data below is compiled from three years of pitchers initial DVS Scores from I.T.S. Baseball, Baseball Rebellion, and the 2014 Little League World Series.  

CURRENT YOUTH DATA (5/1/2015)

I.T.S. BASEBALL

Location: Hillsborough, NC

Highest DVS Score: 19

Lowest DVS Score: 4

BASEBALL REBELLION

Location: Nationwide

Highest DVS Score: 20

Lowest DVS Score: 5

2014 LLWS

Location: Global

Highest DVS Score: 19

Lowest DVS Score: 4

The pie charts below represent the relative distribution of INITIAL (before any training) DVS Scores compared to each groups pitchers.  

I.T.S. Baseball Distribution.jpg

DISTRIBUTION HIGHLIGHTS

  • In all three groups, over 50% of  all pitchers fall into the extreme risk category (12 or below)
  • I.T.S. Baseball has the highest amount of pitchers with a DVS Score of 12 or below (71%)
  • DVS Score's of 16 or higher exist, but just in 11% of the total population.

SUMMARY

The highest percentage of scores currently exhibit a more injurious pitching delivery. Healthier patterns do exist but on a much smaller scale.  We cannot account for all external factors that either positively or negatively affect the pitcher's initial DVS Score.  However, we continue to find pitchers who have received zero "professional pitching instruction" prior to analysis received higher DVS Scores.  Especially pitchers who were under the age of 13. The two highest DVS Scores given to an I.T.S. Baseball and Baseball Rebellion pitcher were nine and ten years of age.  It would be safe to assume in this particular case, the two pitcher's had not been exposed long enough to the current culture of bad information/teaching.

In many cases, especially at I.T.S. Baseball, the more instruction a pitcher received from outside parties, the lower the DVS Score.  The 150-mile radius outside of I.T.S. Baseball is saturated with high school, and travel ball coaches claiming to be experts on pitching mechanics.  A pitcher receiving poor instruction, pitching in a travel tournament on back to back days, is exponentially more at risk because he automatically engages with a more at risk culture.  Essentially overuse, is overexposed.

Parents have more access to information about pitching than ever before because of the internet.  But, how do they know what's right or what's wrong? There is no right or wrong filter option when searching youth pitching mechanics.  DVS wants to help those parents by first understanding if their current pitcher's delivery is at risk or not.  If it is at risk, we can offer proven solutions to enhance their son's DVS Score.

-Justin Orenduff