Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Coop's legacy lives in the form of Alberto Arias' jacked-up rotator cuff

Alberto Arias was signed as a 17-year old undrafted free agent by the Colorado Rockies in 2000, and made his debut for Colorado on May 1, 2007. His total IP by year:

2003 (Rookie ball): 73
2004 (Single-A): 135
2005 (High-A): 90 - converted to a reliever
2006 (Double-A): 111.2
2007 (Triple-A): 34 - missed significant time with shoulder inflammation
2008 (Triple-A): 91
2009 (Triple-A/MLB): 62

So from that little exercise, Arias wasn't "overworked" in the traditional sense of IP in 2009 - pitching 29 fewer IP in 2009 from 2008.

But if we look at how Coop used Arias in 2009, we can see a few things:

-Arias threw 30+ pitches in a given outing seven times in 2009. All between June 9 and July 27.

-From May 6 to the All-Star Break, Arias threw in 25 of the Astros' 60 games, average 18.56 pitches per outing and averaging 1.8 days of rest between appearances.

-After the All-Star Break, Arias only appeared in 17 games, due to going on the DL on August 24 and having knee surgery on September 23.

Did Coop screw him up? I don't know about that. Maybe. Probably. But it's hard to fault Coop for continuing to run him out there. Pre-ASG, Arias was throwing 60% of his pitches for strikes and allowing a slash line of .184/.298/.243.

Fact is that Arias is hurt, and it's not looking good. Responding to David Coleman of TCB, Will Carroll basically confirmed AC's quick research that his injury is a precursor to a full-on rotator cuff tear, but that scenario is preventable. Whether it was preventable in 2009 is a larger, harder-to-define question.