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Higher numbers on radar guns draw teams' attention, but injuries are on the rise, too.
We've reached an interesting intersection in the evaluation of young pitchers -- a convergence of fascination and fear.
The fascination is that we've simply never seen so many hard throwers, and that extends to the prep ranks, where mid-90s heat has become commonplace.
"When I first started doing this," said a longtime amateur scout, "you hoped to see a high school kid at 90-91 [mph]. You were pretty excited about that. Now, I want to see the guy throwing 94-96."
The fear -- especially in the midst of a season in which we've already seen 17 pitchers on Major League rosters have Tommy John ligament replacement surgery -- is what that heat at an early age could mean at a later date, if not an immediate one.
"These kids are trying to throw 90-plus miles per hour," renowned surgeon Dr. James Andrews told MLB Network Radio last month. "We found out from our lab that the red line for a Tommy John ligament in high school is -- guess what? -- about 80 to 85 mph. The ones who throw beyond that are going beyond the developmental properties of their normal ligament, and they're getting hurt. The radar gun is a problem."
And the radar guns are out in full force this time of year.
Discuss among yourselves.