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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
on May 31, 2004
Anyone who has read Will Carroll's work for Baseball Prospectus or even his weblog has learned more about injuries from him than from every baseball broadcast combined. Unfortunately, he is baseball's only "medhead" so it will take some time to spread the knowledge. Writing a book is the first step.
"Saving The Pitcher" finally gives us a starting point for discussing injuries. It breaks down every component of the pitching motion--that is, what each body part contributes to the motion and proper technique for doing so. Carroll also informs us of what contributes to injuries, warning signs (velocity loss=shoulder; control loss=elbow) and the right training and exercise programs.
While STP is well written, it sometimes reads as a textbook. Although, when you think about it, it really is a textbook of sorts. That isn't to say it's like taking a biology class; Carroll's enthusiasm for baseball shines through to make the book quite enjoyable.
I also would have liked it if he went more in-depth on V-Loss. I suppose he wants to gather more data on it first before formally presenting it, perhaps in a book of its own.
That quibble aside, STP is a great book. Baseball fans should check it out, and every professional, college, high school, and (most importantly) Little League coach should be mandated to read it before being allowed near a young pitcher. Hopefully this is the first of many more volumes from Will Carroll.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on June 10, 2004
In clear language, Saving The Pitcher explains the biggest issues relating to a pitcher's health, and the combined efforts required of a team's training staff, physician, pitching coach, manager, and the pitcher himself to save the pitcher from injury. Will Carroll systematically goes through the pitching process -- describing the anatomy used in pitching, the mechanics of the pitching motion, the preparation and conditioning a pitcher should use, and the workload to which a pitching arm should be subjected -- to show how injuries can be prevented.

One of the great things about this book is that Carroll is fearless while discussing his subject. The first time Will mentions Leo Mazzone -- the celebrated Atlanta Braves coach who some think could be the first pitching coach in the Hall of Fame -- it's to criticize Mazzone's teachings about a pitcher's ideal follow-through. It's not as if Carroll is a Leo-hater (Will says plenty of complementary things about Mazzone elsewhere in the book) it's simply that Carroll isn't intimidated by any pitching expert, no matter how famous or successful they are, when it comes to talking about pitching injuries.
If you're in any way curious about the types of arm surgery you read about in the sports section of the newspaper, if you have a kid that's getting serious about pitching in Little League or high school, or if you just wonder why that slider you tried out as a teenager was so damn painful to throw, you'll want to get your hands on this book. There's plenty of information for you between these covers.
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on July 16, 2004
Mr. Carroll does a marvelous job assembling and disseminating the evolving body of knowledge on this topic in a manner which is accessible and engaging. Contrary to the statements made by another recent reviewer, Mr. Carroll _does_ have a background in sports medicine. He relies up on this, but never loses sight of his audience.
This book is invaluable reading for both experts and neophytes alike. Few areas are more misunderstood than the health and training of pitchers, and knowledge of and adherence to the principles espoused by Carroll and his subjects would go a long way toward improving pitchers' health and the overall quality of baseball.
If you love baseball, read it.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on May 16, 2005
I have to say I found this book griping. It was well written and as odd as this might sound, I found it hard to put down.

Will Carroll while not a medical professional is the top writer in the field of baseball injuries, writing both for "Under the Knife" for Baseball Prospectus website and his own blog The Juice. He makes it his business to know and understand baseball injuries and has a style that explains very complicated medical issues to lay people like myself.

This book makes a fascinating read, and I would highly recommend it for baseball fans (anyone interested in learning more about the game within the game), parents of young pitchers or anyone involved in the teaching of baseball skills.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on November 20, 2009
Will Carroll is not qualified as a doctor, a player, a coach, or anything else that might seem relevant to make him an "expert" on baseball injuries. I don't hold that against him, though.

As mentioned by other reviewers (and claimed by the author), this book offers information about pitcher injuries that is not written about in any other popular book. The chapter on the "Anatomy of Pitching" makes the book worth reading for any baseball junkie. Will Carroll explains, in 24 pages (including drawings), the major bodily stresses that pitching causes to the body, and the common injuries that result.

However it is hard to overlook both the poor organization of the book, and how often Carroll claims things that are not (and could probably not ever be) substantiated by science. He claims, unequivocally, that there is a "one best" pitching motion, which is exactly defined, better than all others, and the proper use of which will result in no pitching injuries. He implies that he has implicit support for this idea from famously scientific-minded pitching coaches like Dr. Mike Marshall and Tom House. I believe this is a bit misleading. Mike Marshall has never written a book, but Tom House has. If you want to read a much more thorough, non-dogmatic bit of research on effective pitching, I would highly recommend it.

Apart from his dogmatic approach, it's also frustrating to see Carroll jumping around between topics, never giving much depth, or sometimes not completing a logical thought process for what he does choose to focus on. For example, he writes a long (and rather interesting) chapter on how modern statistics show the extent of Eric Gagne's dominance during the 2003 season. However he then does not even *mention* Gagne's subsequent arm injuries, before moving on to an unrelated topic!

All of this being said, the book is a must-read if you care about pitcher injuries, and their effect on performance (for the pitcher, for your favorite team, your fantasy team, etc). Until someone else starts writing about this topic, I will be reading everything that Will Carroll puts out, in print or online. I just don't take everything that he writes very seriously.
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9 of 14 people found the following review helpful
on July 16, 2004
While Mr. Carroll is not a doctor nor an athletic trainer - hs has a skill set that is unmatched in modern baseball. He has a network of connections in MLB that makes his online column a must-read, he is a good writer and has a tremendous knowledge of the history of sports medicine.
These skills come forth in this book. It's a quick read that is accessible to fans and useful to coaches and players. The chapter on Velocity Loss shows how mindless fans like myself can see when a player is truly fatiguing on the hill.
I found this book to be interesting, informative and one of the top baseball books released this year. I would love to see my favorite team apply a lot of things that Will recommends here and even try the 4-man rotation out.
A great first book, Mr. Carroll, I look forward to number two.
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on April 20, 2014
Probably TMI for a beginning age pitching coach but gives a great overview to any pitching coach who is interested in his player's arm health. Most of the medical tech language will go over our heads but, again, a pitching coach is given a pretty good idea of those things that will hurt or help a young (or old) pitcher.
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on August 8, 2014
Bought it to learn more about Tommy John surgery. A lot of this is over my head, but it served my purpose.
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on March 30, 2015
Disappointing. Doesn't even deal with the treatment of pitcher's elbow.
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7 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on July 16, 2004
This book has the potential to change the face of baseball, if only everyone would take the time to read it. The fact that so many teams still do not understand the basic principles laid forth in this book is downright sad.
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