We've all heard by now what happened to Lucas Giolito. Last year it was Matt Purke. The year before, Anthony Renaudo. From a player's perspective, how much control does a top prospect, be it in college or high school, have in that critical year you're trying to get drafted as high as you? Do you give it 120% every game or do you hold back?
I don't know each of these guys personally but I think every player should first go 100% in their conditioning then 100% in their season. I think if a prospect wants to rest, I think it should be done in the summer. Too often I hear about players finishing their season, going full throttle in the summer then taking the fall off right before spring. I think this is a big mistake. I think it’s highly important to be in the best physical shape 85% of the year resting only your mind and arm in the summer.
Radar Guns and 18 year old's do not mix Mack. When you are as highly sought after as Giolito is, it is not farfetched to have at least 1 scout from 20+ big league clubs in attendance at every single start and the row of radar guns behind home plate can be intoxicating.
I hate to speak in generalities, because every baseball injury is different and every player is a unique case. But I will say that having that many guns on you will inevitably cause a young ballplayer to "hump up" on a couple fastballs and try and light up the triple digits. And ballplayers are one max effort throw away from blowing out on any given day.
You can't help it. Even catchers and shortstops will crow-hop and launch balls across the diamond as hard as they can if they even sniff a radar gun somewhere in the distance. Throwing 90+ makes you cool, it's that simple. I hit 90 on a dirt mound somewhere in Hyannis, MA 8 years ago and I still find ways to shamelessly interject that fact into conversation. I can't say that that has anything to do with why this kid got hurt, but it bares mentioning that radar readings make even the most level-headed ballplayers go crazy chasing that Nine-Zero.
Like everything else in this game, Giolito's arm injury could be a freak occurrence or the result of years of overuse. Maybe it was one bad breaking ball that tweaked a muscle or frayed a ligament. Maybe it was the 120 games AAU schedules those kids out west play every year once they turn 10 (Scouts actually like college pitchers from the northeast because they have "less mileage" on their arms - Pelfrey benefited from this notion)
The only thing player's have control over in their draft year's is how hard they train in the offseason and how hard they play between the lines. Injuries can and will happen, and unfortunately for some, it can happen when your value to a big league organization is being calculated on a per pitch basis.
The Giolito story me of a current Virginia Tech prospect (former Babson College ace), Andrew Aizenstadt. Both pitchers had UCL discomfort and opted not to have surgery (at least that's the case for the time being) and Andrew ended up losing his entire junior season only to rehab intensively and come back (without going under the knife) to put up solid numbers in the Cape and DIII and transfer to a top DI program. Giolito still has plenty of time to leave his mark on the game