Posted by Richard Jones at 12:00 PM
The most talked about 17 pounds in baseball belongs to Noah Syndergaard. The additional muscle he added during the off season. Tom House predicts that the additional muscle will result in a Syndergaard injury by June 1st. House explains that the new muscle is "unskilled muscle". Yes I read that several times just to make sure I wasn't seeing things.
If the 17 pounds results in an injury it will have nothing to do with "unskilled muscle". According to reports Syndergaard also did a lot of work to remain flexible and early video of him pitching indicates the new muscle shouldn't pose any risks in itself. I believe House is just trying to get some much needed PR. If there is no injury no ones going to remember his statements come June 1st. If Syndergaard does get hurt House gets to pat himself on the back.
I do feel Syndergaard's new muscle does pose a potential injury risk. Not to any of the "unskilled muscle" but to tendons, ligaments, and bones which the strength of the muscle may exceed. It can work two ways. The added muscle, which most of it is likely not in his arms, can add extra support to the tendons and ligaments. The extra lower body strength can make it easier on his arm to throw 98.3 mph. It actually may reduce the risk of injury. However if Syndergaard intends to use that extra muscle to throw harder, which he indictated he does, it can add extra stress to his tendons, ligaments, and bones.
Depending on how you look at stats there where anywhere from 3 to about a dozan starting pitchers better than Syndergaard last year. None of those pitchers threw anywhere near as hard a Syndergaard did. My advice to Syndergaard would be to find other ways to improve your game. If he stays at 98.3 the extra strength should make it easier to go deeper into games. Noah ranked 41st in innings pitched last year. A lot of room for improvement there. If the extra stregth makes pitching easier his comand should improve and his spin rates should increase. If the goal is to throw harder House's prediction may come to pass. If it's to pitch smarter I predict a great 2017 season for Noah.