In The Arm, Jeff Passan presents himself as someone who is searching high and low for an answer to the Tommy John surgery epidemic in baseball pitchers.

However, I believe that Jeff Passan's actions speak louder than his words.

I question whether Jeff Passan actually cares about the epidemic and wants to solve it. In fact, I have often wondered if The Arm isn't actually a (presumably and/or hopefully subconscious) exercise in cognitive dissonance reduction where Jeff Passan is trying to make himself feel better about the things he's teaching the kids he coaches.

Does Jeff Passan Actually Care About The Epidemic?

You would think that someone who actually cared about the Tommy John surgery and Thoracic Outlet Syndrome epidemic in baseball pitchers would do everything they could to make sure people were aware of the latest developments and recommendations in terms of pitching mechanics.

But that's not what Jeff Passan is doing.

Premature Pronation

In The Arm, Jeff Passan sneers at my contention that teaching pitchers to Point the Ball at Second Base -- a movement that I informally call the Tommy John Twist and more formally refer to as Premature Pronation -- could contribute in any way to injuries in pitchers.

O'Leary blamed the (Matt Harvey) miss on a new theory: premature pronation.

He said Harvey changed his delivery since high school and was pointing the ball to center field upon foot strike. This, O'Leary claimed, was unnatural. Nolan Ryan's and Tom Seaver's and Mariano Rivera's and other pitchers' palms pointed toward third base. He didn't offer as examples all the pitchers --and there were plenty -- who pointed the ball toward second base and stayed healthy.

He said Harvey changed his delivery since high school and was pointing the ball to center field upon foot strike. This, O'Leary claimed, was unnatural. Nolan Ryan's and Tom Seaver's and Mariano Rivera's and other pitchers' palms pointed toward third base. He didn't offer as examples all the pitchers --and there were plenty -- who pointed the ball toward second base and stayed healthy.

Yes, these paragraphs are riddled with errors, starting with Jeff Passan's contention that there was a problem with my analysis of Matt Harvey's pitching mechanics.

Errors that I discuss in detail in my line by line analysis of Jeff Passan's The Arm.

But that's not what I want you to focus on.

What I want to let you know is that I have managed to persuade Dr. Glenn Fleisig of ASMI that pitchers (and throwers) should NOT be taught to Point the Ball at Second Base because it so often results in Premature Pronation.

As a result, Dr. Fleisig has advised USA Baseball to stop advocating pointing the ball at second base.

You can view the case I make to Dr. Fleisig about the problem with Pointing the Ball at Second Base on ASMI's discussion board.

What's troubling is that Jeff Passan, a guy who presents himself as so concerned about the epidemic that he wrote a book about it, has failed to let his readers know about this hugely important development.

Maybe Jeff Passan is updating The Arm and will include the latest developments about Premature Pronation, the Tommy John surgery Twist, and the problem with teaching throwers and pitchers to point the ball at second base in the presumably upcoming paperback version.

Maybe.

The Douoguih Study

What I found most frustrating about The Arm was how Jeff Passan handled the Douoguih study of the Inverted W and Timing. Aside from the whole implying that the study debunked my work when in truth it back it up thing that I also discuss in my line by line analysis of Jeff Passan's The Arm, what I was ever more bothered by was how little time Passan spent talking about the core finding of the study.

That Timing problems are what's driving the epidemic and my understanding of them enabled my to predict the injuries of Matt Harvey and numerous other pitchers.

The Labella Study

You know Dr. Cynthia Labella's study of the relationship between pitching technqiue and pain in young pitchers?

The study that showed that decreased external rotation was correlated with increased pain?

The one I reference in my piece on the science behind The Epidemic and my piece on Premature Pronation?

No? You don't?

You don't because, while I told Jeff Passan about it multiple times when he was writing The Arm, he chose not to tell anyone about it. When I asked him why, in my opinion, he was blowing off Dr. LaBella's small but interesting study that was directionally consistent with the Douoguih study, he told me...

I didn't blow anything off. I just don't think the LaBella study is particularly indicative of much. It's a pilot study. It's a sample of 39 kids, most of them pre-pubescent, from a cold-weather climate.

Six of them had pain.

Six.

"A larger study is needed to confirm these results."

That's the conclusion! You can't possibly feel good about using that as the best support for your theories.

Also, you do realize Dr. LaBella's original study wasn't peer reviewed. That tends to be a guideline for substantiated information. This sort of thing matters.

I'd argue Jeff Passan's disregard for the LaBella study is a perfect example of confirmation bias.

You, of course, are free to make up your own mind.