Does pitching faster lead to better results?

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There’s an idea out there that a pitcher who works faster pitches better. He gets more strikes called and his defense doesn’t go to sleep on him. The idea is that guys who plod along, in contrast, struggle to get borderline calls and generally labor. Work fast, throw strikes, baby.

But is it true? Or is this a situation in which we really just remember good fast workers like Greg Maddux who would’ve been threading the needle anyway and slow, plodding guys who struggle? Alternatively — or in addition? — is it just that we find fast work from a pitcher more aesthetically pleasing than slow work and thus assume that faster pitching means more effective pitching?

Those are some complicated questions, but Ben Lindbergh is a smart guy and yesterday he tackled them over at The Ringer. The results, as is often the case when the questions are complicated, are less than clear cut, but as with most things baseball-related, the journey is interesting even if things turn out a bit muddled.

Oh, and Ben works fast too, so there’s that.

Phillies’ Bryce Harper to miss start of season after elbow surgery

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PHILADELPHIA – Phillies slugger Bryce Harper will miss the start of the 2023 season after he had reconstructive right elbow surgery.

The operation was performed by Dr. Neal ElAttrache in Los Angeles.

Harper is expected to return to Philadelphia’s lineup as the designated hitter by the All-Star break. He could be back in right field by the end of the season, according to the team.

The 30-year-old Harper suffered a small ulnar collateral ligament tear in his elbow in April. He last played right field at Miami on April 16. He had a platelet-rich plasma injection in May and shifted to designated hitter.

Harper met Nov. 14 with ElAttrache, who determined the tear did not heal on its own, necessitating surgery.

Even with the elbow injury, Harper led the Phillies to their first World Series since 2009, where they lost in six games to Houston. He hit .349 with six homers and 13 RBIs in 17 postseason games.

In late June, Harper suffered a broken thumb when he was hit by a pitch and was sidelined for two months. The two-time NL MVP still hit .286 with 18 homers and 65 RBIs for the season.

Harper left Washington and signed a 13-year, $330 million contract with the Phillies in 2019. A seven-time All-Star, Harper has 285 career home runs.

With Harper out, the Phillies could use Nick Castellanos and Kyle Schwarber at designated hitter. J.T. Realmuto also could serve as the DH when he needs a break from his catching duties.