When Jake Peavy completely tore his right latissimus dorsi tendon, many medical experts feared that his career was over. Peavy tore the lat tendon, which connects the lat muscle to the bone and helps transfer the force of pitching in his right arm. Up until it occurred on July 6th, 2010, no major league pitcher had been known to suffer the injury. Peavy underwent a surgery that his surgeon never had attempted, and took the risk because he didn’t want his career to be over. On May 11th, 2011, Peavy returned to the mound for the first time since the surgery. Peavy made 19 starts the rest of the season as he worked on strengthening his lat and arm. His stats, highlighted by a 4.92 ERA, indicated that he was not fully recovered from the procedure. In 2012, Peavy pitched his first full season since the injury. Peavy threw 219 innings with a 3.37 ERA while posting a 1.10 WHIP and striking out 194 batters. By looking at the numbers, it appeared that he was back to being the top-of-the-rotation pitcher the White Sox had envisioned when they acquired him at the 2009 MLB trade deadline. However, by examining his pre- and post-all star stats, it showed that Peavy may have still been impacted by the career-threatening injury.

2012 Season Stats

Pre-All Star - 17 Starts: 7-5 record, 4 CG, 1 SHO, 120 IP, 8.10 K/9, 1.95 BB/9, 2.85 ERA, 0.99 WHIP

Post-All Star - 15 Starts: 4-7 record, 0 CG, 0 SHO, 99 IP, 7.82 K/9, 2.09 BB/9, 4.00 ERA, 1.22 WHIP

Peavy’s first half numbers warranted the all-star selection that he received, but his average second half leaves some room for improvement. Since Peavy was unable to finish any one of his 15 second half starts, it shows that his endurance and stamina may have not been at full strength as the season progressed. By only making 19 starts in 2011 and 17 in 2010, Peavy’s arm strength probably was not ready for an entire season’s workload. As a result, Peavy’s second half performance was not as good. By having a decreased strike out rate and increased walk rate in the second half, it would indicate that Peavy’s stuff and command was not as crisp as it was during the first half of the season. Therefore, he allowed more base runners and gave up more runs. After completing his first full season since the injury, hopefully Peavy will now be ready to perform up to his capabilities for an entire season.

Although Peavy may have faltered a bit down the stretch, 2012 was still a very successful season. Most of Peavy’s stats were his highest since he won the National League Cy Young award in 2007. Peavy’s innings pitched, wins, strike outs, and WHIP were all his best recorded since 2007. Coming off of last year, Peavy will have a chance to build on that success and try to pitch more consistently throughout the season. If Peavy can pitch close to the way he did in the first-half of last season for an entire year, then 2013 could turn into something special for the right-hander. At 31 (turns 32 May 31st), Peavy is at the tail-end of his peak years. After signing a two-year $29 million extension in the offseason, the White Sox and Peavy both hope that he can officially return to his elite status and contend for an American League Cy Young award.

-Eric Tichelbaut

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