Josh Johnson made his last start of 2011 on May 16 and then went under the knife, becoming one of the many pitchers faced with the not-so-dreaded Tommy John surgery. Honestly, it seems the only bad part about the operation these days is that you miss a year of your career. Once you get back, you’re pretty much as good as new.
Unless you’ve already begun the “decline” phase of your career, which Johnson might be well into.
But wait, before stumbling through his first season post-TJS, Johnson had posted annually declining ERAs of 3.61, 3.23, 2.30, and 1.64 from 2008-2011. How can he possibly be in decline? OK, sure, Johnson’s ERA suggests he’s still in his prime, and possibly getting better, but he’s also seen his fastball velocity decline each year from 94.9 mph in 2009 to 92.8 mph last year.
But wait, he just had elbow reconstruction surgery. Of course his velocity was lower last year. Actually, that’s not really how things work. Adam Wainwright returned from Tommy John last year an...