Shane Watson to have Shoulder Surgery

As many of you know Shane Watson has been battling shoulder soreness all year.  PhoulBallz Jay Floyd is now reporting that Watson’s latest setback and lack of progress will force him to have shoulder surgery (  Watson recently had a set back, he had previously pitched in the Fall Instructional Leagues.

The surgery will be performed in January to correct inflammation in an enlarged capsule.  The recovery time expects to be about 3 months.  This means that he will get a late start to spring training, and it should set back his debut, but this should not set his season back too much.  This is not good news, but at very least it is not a torn capsule, a procedure which has a tendency to immediately end careers.

About Matt Winkelman

Matt is originally from Mt. Holly, NJ, but after a 4 year side track to Cleveland for college he now resides in Madison, WI. His work has previously appeared on Phuture Phillies and The Good Phight. You can read his work at Phillies Minor Thoughts

55 thoughts on “Shane Watson to have Shoulder Surgery

  1. Shoulder surgery is never good but I guess it could’ve been a lot worse. Judging by the 3 month timetable it looks like he could be back for start of the season. Even if he’s not it looks like he’ll be back fairly early in the year.

    1. You are right that it is never good but this likely exlains his struggles last year so you hope that once fixed he can get back on track.

  2. The real issue with Watson and Morgan will not necessarily be “good health” as we typically think about it, but, rather, functionality. Even the most minor decrease in velocity – say, 2 or 3 MPH – can completely change or end a career. If it can screw up Roy Halladay, it can screw up a Morgan, Watson or Savery, that’s for sure.

    1. It didn’t screw up Halladay. He had to change his arm slot because of his back injury and couldn’t throw the ball the way he needed to to get the most out of his pitches in terms of movement and control.

  3. I think every young pitcher in the org should be on a Throwers10 program for shoulders and some elbow dexterity. I have to assume most MLB teams have these programs instittued or something at least similar.

    1. I didn’t watch the video (not enough time) but what is interesting to know when it comes to pitching and injuries to throwers (Pitchers in our case) is that the act of throwing a ball (Arm moving forward) isn’t what usually causes injury. When you throw a baseball your arm is violently moving forward with a ton of force (Could get into this a lot more but i’ll keep it simple) you now need to slow down your arm which is what all the muscles (again i’ll just say “Muscles” instead of listing all of the ones used) in the back of your shoulder do, this is the area that is usually injured when it comes to shoulder injuries with baseball players. One issue a lot of younger or inexperienced strength and conditioning coaches (or ones who don’t specialize in baseball players) have is that they focus on strengthening the front of the shoulder when it is the posterior chain that needs the most attention. Here is a video of myself and one of my pitchers (RHP Josh Sharik, remember that name, he’ll be drafted in 3 years. My 3rd player to be drafted) doing what imo is the best “prehab” movement for pitchers (I always tell my guys “if you prehab you are less likely to rehab” corny I know). Anyways I just thought it would be somewhat informative, I also love talking the strength and conditioning of baseball players.

      1. decelrator muscles, i had a similiar injury in my college career. Very easy exercies can be done to prevent injury

        1. Yeah same here, my college career was cut short to one game against Rice. Would have loved to see how I could have done again them with my arm intact, oh well.

    1. I feel like there might be something to this number 13 you speak of .
      wow. what bad luck the young phillies have had this year .morgan quinn. watson . gueller pitching poorly. larry green well maybe just being larry green . knapp and tommy john . bad luck for almost all of the teams recent high picks. here is to a speedy and full recovery to you all

  4. Not necessarily as good news as you may suppose. It seems in quite a few shoulder surgery cases that the after-surgery report is that the damage was greater than was thought pre-surgery.

    1. I Posted that about a week ago. I had shouler surgery in august and it was way worse than they saw on mri. The doctor told my wife how did he stand the pain, longer on table than orginally planned, and to be honest it still hurts,

  5. In the interview Watson gave a few weeks ago, I thought he said he probably would need surgery but that he felt like he’d be back for much of the season and this wasn’t seen as a career threatening injury. Better to do it now than in April.

  6. This really sucks. Hopefully he comes back when he’s 100% and they don’t try rushing him.
    Just another reason our 2014 draft should focus on pitching.

    1. Hopefully he gets better news but this sounds more like a standard second opinion prior to a major surgery.

      Oh well, another pitching prospect seems to fizzle out.

  7. If the reports of surgery are true, Watson will be the 3rd key Phillies prospect to have season delaying/ending surgery this off-season (Quinn and Andrew Knapp are the other 2). It’s like there is a black cloud hanging over this organization right now

    1. I agree, is there a price to pay for winning? If so we are paying it and a steep one at that! Time for some good news somewhere, anywhere!

        1. Do you have some inside source telling you this or are you just pessimistic by nature? I agree that Morgan’s shoulder concerns of last season can’t be overlooked yet, you can’t just assume he needs surgery either.

          1. He was shut down, came back, and was shut down again. Ended the year shut down. I don’t think he’s thrown from the mound since. I take all of that as a bad sign. Given the seriousness and often career-ending nature of shoulder surgery (remember Savery had what was described as a minor procedure), players and teams tend to put off surgery until multiple rest and physical therapy attempts have failed. When it comes to shoulder injuries, yes I guess I am pessimistic by nature. I don’t feel nearly as pessimistic about elbow woes, back woes, knee woes, even hip woes.

            1. Yeah, so can legs. I spent two years being way overly optimistic of a quick and complete recovery by Gillies, thinking ‘how long can it take to cure a hamstring injury’. Then there is Howard’s multi-year battle with his legs and Utley’s, hopefully over, multi-year knee battle. I still fear shoulder injuries the most, especially for pitchers.

  8. The problem is that all 3 have had potentially career threatening injuries with full blown, invasive surgeries, as opposed to arthroscopic procedures.

    1. I don’t believe any of these three are career threatening although they are serious surgeries. We’ll see….

  9. A shoulder injury of any type is career threatening for a pitcher. The elbow, while serious, doesn’t seem to be as problematic in most cases . I also have that sinking feeling about Adam Morgan.

    1. Well I am taking a different approach, I think Morgan, Watson, knapp, and the rest of the prospects will bounce back! Plus a surprise or two is in the offing as I believe Larry Greene and Collier will take off! I am tired of the pessimism and while everyone is entitled to their opinion I am looking forward to 2014. This organization is a good one and we have been spoiled by winning which is ok. They are no worse off than a lot of other clubs which have a lot of the same issues. That article that points to how many less draft picks and how much less money the Phils have spent in the draft just goes to show what good baseball people they really are. Ok off the soap box, happy holidays!

      1. That’s fine. Everyone is allowed to believe what they believe and to imagine as many comebacks as they need to in order to have a happy winter and look forward to the 2014 season. Happy holidays to you, as well.

      2. Whatever you’re smoking, I’d like to have some!!!!

        And, by the way, only a person who grows up in the Philadelphia area would ever say something like we’ve become spoiled by winning. That’s such a fatalistic loser mentality – stop it! This is a well-established team, in a great media market, with huge fan interest and a great ballpark. You should expect this team to win (be competitive and in the playoff mix) pretty much all the time and to win big (go deep in the playoffs) frequently. I spend good money at the ballpark to watch the team win and pay a big cable bill (with a Phillies premium) for exactly the same reason. Do you think anybody in New York ever says or thinks “wow, we’ve been spoiled by winning – these 27 WS trophies are more than we deserve.” I grea up there so let me give you the simple answer: hell no!!!! And they shouldn’t think that way.

        Good thing you don’t live in Boston or you would be overwhelmed with all the guilt associated with following those great teams.

        1. My holiday wish for you is a sense of entitlement to winning as a fan in a great city with the most passionate fan base anywhere. Hey, you’re worth it!!!!!

          1. Here here.

            I’ve been a fan for 30 years and we’ve been awaful for most of it. 4 consecutive years of success certainly doesn’t make me spoiled.

            1. mds13 me too. totally agree, There wasnt one reason this team, with this market couldnt have been better, They are one of the orginal teams, with two world titles, bad ownership and really bad gms, have killed this team for decades, God awful teams, for years, first team to reach 10000 losses, This ownership owes us for our support, and whatever it cost to straighten this ship, they have a obigation to do it, for the city and the fans,This is our team. they own it , but it carries our loyalty, they just dont get it, and dont believe they ever will, Amaro should have have been fired in september, and a new gm, with experience in winning, like a gillick or a top executive with a winning organiztion, like the cardinals, should have been giving the task of rebuilding this team. we owe amaro nothing, that he gets more time., he hasnt shown any ability to build a team, just destroy this one, sorry its my christmas rant. Merry Christmas to all, and Happy New Year,

  10. Nobody asked me, but I believe that a good topic for discussion:

    Does it pay to draft H.S. pitchers or College pitchers whose status includes two years of better training and more action to judge their durability and effectiveness. H.S. pitchers seem like a much greater risk.


    1. Strasberg and Harvey were college guys and they both went under the knife for TJ.
      It would seem to be ‘rolling the dice’ no matter which way you go with pitchers.
      Better yet, a more sure way, just draft knucleball pitchers and buy bigger mitts for your catchers.

    2. HS pitchers do have a touch more risk because of the added development time. However outside of the 1st round you aren’t going to find a lot of upside in college because there is not room for much FBI growth or secondary development. Additionally, with a HS pitcher you control all the development and workload, avoiding some of the bad habits and abuses of college baseball.

      In the end college pitchers are “safer” because you know what they are stuff wise. HS pitchers have more projection and upside. When it comes to injuries, pitchers break and we are not always sure why.

    3. If we assume an efficient market (draft market, that is – I mean, if teams tend to overvalue either HS or college kids, then you should draft the opposite). the answer should be – no preference either way. I tend to think the market is pretty efficient in this case.

      As Matt says, it tends to come down to risk versus upside. When drafting toward the end of the first round, a team in the Phillies’ position probably should go with the high risk/high reward player. But this year, drafting 7th, I think they could get a fairly high upside college pitcher.

      I’m talking mainly about the first round; the above factors are magnified after the first round, because the high upside college pitchers are off the boards. After round one, if you want a guy who has a chance to be more than a back of the rotation starter or reliever, go with the HS kid. Of course you’re not going to hit with those picks very often.

    4. The other side of the fact that college pitchers have additional development time is that some college coaches brutalize their pitchers’ arms. I vaguely remember one of the pitchers the Phillies drafted last year threw multiple 140+ pitch games in the College World Series last year.

    5. So I decided to look at some actual, you know, data on this issue. 🙂

      I made a list of every pitcher\ with a WAR over 12 for the past 4 years. Looking at the list, even a non-believer in WAR would have to agree that it’s a pretty good list of the best starting pitchers in baseball over the past 4 years.

      There are 24 names on the list. Of them, 9 are college kids, 11 High School kids, and 4 undrafted (international). 13 of 20 of the drafted players were picked in the first round. Looking more closely at where they were drafted, up to a point the data supports my thesis, but there is a surprising departure as well. Of the first round picks, the college kids are indeed all clustered in the early picks, whereas the high school kids are spread throughout the round. This is what I would have predicted.

      The departure is this. Of the 7 lower round picks – 2 second round picks, and single picks in rounds 4, 5, 11 and 16 – 5 of them were college kids. I would not have predicted that.

      As to where that leaves us on Art’s question – hard to say for sure without knowing how many college kids versus high school kids were drafted. But without further data, I would be inclined to stick with the general proposition that you pick the best pitcher available, with no a priori favoristism for either HS or college pitchers.

      1. I may, time permitting (which it likely won’t be for the next few days :)) also look at hitters. I would predict that, among hitters, the best players have a stronger tendency to be high school kids.

        1. Here is a BP article, fairly old now…2006….but it is a study by Rany Jaazyerli.
          It touches on the subject.

          He does summarize his finding in a nutshell:
          That’s a lot of numbers to throw at you you can open the link and peruse if you desire.. But summing up::
          —No matter how you slice the data, college hitters come up on top every time, usually by a wide margin;
          —-High-school pitchers are still the riskiest selections in the first round, but the margin is much, much less than it used to be. It is no longer appropriate to make a blanket statement that it is always a mistake to take a high school pitcher in the first round;
          With the exception of the first round, high-school pitchers are almost exactly as valuable as high-school hitters.
          —-College pitchers are, generally speaking, not significantly more valuable than high-school players in any round.
          Summing up: You’re going to get about 50% more value from a college hitter than from any other draft pick. High-school pitchers are somewhat riskier than other picks in the first round.

          1. Interesting. I would think it possible, even likely, that drafting patterns have changed in the past few years to equalize things (GMs can read BP articles. Well, most GMs). A 2006 draft study is relying upon data more than 10 years old.

            1. Well, I can only assume Ruben’s new analytical hire will probably be scouring through metric journals like BP and BA.
              My understanding that the Roberto ‘Fausto’ Hernandez signing was metric driven.

          2. Clicked on the link; the data was even older than I would have expected, through the 1999 draft. A bit out of date. Interesting none the less.

            1. The book is still not closed on HS kids taken in that draft, so reasonable to go back that far. The Phillies had the 12th pick that year and took Brett Myers. Their 10th round pick was JC outfielder Marlon Byrd.

            2. The 15-year date-range of the sampling was ’84 through ’99.
              Perhaps 25/30 years ago the train of thought of GMs was less analytic for sure then the last 15 years.
              Not sure how this would bear out on a draft, since data available to get a good read on a HS 18-year old or for that matter a 21-year college player is probably not as reliable as you would want.

      2. LarryM…seems to me I think BP may have done a study on this subject awhile back, of course with their resources at their disposal they usually do a more extensive sampling..
        I am going to go backi n their archives and see if it is available.

  11. One advantage for sure re: college pitchers…they generally reach the big time ahead of HS players from the same draft. I’m looking for a good one to use our #7 choice in ’14.

    It’ll be good to follow there college pitchers during the season…..We do need pitching because the system is so bereft of them.

    1. I’m certainly not against signing a college pitcher, but in the Phillies case I don’t think getting to the show faster is necessarily a benefit at the current moment in time. Generally speaking, our potential impact prospects are a few years out. Outside of Franco and Biddle, our next potential core is 20 years old or younger and haven’t even reached AA yet. So I think a high school pitcher would reach the big leagues at about the exact time we’d want him to; a year or two after our other impact prospects have broken in (hopefully).

      Which is not to say that we should prefer high school pitchers, either (or position players, of either age group). Simply that, in this case, I don’t think proximity to the majors should be the primary concern, and that they should just get the player with the highest chance of having a large impact on the team. I think that might turn out to be a college pitcher anyways, but if there is an ace caliber high schooler on the board, and a #3 college pitcher, I wouldn’t take the college pitcher just because he’s closer to the bigs.

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