Washington Nationals: Analyzing Koda Glover’s Injury And Its Effect On The Bullpen

Washington Nationals reliever, Koda Glover, dealt with a hip injury last season, and was placed on the 10-Day Disabled List on Wednesday with another hip injury.

Koda Glover has suffered yet another hip injury just days after the Washington Nationals handed the closer’s role to him and Shawn Kelley. After his 2016 season was derailed by a torn labrum in his hip, he is nursing another hip injury and placed on the 10-Day Disabled List.

After watching video of Glover’s mechanics and comparing them side-by-side to top pitchers such as Max ScherzerClayton Kershaw, and Justin Verlander, I believe I have possibly figured out why he has suffered multiple hip injuries. Once he lowers his leg from his leg kick, he swings it out towards third base instead of going straight down and then towards the plate.

Kershaw especially does a great job of bringing his leg straight down. He actually lowers his leg to almost the exact same position that he began in and then goes to the plate.

Glover, on the other hand, swings his leg extremely far to the third base side. This puts lots of unnecessary stress on his left hip, which has led to multiple injuries.

Kershaw exemplifies near perfect mechanics. Pitchers are taught to bring their leg up, then down, then out towards the plate. Swinging the leg out towards third base leaves the pitcher susceptible to hip injuries, but can also lead to various arm injuries.

Glover does a good job of making sure his foot lands in a direct line from the rubber to home plate so he is only putting extra stress on his hip. However, if his mechanics slip at all down the stretch and his foot doesn’t land in a direct line, he could end up flying open and putting lots of extra stress on his shoulder and elbow. This can also cause control issues.

You can even try it yourself at home. If you raise your leg and then bring it straight down and forward, it’s fluid and painless. If you raise your leg and then swing it out on the way down like Glover, there can be a little pain and burning in your hip. After trying this just a couple times, it’s easy to see how it can cause injuries when repeated thousands of times throughout the season.

The temporary loss of Glover also has a big effect on the bullpen. Kelley is unable to close everyday due to his two Tommy John surgeries, so Glover has helped carry some of the load. Without Glover, the Nats don’t really have anyone to close when Kelley is unavailable.

Glover also boasts a 4.15 ERA, which is second best among Nats relievers. He has been one of the most reliable arms out of the pen, and has impressed so far in 2017. The bullpen has improved some after their shaky start, but has still struggled at times. Losing Glover means the Nats are losing one of their most lethal arms. The other relievers must step up and contribute in a late inning role during his absence.

Now that Glover has suffered yet another hip injury, it is time for the Nationals to take a look at his mechanics and make an adjustment. If he does not change his mechanics, he will continue to be affected by hip injuries. The Nats must help him make a change so this doesn’t affect him throughout his career. He is a promising young arm, and appears to be a big part of the Nats’ long term plans. If Glover is able to successfully make the adjustment, he has the potential to be among the best closers in the league for years to come.