Texas A&M right-hander John Stilson, who was projected in the first round by practically every mock draft, was revealed to have suffered a torn labrum. The Aggies ace had put together a 1.68 ERA in 91.1 innings, striking out 92 and walking just 29 batters. Losing Stilson was a blow to the Aggies title hopes, but where it will really hit him is in the pocket book. Most first round picks come away with at least a $1 million bonus, if not more, and Stilson will likely be faced with the choice of going back for his senior year or accepting much less money in a much lower round. Baseball America's Jim Callis was reminded of Stilson's overuse in times past:
It's impossible not to wonder if the way Stilson has been used in his Texas A&M career played a role in the deterioration of his shoulder. Most jarringly, last year in the Coral Gables Regional, Stilson threw three scoreless innings of relief against Dartmouth-interrupted by an hour-long rain delay-and came back later in the day to throw 3 2/3 scoreless innings against Miami. The Aggies rode him hard as a relief ace in 2010-he threw 79 innings over 33 appearances. And it's worth noting that he threw an inning of relief in a Tuesday game against Texas-San Antonio on May 3, two days before his Thursday start against Dallas Baptist.
Pitching is such an unnaturally risky thing to do that it's hard to compare it to other college sports, particularly in the context of an ace like Stilson, who can mean so much in the overall scope of a team's record. There is no hard and fast rule that can effectively quench overuse of a pitcher, and without big money contracts and team control that is in risk by MLB clubs, the college programs often have no counter-balance against overusing their best pitchers.
Sadly, it sometimes ends like this. On the plus side, Stilson should have another season to rehabilitate his draft stock in College Station if he wants it. It would be hard to blame him if he doesn't.