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I also think that pitchers would have liked it. A pitcher making 54 starts for a good team would have had a fair chance to "win" 30 games, and a hell of a chance to win 20. Frank Tanana might have gone 27-11 in 1983, as Bob Feller and Bucky Walters did in 1939 or 1940.
More significant than that, you’re also reducing the stress per pitch, for an obvious reason. The most stressful pitches are those thrown when the pitcher is tired.
That's one of those un-answerable questions, like whether Joe DiMaggio could still hit major league pitching with a 51-ounce bat or whatever it was. There is no way to test the theory.
First, this ignores the actual culture of baseball at the time. Pitchers took pride in finishing what they started back then and would not have taken kindly to coming out after 90 pitches. Heck, pitchers today don't like to do that. Second, he's just plain wrong about the wins. A guy throwing 17 pitches per IP will last an average of 5.3 IP per start. So he's going to qualify for a win in about, 60 percent of his starts tops? So starting with 54, and dropping say 4 off the top (Bill's 'occasional 70-80 pitch outings), the pitcher in question would qualify for the win in about 30 games per year. Nobody's getting 30 wins (or 27) that way.
On the flip side, you're always eligible for a loss. So the overall result would more likely be good starters with 20-17 records, average starters putting up 15-20 records, and below average starters, yikes. Middle relievers would probably like racking up the easy wins, though.
There's a longish essay in the Neyer-James pitcher book where he tries a takedown of PAP. He's now just (a) reinvented something he once knew existed and (b) reinvented something he thought was crap.
Maybe he sent Rany and Keith a nice fruit basket...
Actually James has written quite a bit more on pitching limits than simply taking apart PAP.
While the transition from four man to five man rotations was in its final stages he was a vocal proponent of the four man rotation.
1) If I have a four-man pitching rotation and you are trying to persuade me to switch to a five-man rotation, what you are saying is that I should take eight starts away from my best starting pitcher, eight away from my second-best starting pitcher, eight away from my third-best starting pitcher, eight away from my fourth-best and give all 32 starts to my fifth-best starting pitcher.
2) Before I am going to do that, I want to see some real good evidence that I am going to get something back in exchange for it.
3) I have not seen any such evidence. Ergo
4) I wouldn't do it.
I also think that pitchers would have liked it. A pitcher making 54 starts for a good team would have had a fair chance to “win” 30 games, and a hell of a chance to win 20.
James also glossed over the fairly effective (seems to me) days of the 5-day rotation (or 4.5 man). The Braves kept it going for a good long while. I think that's still how I'd run one today -- you get 34-37 starts from your top 4 guys and limit your #5 guy to about 20 starts a year while those top guys pitch every 5th or 6th day just like now (only more 5-day starts and fewer 6-day ones).
Why does it bother folks that he seems to have changed his mind? That's what intelligent people do when the evidence says so.
Or a manager could do what Whitey Herzog did in 1982 and juggle his rotation so that individual pitchers get the rest they individually need. Joaquin Andujar pitched better on short rest and Bob Forsch needed the full 4 days. So Herzog moved LaPoint, Mura, & Stuper in-and-out so that Andujar could pitch on 3 days rest and Forsch got 4 or 5 days.
I'm not saying a four man rotation couldn't work. I'm saying it's a lot more complex than just tracking pitch counts and innings.
At 17 pitches per inning, 16.5 pitches per inning, that’s 5,000 pitches in a season, more or less. Suppose that pitchers had been asked instead to pitch in a THREE-man rotation—but with strict limits of 90 pitches per start, and less than that for very young pitchers. That’s 54 starts a season, 90 pitches per start MAXIMUM. . ..you’re actually REDUCING the number of pitches thrown in a season from about 5,000 to about 4,600
Is there any actual evidence that any one pitch is any more stressful than any other pitch?
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