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Relief Pitching Newsbeat

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Analytics have teams considering bullpen roles | MLB.com

4. Playing it by ear every day would inevitably force relief pitchers to warm up more frequently than they have to, ultimately hindering performance.

At least that’s what Angels closer Huston Street believes.

“At the end of the day,” Street said, “it’s quite simple: There’s just not enough energy to go around.”

Street has been a closer almost his entire life, from his collegiate days at the University of Texas to the totality of his 11-year Major League career. He estimates that in a given year he actually makes about 100 appearances—65 or so when he pitches in a game and then another 30 or 40 from all those times he warms up in the bullpen, sits back down and warms up again. The latter is “every reliever’s worst nightmare,” Street said, but also an inevitable part of the job.

If a team’s best reliever were assigned to the highest-leverage situation, as opposed to merely the ninth inning, Street estimates he would have to warm up, sit down and warm up again twice as frequently, because a lot of time is needed to get ready and because the leverage of a situation can change so quickly.

He believes it would be too much for a bullpen to absorb.

“There is no getting used to that,” Street said. “You can’t. Your arm gets sore. It just gets sore. That’s what happens. “

Street, and basically everybody else polled on the subject, concluded that the theory can work in small sample sizes, like the playoffs, but is unsustainable over the course of a six-month regular season. They ultimately believe the statistical advantages are not enough to outweigh all of the potential hazards that come with it.

“Perfect on paper,” Street said. “But in practice, it’s the worst idea I’ve ever heard.”

Jim Furtado Posted: March 17, 2016 at 08:30 AM | 37 comment(s)
  Beats: managers, relief pitching, sabermetrics

 

 

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