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Wednesday, June 22, 2005

HoustonChronicle.com - Dierker on Baseball: Only way to go forth is with five-man rotation

Take a look at couple of innings pitched pages from Baseball-Reference.com: IP Career Leaders and Year-by-Year League Leaders for IP.

Teams are not getting their monies worth.

Jim Furtado Posted: June 22, 2005 at 10:41 AM | 205 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: astros

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   101. Tango Tiger Posted: June 23, 2005 at 04:10 PM (#1425621)
Cabbage:

I think (hope) we will someday be able to take a minor league pitcher, do a full workup and say "fastballs produce 4 points of stress, sliders produce 4.25. Depending on velocity during warmup, ambient air pressure, and yada-yada-yada, pitcher should be pulled after 210 to 245 points of stress".

My thoughts exactly. In fact, all we should be worrying about, right now, is to model reality. What's the stress level of a pitcher at every point of the day in every day of the year. If that can be measured (the output), we can then look at all the inputs (number of fastballs, curves, changeups, etc, the number of minutes between pitches, between innings, between games, etc... the number of warmups, the intensity of the warmups, etc). Once all that is done, you'll know exactly how a pitcher is affected, and you'll know how to use them.

***

DCA: I never showed that thing about 156 games.

***

Career length: BL likes to measure that in terms of years... I like to measure that in terms of pitches thrown.
   102. DCA Posted: June 23, 2005 at 04:22 PM (#1425637)
DCA: I never showed that thing about 156 games.

Well, someone did and posted it here within the last 9 months, I wasn't sure who and took a wild guess. Sorry for the mis-attribution.
   103. DCA Posted: June 23, 2005 at 04:25 PM (#1425642)
Career length: BL likes to measure that in terms of years... I like to measure that in terms of pitches thrown.

I'm with BL here ... we look at performance by year, essentially, when we analyze whole bullpens and whole pitching staffs. The proper duration measure is the year, if we value performance in seasonal intervals. If we're interested only the mileage on the arm, then #P is appropriate, but I don't think that's what anyone -- the pitchers, the coaches, the performance maximizing theorists -- is interested in.
   104. More Dewey is Always Good Posted: June 23, 2005 at 04:34 PM (#1425657)
If I could design a pitching staff, I'd have my top starters on a 5-day rotation, or other regular schedule they prefer, with 3-4 other guys mixed in around them and available in the pen

I've always advocated something like this, although I think a four starter + swingman rotation would be just as effective. It never fails to amaze me that teams leverage their off-days to get their starters an extra day of rest rather than to get their best starters more work.

Of course, it's impossible to set a blanket rule - some pitchers work just fine with a heavier workload, while others need to be monitored closely.
   105. IronChef Chris Wok Posted: June 23, 2005 at 04:35 PM (#1425660)
What about total innings pitched?

To tell you the truth, I really don't care if a pitcher pitches 4000 innings in 10 years or 20 years, I've gotten the same mileage out of that same pitcher.

Btw, y'all really should include some NPB stuff when donig pitcher usage studies. That #### will REALLY skew the data.
   106. Steve Treder Posted: June 23, 2005 at 04:40 PM (#1425670)
I think both years played and volume of pitches thrown (or to be more accurate, innings pitched, because that's the real measure of quantity of contribution) are relevant. An understanding of both is really necessary to make an assessment of career quantity.

And the data we have indicates that career length in terms of years played has moderately increased, but in terms of volume of contribution within those years, it has declined dramatically among top pitchers (relievers as well as starters) within the past 15-20 years.
   107. DCA Posted: June 23, 2005 at 04:40 PM (#1425672)

If I could design a pitching staff, I'd have my top starters on a 5-day rotation, or other regular schedule they prefer, with 3-4 other guys mixed in around them and available in the pen

I've always advocated something like this, although I think a four starter + swingman rotation would be just as effective. It never fails to amaze me that teams leverage their off-days to get their starters an extra day of rest rather than to get their best starters more work.


You missed the second part of my sentence, which advocating using quirks in the schedule to do just that, give the top starters extra days off, although I think the way to do it is to skip a start (i.e. an extra week of rest) or go to the pen occasionally (basically a leveraged "easy start"), instead of one extra day of rest more frequently which I don't think would be much help. The overall workload should end up being similar to the current model.
   108. Steve Treder Posted: June 23, 2005 at 04:47 PM (#1425688)
To tell you the truth, I really don't care if a pitcher pitches 4000 innings in 10 years or 20 years, I've gotten the same mileage out of that same pitcher.

Yes and no. First of all, quantity isn't the only measure of value; there's the effectiveness contributed in those 4000 innings. And if indeed (hypothetically) stretching the innings out over the longer period of time increases the effectiveness of the pitcher in those innings, then the 20-year mileage was better.

But this is complicated by the issue of the effectiveness of the other pitchers covering the unpitched innings. And if those other pitchers were significantly less effective than our guy here in covering his unpitched innings over the first 10 years, then it might turn out that the 10-year mileage was actually better overall.
   109. IronChef Chris Wok Posted: June 23, 2005 at 04:52 PM (#1425698)
Definitly agreed about the quality of the innings. What i meant was that if the quality was unchanged.
   110. Backlasher Posted: June 23, 2005 at 04:54 PM (#1425704)
I firmly believe that pitchers could be "nursed back to health" in one less day.


On what basis. Many greats state recovery time is not only an important thing, it is THE THING for MLB pitchers. That is also supported by one of your good friends' childhood heros. The current guidelines guidelines for 18 year olds have at least 4 days of rest after 89 pitches. Tom House apparently also .disagrees with you. He thinks that is worth 2 wins.

I have not found a reference yet that does not include, in this order, the cause of pitching injury: (1) Overwork (2) Bad mechanics (3) Poor trunk strength and (4) poor arm strength.

This would imply to me that Treder's recommendations for 10% utilization are assbackwards. At most, you are increasing the potential for injury (by overwork, more work with potentially bad mechanics, no training for the trunk) to get an unknown increase in arm strength that could be accomplished much better with Jobe exercises and long tosses.

If anything, I'd have the guys doing assexercises for an extra day, so they have something in the tank for every 5th day at the end of the year. That might keep them from going into the beanefade.

And similar to DCA, I'd agree that we want to vary in some extra rest. And the best way to do that would be an efficient use of your DL, like the Primer censor is stating about Adam Eaton. But that will only let ole Treder boy to say that there is more injuries, because he will try to count this the same as the career ending items that happened with his heros.

I would drop dead if I tried to run a marathon today (and I'm not going to , so don't bother encouraging me to), but I can build up to it - and then I can do it over and over.


I'd hate to see what you do if you run one every 5 days either. That does not comport to marathon training training or recovery either.
   111. Steve Treder Posted: June 23, 2005 at 04:55 PM (#1425707)
What i meant was that if the quality was unchanged.

Well, if the quality was unchanged, then I'd prefer to have the guy give me the 4000 (or whatever fixed number it is) in 10 years rather than 20. Within each given season, quantity itself is an unambiguously positive value.
   112. Backlasher Posted: June 23, 2005 at 04:56 PM (#1425708)
discussion has started to spark my interest in this stuff

That is the new frontier. There is no place you can make better strides. Of course, you will be fighting Treder's memories and armchair medicine the whole way, cause Gosh Darn it, look at what the Goose did.
   113. GGC Posted: June 23, 2005 at 05:00 PM (#1425712)
I see you read the Nielsen essay, BL. Well-linked.
   114. Backlasher Posted: June 23, 2005 at 05:01 PM (#1425714)
But this is complicated by the issue of the effectiveness of the other pitchers covering the unpitched innings. And if those other pitchers were significantly less effective than our guy here in covering his unpitched innings over the first 10 years, then it might turn out that the 10-year mileage was actually better overall.


See even me and Treder can somewhat agree. What matters first is not taking such inordinate risks that you are negligently forcing someone into a debilated condition. After that, what matters is value.

And that is why we should adopt revolutionary utilization plans that maximize overall bullpen performance and increase the effectiveness of your best pitchers. Its precisely the reason we should move away from archaic practices like the ACE RELIEVER.

I knew even someone like Steve would understand one day.
   115. IronChef Chris Wok Posted: June 23, 2005 at 05:01 PM (#1425715)
cause Gosh Darn it, look at what the Goose did.

That's cuz all y'all Whities are a bunch of pansies.

BL... go to www.japanesebaseball.com... they have a player database there..

Look up a Masaichi Kanead. Than look up a T. Yoneda.

Man those guys were manly.
   116. IronChef Chris Wok Posted: June 23, 2005 at 05:02 PM (#1425717)
I meant Masaichi KANEDA, not Kanead.
   117. Backlasher Posted: June 23, 2005 at 05:06 PM (#1425725)
I have no animus towards him, but I really wish that Treder would respond to some of this stuff:


He never will, but if he did it would go something like this,

Well, GGC, I think that Glenn Fleisig and some of the others that you-know-who talks about, are fine doctors. Obviously, they no more about medicine than I do. But I don't know and they don't know what the real cause of pitching injuries. If what they are saying is true, how come we are still seeing the same number of pitching injuries. I remember watching Juan Marichal, who would come to the mound with fire and brimstone every day you handed him the ball, and he didn't need an extra day of rest. Its just a simple fact that throughout history pitchers have not need this rest, just look at:

Turk Loin
Spare Ribb

and Ferris Fain.
   118. IronChef Chris Wok Posted: June 23, 2005 at 05:11 PM (#1425736)
Its just a simple fact that throughout history pitchers have not need this rest, just look at:

Dude, Kaneda could start 30 times a season, and pitch 25 times in relief IN BETWEEN. And he'd pitch ilke 20 CGs.
   119. Backlasher Posted: June 23, 2005 at 05:21 PM (#1425758)
I see you read the Nielsen essay, BL. Well-linked.


Will Carroll and some other dude had a good piece about attrition rate, but it does not really relate to this issue. I decided not to go with the Treder, throw everything at the wall and see if you can something to stick, and when you do, pound it like a fukking dead horse.

I don't think Treder even understands that nobody disputes that pitchers do not throw as many innings today as they did back in his golden ages, when men were men and everybody else ended up a gimp. He just doesn't realize its not probative.

I don't think Treder understands this injury rate issue at all. He keeps pounding it like its the holy grail. But, its pretty evident that (1) he has no measure to show anything of value on this point; (2) its also pretty intuitive that the classification and impact of injury is entirely different; but here is the biggest thing, let's suppose he's right. How would that endorse the solution that you should increase the risk of injury.

Because unless you disagree with every medical source in the world, THAT IS EXACTLY WHAT YOU WOULD BE DOING.

Now, I've got no idea as to whether these theories about less kids throwing stones at pigeons is true or false. In the end it doesn't matter. Because the Phillies aren't going to sign a four year old in Flemington and put him on a stone throwing program. You have to take what you get, and you better put something on the asss before you put it on the arm, or else you will see the magic progression:

Tendonities -> Bone Chip -> Ligament Damage -> TJ

and repeat.
   120. Barca Posted: June 23, 2005 at 05:21 PM (#1425759)
I wonder how many other people are reading this thread thinking that both Treder and Backlasher are two of my favorite posters?

How come so many teams don't go with their best pitchers every fifth day? It seems that it would be best if they were used to a pattern. Make that fifth starter only pitch when there aren't any off days.
It seems that a few teams try that at the beginning of the season. How does that work out?
   121. Barca Posted: June 23, 2005 at 05:27 PM (#1425779)
Chris Wok,
I agree somewhat that if you make the teenagers pitch 200 innings a year, that the diamonds will survive to throw a lot of innings later. But that would eliminate the Frank Tananas or Kerry Woods.

I am not sure if the Japanese are showing how tough they are or how primitive their baseball is?
   122. IronChef Chris Wok Posted: June 23, 2005 at 05:28 PM (#1425783)
Shouldn't the question to be research "why wer the old school pitchers ptiching so many innings and still stayed good?" instead of "can or can we not use modern ptichers that way?"

They MUSt have done something different other than drink heavily and work in mines. The human body has NOT evolved in 100 years. I know the game has changed, because the hitters are better, adn the ball is livelier, but playing field conditions are better as well as the defenders...

The old guys must haev done someting right, because these one out relief pitcehrs are really pissing me off.
   123. IronChef Chris Wok Posted: June 23, 2005 at 05:30 PM (#1425786)
Chris Wok,
I agree somewhat that if you make the teenagers pitch 200 innings a year, that the diamonds will survive to throw a lot of innings later. But that would eliminate the Frank Tananas or Kerry Woods.

I am not sure if the Japanese are showing how tough they are or how primitive their baseball is?


i was beign semi-tongue-in-cheek when i made that comment about Koshien. It's my only explanation. Why else would you have Matsuzaka throw a SEVENTEEN INNNING 256 PITCH COMPLETE GAME and have him CLSOE THE NEXT DAY?
   124. cardsfanboy Posted: June 23, 2005 at 05:47 PM (#1425829)
Posted by IronChef Chris Wok says screw your White Children on June 23, 2005 at 12:28 PM (#1425783)
Shouldn't the question to be research "why wer the old school pitchers ptiching so many innings and still stayed good?" instead of "can or can we not use modern ptichers that way?"

They MUSt have done something different other than drink heavily and work in mines. The human body has NOT evolved in 100 years. I know the game has changed, because the hitters are better, adn the ball is livelier, but playing field conditions are better as well as the defenders...

The old guys must haev done someting right, because these one out relief pitcehrs are really pissing me off.


because they were asked too? it's not like the old timers had lengthy careers on par with the pitchers of today, I mean look at the 60's, Bob Gibson is almost always one of the guys that is pointed to being a workhorse....He had an effective career of 13 seasons. Koufax had an effective career of 6 seasons, these are the guys that people like to point as workhorses.

with todays methods you have guys like Clemens, Maddux even Randy and Pedro that have surpassed their seasons of effectiveness. and you have a hell of a lot more pitchers having longer careers today. Some of that has to do with better conditioning, some with better surgeries, some with different usage pattern. But there is almost no debate that pitchers have longer, more effective careers than in the past. (this is on the whole of course, individually you will have a Seaver or a Carlton)
   125. greenback slays lewks Posted: June 23, 2005 at 05:51 PM (#1425838)
(c) ASMI states that 71% of all injuries are preventable and one of the major causes is overwork. That is linked in a thread from just a few days ago.

And I responded a few days ago. Because it wasn't Blackadder's hero Treder though, I'll respond again. American Specialty's definition of preventable is ambiguous at best. AFAICT any pitching injury that isn't of the Hawpe-Prior variety is called preventable.

(d) Glen Fleisig states that the vast majority if not all the injuries he's seen is from overwork.

If you got a couple of beers into Fleisig, he'd tell you that every pitcher in the history of baseball is overworked.

(f) Marshall posits the same thing.

Sorta, but not really:

"Managers use pitch counts because they do not understand why the 'traditional' pitching motion destroys pitching arms. They mistakenly believe that fewer pitches with more rest prevents pitching arm injuries.

"After I finished my professional career, I pitched amateur baseball. In one tournament, I started the 9:00AM game, the 12:00PM game and the 10:00PM game in the same day and threw a perfect game the next morning. That reflects the size of the substrate storage in my pitching muscles. With my interval-training program, pitchers can pitch every day for as long as they want."

This was kinda funny too, although it was in regards to youth pitchers:

"The whole pitch count scenario is a fraud. The American Sports Medicine Institute asked coaches and doctors how many pitches they thought youth pitchers should throw, averaged those numbers and presented them as scientific fact. That is not research."

(g) Many of the injuries you know see are from repetitive stress. RSI's are caused when the body's natural healing processes aren't allowed to work. Not enough rest leads to calcification. I can publish the abstracts again if you insist.

Backlasher's own ESPN link pointed out that injuries, and dollars lost due to injuries, are up from the late 90's. This happened even though PAP is way down. There's a missing variable here.

Not that I agree with Treder. It's remarkable to me that teams, even the one that used Jeremy Giambi as a leadoff hitter and thought Dan Haren might be as good as Mark Mulder, seem to have the same ideas about pitcher usage.
   126. Chris Dial Posted: June 23, 2005 at 05:54 PM (#1425850)
Running the marathon again:
From BL's link:
The duration is typically for one to three days after the race.

That was for soreness and stiffness.


From your Tom House (Will Carroll attempts to paraphrase Tom House anyway):
"Tom House says that improving a starting pitcher's recovery from 72 hours to 48 is good for a 2 game swing in their record (10-10 to 12-8.) "

WTF? so three days off is better than two days off? What did I misread?

I didn't see anything that said pitchers couldn't pitch every fourth day. And I agree there may be more of wiggle room there (see my every fifth day, plus 6 part).
   127. IronChef Chris Wok Posted: June 23, 2005 at 05:54 PM (#1425851)
dollars lost due to injuries, are up from the late 90's

PLEASE tell me this was dollar figure adjusted. PLEASE.
   128. Chris Dial Posted: June 23, 2005 at 05:55 PM (#1425857)
Blackadder

Sweet.
   129. More Dewey is Always Good Posted: June 23, 2005 at 06:00 PM (#1425873)
Bob Gibson is almost always one of the guys that is pointed to being a workhorse....He had an effective career of 13 seasons. Koufax had an effective career of 6 seasons, these are the guys that people like to point as workhorses.

I don't think people ever pointed to Koufax or Gibson as workhorses. They're usually held up as examples of guys who had a few years of absolute dominance bracketed by ineffectiveness or injury.

A better example for your purposes might be Bob Feller, who was ridden like a horse during his peak years and then had a pretty rapid decline phase.

On the other side of the coin, Early Wynn was worked very hard and yet he ended up with a very long and productive career.

Some pitchers can put up with that sort of abuse and some can't. The only problem is that it's hard to tell which pitchers can and which can't until you test them out, and with the millions of dollars invested in pitching today, that's not a risk any team is willing to take.

I don't advocate pushing pitchers' pitch counts or pitching on short rest at all. The only thing that confuses me is when the best pitchers in the league get 5 or even 6 days rest between starts so that mediocrities can get more work.
   130. GGC Posted: June 23, 2005 at 06:06 PM (#1425892)
They want me to work this afternoon. I'll have to book mark this thread.
   131. cardsfanboy Posted: June 23, 2005 at 06:08 PM (#1425899)
Some pitchers can put up with that sort of abuse and some can't. The only problem is that it's hard to tell which pitchers can and which can't until you test them out, and with the millions of dollars invested in pitching today, that's not a risk any team is willing to take.

great sentence...pretty much summarizes the whole thinking by teams right now.
   132. cardsfanboy Posted: June 23, 2005 at 06:10 PM (#1425910)
(oops, forgot to put a dig in the previous comment.)

great sentence...pretty much summarizes the whole thinking by teams right now.

Except the Cubs(and Marlins)
   133. Steve Treder Posted: June 23, 2005 at 06:30 PM (#1426004)
American Specialty's definition of preventable is ambiguous at best. AFAICT any pitching injury that isn't of the Hawpe-Prior variety is called preventable.

Yup. And of course, "preventable" isn't the same thing as "prevented." The issue is that all these "preventable" injuries are occurring under the prevailing modern pitchcount-limit usage patterns. Again, the fact remains that no one, anywhere, has produced any evidence that the rate of pitcher injury occurrence has been reduced through the imposition of the strictly limited usage patterns of the past 15-20 years.
   134. Steve Phillips' Hot Cougar (DrStankus) Posted: June 23, 2005 at 07:10 PM (#1426166)
BL,

Boy howdy, you really have shown me here. Why would I think that you make appeals to authority? Why would I think that you make disparaging remarks about those who disagree with you?

Breathlessly,

DrS
   135. Backlasher Posted: June 23, 2005 at 07:16 PM (#1426184)
American Specialty's definition of preventable is ambiguous at best.

American Specialty expressly uses that word that appears in just about every assessment you see on this matter "overwork"

If you got a couple of beers into Fleisig, he'd tell you that every pitcher in the history of baseball is overworked.


Well then invite him over and let's pop a few cold ones, because I have no knowledge that would indicate he was drunk in those interviews, and a drunk Fleisig still beats an intellectually-challenged Treder.

sortof, but not really

Marshall talks about people pitching every day, but his own program does not have you throwing hte same amount each day. And supposedly you can only gain that insight if you go through his training mechanism. I love Marshall, here is my favorite marshall quote:

"When someone without proper academic training advises youngsters how to perform a motor skill, they risk serious injury to those youngsters out of ignorance. When someone exposes theories that are at variance with accepted scientific principles, they also risk serious injuries to those youngsters who follow that advice. "
   136. IronChef Chris Wok Posted: June 23, 2005 at 07:18 PM (#1426188)
BL did you check out those Asian pitchers?
   137. Backlasher Posted: June 23, 2005 at 07:43 PM (#1426295)
BL did you check out those Asian pitchers?

I thought you said Asian Strippers.

I took a look. Some of those guys worked a ton. But Yoneda was the most recent one. It looked like his work load was real big in the 60s like the Americans.

And of course, "preventable" isn't the same thing as "prevented."

Yep, it means could be prevented. It expressly says one of the reasons is overwork. So your solution is "work them more"

The issue is that all these "preventable" injuries are occurring under the prevailing modern pitchcount-limit usage patterns.

Yep, they sure are. We may need to do a better job with pitcher utilization in the future.

Do you really believe this claptrap? That what needs to be done is to work the pitchers even harder because 71% are preventable from overwork.

That's like reading a report about violent hits in football and determining the solution is to do away with the unnecessary roughness penalty.
   138. Der Komminsk-sar Posted: June 23, 2005 at 07:50 PM (#1426338)
I'm not sure how good of a control group Japanese baseball is - due to a different emphasis on pitch composition, the afore mention slaving of top prep prosepcts, and other differences.
   139. Backlasher Posted: June 23, 2005 at 07:50 PM (#1426339)
That what needs to be done is to work the pitchers even harder because 71% are preventable from overwork.


Do they allow tailgating at Pac Bell. I can see the Treder contingent now. A special chef hat with Barry Bonds big head, a couple of quickly collapsable folding chairs, and Steve at the grill.

"Goodness, this fire is hot. It reminds me of Bobby Bonds hit streat in 1953 when every contact seemed to be like to magnets meeting each other. Guess I better turn up the gas."
   140. Mefisto Posted: June 23, 2005 at 08:03 PM (#1426396)
it's not like the old timers had lengthy careers on par with the pitchers of today, I mean look at the 60's, Bob Gibson is almost always one of the guys that is pointed to being a workhorse....He had an effective career of 13 seasons.

Even taking this on your terms, Gibson pitched 3900 innings, while RJ has thrown only 3400. And you left out guys like Perry and Jenkins.
   141. Steve Treder Posted: June 23, 2005 at 08:33 PM (#1426524)
Even taking this on your terms, Gibson pitched 3900 innings, while RJ has thrown only 3400. And you left out guys like Perry and Jenkins.

There were a lot of pitchers from rougly 1955-1985 who had careers of substantially more quantity than modern pitchers.

The top five active pitchers in career IP are Clemens (4493 IP through 2004; 28th all-time), Maddux (4181, 34th), Glavine (3740, 53rd), Johnson (3368, 79th), and Kevin Brown (3183, 100th).

Pitchers from the 1955-85 era who pitched as many or more innings include:

Milt Pappas (3186)
Larry Jackson (3263)
Jim Perry (3286)
Vida Blue (3343)
Doyle Alexander (3368)
Don Drysdale (3432)
Catfish Hunter (3449)
Claude Osteen (3460)
Luis Tiant (3486)
Juan Marichal (3507)
Rick Reuschel (3548)
Joe Niekro (3584)
Bob Friend (3611)
Mickey Lolich (3638)
Jerry Reuss (3670)
Jim Bunning (3760)
Charlie Hough (3801)
Jerry Koosman (3839)
Bob Gibson (3884)
Jim Palmer (3948)
Dennis Martinez (4000)
Frank Tanana (4188)
Fergie Jenkins (4501)
Jim Kaat (4530)
Tommy John (4710)
Tom Seaver (4783)
Bert Blyleven (4970)
Steve Carlton (5217)
Don Sutton (5282)
Gaylord Perry (5350)
Nolan Ryan (5386)
Phil Niekro (5404)

But there is almost no debate that pitchers have longer, more effective careers than in the past.

Actually the data suggests that this question is highly debatable.
   142. Honkie Kong Posted: June 23, 2005 at 08:37 PM (#1426537)
Here we go round the prickly pear,
prickly pear, prickly pear.
Here we go round the prickly pear,
prickly pear, prickly pear.

< Can anyone identify that?! >

Let me try and summarise this thread to date.
Everyone agrees stress is an important factor regarding pitcher usage, but noone has any idea how to quantify it. People are mystified that improved medical technology hasn't led to dramatic reduction in injuries. One school of thought thinks that pitchers should go back to do doing more throwing at a young age, as opposed to "working out" and teach their bodies the unnatural motion of pitching. The other school of thought says that this is hogwash, as arm strength is not the top dog on the spectrum of reasons for pitcher injuries, and documented examples of great pitchers in the past who throw a lot and having ultra-long careers ( in terms of IP ) is cherry-picking of stats, as the number of pitchers lost on the wayside were numerous and undocumented/unreported.

And oh yes, Japanese men are godzillas and Dr.S and BL don't like each other :-)

I think I might have mentioned this earlier, but lo and behold, a similair argument is held by cricket pundits, where men of the past were ubermensch, who could bowl ( equivalent of pitching ) and bowl and bowl, while the men of today are sissies, as they pull up lame every so often. Surprise Surprise, some pundits argued that modern day bowlers don't bowl enough, and should cut out their additional workouts in favour of more bowling/throwing! And the war raged on, getting ever more bilious with every comment. And no consensus was ever agreed upon.

Personally I believe that pitching/bowling are actions which put unnatural strain on the human body. So it is necessary to build up muscle strength, but just developing trunk like thighs and strong shoulders is not the solution. The very motion of pitching/bowling is unnatural and has to be taught to the muscles, preferrably at a young age. So in the end, I end up straddling the fence, saying that workout plus frequent throwing is the answer. But how often is frequent? I heard interviews of cricket players, who say that you should bowl a lot, but not at full speed, but enough to warm up the muscles every day, or every second day...

And the end of that, I added nothing but an analogy and wasted some nice post lunch time :-)
Such futility pleases me.
   143. Mefisto Posted: June 23, 2005 at 08:39 PM (#1426546)
I have a question about Tango's pitch count estimator. He tested it on Koufax. However, Koufax is a very modern pitcher in his characteristics of K/BB. He was 9K/9IP, 3BB/9IP. I'm wondering if he's so similar to current pitchers that he doesn't serve as a good control.

It might be interesting to take current pitchers with lines similar to, say, Walter Johnson (5/2). We could take a class of such pitchers, develop an estimator, and then apply that estimator to the pitchers from before WWII. This would be even more effective for pitchers during the high offense era of the 20s-30s, because then we wouldn't need to worry about the high offense adding to the burden.
   144. Honkie Kong Posted: June 23, 2005 at 08:43 PM (#1426575)
How do you define effective?
We have this wonderful stat called ERA+. So if we separate years that a pitcher throws with ERA+ of 100 as effective?
You could argue that the last 500 odd IP of Steve Carlton were highly ineffective, which would bring him to a more Maddux-ian total. You argue that in the medieval ages..oops I mean early to mid last century, pitchers often pitched through injuries which were undiagnosed, REDUCING their effectiveness. Is there a way to quantify that?
   145. cardsfanboy Posted: June 23, 2005 at 08:44 PM (#1426579)
thats innings, not career(years otherwords)
Milt pappas had 10 effective seasons
larry jackson had 10
jim perry 11
Vida Blue 12
doyle alexander maybe 7 ? 8 effective seasons?
(damn baseball-reference is being slow today)
drysdale 12
catfish 8
osteen 9
tiant 10
marichal 11
reuschel 12
anyway, it seems that on average the pitchers of old seem to post about 10-11 effective seasons, (seasons with 100 era+ and 162 or more innings pitched)

nothing wrong with that, but they are having shorter careers than some of the names, and their effectiveness is obviously diminished at the end of their careers where they are just piling up innings.
   146. Steve Treder Posted: June 23, 2005 at 08:44 PM (#1426580)
He tested it on Koufax. However, Koufax is a very modern pitcher in his characteristics of K/BB. He was 9K/9IP, 3BB/9IP. I'm wondering if he's so similar to current pitchers that he doesn't serve as a good control.

Obviously Tango needs to verify this, but I'm pretty sure he tested it not only against Koufax's actuals, but also against those of other Dodger pitchers from that era for whom he had actual pitchcount data, including Podres and Drysdale.
   147. Steve Treder Posted: June 23, 2005 at 08:47 PM (#1426597)
People are mystified that improved medical technology hasn't led to dramatic reduction in injuries.

Actually I don't think anyone says or thinks this. The question is whether the clearly observable significant reduction in annual workloads for top pitchers has resulted in any detectable reduction in the rate of injury occurrence.
   148. JC in DC Posted: June 23, 2005 at 08:49 PM (#1426616)
Is IP the measure of effective career length? I mean, the object of baseball is to win games. And as we know today's pitcher doesn't finish the games he starts, we would assume he'd pitch less innings over the same number of starts as his forebear. But that his forebear continues to pitch the 7th, 8th, and 9th innings of games does not mean he is doing so as effectively as he did the 4th, 5th, and 6th. And if this makes his team more likely to lose than trotting out a fresh Tanyon Sturtze or whomever, that can't be viewed as "effective career length," can it?

OTOH, if by NOT finishing games a pitcher's career is extended into other seasons where he can continue to pitch effectively through the first six innings, then perhaps this is a gain. IOW, short-term sacrifice, of a kind, for a long-term gain.

Additionally, it seems rather strange to compare a point in time (today's active career leaders) to a 30 year period. But I'm not a statistician. I do the humanities.
   149. Steve Treder Posted: June 23, 2005 at 08:52 PM (#1426633)
thats innings, not career(years otherwords)

As was discussed above, the most meaningful way to comprehend quantity of career is to incorporate both years and innings.

they are having shorter careers than some of the names, and their effectiveness is obviously diminished at the end of their careers where they are just piling up innings

Of course. That's also exactly what Maddux, Glavine, and Brown (and this year perhaps Johnson) are doing right now too.
   150. cardsfanboy Posted: June 23, 2005 at 08:54 PM (#1426647)
Jc, I think you hit the point on the head, that effective career is number of years, it's why they have reduced the workload within season to prolong the careers and effectiveness of these pitchers.

almost everyone that is listed in Treders list from earlier had very similar 'career' length. where they had effective seasons, what they are doing now is progressing their careers by reducing the seasonal strain.
   151. Honkie Kong Posted: June 23, 2005 at 08:58 PM (#1426674)
The question is whether the clearly observable significant reduction in annual workloads for top pitchers has resulted in any detectable reduction in the rate of injury occurrence.

But this where we end up going in circles, because now we are able to diagnose injuries much earlier, or detect more damage to a pitcher's body. If someone has a shoulder strain, they come out of the game immediately, have a MRI, 2 press conferences, and 10 column inches. 50 yrs ago, its tough luck dude, just keep rolling on and we will get you some ice in the clubhouse later. You often hear pitchers saying that they could have gone today, but were being cautious. So while we may have more DL stints these days, the reasons for people being put on the DL are getting more and more hilarious.

And as far as effective innings go, will the 2 innings a pitcher pitches with that strained shoulder, so he is pitching at 75%, count as effective? So would that pitcher's career have been prolonged by a year, if he hadn't be told to complete that certain game? And doesn't such misuse lead to quantitatively high number of innings over a shorter period of time?
   152. Steve Treder Posted: June 23, 2005 at 09:03 PM (#1426694)
And as we know today's pitcher doesn't finish the games he starts, we would assume he'd pitch less innings over the same number of starts as his forebear.

We might assume that, but it isn't what the data tells us. Actually modern starters are fairly close to starters of previous generations in innings per start, despite their dramatically fewer complete games. This is because (as was discussed earlier) earlier starters had many more short starts than modern pitchers; the standard deviation of innings per start was much greater. Modern starters pitch fewer innings than their predecessors primarily because they make fewer starts (hence the whole debate over the efficacy of the 5-man rotation).

OTOH, if by NOT finishing games a pitcher's career is extended into other seasons where he can continue to pitch effectively through the first six innings, then perhaps this is a gain. IOW, short-term sacrifice, of a kind, for a long-term gain.

Theoretically, of course. The question is whether the empirical evidence supports this hypothesis.

Additionally, it seems rather strange to compare a point in time (today's active career leaders) to a 30 year period.

Today's active career IP leaders don't really represent a point in time; their careers have been forged over the past 15-20 years. But if you prefer to tighten up that loose 1955-85 period I grabbed from, be my guest. Compare the IP of today's top 5 career leaders with the top 5 leaders from any given year in that 1955-85 period. That will, if anything, make the comparison more stark: today's top pitchers are forging careers of lesser quantity than their predecessors.
   153. cardsfanboy Posted: June 23, 2005 at 09:04 PM (#1426695)
Greg Maddux had 17 effective seasons
Glavine had 13
Randy had 15
Clemens 17
Pedro already has 10

it's a conscience decision that the teams have made, to prolong the number of useable years out of pitchers, they are pitching them less. You can argue the validity of that argument and be fine, but as it stands, the current usage pattern points to pitchers being healthier for a longer(number of season) than in the past. and be useful for thos season,

yes there were some freaks of nature(see Nolan Ryan who in his 27 year career was an effective healthy pitcher 15 of those seasons) but it's a philosophical argument as to which is better a guy pitching 10 seasons worthy and blowing out or a guy giving you 15 seasons and not blowing out other than normal age progression.
   154. Tango Tiger Posted: June 23, 2005 at 09:08 PM (#1426705)
Mefisto: I created the xPCE based on RJ, Radke, the league average, and some theoretical framework. I then ran that against every single Dodger starter of 57-64, just to see how it held up.

I'm working on a new one using the 2004 data for all pitchers (so you get a great cross-section there). Greg Maddux continues to stand out as a pitcher where the PCE breaks down. He pitches like no one else.
   155. Steve Treder Posted: June 23, 2005 at 09:10 PM (#1426707)
it's why they have reduced the workload within season to prolong the careers and effectiveness of these pitchers.

Why they do it is obvious. Whether they are actually efficient at achieving that objective is the question. The evidence that modern workload limits themselves actually do have a meaningful impact on injury reduction and career extension is what's so scarce.
   156. cardsfanboy Posted: June 23, 2005 at 09:11 PM (#1426712)
As was discussed above, the most meaningful way to comprehend quantity of career is to incorporate both years and innings.



really? It just depends on your point of view I guess. from the players point of view the more years he can pitch effectively the more money he is going to make. from the teams point of view it may be different, but their goal is to get whatever will get them the best investment during the time they have the player.

Due to the fact that pitchers on the whole are better now than they were in the past(healthier because of surgeries that would have ended their career, larger talent pool and more money) it isn't that hard for teams to accept whatever is in the better point of view of the player and let the better relievers of today do their job.
   157. Tango Tiger Posted: June 23, 2005 at 09:12 PM (#1426716)
Oh, and I would only care about a pitcher as long as I have him. That basically means that I try to keep the arm alive until he's 28 to 30. Any old pitcher (over 30), I keep his arm alive for 2 years, cause that's the most I'd sign him for.

This may sound inhuman, and I suppose it is. On the other hand, Pedro once said that the Redsox own his arm, and they can do whatever they want with it. This is an inhuman business, where players are assets.
   158. cardsfanboy Posted: June 23, 2005 at 09:15 PM (#1426720)
<objective is the question. The evidence that modern workload limits themselves actually do have a meaningful impact on injury reduction and career extension is what's so scarce. </i>

what evidence is scarce? I'm serious the longest effective career that I could find was Nolan Ryans and he was effective 15 out of 27 seasons, I just randomally grabbed 4 names(obvious names of course) and found three guys right now who have surpassed the totals I was able to find for any other pitchers. I'm going to keep looking(although baseball-reference is slow responding today) to see if I can find any more guys with effective careers past 12 season.(my guess is kaat, blyleven, is a start)
   159. cardsfanboy Posted: June 23, 2005 at 09:16 PM (#1426724)
(knew I should have looked at seaver first)
   160. cardsfanboy Posted: June 23, 2005 at 09:20 PM (#1426728)
Of course once I posted the last comment I was able to find three, should have gone further down the list that Treder posted earlier.

(Seaver, Blyleven and Gaylord Perry).
   161. Steve Treder Posted: June 23, 2005 at 09:23 PM (#1426736)
Greg Maddux had 17 effective seasons
Glavine had 13
Randy had 15
Clemens 17
Pedro already has 10


The following pitchers were all active in 1980:

Phil Niekro had 17 effective seasons
Nolan Ryan had 16
Gaylord Perry had 16
Don Sutton had 14
Steve Carlton had 16
Bert Blyleven had 15
Tom Seaver had 18
Tommy John had 16
Jim Kaat had 13
Fergie Jenkins had 15

and so on; this doesn't even begin to exhaust the list.

And they were compiling these while throwing substantially more innings per year than their modern counterparts. Were all of these guys "freaks of nature"?

the current usage pattern points to pitchers being healthier for a longer(number of season) than in the past

I understand the theory. What's lacking is the data that validates it.
   162. Mefisto Posted: June 23, 2005 at 09:30 PM (#1426755)
Thanks Tango.
   163. Steve Treder Posted: June 23, 2005 at 09:36 PM (#1426769)
it isn't that hard for teams to accept whatever is in the better point of view of the player and let the better relievers of today do their job

But regarding the workloads of top starters: it isn't relievers who pick up the slack, it's back-of-the-rotation starters, who are making more starts and pitching more innings than ever before.

And the reduced innings workload of modern top relievers is picked up by the back-of-the-bullpen relievers, who are making more appearances and pitching more innings than ever before.

That's the unavoidable tradeoff issue. Even if the reduced workload is helpful in reducing injuries and lengthening careers -- a dubious proposition, IMO, but let's assume it's valid -- then it's coming at the cost of added innings from the least capable pitchers.
   164. sunnyday2 Posted: June 23, 2005 at 09:39 PM (#1426776)
A five-man rotation?

As opposed to what?

This Dierker fellow is so cutting edge.
   165. cardsfanboy Posted: June 23, 2005 at 09:41 PM (#1426782)
I imagine the data hasn't really been researched. even using the crude way we are not it doesn't really tell us much. first off I'm using the word effective to just say the guy was better than league average, but how many of these guys had even multiple good seasons? what about the current group? Is Pedro's career as good as it is because he doesn't pitch as often as people did in the past? Was Clemens allowed to keep his longevity because of his usage? Would Bob Gibson have 300 wins if he would have saved his arm?

we of course won't ever really know. even if an objective study is done it won't ever give the information. The Dl study has flaws as mentioned because teams are more willing to use the dl to rest a pitcher and better diagnosing of potential problems. career innings pitched studies have flaws because they don't tell you how long the guy was actually good, so he becomes a journey men pitching like crap for 4 seasons trying to relive the glory days.

I'm trying to think of a method that could be used to study this, but even the simplistic ones I can think of, fall victim to better surgical techniques of today, and willingness to trust in them. (I mean you can't even use consecutive seasons of effective pitching, because it's entirely possible for a guy to have surgery nowadays even though he appears to be pitching well)
   166. cardsfanboy Posted: June 23, 2005 at 09:45 PM (#1426792)
A five-man rotation?

As opposed to what?

This Dierker fellow is so cutting edge.


the reason that Dierker said that, is that there is starting to be a push for teams to go to a 4 man rotation, and that some people feel it wouldn't hurt the players as long as they train the players right. (to be honest, I'm partially in that camp, but I think some of the things mentioned on this thread should also be considered, like giving your pitchers planned short starts once in a while)
   167. Francoeur Sans Gages (AlouGoodbye) Posted: June 23, 2005 at 09:52 PM (#1426806)
Were all of these guys "freaks of nature"?

Good point Steve. They're only "freaks" in the sense that all MLB pitchers are.

It's pretty obvious to me that there have been plenty of past pitchers able to stand up to insanely heavy usage patterns by modern standards, and that they brought more value to the team because of this. It therefore stands to reason that there are people around like that nowadays. Hey, maybe Livan Hernandez is underworked. But there are also pretty clearly guys who can't stand up to that workload. I think Treder is compelling to the extent that IF you have a pitcher who can stand a very heavy workload without losing effectiveness and IF your scientific/medical/physiological advice is that such a workload is safe for this pitcher, then it's stupid to have a strict rotation that will nevertheless keep this pitcher under that workload.

But what interests me more is that I also see a lot of pitchers who look effective for the first couple of innings, then tire. I should emphasise "look", because maybe this is sample size speaking. But because of the desire for quality starts, the received wisdom of bullpen management, and the fact that you need to stay in 5 for the win, these guys always get left in longer than they should. A starter who throws 3 innings every 3 days? This has obvious leverage advantages, and would be especially good in the NL. And it's possible that there are guys like that who the market undervalues, because they're putting up ERA of 5 in current usage, but would be able to put up an ERA of 3 in "little but often" usage. Is this impossible? I don't see why.

A team that is willing to look at innovative pitching usages (and that doesn't just mean looking to the past) has huge advantages over its rivals.
   168. Steve Treder Posted: June 23, 2005 at 09:57 PM (#1426812)
I imagine the data hasn't really been researched.

I think it's very clear that it hasn't, which is my entire point. Anything approaching comprehensive data that answers the question of whether rates of injury occurrence in pitchers has actually been reduced (or raised, or changed in any manner) over the past 15-20 years simply doesn't exist. If it did exist, I think we can be very confident we would know about it.

Reliance on pitch count limits and reduced innings workloads as a means of injury reduction has obviously been carried out as a practice (universally applied across pro baseball, in fact) over the past 15-20 years. It continues to be practiced -- yet the degree to which it is actually delivering results against its stated objective remains a matter of faith, not fact. It seems like it should work. It makes intuitive sense. (At least from one perspective; there is a countervailing theory that says the only way to improve endurance is to work the athlete harder, not cut back on workload.) But there is no clear data that illuminates the answer. No one knows.

If in fact injury occurrence has been reduced, the degree of reduction has been so slight as to not be noticeable amid the noise of everything else going on. Whatever the impact has been, it has been subtle, whereas the reduction in IP workloads has been anything but subtle.
   169. Steve Treder Posted: June 23, 2005 at 10:02 PM (#1426819)
A team that is willing to look at innovative pitching usages (and that doesn't just mean looking to the past) has huge advantages over its rivals.

Absolutely yes.

The point is not that what happened in the past is what should be returned to. The point is that what's happening in the present need not and should not be seen as all that's possible. And the team that gets out ahead of the curve, that does things its opponents are afraid to try (or haven't yet conceived of), gains a potential advantage. And certainly, the team that uses its players in ways in which they can contribute best, rather than fitting them all into a single pre-determined format, is likely to achieve the best results from that collection of talent.
   170. Dag Nabbit at ExactlyAsOld.com Posted: June 23, 2005 at 10:04 PM (#1426823)
Serious question here: When and how did pitch counts become such a big thing?

I remember here in Cub nation in '98 when we had Kerry Wood. I don't remember anyone talking about pitch counts during that stretch - and he was the youngest pitcher in baseball and in the record books at that time.

I assume that they became big right after (and largely as a result of) Kerry's arm problems. I know prospectus ran their PAP-Mach I article midway through the year and predicted that Wood would break down. I know that they're near/at the engine of pitch counts concerns, but is that it? Prospectus has never been that mainstream, and it wasn't as big then as it is today. I'm amazed they had that kind of juice. Did I miss something?

It just seems weird to me the way that it became so important so quickly. The best analogy I can make is in the late '70s the Cubs manager announced he's only use Sutter in save situations, and then in the next year/two all baseball engaged in this silent shift in how firemen were used. The same silent shift seems to have occurred with pitch counts 5-6 years ago. Did I miss something or did it just happen like I remember it?
   171. Dag Nabbit at ExactlyAsOld.com Posted: June 23, 2005 at 10:09 PM (#1426832)
I imagine the data hasn't really been researched.

I think it's very clear that it hasn't, which is my entire point.

Yea, I've kvetched about pitch counts here and at my site, but I really have no alternative to offer. It's just I find it bizarre that something should come along, silently and suddenly sweep the baseball world by storm, on a basis of just some WAGs on how pitchers should be used. Anyone else remember the original form of PAP? A few years later when bp intro'd their new form they admitted that they didn't have any sound basis for it at all. Parts of it (such as the arbitrary adjustment for pitcher age) were junked completely.

They had a belief, they created a stat that reflected the belief, and then a few years later they did some math to try to justify their belief. By that time all baseball had readjusted how they use starters to align with their benchmark of 100 pitches. The hell?

I have no problem with the concept of pitch counts, but I'd like to think it's application is based on something more than this.
   172. Steve Treder Posted: June 23, 2005 at 10:14 PM (#1426843)
Serious question here: When and how did pitch counts become such a big thing?

Pitch counts per se have only become a big thing in the media within the past 5 years or so (recorded in box scores, displayed on scoreboards, attended to by broadcasters, etc.). But they were looked at by teams themselves long before that (hell, teams have been charting and counting pitches for at least 50 years). The limitations on seasonal innings workloads by top starters and relievers kicked in during the 1985-90 period; whether it was driven by pitchcount limits per se or simply by IP limits, in either case the effect is roughly the same.

Pitches were counted in previous eras, and even noted by the media sometimes. I've related these anecdotes before, but they bear repeating: When Luis Tiant pitched his dramatic 5-4 complete game victory in game 4 of the 1975 WS, the TV broadcasters and everyone else made a huge deal of the fact that he had thrown 163 pitches, which everyone understood to be a very high figure. When Juan Marichal pitched his dramatic 5-1 complete game victory on the final day of the 1971 season to clinch the NL West title for the Giants, the media made a huge deal of the fact that he had thrown only 81 pitches, which everyone understood to be a microscopic total.

Counting pitches isn't the issue; they should be counted, and have been counted for a very long time. Being overly limited (driven?) by pitchcounts is when things become problematic.
   173. Backlasher Posted: June 23, 2005 at 10:18 PM (#1426854)
understand the theory. What's lacking is the data that validates it.

Its like talking to a fukking parrot. The data that validates longer career lenghts in longer career lengths. The data that validates utilization is medical. That is what you just keep ignoring, and glossing over as no data.

And the reduced innings workload of modern top relievers is picked up by the back-of-the-bullpen relievers, who are making more appearances and pitching more innings than ever before.

That's the unavoidable tradeoff issue. Even if the reduced workload is helpful in reducing injuries and lengthening careers -- a dubious proposition, IMO, but let's assume it's valid -- then it's coming at the cost of added innings from the least capable pitchers.


Goodness gracious. Saying it over and over again doesn't make it an effective point. Do you keep missing the point that bullpens are more effective than ever before ACROSS THE BEST RELIEVERS AND THE WHOLE BULLPEN.

And goodness, gracious, I think you would be silly to try to shorten the starting staff, but if you do it, that means you are even going to need more relief pitchers.

Because it serves no purpose whatsoever to have a starter pitch the last couple of innings of a blowout. It serves little purpose to have a tired starter to pitch in a high leverage situation when you have a fresh closer. All of this just so you can say, I got more innings out of my starters, and then burn them out earlier.

But there are also pretty clearly guys who can't stand up to that workload.

Yes.

I think Treder is compelling to the extent that IF you have a pitcher who can stand a very heavy workload without losing effectiveness and IF your scientific/medical/physiological advice is that such a workload is safe for this pitcher, then it's stupid to have a strict rotation that will nevertheless keep this pitcher under that workload.


And Yes.

Anything approaching comprehensive data that answers the question of whether rates of injury occurrence in pitchers has actually been reduced (or raised, or changed in any manner) over the past 15-20 years simply doesn't exist. If it did exist, I think we can be very confident we would know about it.


REdbook

(At least from one perspective; there is a countervailing theory that says the only way to improve endurance is to work the athlete harder, not cut back on workload.)

What theory is that?

But there is no clear data that illuminates the answer. No one knows.


So the obvious answer is to go against all medical evidence. Go against the increases in effectiveness. Go against the increase in career length and just throw em like the Goose.

Its just like 'roids. Steve can't assimilate disparate points of data. He won't be happy until MLB uses his theory for 15-20 years and isolates a study on pitcher breakdown, ruining the health of real human beings. All because he can't assimilate information.

If in fact injury occurrence has been reduced, the degree of reduction has been so slight as to not be noticeable amid the noise of everything else going on.

I love this, what noise Steve. You love that word. I take it for you that means anything that you didn't read Bill James say.

Whatever the impact has been, it has been subtle, whereas the reduction in IP workloads has been anything but subtle.

No we get five posts of this "You don't know and I don't know" then all of a sudden you characterize it as subtle. How do you arrive at that conclusion?
   174. Backlasher Posted: June 23, 2005 at 10:28 PM (#1426880)
And certainly, the team that uses its players in ways in which they can contribute best, rather than fitting them all into a single pre-determined format, is likely to achieve the best results from that collection of talent.


That would sound great, and I'm sure you probably think you can buy some support. Except you are the one that is advocating for ACE RELIEVER and expressly more usage.

Its you opponents that are open to change that comports with existing medical knowledge. You are the one who pines for the good old days. You are the one throwing out the good old days numbers.

Then when you look bad, you try to coopt an argument from your opponents.

If you want people to use pitchers in the best way, then stop all the Turk Loin nonsense. Quit pretending the medical information is not important, and quit pining for a return to the good old days. Its that type of dishonesty that can really p1ss other people off.
   175. Backlasher Posted: June 23, 2005 at 10:34 PM (#1426890)
It's just I find it bizarre that something should come along, silently and suddenly sweep the baseball world by storm, on a basis of just some WAGs on how pitchers should be used. Anyone else remember the original form of PAP? A few years later when bp intro'd their new form they admitted that they didn't have any sound basis for it at all. Parts of it (such as the arbitrary adjustment for pitcher age) were junked completely.

They had a belief, they created a stat that reflected the belief, and then a few years later they did some math to try to justify their belief.


This is the type of stuff that amazes me. You really believe that "they" ( I assume BPro) created pitch count limitations and everybody said why not.

I use to and still think that PAP pulls some sh1t out of their ass. The threshhold number is not terribly meaningful. The theory of geometric harm and overuse injury is very correct. But, you can google around some if you like. IIRC, orthopedic surgeons, sports medicine professionals, including Fleisig were commissioned to study IP limits for pitchers. They uniformly told persons it wasn't IP but Number of pitchs, and number within intervals that was what to monitor for threshhold innings.

Davis will usually chime in and say something like "BPro Won" or whatnot. But the method came from medicine, the stat was modeled after the medical advice.
   176. More Dewey is Always Good Posted: June 23, 2005 at 10:45 PM (#1426915)
I'm getting confused here -

Who is advocating for longer starts (more pitches/start)?

Who is advocations for more starts for better pitchers (ie., making less use of the fifth starter so fewer days off between starts)?

Because I would advocate the second position, but not necessarily the first. I thought I was clear as to what Treder's and BL's position was, but now I'm not so sure.
   177. Honkie Kong Posted: June 23, 2005 at 10:45 PM (#1426917)
I think we are starting to talk out of our collective asses here. Does anyone know whether a MLB team even pays attention to BPro or their PAP BS? The more likely option is that the general media finds a concept like pitch count easy to latch on and sell, and whenever a young pitcher goes out and throws 130 pitches, there is a huge media uproar. And managers might be less inclined to do that again just to stay on the good side of the media.

Anecdotally, the Braves blogs were in a uproar that Smoltz was allowed to pitch a CG with 8-0 lead, and that he has gone 4 games with atleast 8IP. Cox has not paid the least attention, and Smoltz publically said that the pitch count didn't matter, and that he wasn't stressed at all in any inning. I mean, this season, Cox had Davies throw 117 on short rest! But Cox can do as he pleases because he is beyond reproach now. Can a young manager do that without getting a media backlash?
   178. Jeff K. Posted: June 23, 2005 at 10:47 PM (#1426925)
One thing that I haven't seen discussed in regards to the "Same number of IP over 20 years vs. Same number of IP over 10 years" is one that James brings up in Politics of Glory: Even if the total "effectiveness" (no matter how you measure that) is the same, the impact of that effectiveness is not. A season being a finite and self-contained thing, distribution does matter, and that's almost undeniable. If the guy is above league average and the bullpen isn't so good that it's historically good, I will hands down take the 10 seasons, because it's likely to win me more World Series than the 20. I think this makes sense intuitively, and unless there's a problem with James' math in the Drysdale v. Pappas chapter that I don't know about, a similar hypothesis was proven correct.
   179. Jeff K. Posted: June 23, 2005 at 10:54 PM (#1426936)
This is the type of stuff that amazes me. You really believe that "they" ( I assume BPro) created pitch count limitations and everybody said why not.

BL, he explicitly states in the last sentence that he hopes it is something different. From the tone in both posts, I read an implied stance of "I don't think this is true, but it might be, and if it is, it's horrible."
   180. Steve Treder Posted: June 23, 2005 at 10:54 PM (#1426937)
Who is advocating for longer starts (more pitches/start)?

I'm not advocating that per se. I am advocating that teams be much more open than they currently are to allowing some starters in some circumstances to not be hard-capped at 110, or 120. More flexibility to react to circumstances is what I advocate. But I also think there's wisdom in getting a guy out of there early if he's really struggling early (and/or using him in a 2-3 inning relief assignment in lieu of a start now and again. I don't think more pitches per start on average would be a good idea for most pitchers, but getting to about the same average as today with more deviation makes intuitive sense, and is supported by historical data.

Who is advocations for more starts for better pitchers (ie., making less use of the fifth starter so fewer days off between starts)?

I definitely advocate that, as just part of a more flexible "organic" pitching staff usage model, that would be far less locked into rigid "starter" and "reliever" roles than today's.
   181. Steve Treder Posted: June 23, 2005 at 10:57 PM (#1426941)
A season being a finite and self-contained thing, distribution does matter, and that's almost undeniable. If the guy is above league average and the bullpen isn't so good that it's historically good, I will hands down take the 10 seasons, because it's likely to win me more World Series than the 20.

I completely agree. This is a variant on the "peak vs. career value" debate that so often surrounds HOF candidacies, and in that case, other things being equal, you want the guy with the higher peak, even knowing it also brings more severe low points.
   182. Jeff K. Posted: June 23, 2005 at 10:58 PM (#1426942)
I just read a quote in a Mike Caro column that I would love to see someone use when they're accusing someone else of making baseless, stupid assertions (as has happened multiple times in this thread):

"This is like the blind preaching to the sighted about what isn’t there."
   183. GGC Posted: June 23, 2005 at 11:18 PM (#1426989)
This looks like the article that Backlasher referred to upthread. In the meantime, I also found a bunch of links for Fleisig and ASMI. I'll have to digest all this stuff, but it looks pretty interesting.
   184. Backlasher Posted: June 23, 2005 at 11:51 PM (#1427086)
Who is advocating for longer starts (more pitches/start)?


Treder, otherwise that complete game, pitch count, historical garbage means nothing.

I advocate proper starts, and I think baseball people and the medical professionals who accompany them are in the position to know the proper start duration.

Observation is the key tool to effecting this measure. Pitch count is also an effective tool. You can't go by observation alone, because the first bad mechanics pitch is the first one too many.

I also think that pitchers will be less successful the more times a hitter sees them on a given day.

I also state that bullpens are more effective than in the past, and all data points to this conclusion.

I also note that a huge percentage of the Blue Jays staff had tendinitis (article linked upthread), which is an RSI precursor.

If a pitcher should go longer or the complete game, he can. If he is a freak of nature, let him be a freak. But its unlikely this is the proper thing to do.

That is an express statement. Force Steve to do the same thing.

Because the cop out is silly. Who doesn't think that pitchers should throw the proper amount. Its like insulting apple pie. The key is how you think the proper amount is determined. So there is no "we aren't far apart" We are as far apart as we can be, and Treder is just trying to adopt a rhetorically convenient stance.

Who is advocations for more starts for better pitchers (ie., making less use of the fifth starter so fewer days off between starts)?


On this point, I don't know. I cannot forsee starting a pitcher with less than 4 days of rest. There is not enough rest time.

So you need at least five starters. Now it is possible to devise a better plan so that a certain percentage of your starters get more starts.

But that plan is most likely not "swingman" Today and throughout baseball history, the category of pitcher that has been the most atrocious is "swingman" In fact how much bullpen's have improved is largely dependent on whether you call this swingman, a starter, a reliever, or a seperate thing altogether.

I would opine the major reason is that consistent patterns of work are needed, and there is a huge difference on how you pitch as a starter and a reliever. I have not tried to prove either. I just know when you create the role "swingman" you are devaluing that pitcher.

So you may be able to get good pitchers more starts, but it needs to be on a new model, not just Steve's weird fascination with Earl Weaver.

The major difference is that Slippery Steve is all over the map on bullpen usage. He will expressly pine for the ACE RELIEVER, then lie and claim he never did it. Then fall back to that rhetorical, "I just want to use bullpens the best way."

Guess what Stevey, we all want that. But the thing that is known is that current models outperform all previous models. It may be improved, but not by going back to the days of the Earl, who filleted pitchers much faster than any of hte current villian du jour managers.

So, I hope that presents a very express and concise statement. Please note, that Steve will not do that. He'll do his "objective search for the truth" bullsh1t, which apparently involves no reasearch and a locked in position that is counter to all evidence.
   185. Chris Dial Posted: June 24, 2005 at 12:14 AM (#1427138)
I cannot forsee starting a pitcher with less than 4 days of rest. There is not enough rest time.

Whoa! Who says?
   186. Chris Dial Posted: June 24, 2005 at 12:17 AM (#1427147)
What was wrong with my 33+6?
   187. Backlasher Posted: June 24, 2005 at 12:58 AM (#1427225)
Whoa! Who says?

I've given you a few people in the earlier post, including House.

Every source that I have come across states that muscle recovery time for intense workouts is 36 to 48 hours, which means to me 3 days is not enough, its the absolute minimum and you still take a risk. DOMS will not even onset until 48 hours, and you need fiber tear repair time.

Besides, I asked first. Why do you think 3 days is appropriate?

What was wrong with my 33+6?

I'm not sure what you are referring too.
   188. Chris Dial Posted: June 24, 2005 at 01:06 AM (#1427244)
Well, BL, I looked at your links and none of them said that.

72 hours is 3 days, right?

No one is suggesting two days rest.

Your links all indicated 3 days was suffcient - so I maximize use.

What was wrong with my 33+6?

I'm not sure what you are referring too.


Well, read my posts.
   189. Barca Posted: June 24, 2005 at 01:30 AM (#1427290)
"The top five active pitchers in career IP are ... and Kevin Brown (3183, 100th). "

I thought Wilbur Woods did that in one season.

Is it fair putting the Niekro brothers in there against real pitchers? I wouldn't have a problem with Wakefield making relief appearances along with his regular starts.


Screw your White Children, "i was beign semi-tongue-in-cheek"

semi? Now you are scaring me.
   190. Barca Posted: June 24, 2005 at 01:39 AM (#1427306)
Some pitchers can put up with that sort of abuse and some can't. The only problem is that it's hard to tell which pitchers can and which can't until you test them out,

Well in that case, I say [maybe echoing Tango], run them out there every other day and get your use out of them. Who cares if their arm falls off after they become a Yankee?
   191. JC in DC Posted: June 24, 2005 at 01:47 AM (#1427321)
A season being a finite and self-contained thing, distribution does matter, and that's almost undeniable. If the guy is above league average and the bullpen isn't so good that it's historically good, I will hands down take the 10 seasons, because it's likely to win me more World Series than the 20.

I completely agree. This is a variant on the "peak vs. career value" debate that so often surrounds HOF candidacies, and in that case, other things being equal, you want the guy with the higher peak, even knowing it also brings more severe low points.


This is obviously unrealistic nonsense. You, when playing GM or manager, obviously have to deal with all the circumstances that the real ones deal with, including AGENTS who look out for their clients (and their) best interests. Devising an optimum pitching schedule therefore requires working with and against agents who will probably tell you to go #### yourself if you suggest (through deeds or actions) that you're going to blow your top starters arm out by 10 seasons.

That response of course grants all other contested claims, including the enormous assumption that the 250th inning of Pedro Martinez or Roger Clemens is superior to the 60th inning of Tanyon Sturtze.
   192. GGC Posted: June 24, 2005 at 02:18 AM (#1427381)
Well, read my posts.

I tried Googling this site for 33+6 and it's a nightmare. Y'all should have postion papers you could just copy and paste or link to. BL seems to think Treder must be doing that. Either that, or Score Bard came up with a Random Treder Generator that spits out Champ Summers from time to time.
   193. Chris Dial Posted: June 24, 2005 at 02:51 AM (#1427423)
I bet you *can* convince pitchers and agents to start every fourth day (or at least do it a few times during the season).

try this:
you get a decision for every 9 IP. You throw 7 IP per start. (7 * 33 = 231 IP, /9 = 26 decisions). that can be 18-8 or 20-6. Now throw every fourth day once a month (April, May, June, July, August, September - 6 additional starts) 39*7/9 = 30 decisons - or 22-8, or 20-10.

Now you are a 20 game winner - that means $$$$. that means HoF.

I think it is really poor roster management *not* to do this with your top two starters (although I'd wait until they were 23+ yr old)


It's post 100 of this thread.
   194. Backlasher Posted: June 24, 2005 at 03:19 AM (#1427450)
Well, BL, I looked at your links and none of them said that.


Chris, I'm trying to show the value of rest. I don't think any of them talk about a magic number unless you count Ryan's one month. They all show the need for rest. I certainly don't think they say 3 is sufficient. I'm also trying to give you something other than just my memory.

But as near as I can recall the timeline. Intense muscle recovery require 1.5 to 2 days. Then DOMS can set in. Swelling typically lasts 3 to 4 days, but can take up to 7. If you have muscle tear, even micro tear, it doesn't even begin healing until swelling subsides. Full strengthe recovery can take up to 7 days. Now that's just the little bit that I remember from a weightlifting class almost 18 years ago. If you can prove me to be misinformed, I'll take the hit.

But from the Carroll interview through the Marathon training, what you have is you increase the cycle of rest as you increase the intensity of the workout. So unless you want to take a massive role of the dice, that extra day of rest you lose needs to be matched by decreasing the workout.

Even the massive pro-4 day advocates like Janzeroski, Wright, etc. are demanding this. IOW, your pitch count becomes even more important. Your need to stay out of big innings is even more important. If you do this, you are going to be giving a significant portion of the game, even when things go right, to your bullpen. When you have some trouble spots you could be giving more than half the game to your bullpen.

And this doesn't even begin to measure those already weak, old farts, or those with low endurance who can answer the bell in a 5 man rotation, but would have an awful lot of trouble in the 4 man slot.

And if you look back at the old links, remember the Blue Jays were taken at random and most of their pitching staff already had tendinitis in the current mode. You are already at 71% preventable injury. We are already using the DL as a resting mechanism.

And if you start hitting the bullpen that early, you are going to need even more bullpen pitchers.

If you have a machine whose maximum rated performance is x; you don't run it x in normal conditions and occasionally run it at x + y. You run it at x-y so you have reserve for x. Do you always have your tachometer just inside of red, and then push it further when you accelerate. If you do that with pitchers they are going to need that diet of steroids.

I'm not saying your 33+6 couldn't work; I just think its a pretty big risk with no great benefit horizon.

And I don't think you can work a plan that says, if its close I'll leave him in longer and give an extra day of rest. If you go to the 4 day model, then you have to committ to conserving the exertion. Or do you also advocate that they pitch as much or more than they do now.
   195. Chris Dial Posted: June 24, 2005 at 12:12 PM (#1427806)
I certainly don't think they say 3 is sufficient.

Actually most say "up to 72 hours". That's three days.

You did effectively what you hate - you made a statement then presented some evidence that doesn't actually support your point (it doesn't refute either).

Your second paragraph says 4 days rest isn't enough.

I am not a "massive pro-4" guy, but I think starters in general are underused. Yes, I have seen the effectiveness of bullpens (BTW, while ERAs are slightly better, teams don't win/lose anymore games as a result - odd, huh?).

And *YES* I think an extra inning from Pedro is better than an inning from Koo. Not *every* extra inning, but on average - unless Pedro himself says he's done, I think I leave Pedro out there (not past 106 pitches - or whereever his demonstrated loss of effectiveness is). that's MOST of the time. It's up to me, my coaches and Pedro and the catcher to determine in each instance, based on batter/score/situation/pitches thrown/tirednes/next game/last game/bullpen available etc.

But MOST of the time, managers default to removal too early (IMO). And they switch relievers far far too often.

I'll lay one out for you shortly.
   196. Chris Dial Posted: June 24, 2005 at 12:13 PM (#1427807)
And I don't think you can work a plan that says, if its close I'll leave him in longer and give an extra day of rest. If you go to the 4 day model, then you have to committ to conserving the exertion.

Well, of course I can.

And I have stated above that coasting is permissible.
   197. JC in DC Posted: June 24, 2005 at 01:19 PM (#1427846)
And *YES* I think an extra inning from Pedro is better than an inning from Koo. Not *every* extra inning, but on average - unless Pedro himself says he's done,... But MOST of the time, managers default to removal too early (IMO). And they switch relievers far far too often.


Small consolation for Grady Little, Chris.
   198. Chris Dial Posted: June 24, 2005 at 01:25 PM (#1427851)
JC,
you know, that was one outing where people all over the world were screaming for Pedro to be lifted - and Little left him out there.

Not sure what that was, but it didn't work for Little. "coaches" sure got that one wrong (or right, depending on perspective).

I was in the mIRC chat, and we were all going nuts about taking Pedro out, and it just unraveled.
   199. Jeff K. Posted: June 24, 2005 at 02:15 PM (#1427911)
This is obviously unrealistic nonsense.

*blink* A topic not being completely in line with the reality of being an everyday General Manager? Whatever shall we do? Of course it's ridiculous. The question was posed, though, and there was some discussion on it. No GM will ever be presented with that choice. Just like no GM will ever be presented with the choice of two hitters with equivalent OBP, SLG, and AVG, one hitter who never strikes out versus one who strikes out for every out. We still discussed that, too.

The point still stands: given a choice between splitting an equivalent workload over 2 seasons or 1, or over 2 seasons vs. over 3, I would always take the shorter period. Given the constraints in my original post.
   200. Max Parkinson Posted: June 24, 2005 at 02:50 PM (#1427996)
BL, post 185

But that plan is most likely not "swingman" Today and throughout baseball history, the category of pitcher that has been the most atrocious is "swingman" In fact how much bullpen's have improved is largely dependent on whether you call this swingman, a starter, a reliever, or a seperate thing altogether.

I would opine the major reason is that consistent patterns of work are needed, and there is a huge difference on how you pitch as a starter and a reliever. I have not tried to prove either. I just know when you create the role "swingman" you are devaluing that pitcher.


BL,

I think that this is a very salient point, and one that serves some notice that what may have been done in the past is not necessarily an improvement to the present and in fact may be much worse.

My anecdotal information on this point comes from Corey Thurman, ex of the Blue Jays. I have been privileged to get to know him as he has been rehabbing from a torn labrum (effectively a death sentence for a ML pitcher). He has stated to me in no uncertain terms that the beginning of the end of his health was when he was used as a "swingman" by the Blue Jays starting with the last week of Spring Training 2003, and moving onward through August. In addition, he was riding the Toronto-Syracuse shuffle.

He concedes that relieving for a couple of weeks, than having to spot-start for 6 innnings, then back to the pen (on more than one occasion on less than 4 days rest) for this period caused his shoulder to go. The dual causes of not enough rest, and lack of strength building for starting resulted in muscle fatigue and mechanical breakdown - the combination resulted in a near-complete tear.

I am by no means a staunch advocate of specific pitch counts - I agree with you that the best judges of workload are the professional trainers and pitching coaches. However, I am of the firm belief that regular work, and prior knowledge of workload expectations can significantly reduce the preventable injuries to which you refer.
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