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Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Rangers’ Yu Darvish Pushes for a Six-Man Pitching Rotation - NYTimes.com

Why stop there? How about once every two weeks?

Jim Furtado Posted: July 22, 2014 at 01:46 PM | 21 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: rangers, yu darvish

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   1. Ray (RDP) Posted: July 22, 2014 at 01:57 PM (#4755758)
Wrong direction.
   2. Athletic Supporter can feel the slow rot Posted: July 22, 2014 at 02:03 PM (#4755761)
He should have his starts taken away.
   3. PreservedFish Posted: July 22, 2014 at 02:12 PM (#4755764)
I too would like to reduce my workload by one-sixth while retaining the same salary.
   4. Greg K Posted: July 22, 2014 at 02:27 PM (#4755770)
I would guess there would be a lot of other contributing factors (probably most significantly how pitchers are used in youth baseball), but is there an appreciable difference in injuries in recent years between the US and Japan?
   5. Ray (RDP) Posted: July 22, 2014 at 02:42 PM (#4755783)
Somewhat related story:

The Los Angeles Angels won't limit Garrett Richards' workload down the stretch this season, especially with the Oakland Athletics squarely in their sights.

Richards has emerged as Los Angeles' top pitcher this season but is on pace to eclipse 200 innings, well over his previous career high.

Angels general manager Jerry Dipoto, however, is not concerned about Richards' durability and said there are no plans to temporarily shut down the right-hander.

"Not at all," Dipoto said Monday, according to MLB.com. "Garrett has thrown from end to end in a season. His innings have not escalated to the point where they're 200-plus, but Garrett throws the ball as easily as anybody you'll ever see. It's not a violent delivery, it's not a violent package. He maintains velocity pretty easily."

...

But the Angels (59-39) own the second-best record in the majors and entered Tuesday just two games behind first-place Oakland (61-37) in the AL West, so Dipoto won't be "phobic" about Richards' health while his team is in a division race.

"He's going to go out, and he's going to pitch," Dipoto said. "There will be time in the second half where we might be able to back up his pitch count on a given day or take him out. But we're not so phobic with innings that we're not going to pay attention to what the player is doing, or what his performance is telling us."


Maybe teams are finally realizing that there's no magic formula to protecting pitchers, or any formula at all, including the silly "Don't increase a young pitcher's innings by more than 50 from one season to the next," which was concocted out of whole cloth.

As long as you are not slagging a pitcher -- and actually there's not much evidence that that's worse, either -- you should just let him pitch.

There is zero indication that pitcher injuries have decreased over the decades.
   6. morineko Posted: July 22, 2014 at 02:59 PM (#4755798)
Oh, this one's from the New York Times. The one I saw earlier on Twitter was from Newsday, and the writer of that piece had interviewed Daisuke Matsuzaka and Roger McDowell about the same issue--NPB workloads, pitch counts, and elbow injuries--for an earlier article, which was much more informative about both NPB workloads and the treatment of injuries. Matsuzaka states that Japanese pitchers would just not have surgery at all, and the ones who did would only have it once the tear was complete. He claims that players today are more likely to consent to have TJS if their elbows are injured. I don't have the direct data to back that up, but it sounds plausible. He also said that the issue with the 6-man rotation being preferred is because of the consistent rest period. The NPB season has 1 off day per week. That also accounts for NPB's high pitch count per start.
   7. Rennie's Tenet Posted: July 22, 2014 at 03:01 PM (#4755802)
I think this is more plausible if the starters pick up some relief duty on rest day 3 or 4.
   8. Ron J2 Posted: July 22, 2014 at 04:22 PM (#4755867)
#5 Craig Wright's study is pretty compelling evidence that if you want a good young pitcher to have a productive career you have to watch his workload when he's young. (which doesn't mean being overly cautious -- merely being risk adverse. Wright himself decries the handling of today's young pitchers)

This doesn't mean that this will keep him healthy. Just that the track record is much worse if you don't watch his workload. It also only applies to pitchers under 25.

And of course there's the whole issue of maximizing a pitcher's value in the time before you have to pay retail.
   9. PASTE Thinks This Trout Kid Might Be OK (Zeth) Posted: July 22, 2014 at 05:29 PM (#4755920)
Bill James posted a simple but useful study last week on his (paywall) site that suggests that pitchers get more effective with extra rest. When you go from a four man to a five man rotation you're not trading off those extra starts by lesser pitchers for healthier 1-4 starters; you're trading them for better 1-4 starters.

It seems that going from 4 to 5 is right around the break even point, meaning that if you're a very top heavy team with two aces and nothing else but a list of Quad-A guys you should probably use a four man rotation, otherwise five is likely better. Most teams can't find five starters above replacement level (especially since in effect you need seven or eight such pitchers because pitchers get hurt a lot). Going to six would strain most teams' ability to field competent pitchers beyond what it can bear.

Using your pitchers every fifth day doesn't make them any healthier than using them every fourth. Effectiveness is the entire issue.
   10. Moeball Posted: July 22, 2014 at 06:14 PM (#4755936)
I seem to recall reading about a test of this sort of happening by accident with the 1939 Yankees. Apparently Lefty Gomez got hurt and Red Ruffing was getting old so McCarthy decided to spread out the workload a lot more than usual and essentially went with a 6-man rotation, with dominating results. Only one pitcher on the staff reached 200 innings (Ruffing) and no starter on the team had more than 28 starts. In an American League season where the average ERA was around 4.6, a total of only 9 pitchers in the league had at least 100 innings pitched while maintaining an ERA of under 3.50. Six of them were on the Yankees pitching staff. The three non-Yankees to crack that list - you might have heard of these guys: Lefty Grove, Bob Feller and Ted Lyons.
   11. Srul Itza Posted: July 22, 2014 at 07:07 PM (#4755961)
I don't like the idea of a 6 man rotation.

And I am something of a traditionalist.

But I am coming around to the idea of a roster increase, with the Manager selecting 25 for the day out of X, PROVIDED that they were limited to, say, 11 pitchers for the day and 14 position players (or 10 and 15, even).

I don't see the number of pitchers on the staff retreating significantly to older levels, so this might allow there to be more platooning, defensive substitutions, etc., which I would like to see.

It is not ideal, but I think I would prefer it to the current system. I think.
   12. shoewizard Posted: July 22, 2014 at 09:28 PM (#4756020)
I'm coming around to the notion that increased velocity for guys who are not naturally physiologcally suited to throwing 93 MPH is one major factor for increase in injuries.

But whenever I peruse BB-Ref historical data it's just so obvious to see guy after guy that had a heavy workload for a season or two then suddenly see a drop in innings and effectiveness.

200 is the new 250 in terms of innings as the innings are tougher these day. More effort, less chance to cruise or "take something off" to get through the bottom of the order.

That and year round throwing during developmental teenage years. Only so many bullets in that gun.

but I don't really know what I'm talking about.
   13. bjhanke Posted: July 23, 2014 at 03:07 AM (#4756135)
I've thought - and written - for some years that it's about time for the 6-man rotation. MLB rotations have increased from one, in the 1870s, to five, in the 1950s. I see no reason why this should not continue to six, and it's been a long time since the 1950s. There's nothing magic about five. In every case where the rotation has been increased, the idea was to decrease the workloads, in terms of IP. And it's pretty much always worked (you can make a contrarian case for the late 1960s / early 1970s, but the five-man rotation came into play in the 1950s, not as late as the 1970s). Of course, the idea was also to increase the number of IP per starter game, so the basic starter would only pitch a couple of dozen fewer IP over the year. I'm all in favor of that. Yes, it will be hard to find six decent starting pitchers. But it's also hard to find six decent middle relievers, which is what teams are doing now. The current idea seems to be to find a bunch of guys who can throw 100 mph for one inning but no more, and rotate them through the middle innings. I have grave doubts about being able to do that any further than it has been done. - Brock Hanke
   14. bobm Posted: July 23, 2014 at 03:31 AM (#4756139)
For 2013, All Teams in Major Leagues, For any choice in Days of Rest, sorted by greatest On-Base Plus Slugging for this split

                                                                                   
Split       Year   OPS  ERA   GS      IP    BF SO9 SO/W   BA  OBP   SLG BAbip tOPS+
4 DaysGS    2013  .724 3.96 2403 14424.0 60960 7.2 2.60 .259 .318  .406  .300   102
5 DaysGS    2013  .725 4.12 1510  8938.0 37824 7.2 2.56 .258 .318  .408  .298   103
6+ DaysGS   2013  .728 3.88  887  5021.0 21362 7.1 2.37 .257 .321  .407  .295   104
2 DaysGS    2013  .791 3.72   21   111.1   462 6.4 2.82 .268 .312  .479  .283   119
1 DayGS     2013  .829 6.57    3    12.1    53 5.8 1.33 .255 .340  .489  .250   130
3 DaysGS    2013  .844 6.05   37   166.2   758 7.4 1.83 .296 .373  .470  .335   136
0 DaysGS    2013 1.500 9.00    1     3.0    16 0.0 0.00 .467 .500 1.000  .385   310


Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 7/23/2014.
   15. Wahoo Sam Posted: July 23, 2014 at 04:41 AM (#4756144)
I think if the trend continues to add more pitchers to MLB rosters (relievers are now at 7 for most teams), the game suffers for loss of platoons, pinch-hitters, pinch-runners, defensive replacements, etc. I just think the game and strategy is better when a team has 2-3 decent bats on the bench. It would also help stem the tide of these 6th, 7th, 8th innings relievers who just throw one pitch at 98 MPH and are basically throwers, not pitchers. The game is better if the best players are deciding the outcome more often and if managers have options to counter the constant string of relievers (thanks, Larussa).

my two pennies
   16. ellsbury my heart at wounded knee Posted: July 23, 2014 at 05:24 AM (#4756145)
Well, do starting pitchers in Japan have a lower incidence of injury than those in America? I imagine data on injuries in the NPB may be tough to come by, but it would definitely be interesting to see if it made a difference.

I wonder if a 6-man rotation would make sense at sub-AA leagues to limit innings. Seems like it could provide some interesting data, at least.
   17. Curse of the Andino Posted: July 23, 2014 at 06:02 AM (#4756147)
I've thought - and written - for some years that it's about time for the 6-man rotation. MLB rotations have increased from one, in the 1870s, to five, in the 1950s. I see no reason why this should not continue to six, and it's been a long time since the 1950s.


The Orioles have been doing that of late. Essentially, they're demoting one starter at a time then recalling them a few days later. We're talking rookies like Gausman, but also bona fide major-leaguers like Miguel Gonzales and Bud Norris. It is, for the moment, a six-man rotation. I sorta saw which rule they're following that lets them do this, but somebody less sleepy than me could explain it better.

It might be working, Gausman got roughed up his last start, (by the A's), but if it hadn't been for a bullpen meltdown post-ASB, O's would have taken four of their last five, on the road, against Oakland and L.A., primarily due to solid starts by whomever. SSS of course.
   18. BDC Posted: July 23, 2014 at 09:12 AM (#4756172)
Logically, to follow Ray's point above, any pitching regimen is going to see a lot of injuries, because a lot of good pitchers are going to throw the hell out of the ball and their arms in whatever system is current doctrine.

So if you instituted a rule that forbade relief pitchers, or sharply cut the number of pitchers a team could carry, you'd see a lot of current starters, even durable ones, get hurt; but of necessity some guys who are mediocre or worse at the moment would come to the fore, and become stars, because they'd be able to adapt to the condition.

   19. filihok Posted: July 23, 2014 at 10:08 AM (#4756188)
For 2013, All Teams in Major Leagues, For any choice in Days of Rest, sorted by greatest On-Base Plus Slugging for this split


Split Year OPS ERA GS IP BF SO9 SO/W BA OBP SLG BAbip tOPS+
4 DaysGS 2013 .724 3.96 2403 14424.0 60960 7.2 2.60 .259 .318 .406 .300 102
5 DaysGS 2013 .725 4.12 1510 8938.0 37824 7.2 2.56 .258 .318 .408 .298 103
6+ DaysGS 2013 .728 3.88 887 5021.0 21362 7.1 2.37 .257 .321 .407 .295 104
2 DaysGS 2013 .791 3.72 21 111.1 462 6.4 2.82 .268 .312 .479 .283 119
1 DayGS 2013 .829 6.57 3 12.1 53 5.8 1.33 .255 .340 .489 .250 130
3 DaysGS 2013 .844 6.05 37 166.2 758 7.4 1.83 .296 .373 .470 .335 136
0 DaysGS 2013 1.500 9.00 1 3.0 16 0.0 0.00 .467 .500 1.000 .385 310


Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 7/23/2014.


5th starters are, likely, more likely to have their starts skipped and get extra (5 or 6+) days of rest. The pitchers pitching on 5 and 6+ days of rest aren't as good as the guys going on 4 days of rest.
   20. PASTE Thinks This Trout Kid Might Be OK (Zeth) Posted: July 23, 2014 at 11:09 AM (#4756211)
So if you instituted a rule that forbade relief pitchers, or sharply cut the number of pitchers a team could carry, you'd see a lot of current starters, even durable ones, get hurt


My goodness, that would be just awful. I'm so glad that doesn't happen. Long may it remain so!
   21. Crispix reaches boiling point with lackluster play Posted: July 23, 2014 at 11:20 AM (#4756220)
If a 6-man pitching rotation means longer starts and fewer relievers, I'm all for it. More jobs for AAAA contact pitchers. Fewer strikeouts, more balls in play. The Phillies seem to have no problem finding guys who can join the rotation and put up an ERA under 5, and this is a team that keeps giving Jake Diekman and Jeff Manship the high-leverage bullpen innings. Get rid of those guys.

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