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Saturday, September 16, 2017

Why hasn’t MLB fixed its September roster expansion rules?

Allow teams to activate as many players as they want but limit them to 25 dressed players per game. Fixed.

Jim Furtado Posted: September 16, 2017 at 11:35 AM | 74 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: mlb rules

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   1. Bote Man Posted: September 16, 2017 at 12:53 PM (#5532991)
The northern latitudes start getting cooler in September, so I doubt that players would agree not to dress.

But seriously, folks, I don't consider the rules broken so I don't think they need fixing. The regulars are tired from playing every day for 5 months. Each team can call up as many fresh faces as they need, we get to see fresh faces play, regulars get to rest in anticipation of the playoffs, the noobs can keep playing after the minor league seasons end. It adds a different element to the game to garner interest when it might be flagging for fans of teams that are out of contention; now they get to glimpse the future.
   2. puck Posted: September 16, 2017 at 01:07 PM (#5532997)
Did people complain about this before the internet? I never remember reading about such a thing in a newspaper column, and those guys found plenty to complain about. Why has it become a thing in say, the last decade?
   3. McCoy Posted: September 16, 2017 at 01:20 PM (#5533004)
If some team calls up Strasburg or Harper or Griffey for the first time in Septmeber that might garner some interest from their fans but otherwise nobody is going to give a fig that Augie Ojeda is making his debut in September on a team that is going to lose 100 games. Nowadays team rarely let their uber prospects make their debuts in September.
   4. Greg K Posted: September 16, 2017 at 01:25 PM (#5533007)
I think there's some advantage for a particularly devoted fan, but that may not be enough to really matter to a team's revenues.

There's a slight benefit for me personally though. Now that the Jays are out of it I'm glad I get to see Teoscar Hernandez and Richard Urena play. Of course, the 40-man roster isn't the only reasonable way for that to happen...cutting Darwin Barney loose at this point is no problem, so you can play Urena in September with a 25-man roster too.
   5. don't ask 57i66135; he wants to hang them all Posted: September 16, 2017 at 01:34 PM (#5533012)
Teoscar
the first time i saw his name, i read it as 'toe scar' and now my brain automatically reads it as toescar. hashtagfirstworldproblems.
   6. Pat Rapper's Delight (as quoted on MLB Network) Posted: September 16, 2017 at 02:11 PM (#5533028)
Why hasn’t MLB fixed its September roster expansion rules?

Uhhhhh....... because they aren't broken. Coke to [1].

Do I really even need to RTFA? I saw the espn.com URL and immediately assumed it was a garbage hot take.
   7. cardsfanboy Posted: September 16, 2017 at 02:11 PM (#5533029)
I like expanded rosters, but I would honestly prefer if they made some tweaks to it, they should have expanded rosters the first fifteen days of the season, and the last fifteen days. This allows teams a little more time to assess the NRI and whether or not a prospect is actually ready for the majors, in a true game like situation instead of spring training, and the last fifteen allows the team to reward the guys who had a good minor league season and to see if they really fit in with their future.

Beyond that, I don't have a problem with the suggestion above about dress 25 men per game, sure there will still be 9+ relief pitchers, but at least there will be some type of limit, and every team would be working with the same roster size.

If some team calls up Strasburg or Harper or Griffey for the first time in Septmeber that might garner some interest from their fans but otherwise nobody is going to give a fig that Augie Ojeda is making his debut in September on a team that is going to lose 100 games. Nowadays team rarely let their uber prospects make their debuts in September.


Teams do play their uber prospects in September, they just seem to have a few other call ups along the way, or get called up just a bit earlier, just looking at two names (one because I had his page up already, and another just because I googled top 100 prospect for 2015) and you have Bradley Jr, who had played in only 23 games prior to his September call up, Byron Buxton had 11 games before being called up on August 20th. I don't think teams really worry that much about late season call ups and how it affects their free agent status.
   8. BDC Posted: September 16, 2017 at 02:15 PM (#5533031)
Did people complain about this before the internet?

I don't remember much complaint about this before 2012 (the second wild card). I don't know if there is a strict connection. But when teams with serious bench weaknesses, hovering around .500, are still in contention, though, and everyone wants to carry 29 pitchers, the call-ups may seem more of a big deal than they used to. Still, as McCoy says, if a player is really going to make a big difference, he almost always would have been up earlier and contributed a lot more.

How many September call-ups have made a genuine difference in pennant races? The one I remember best was Marty Bystrom on the 1980 Phillies, which shows either how poor and/or selective my memory is, or how rare such an event is.

The race that was really won by September acquisitions was the 1920 AL pennant (Duster Mails and Joe Sewell for Cleveland). That's a great part of baseball history.
   9. McCoy Posted: September 16, 2017 at 02:19 PM (#5533033)
They should only be allowed to dress 20 per game.


you have Bradley Jr, who had played in only 23 games prior to his September call up, Byron Buxton had 11 games before being called up on August 20th. I don't think teams really worry that much about late season call ups and how it affects their free agent status.

The evidence you provided is a bit weird for the argument you're putting forth. Neither player you listed made their debut in September.

Imagine bringing up Kris Bryant on Septmeber 1st and him raking it and then keeping him down at the start of the new year to mess with his service clock. It isn't going to happen.
   10. McCoy Posted: September 16, 2017 at 02:21 PM (#5533034)
Every so often you'd hear a complaint from a team fighting for a spot because some other team was starting their scrubs against a team that they were trying to chase down or fight off. I remember hearing it in the 90's and 00's occasionally. I remember some NL Central teams complaining because of what lineup the Cubs put out there and I remember the cubs complaining when somebody else played scrubs against their opponents.
   11. mathesond Posted: September 16, 2017 at 02:34 PM (#5533037)
Was Francisco Rodriguez a September call-up for the 2002 Angels?
   12. Jarrod HypnerotomachiaPoliphili (TeddyF.Ballgame) Posted: September 16, 2017 at 02:37 PM (#5533039)
Yes.
   13. Don Malcolm Posted: September 16, 2017 at 03:02 PM (#5533043)
Classic click-bait by a journalist operating in 90th percentile mountain/molehill mode. Article title is a leading question (with undertones of "when did you stop beating your wife"...), followed by an article that goes on far too long because the writer feels compelled to demonstrate how much "work" was done on the piece to justify its "importance." And its kitchen sink approach makes sure to wander into the knee-jerk world of game length issues...which are not going to be seriously affected by the existence of extra bodies on the bench.
   14. cmd600 Posted: September 16, 2017 at 03:17 PM (#5533047)
some other team was starting their scrubs


I wonder how often we actually see this. 40 man spots are precious. After your 25 regulars and top prospects, there isn't a whole lot of room to roster crappy players. You might see a third catcher and a couple guys who are at the end of the bench, but generally teams are going to have guys legitimately deserving of a roster spot.
   15. Jarrod HypnerotomachiaPoliphili (TeddyF.Ballgame) Posted: September 16, 2017 at 03:18 PM (#5533050)
Bleacher Report calls K-Rod the second-greatest September callup in history.
   16. McCoy Posted: September 16, 2017 at 03:38 PM (#5533059)


I wonder how often we actually see this. 40 man spots are precious. After your 25 regulars and top prospects, there isn't a whole lot of room to roster crappy players. You might see a third catcher and a couple guys who are at the end of the bench, but generally teams are going to have guys legitimately deserving of a roster spot.


Just how bad were the Cubs if Augie Ojeda, Jose Nieves, and Chad Meyers were legitimately deserving of not only a roster spot but of starting as well?
   17. Joyful Calculus Instructor Posted: September 16, 2017 at 03:44 PM (#5533060)
I just wanted to reiterate what other have said: there is no problem to fix. I think the issue recently that has upset some people is that teams will use 12 pitchers in a game. *eye roll*
   18. Sunday silence Posted: September 16, 2017 at 05:55 PM (#5533109)
pretty sure Andruh Jones was a late season call up for the Braves in a pennant race.

EDIT it was Aug 15
   19. Walt Davis Posted: September 16, 2017 at 05:55 PM (#5533110)
CFB's point is that top prospects usually debut before Sept. As I've shown over and over, the way the Cubs treated Bryant was very unusual and Bryant would normally have been called up no later than early Aug (after the trade deadline). You sometimes have very young hot prospects (e.g. Acuna) who will be left down all year -- they generally aren't on the 40-man yet anyway. Since they were going to the playoffs, the Braves of the day did call up Andruw Jones and he debuted Aug 15.

For Theo, just look back at 2014. Alcantara debuted on July 9, Hendricks on July 10, Javy on Aug 5, Soler on Aug 27.

If you're having a bad season, you generally wouldn't wait until Sept to call those guys up, you'd do it as soon as you had opened 25-man spots for them. If you're a good team then (a) if you think they're better than what you've already got, you'll call them up whenever; (b) you'll call them up in Sept if you're in a close race or you think they might be worth a playoff roster spot. So in general, the only way a TOP prospect makes his debut in Sept is if he's on a good team but not quite good enough for a 25-man spot in July/Aug while the team is either in a tight race or thinks he might be on the playoff roster. That's a reasonably rare combination right there.

That rare combination led to Corey Seager making his debut on Sept 3.
   20. oscar madisox Posted: September 16, 2017 at 07:10 PM (#5533179)
Wasn't Bob Costas the first - and loudest - opponent of roster expansion? Others have jumped on the bandwagon since, but Costas is still the loudest voice. Just yesterday I heard him complain that it isn't fair that one team has 28 players on its roster and the other has 38. Big deal, if one team doesn't want to call up as many players as the other teams, that's their problem.

Like others here, I agree that there's nothing to be fixed.

   21. BDC Posted: September 16, 2017 at 07:18 PM (#5533182)
After your 25 regulars and top prospects, there isn't a whole lot of room to roster crappy players

I dunno, a lot of the teams I've followed have rostered a bunch of crappy players on their 25-man :-D

I guess the general lack of answer to my question in #8 means that there haven't been many September callups who have made a great impact on any pennant races. Corey Seager played very well in 2015, with 1.5 WAA in September. Neatly enough, the Dodgers were 6½ games up when they promoted him and won their division by eight. Still doesn't look like it changed the course of history …

and even if it did, he was good enough to immediately win a starting job for his club, and thus was not really part of what people currently complain about, which is the larger roster size itself. I guess my question should be amended to: did one team's much larger bench/bullpen ever become a decisive pennant-race factor?
   22. cardsfanboy Posted: September 16, 2017 at 07:54 PM (#5533196)
How many September call-ups have made a genuine difference in pennant races? The one I remember best was Marty Bystrom on the 1980 Phillies, which shows either how poor and/or selective my memory is, or how rare such an event is.

The race that was really won by September acquisitions was the 1920 AL pennant (Duster Mails and Joe Sewell for Cleveland). That's a great part of baseball history.


No real answer to the question, but here is a fangraphs article. titled Greatest September Call ups.

   23. cardsfanboy Posted: September 16, 2017 at 08:01 PM (#5533197)
Here is another article on top ten september call ups. From Bleacher report....

mind you, neither of these articles are focused on pennant race impact...still bleacher report goes
10. Billy Hamilton
9. Jose Canseco
8. David Price(an actual pennant race guy)
7. Randy Johnson
6. Ernie Banks
5. Fred Lynn
4. Fernando Valenzuela(another pennant race team)
3. JD Drew
2. Francisco Rodriguez(notably a pennant race guy)
1. Stan Musial (a pennant race that the Cardinals lost)
   24. BDC Posted: September 16, 2017 at 08:07 PM (#5533198)
Thanks, cfb! I will take a look at these at some point. K-Rod is one I should have remembered.
   25. OsunaSakata Posted: September 16, 2017 at 08:32 PM (#5533210)
The argument can be boiled down to - the rules are changed in September. What if the National League were alllowed to use the DH in September? What if five balls were required for a walk in September? In what are supposed to be the most crucial games of the year, the rules are changed.

A team that has succeeded with 25-man roster construction for five months suddenly has their opponents given a greater set of resources to play with.

Additionally, when baseball is competing with pro and college football for eyeballs, there could be 30 pitchers in the game for both sides and the warm-up time delay that brings.

I understand the union's position about not wanting to limit the roster size. But I don't agree that limiting an individual game's roster to 25 would encourage a team to limit their September roster size to 25.

Complaining about different sets of roster sizes is a backhanded slap at cheap owners who don't want to pay major league salaries to additional players.

I don't think that September call-ups are generally helpful, save the exceptions already identified. They're usually not going to put up a great WAR, because they're not great players or else they'd already be up. That doesn't mean in a specific, small-sample size situation, a September call-up couldn't get a crucial pinch-hit, or a crucial strikeout that leads to a playoff spot.

I agree with Jim's proposal at the top. Even if a team makes their rotation ineligible four days out of five, that's a bullpen of 11, not 14.
   26. Howie Menckel Posted: September 16, 2017 at 08:54 PM (#5533213)
11. mathesond Posted: September 16, 2017 at 02:34 PM (#5533037)
Was Francisco Rodriguez a September call-up for the 2002 Angels?
12. Jarrod HypnerotomachiaPoliphili (TeddyF.Ballgame) Posted: September 16, 2017 at 02:37 PM (#5533039)
Yes.


that kind of buries the lede - 60-day DLing a stiff allows you to mock the rules (not violate; this silliness is clearly permitted)

THIS is the dumb September rule

"He is a 6-foot-2 footnote in Angels’ history; 200-pound fine print.

His name is Steve Green, and his only notable moment with the Angels came in an October 2002 transaction. Still, the Angels might not have been able to honor their one and only World Series championship team earlier this month without the human loophole: Steve Green.

A former pitcher, Green helped the Angels win the World Series without throwing a pitch.

Here’s how that works: By using a spot created by an injury to Green, then a little known minor leaguer, the Angels were able to add Francisco Rodriguez to the postseason roster, and the gloriously unhittable Frankie helped the Angels become World Champions. Green=Frankie=World Series, easy math.

“They should have called me for the party,” said Green with a laugh in a telephone interview from his home in Montreal where he spent last weekend instead of coming to Anaheim to celebrate with the ’02 team [in 2012].

Don’t feel too badly for Green, however. He received a full World Series share, which was $272,147 – pretty good for a guy who spent 2002 recovering from surgery."
   27. Jay Seaver Posted: September 16, 2017 at 09:17 PM (#5533218)
Did people complain about this before the internet?

Well, I never liked it, but my complaints didn't get very far before the internet. :) I also think that the expanded rosters tend to exacerbate other issues that don't seem like they can be fixed so directly. Everybody hates endless pitching changes, and this can't help but make it worse. Nobody really likes coming to the ballpark or turning on the game and seeing that their favorite player isn't in the line-up, and this substitutes some guy you've never heard of with a number like 76 on his back. Nobody really enjoys teams tanking, and starting a scrub-filled line-up, or seeing the starters come out midway through, kind of sucks. All of these things have been going on forever, but now many of these are getting worse anyway, and cutting back on expanded rosters helps all of them. Plus, with more teams fighting for a playoff spot, there's a lot more chance to feel like, on any given night, one team in a race is playing a team that's trying to win and another is playing a team that's just looking at kids.

That's what I've never liked about them - the fan watching a game deserves to see two teams playing to win. They paid money for that, and they deserve to see two major league teams, and the macro-level benefits of "getting a look at people" aren't compelling when you're actually watching the game.
   28. Random Transaction Generator Posted: September 16, 2017 at 09:17 PM (#5533219)
Did people complain about this before the internet?


Managers didn't use to run out 6 pitchers for 4 innings of relief, either.
   29. Bote Man Posted: September 16, 2017 at 09:28 PM (#5533224)
I've been having a blast watching September call-up Victor Robles wreak havoc on opposing teams. But I guess since it's only one player it means nothing, so I really shouldn't have enjoyed watching him play at all. Continue your search for baseball purity.
   30. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: September 17, 2017 at 01:46 PM (#5533349)
Wasn't Bob Costas the first - and loudest - opponent of roster expansion?


IIRC, Jerry Reinsdorf has been quietly pushing against it for at least a decade or two.
   31. Greg Pope Posted: September 17, 2017 at 02:48 PM (#5533365)
Wasn't Bob Costas the first - and loudest - opponent of roster expansion? Others have jumped on the bandwagon since, but Costas is still the loudest voice. Just yesterday I heard him complain that it isn't fair that one team has 28 players on its roster and the other has 38. Big deal, if one team doesn't want to call up as many players as the other teams, that's their problem.

There are issues with September callups, but "unfair to one of the teams" isn't one of them. The rules are the same for everyone.
   32. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: September 17, 2017 at 03:01 PM (#5533370)
There are issues with September callups, but "unfair to one of the teams" isn't one of them. The rules are the same for everyone.

Yes, everyone can call players up, but the schedule down the stretch is out of teams' hands. If one team in the race is playing a bunch of games against teams that are still trying, and another happens to have games against teams that are just playing the scrubs, that's unfair. It's like in head-to-head fantasy leagues - way too often those come down to whichever contending team has more gimme wins down the stretch against teams whose owners gave up and stopped adjusting their roster after the all-star break.
   33. Barry`s_Lazy_Boy Posted: September 17, 2017 at 04:05 PM (#5533415)
I'm one of the few around here who defends teams going reliever-crazy. Given the normal roster constraints, if a team elects to use their 25 man roster to carry 13 pitchers, good for them.

But to allow teams to carry 25 pitchers in September and use 12 relievers in a single game is absurd.

   34. David Nieporent (now, with children) Posted: September 17, 2017 at 04:08 PM (#5533421)
If one team in the race is playing a bunch of games against teams that are still trying, and another happens to have games against teams that are just playing the scrubs, that's unfair
Yeah, but that's not a real world concern; teams don't "just play the scrubs." Teams will rest a few veterans, but that's it. And mostly crappy veterans -- these are, after all, teams out of contention. And the people they're replaced with are usually prospects, or at least AAAA players. (Sometimes it's the reverse; for instance, the Orioles waited until September roster expansion to activate JJ Hardy from the DL. There was absolutely no way he'd be allowed to take up a limited 25-man roster spot at this point.)
   35. BDC Posted: September 17, 2017 at 04:50 PM (#5533451)
If one team in the race is playing a bunch of games against teams that are still trying, and another happens to have games against teams that are just playing the scrubs, that's unfair

That's been unfair since 1871, though. Plus, as David notes, sometimes the "scrubs" are better than the guys they've replaced.
   36. stevegamer Posted: September 17, 2017 at 05:46 PM (#5533493)
There's nothing wrong with September callups as they are now.

Bleacher Report's article was pretty laughable, as happens way too often. Valenzuela wasn't even the most impactful September pitching callup in 1980 - that would be Marty Bystrom.

Valenzuela: 8G, 0 GS, 2-0, 17.2 IP, 0.00 ERA, 1.02 RA9, 0.736 WHIP, 4 GF, 1 SV
Bystrom: 6G, 5 GS, 5-0, 36.0 IP, 1.50 ERA, 1.50 RA9, 0.972 WHIP, 1 GF, 0 SV, 1 CG, 1 Shutout.

   37. Greg Pope Posted: September 17, 2017 at 07:55 PM (#5533535)
Yes, everyone can call players up, but the schedule down the stretch is out of teams' hands.

Right, but I keep hearing the complaints from announcers, etc. that it's unfair that one team has more players available than the other team. That is what makes no sense. That complaint seems to have come to prominence over the last couple of years.
   38. cardsfanboy Posted: September 17, 2017 at 08:09 PM (#5533540)

Right, but I keep hearing the complaints from announcers, etc. that it's unfair that one team has more players available than the other team. That is what makes no sense. That complaint seems to have come to prominence over the last couple of years.


I've not really heard it, but I can see there being some reason for it... some teams have minor league teams in the playoffs and are holding off calling up their players (especially if their seasonal outcome is more or less already determined) and of course then you get the cheapskate teams, who won't call anyone up because it would cost money(cough, A's, cough Marlins) so from a certain point of view that can be perceived as unfair.

Of course that point of view is idiotic, you go 130 games with 25 man roster, simply because the other team has a larger roster, doesn't really hurt you, it just gives them more toys to play with, and most of these switches are ultimately not a factor it's just teams playing with their toys, and maybe a tryout for a few players to see if they are worthy of staying on the 40 man roster going forward.
   39. cardsfanboy Posted: September 17, 2017 at 08:15 PM (#5533544)
Just because I decided to look it up, according to PI, there have been a total of 33 games in history, in which a team used more than 25 players. (note I'm using batter used as a criteria so this particular search is probably going to miss AL teams) Still, we are talking about if teams would have been clairvoyant and had the perfect roster for the game, there have only been 33 times that the expanded rosters have actually truly mattered.

(one of those games was this one, in which both teams used over 28 players, 30 for the Rockies and 28 for the Dodgers)
   40. cardsfanboy Posted: September 17, 2017 at 08:18 PM (#5533546)
Here is the bb-ref query that I used for that. "Click here---I promise no Madeline"
   41. Sunday silence Posted: September 17, 2017 at 08:20 PM (#5533547)
not sure that's a deciding point CFB. Just having more than 25 options to go means you are playing a different game than the rest of the season.
   42. cardsfanboy Posted: September 17, 2017 at 08:33 PM (#5533552)
not sure that's a deciding point CFB. Just having more than 25 options to go means you are playing a different game than the rest of the season.


I'm not really making an argument for or against, I'm just looking at what is really happening versus the perception.
I don't know or have an opinion on whether it's unfair or not for one team to have 30 available players and another 38, but I'm also fairly certain that for the most part it has probably never made any real difference. Going with a third lefty specialist might push the odds of getting a particular out a few percentage points one way or another, but over the course of most of these games, none of that really is going to matter.

To me, the only "real" complaint about expanded rosters is excessive relief pitching because of handedness in the last three innings of the game, leading to a lot more mid inning pitch changes than any other time of the year. Beyond that, I just don't see much competitive advantage. A team throws in a pinch runner here, a defensive specialist there etc, but ultimately the results more often than not don't change. And the guys who are actually making a difference are guys who probably would have been up anyway.
   43. stevegamer Posted: September 17, 2017 at 09:24 PM (#5533562)
Just because I decided to look it up, according to PI, there have been a total of 33 games in history, in which a team used more than 25 players. (note I'm using batter used as a criteria so this particular search is probably going to miss AL teams) Still, we are talking about if teams would have been clairvoyant and had the perfect roster for the game, there have only been 33 times that the expanded rosters have actually truly mattered.


I'd suspect some of those might be suspended games completed later with different rosters. Is there a way to eliminate those in the play index?
   44. cardsfanboy Posted: September 17, 2017 at 10:00 PM (#5533568)


I'd suspect some of those might be suspended games completed later with different rosters. Is there a way to eliminate those in the play index?


Honestly never even thought about it, the relatively low total of only 33 was enough to tell me that it just doesn't happen very often. But looking at the pi search, I don't really see an option to look for suspended games.
   45. Steve Balboni's Personal Trainer Posted: September 18, 2017 at 09:29 AM (#5533622)
This is a solution largely in search of a problem. If your team is out of it, it is fun to watch young guys in September play with passion in an effort to show off their abilities; or for the career minor-leaguer who is 29 years old and in AAA, and this may be the only time he ever gets a chance to play every day for two weeks in a big-league uniform; or for the AAA starter who is on the fringe, and we're all trying to figure out if he can be the #5 starter entering next spring training. That stuff is fun.

My question is: Why do we think it is all that much of an advantage for a team to be able to put out its, say, 11th best reliever because they have 16 pitchers? The Red Sox are trying to clinch a division - they aren't going to use 13 pitchers just because it's September. Frankie Rodriguez was awesome in 2002 - as a fan, why wouldn't I want to see the players performing the best playing in the games that matter the most? For all the other call-ups, if the team sucks, they'll tolerate risk; if they are in a playoff hunt, they will not.
   46. TDF didn't lie, he just didn't remember Posted: September 18, 2017 at 10:00 AM (#5533631)
I'm surprised no one has commented on this from the article:
While the Los Angeles Dodgers have expanded their roster to 39 players this month, the Miami Marlins check in at 30 and the San Diego Padres and Chicago White Sox have 29 on hand. That's the difference between a well-heeled, big-market team headed for the postseason and three fiscally conscious, rebuilding clubs auditioning some kids over the final few weeks.
The accompanying sidebar shows 3 teams tied right behind the Dodgers, with 37 players each - the well-heeled, bug-market Astros and Indians. Meanwhile, you know who's has just 32 players on their roster? The fiscally conscious, rebuilding Yankees.
   47. TomH Posted: September 18, 2017 at 10:19 AM (#5533636)
It appears that the biggest gripe is excessive pitching changes. Expanded rosters exacerbates the problem, under the current rules, but expanded rosters isn't the problem in itself.

I think a simple penalty for all mid-inning pitcher changes would make for a better game.
For example, the first time in a game a pitcher enters mid-inning, an extra ball is charged to the count of the batter. The 2nd time, it's two balls. Third and all future times, it's three.
You can make provisos for injuries if you wish (team requests waiver for penalty ball when pitcher injured, as long as he gets put on the 10-day DL).

Problem 90% solved, yes?
   48. Fernigal McGunnigle Posted: September 18, 2017 at 10:34 AM (#5533642)
The people who get screwed by the current roster rules are players on AAA teams that go deep into the postseason. Memphis and Durham start the AAA championship series tomorrow, and there are probably a handful of players over the two teams who'd be in the majors right now if it weren't for the minor league postseason. Congratulations, as a reward for your successful season you get to miss out on three weeks of MLB service time!

EDIT: And if you call them up, it's the fans of Memphis and/or Durham that get screwed instead.
   49. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: September 18, 2017 at 10:39 AM (#5533645)
Why do we think it is all that much of an advantage for a team to be able to put out its, say, 11th best reliever because they have 16 pitchers?

It's not, but that 11th best reliever is of the same handedness as the batter, dammit!! What's a manager to do? These things are not negotiable!
   50. Barry`s_Lazy_Boy Posted: September 18, 2017 at 10:48 AM (#5533652)
When your 11th best reliever comes in for a favorable matchup and knows he only has to face one guy, he can throw as hard as freakin possible. So can the 10th, 9th, 8th, and 7th best relievers. They're all better when they know they don't have to pace themselves in any way.
   51. PreservedFish Posted: September 18, 2017 at 11:00 AM (#5533658)
I think a simple penalty for all mid-inning pitcher changes would make for a better game.
For example, the first time in a game a pitcher enters mid-inning, an extra ball is charged to the count of the batter. The 2nd time, it's two balls. Third and all future times, it's three.
You can make provisos for injuries if you wish (team requests waiver for penalty ball when pitcher injured, as long as he gets put on the 10-day DL).

Problem 90% solved, yes?


We have weekly threads on this, and someone always points out that the problem isn't really mid-inning pitching changes, which managers are increasingly eschewing. This time, it'll be me. The problem isn't really mid-inning pitching changes, which managers are increasingly eschewing.
   52. NTP Nate Posted: September 18, 2017 at 11:19 AM (#5533668)
Ryan Zimmerman was a 20 year old September call-up for the '05 Nationals. I bring that up only because I was at his first game, which cannot possibly have been 12 years ago now, because that would make me... old.
   53. BDC Posted: September 18, 2017 at 11:29 AM (#5533676)
The problem isn't really mid-inning pitching changes, which managers are increasingly eschewing

It's a psychological thing. Mid-inning pitching changes used to occur mostly when a pitcher abruptly started getting shelled. In fact, except for pinch-hitting situations, that was the normal time to change pitchers, during some crisis.

Now, the guy being relieved mid-inning has often been perfectly effective. And there's some good reason to relieve him, I guess, but it's boring as heck. It's the difference in excitement level between getting a scheduled tire rotation and having to install a spare on the freeway shoulder.

You can hear this in the canned music they still play during a mid-inning change. "Hit the Road, Jack" or "Na-na-na-na," taunting the poor bastard who just got yanked. But often the guy got yanked after retiring a few batters uneventfully, just because he's right-handed, making the taunting sound idiotic.
   54. PreservedFish Posted: September 18, 2017 at 11:41 AM (#5533678)
Can't disagree with any of that.
   55. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: September 18, 2017 at 11:46 AM (#5533681)
That gives me an idea. I'm going to write a song called "Ha-Ha, You're Right-Handed" and license it to MLB teams. I'll make millions!
   56. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: September 18, 2017 at 11:55 AM (#5533686)
When your 11th best reliever comes in for a favorable matchup and knows he only has to face one guy, he can throw as hard as freakin possible. So can the 10th, 9th, 8th, and 7th best relievers. They're all better when they know they don't have to pace themselves in any way.

I find it unlikely that facing one or two batters, rather than 3 or 4, mean they can throw any harder. It's hard to believe that there are major-league pitchers who are tired after 12 max-effort pitches.
   57. PreservedFish Posted: September 18, 2017 at 12:20 PM (#5533699)
It's hard to believe that there are major-league pitchers who are tired after 12 max-effort pitches.


I don't find it surprising. How many times in a row can you do something - anything - that is truly MAX athletic effort? If you bench press the heaviest weight you possibly can, you won't be able to do that again immediately, perhaps not for another day or two even. Pitching isn't the same as weight lifting but these relievers have built their careers on this - if you can throw 96 mph for 30 pitches but 98 for 20, the latter is going to make you far richer than the former. They are hugely incentivized to approach the limits in this regard.
   58. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: September 18, 2017 at 12:32 PM (#5533709)
Pitching isn't the same as weight lifting but these relievers have built their careers on this - if you can throw 96 mph for 30 pitches but 98 for 20, the latter is going to make you far richer than the former. They are hugely incentivized to approach the limits in this regard.

I don't think this is what we're seeing with RPs. RPs are "better" than SPs because they never have to face the same batter twice. They never get the 2nd and 3rd time through the order penalty. They also benefit from rarely facing the opposite platoon hitter, if they are bad at it. I think fatigue is very low on the reasons they suceed.

i.e. if your average RH RP was to regularly pitch 2 innings instead of one, but only face 0-1 LHB, I think his performance would be nearly identical to pitching 1 inning. The principle reasons RPs are limited to 1 IP is to avoid platoon disadvantage (if they have a platoon problem) and so they can throw more days in a row.
   59. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: September 18, 2017 at 12:39 PM (#5533714)
How many times in a row can you do something - anything - that is truly MAX athletic effort?

Me, personally? Zero.
   60. PreservedFish Posted: September 18, 2017 at 12:47 PM (#5533720)
I don't think this is what we're seeing with RPs. RPs are "better" than SPs because they never have to face the same batter twice. They never get the 2nd and 3rd time through the order penalty. They also benefit from rarely facing the opposite platoon hitter, if they are bad at it. I think fatigue is very low on the reasons they suceed.


Disagree. There's a reason velocity jumps when starters go to the bullpen. Also, it this were true most starting pitchers would have significantly better numbers first time through the order vs the second, and I don't think that's true.

I mean, your reasons are true too, but I think that fatigue is a very important element.
   61. PreservedFish Posted: September 18, 2017 at 12:50 PM (#5533722)
And I may be wrong about #60. Ha.

2017 AL starters, first split I checked. 745 OPS allowed 1st time through the order, 784 2nd time, 783 3rd time, 781 4th time.

But I feel like that's not typical, hasn't there been a big deal recently about the third time through the order being the important breakpoint?
   62. PreservedFish Posted: September 18, 2017 at 12:54 PM (#5533723)
Ok, it all comes from this MGL article that I should have read years ago

His conclusions:

The first time through the order, pitchers pitch better than they do overall. This “first time” effect is magnified in the first inning, especially for the home pitcher.

Starters get progressively worse as they face the lineup for the second, third, and fourth times...

A pitcher’s career “times through the order” patterns have almost no predictive value...

The third time through the order, all starters are expected to pitch around .35 runs per nine innings worse than they do overall...

For an individual batter, the number of pitches seen makes a huge difference. The largest difference is from the first to the second time through the order. If a batter sees fewer than three pitches in his first PA, he hits 10 points better his second time at the plate. If he sees more than four pitches his first time up, he hits 25 points better on his second go-around!


Fascinating. But I still say fatigue matters!
   63. TomH Posted: September 18, 2017 at 12:56 PM (#5533724)
Yes, there has 62. Over the last decade or so, third time OPS are higher. I suspect 2017 is SSS anomaly.
   64. TomH Posted: September 18, 2017 at 12:57 PM (#5533726)
What if we simply limit rosters to 23 men available, to be submitted with the starting lineup card? This could apply whether your actual roster is 25 or 39.
   65. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: September 18, 2017 at 02:00 PM (#5533771)
What if we simply limit rosters to 23 men available, to be submitted with the starting lineup card? This could apply whether your actual roster is 25 or 39.

Should be 21 (the 4 other SPs are basically never used), but it's not a bad idea.
   66. Nasty Nate Posted: September 18, 2017 at 02:08 PM (#5533776)
Can teams send players to the minors after the minors' season is over?
   67. Jack Keefe Posted: September 18, 2017 at 02:18 PM (#5533783)
Can teams send players to the minors after the minors' season is over?

They can and not only the miners Al. 1 Year Ozzie Guillen demoated me to the Iron Range League in January. Another year he sent me to play in Tierra Del Faygo and they do not even have base ball there. Another year he optioned me to a under-18 girls Curling team in Font du Lack.
   68. NTP Nate Posted: September 18, 2017 at 02:31 PM (#5533793)
Another year he sent me to play in Tierra Del Faygo and they do not even have base ball there.


I'd roadtrip to see a Ushuaia Penguins game. Granted, not more than once.
   69. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: September 18, 2017 at 02:33 PM (#5533796)
Can teams send players to the minors after the minors' season is over?

What's the point? It doesn't clear 40 man space, and only 40 man roster players can be called up.

You can just send the guy home if you don't want to use him.
   70. Nasty Nate Posted: September 18, 2017 at 02:40 PM (#5533802)
What's the point?
I was curious about how things would work with different September rules.
   71. PreservedFish Posted: September 18, 2017 at 02:40 PM (#5533803)
What's the point?


I'm sure there's off-season maintenance, janitorial work etc that needs to be done.
   72. Buck Coats Posted: September 18, 2017 at 02:42 PM (#5533804)
Well the real point would be to stop the service-time clocks on guys
   73. Mike Emeigh Posted: September 18, 2017 at 08:21 PM (#5534036)
Until 1968 MLB allowed teams to carry more than 25 players on the roster for the first 30 days of the season. There was no Opening Day limit until 1957, when MLB implemented a 28-man limit for the first 30 days of the season. There are a fair number of April/May games in that time frame where teams used 25 players.

MLB also temporarily allowed teams to carry extra players at the start of the 1995 season following the strike and lockout.

The record for most players used in a game during a period when the 25-man roster was in effect is 46. Houston and Pittsburgh did it on May 27, 2006 in an 18-inning 8-7 Pittsburgh win in which 23 players appeared for each team, and the Astros were one of the participants again later that year, another 18-inning affair against the Cubs in which Chicago used all 25 players and Houston used 21 in an 8-6 loss. On one other occasion, April 17, 2010, the Mets won a 2-1 game over the Cardinals that lasted 20 innings, in which they used 24 players while St. Louis used 22.

-- MWE
   74. drdr Posted: September 19, 2017 at 04:30 AM (#5534178)
2017 AL starters, first split I checked. 745 OPS allowed 1st time through the order, 784 2nd time, 783 3rd time, 781 4th time.

They are not the same pitchers. Managers now change starter at first sign of trouble third time through order much more often. So, you have something like:
1st time: all pitchers
2nd time: all pitchers, except few injured or abysmal
3rd time: all aces, 4/5 only if they are pitching well (often also batter by batter - one reaches, they are out)
4th time: aces who are pitching well and need to rest bullpen


Pitchers who pitch third time through the order have lower OPS allowed 1st and 2nd time through order than all pitchers.

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