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New way to set up pitching staffs


BBTV

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The average team has a pitching staff of around 11 or 12 pitchers. Why not sign 11 or 12 "closers", and pitch each one for one or two innings every game?

You would have 2 "starters", who would each start two games in a row (and throw two innings), and then a bunch of one-inning or two-inning specialists. Essentially someone "closing" each inning. With a staff of 11 or 12 pitchers, you could stagger it so that even though you are using 5,6,or even 7 pitchers per game, nobody would pitch more than two or three straight games.

Would something like this even have a small chance of working?

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Pitching changes only extend the game if they're done mid-inning. If you warm up pitchers ahead of time, they can come into the game immediately when the defense takes the field.

New pitchers only get 7-8 pitches, or a minute and a half. Keeps the game moving along.

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Funny enough, I actually bounced the same kinda idea in my head a little while back. Never really came to a conclusion on if it would work or not. I get the feeling it wouldn't or else it would have already been tried.

This might be a rare situation where a videogame could be useful. Perhaps if you trade all your starters for closers and try to do a season with your plan and without wearing out your pitchers. Might be worth a shot.

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There's a reason why bullpens get tire late in the season.

Pitching in a relief role puts more of a strain on your shoulder and elbow more than starting every 4 or 5 days. Having a pitching staff full of relievers will either blow out their arms by July or sucking wind by August.

Plus, what'll happen when you play extra-inning games?

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There's a reason why bullpens get tire late in the season.

Pitching in a relief role puts more of a strain on your shoulder and elbow more than starting every 4 or 5 days.  Having a pitching staff full of relievers will either blow out their arms by July or sucking wind by August.

Plus, what'll happen when you play extra-inning games?

Hedley's exactly right. No one throws everyday. When the relief guys pitch 3 days in a row, they're usually rested for a day or two after that.

It's a very interesting though, but I just don't think it's feasible. That manager would be ridiculed (remember when Lou Pinella just spoke about starting relievers?) and as soon as one of those 11-12 pitchers blew out his elbow or shoulder, party's over...

I like OB33's idea (BTW, I'm glad you're back on your feet, OB! :D). This would be a perfect experiment for a video game! But make sure you stack the deck and get Rivera, Gagne, Wagner, Hoffman, etc., all the elite guys. If you're gonna experiment, you might as well go all out. :D

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There's a reason why bullpens get tire late in the season.

Pitching in a relief role puts more of a strain on your shoulder and elbow more than starting every 4 or 5 days.  Having a pitching staff full of relievers will either blow out their arms by July or sucking wind by August.

Plus, what'll happen when you play extra-inning games?

Hedley's exactly right. No one throws everyday. When the relief guys pitch 3 days in a row, they're usually rested for a day or two after that.

It's a very interesting though, but I just don't think it's feasible. That manager would be ridiculed (remember when Lou Pinella just spoke about starting relievers?) and as soon as one of those 11-12 pitchers blew out his elbow or shoulder, party's over...

I like OB33's idea (BTW, I'm glad you're back on your feet, OB! :D). This would be a perfect experiment for a video game! But make sure you stack the deck and get Rivera, Gagne, Wagner, Hoffman, etc., all the elite guys. If you're gonna experiment, you might as well go all out. :D

But nobody would have to pitch more than two innings more than two games in a row. The main problem would be if one of your guys just sucks, and you have to make a mid inning change. That would screw everything up.

But, think about it this way: You would be able to pinch hit for the pitcher almost every time he is up (provided you have the depth on your bench.)

Also, the Randy Johnson comment made earlier in this thread was a valid one. But instead of having him (or another good starter) pitch five innings every five days, wouldn't it be OK to have him one inning for five out of seven days?

Also, it may not be financially feasible to sign 11 closers, but you could sign a few good ones, and this system of only throwing one or two innings would mask the mediocrity of your other pitchers.

The extra inning thing is definately a concern, but hopefully the team that does this would win every game by shut out so it shouldn't be too big of an issue.

Anyone know the quickest way for me to become a big league manager so I can try this out?

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I want to say somebody did try this for awhile. Maybe it was Jim Leyland? You wouldn't really need 11 lights out closers. And pitchers could maybe pitch three innings. The idea was that every pitcher would just go through the batting order once. You could do that with an average pitcher maybe even. He could focus more on each batter and not worry about the whole game. The batters would never know what to expect each time up. The pitchers could maybe pitch every other day and you would maybe have two closers. Maybe get by with an 11 man staff..I bet it happens eventually.

The other side is a team could save a lot of money because no one would develop great stats.

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But, think about it this way: You would be able to pinch hit for the pitcher almost every time he is up (provided you have the depth on your bench.)

You would run thin on roster spaces, especially when you go extra innings.

You're already using a 12-pitcher staff.

Add 8 defensive players to start. That's 20.

You will use a minimum of 3 pinch hitters. That's 23.

You can only have a 25-player roster.

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True, this doesn't sound feasible in this day and age. But then again, 50 years ago, who would have thought you would need five starters?

Back then, three starters were usually enough. And sometimes, teams would have only two really good starters, and a third guy when needed. (The Milwaukee Braves had, as the saying goes, "Spahn, Sain and a day of rain.") And any starter that couldn't go nine innings most of the time wasn't worth much.

Go back 50 more years, and teams basically had only three or four pitchers total: two starters, a reliever who worked maybe once a week, and someone to work the second games of doubleheaders. (In the 1905 World Series, Christy Mathewson and Joe McGinnity alternated starts. McGinnity went 1-1 in Games 2 and 4. Matty pitched shutouts in Games 1, 3 and 5.)

So while using lots of relievers may not work today, who knows what will happen a few decades from now?

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But, think about it this way: You would be able to pinch hit for the pitcher almost every time he is up (provided you have the depth on your bench.)

You would run thin on roster spaces, especially when you go extra innings.

You're already using a 12-pitcher staff.

Add 8 defensive players to start. That's 20.

You will use a minimum of 3 pinch hitters. That's 23.

You can only have a 25-player roster.

Sure, nearly every hair brained scheme appears flawed once you bring real numbers into the picture.

It just seemed like something worth thinking about. There is so much "specialism" in MLB these days, I figured it would eventually get out of hand and someone would try something like this.

I don't think the bench situation is that big of a deal, because bench players are really just pinch hitters anyway (or guys to bring in during double-switches, which the team that uses this technique wouldn't do much of.) This team may not be able to do much defensive substituting, but oh well.

The extra innings thing is really the main issue here. And I don't have a great solution, except maybe be prepared to call guys up from AAA for spot duty if you extend some of the closers too far. (provided you have players with options.)

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Maybe they should have a spot on the roster for "extra innings pitcher" which is a pitcher that would only pitch for extra inning games.

Exactly. A "DP", or Designated Pitcher. He wouldn't count against the 25 man roster, but couldn't come in unless it was extra innings. Kind of like the 3rd QB in football, only different. If you put the DP in, you can't use another pitcher (unless the DP gets injured.) He better hope the games don't go 20 innings.

Problem solved. Anyone have Uncle Charlie's number handy? Not that he knows how to work one of those new fangled phones.

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I want to say somebody did try this for awhile. Maybe it was Jim Leyland?

I know Tony LaRussa toyed with the idea but I don't think he ever truly implemented it.

It's not a bad concept in theory but the practical application would be tough. You would totally limit your options. What do you do if you have three guys who go into slumps and are getting hit around the park? Some days a middle relief guy can go 4 or 5 strong innings and the next appearance he can't get anyone out. That stuff happens to pitchers all the time. Do you pitch the other 9 more until the 3 in the slump come around? If you do that then your other 9 are getting over worked.

What do you do if you are winning by 9 runs? Or losing by 13? Do you still follow the 12 man system even when you don't need it? Blowouts are good for resting pitchers. Under the proposed system you could never really rest anyone. Baseball is way too unpredictable to have such a "set in stone" pitching philosophy.

If you are on a 12 man 2 day rotation you can get in trouble fast. 2 innings a day or even every other day will wear an arm out by the all-star break. Even Mariano gets a day off here and there. I think the record for appearances in a season is 106 by Mike Marshall. That record would fall quickly and I believe a teams losses would be in the same ballpark as that record number of pitching appearances.

I'll close by letting you ponder this question. Would you rather have your ace pitch 7 great innings in one game or 10 decent innings in a week?

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One of my favorite ideas is the "pitching in tandem" concept they use in the Minor Leagues. 8 "starters" are put into four tandems, and the team carries four or five additional relievers. Essentially, the first pitcher in the tandem starts the game, goes about four innings, and hands the ball to the second guy for the next four innings. One of the relievers pitches the final frame. If a guy is hot or pitching well, he can simply go longer, while the second guy rests. The second guy can simply open the tandem's next turn in the roation. Since the guys are only pitching four frames a pop, they can start on three days' rest when neccessary(the system has REALLY cut down on pitching injuries in the minors).

The difficulty in the Majors would be getting people wins. Remember that tandems have more starts than a normal pitcher in a 162 game schedule. The four tandems get 40 or 41 starts as opposed to 32 or 33 that each member of the five man rotation gets. So, there are more opportunities for a win. You'd have to pitch the better/hotter pitcher in each tandem first and for longer innings, say 5-3, 6-2 or 6-3. Once in a while, you'd rest the guy by letting his tandem partner go.

Here's an example, using the Mets' full starting staff:

Tandem 1: Pedro Martinez and Kaz Ishii.

Tandem 2: Tom Glavine and Victor Zambrano.

Tandem 3: Kris Benson and Aaron Heilman.

Tandem 4: Steve Trachsel and Jae Seo.

So, in a given six-game week, Martinez, Glavine, Benson and Trachsel start the first four games. Their tandem partners take over if they started to struggle or if they've reached their limit. Should any of those four go over 6 or 7 innings or get injured, the tandem partner will start the next game. So, say Tom Glavine goes seven innings in the second game of this week. Zambrano would start the sixth game, and go five innings before handing the ball to Glavine for three(just an example). It's not incredibly realistic in the Majors, but it'd prolly spare pitching staffs some injuries.

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