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View Full Version : Jake Peavy, Johan Santana, & Brandon Webb



Cyclone792
08-28-2007, 02:59 AM
That's three pretty good pitchers, right? That's perhaps the three best pitchers in all of baseball today, or if they're not the top three, they're all pretty darn close. If the Reds would ever be so fortunate to acquire any of those three, Reds fans would be drooling all over themselves in absolute excitement.

Anyway, what do those three pitchers all have in common?

It's something in common that's quite fascinating and first jumped out at me a few hours ago when I was following Peavy as he was mowing down Diamondbacks hitters to the tune of 11 strikeouts and one run allowed over seven innings. In the top of the 7th, Jake Peavy had an easy 1-2-3 inning as he notched his 11th strikeout and recorded two more outs on a fly ball and pop out. A bit later in the bottom of the 7th inning the Padres had just taken a 2-1 lead thanks to a Geoff Blum home run.

The situation is now two outs in the bottom of the 7th, two outs, nobody on base, and the Padres have a 2-1 lead with Jake Peavy due up to hit.

Except Jake Peavy isn't hitting. Rob Mackowiak was sent up to pinch hit for Peavy, signaling that Peavy's night was finished after seven full innings of work and 114 pitches. Here are the Padres on August 27th playing the Diamondbacks, the team they're chasing in the AL West playoff race. The Padres have their staff ace on the mound who is arguably the National League's best pitcher this season, they have a tiny one run lead in the bottom of the 7th, and manager Bud Black gives Peavy a pat on the back and says "Good game, Jake."

What in the bizarro world of Jerry Narron is going on here? And speaking of Jerry Narron - since I'm still scarred heavily from watching Narron take a chainsaw to Aaron Harang and Bronson Arroyo - what would Jerry Narron have done in that situation? If your guess is Jake Peavy would have hit for himself and gone out to pitch the 8th, then you're probably correct.

But that got me thinking about Jake Peavy, Bud Black, and Bud Black taking care of Jake Peavy. If Bud Black was pulling Peavy in a pivotal late August game against Arizona at 114 pitches, then what does the Bud Black/Jake Peavy history look like? This was easy to find, and quite refreshing ...

Jake Peavy has 27 games started now under manager Bud Black (Black was hired on this season). Peavy's highest single game pitch count is 116 pitches, which he's done twice on April 25th and April 30th. Those are actually the only two starts Peavy's made all season in which he's thrown 115+ pitches. Tonight's start against Arizona was Peavy's third highest pitch count game at only 114 pitches. Additionally, Peavy entered tonight's game with 170.2 innings pitched and ranked way down at 45th on the Baseball Prospectus Pitcher Abuse Points chart.

That's zero starts for Peavy this season with 120+ pitches (or even 117+ pitches) and only two starts (7.4 percent) for Peavy this season with 115+ pitches.

It's an absolutely novel idea; an organization and its manager monitoring pitch counts and taking care of their staff ace, who is also arguably the best pitcher in all of baseball right now.

Now what about two other marquee MLB pitchers in baseball right now, Johan Santana and Brandon Webb? How have their managers, Ron Gardenhire and Bob Melvin respectively, handled those two killer arms? Again, this is easy to research ...

Ron Gardenhire took over for the Minnesota Twins in 2002, and he's been the manager for 160 of Johan Santana's career 169 starts. In those 160 starts under Gardenhire, Santana has thrown 120+ pitches exactly one time, which was a 120-pitch outing on April 21st, 2006. Also during that stretch, Santana has only seven other starts in which he threw 115-119 pitches. That's one start with 120+ pitches (0.6 percent) and eight starts with 115+ pitches (5 percent) for Johan Santana under Ron Gardenhire.

In 2004, Santana pitched 228.0 innings yet ranked 72nd in Pitcher Abuse Points. In 2005, he pitched 231.2 innings and ranked 71st in Pitcher Abuse Points. In 2006, he pitched 233.2 innings and ranked 70th in Pitcher Abuse points. This season, Santana has pitched 182.0 innings and currently ranks 49th in Pitcher Abuse Points.

Once again, a classic example of an organization and manager monitoring pitch counts and taking care of their staff ace, who also happens to be arguably the best pitcher in baseball too.

** It should also be noted that it was less than two weeks ago when Santana posted 17 strikeouts over eight innings in a win against Texas. Santana's pitch count after eight innings was 112 pitches, and despite having a chance to notch a 20 strikeout game over nine innings, Gardenhire pulled Santana in favor of Joe Nathan.

Now let's take a look at Brandon Webb and his history with Arizona Diamondbacks manager Bob Melvin.

Bob Melvin took over as Diamondbacks manager in 2005, and he has been the manager for 93 Brandon Webb starts. In those 93 starts under Melvin, Webb has thrown 120+ pitches exactly zero times. Also during that stretch, Webb has 13 total outings in which he threw 115-119 pitches, with the 119 pitch outing earlier this season on August 11th being the most pitches Webb has ever thrown under Bob Melvin. Webb has thrown 115+ pitches in 14 percent of his starts under Melvin.

In 2005, Webb pitched 229.0 innings yet ranked 40th in Pitcher Abuse points. In 2006, Webb pitched 235.0 innings and ranked 64th in Pitcher Abuse Points. This season, Webb has pitched 191.2 innings already this season, but only ranks 25th in Pitcher Abuse Points.

Let's add this up ...

Three of baseball's best pitchers have 280 combined starts under their current managers over eight total seasons. In those combined 280 starts, the highest single game pitch count total is 120 pitches by Johan Santana, which happened once. That start by Santana is the only start by all three pitchers under their current managers in which they threw 120+ pitches. Those three pitchers have also combined to post only 23 combined outings with even 115+ pitches. That's 23 outings in 280 combined starts, or 8.2 percent of all their starts.

Pitcher Abuse Points rankings for those eight combined seasons: 25th, 40th, 45th, 49th, 64th, 70th, 71st, 72nd

Those are three of the best pitchers in baseball, and what we've seen is their current managers monitoring their pitch counts and trying to protect those three outstanding pitchers in the best manner possible. If you want a how-to manual on how to protect an outstanding pitcher, then pay attention to what Bud Black, Ron Gardenhire, and Bob Melvin have done with their key arms.

Jake Peavy, Johan Santana, and Brandon Webb are three of the best pitchers in all of baseball right now. They've piled up tremendous innings and tremendous value for their teams under their current managers, yet they haven't piled up tremendous abuse from those same managers. Nobody can claim a pitcher can't pile up innings and absurd value without piling up abuse, because those three managers have proven it can be done with their current aces.

-----------------------

For comparison sake, what have the Reds (i.e. mostly Jerry Narron) done to Aaron Harang since 2005 and Bronson Arroyo since 2006?

Harang has 94 starts for the Reds since the 2005 season, and he's thrown 120+ pitches 12 times in those 94 starts (12.8 percent). Included in those 120+ pitch outings are individual outings of 135 pitches, 131 pitches, 126 pitches, and 125 pitches. He's thrown 115+ pitches in 25 of his 94 starts, or 26.6 percent of his starts since 2005.

Harang ranked 4th in Pitcher Abuse Points in 2005, 3rd in Pitcher Abuse Points in 2006, and he currently ranks 3rd in Pitcher Abuse Points in 2007.

Arroyo has 62 starts for the Reds since being acquired in 2006, and he's thrown 120+ pitches six times in those 62 starts (9.7 percent). Included in those 120+ pitch outings are individual outings of 129 pitches and 127 pitches. He's thrown 115+ pitches in 17 of his 62 starts, or 27.4 percent of his starts since 2006.

Arroyo ranked 6th in Pitcher Abuse Points in 2006, and he currently ranks 4th in Pitcher Abuse Points in 2007.

That's 156 combined starts for Harang (since 2005) and Arroyo (since 2006) under primarily Jerry Narron, with a little bit of Dave Miley and Pete Mackanin thrown in. They've thrown 120+ pitches 18 times in those 156 starts (11.5 percent), and they've thrown 115+ pitches 42 times (26.9 percent).

Pitcher Abuse Points rankings for those five seasons combined: 3rd, 3rd, 4th, 4th, 6th

Bud Black, Ron Gardenhire, and Bob Melvin get it. Jerry Narron didn't get it. If Pete Mackanin is going to be the man for the Reds going forward in 2008 and beyond, then he better get it much like Black, Gardenhire, and Melvin get it. If Mackanin's going to be another Narron with regards to handling Harang and Arroyo, then he needs to take a hike immediately. And whoever the Reds manager is in 2008 and beyond, that person better get it with regards to handling Harang and Arroyo much like Black, Gardenhire, and Melvin get it with handling their aces.

It all comes down to one simple fact ... if protecting three of baseball's best pitchers is so important for Bud Black, Ron Gardenhire, and Bob Melvin, then it better darn well be important for whoever the Reds manager is in 2008 with regards to protecting Aaron Harang and Bronson Arroyo.

cincinnati chili
08-28-2007, 03:19 AM
Good stuff. As you suggest with PAB, there are some metrics that are more advanced than pitch counts, but pitch counts are a pretty good barometer to tell you if an organization is paying attention.

AtomicDumpling
08-28-2007, 03:26 AM
Excellent post Cyclone792. I couldn't agree more.

I remember when Narron said he wanted to go with a 4 man rotation "because that is the way it was done when baseball was played the right way. If it worked then it will work now."

Of course back then the mound was higher, the strike zone was bigger, few pitchers could throw 90mph, fewer breaking balls were thrown (which are harder on the arm than straight pitches), most hitters were 5'9" tall and 175 pounds and couldn't hit the ball hard, there was 3x more foul territory (to catch foul popups) and the fences were 30 feet farther back. In short -- pitching was much easier back then. All a pitcher had to do was throw the ball over the plate and let the hitters get themselves out. They didn't have to worry much about giving up the rare home run.

Apparently Narron was completely oblivious to the fact the game has changed in the last 50 years.

Baseball Prospectus did a study that appeared in "Baseball Beyond the Numbers" that stated if a pitcher throws 120+ pitches in a game once, that he is 50% likely to be injured within 2 weeks. Arroyo had a three game stretch this season of 117, 120+ and 120+ pitches. He was soon exhibiting a sore arm, so the Reds pushed him back a couple days for extra rest a few times. The Reds dodged a real bullet there.

I believe Arroyo and Harang were #1 and #2 in the major leagues last year for most pitches thrown on the season.

Ron Madden
08-28-2007, 03:27 AM
Bud Black, Ron Gardenhire, and Bob Melvin get it. Jerry Narron didn't get it. If Pete Mackanin is going to be the man for the Reds going forward in 2008 and beyond, then he better get it much like Black, Gardenhire, and Melvin get it. If Mackanin's going to be another Narron with regards to handling Harang and Arroyo, then he needs to take a hike immediately. And whoever the Reds manager is in 2008 and beyond, that person better get it with regards to handling Harang and Arroyo much like Black, Gardenhire, and Melvin get it with handling their aces.

It all comes down to one simple fact ... if protecting three of baseball's best pitchers is so important for Bud Black, Ron Gardenhire, and Bob Melvin, then it better darn well be important for whoever the Reds manager is in 2008 with regards to protecting Aaron Harang and Bronson Arroyo.



:clap::clap::clap: Good Job Cyclone.

mth123
08-28-2007, 06:20 AM
Bravo Cyclone. Agree completely.

oneupper
08-28-2007, 06:38 AM
I'd really like to think that Pete Mac gets it.

But on Saturday, with a 10 run lead, he lets his pitcher (Belisle) who is up to 104 pitches after 7 - hit and sends him out to pitch again.

I can only hope he was sleep deprived or something.

RedsBaron
08-28-2007, 06:50 AM
Excellent post Cyclone. :thumbup:

Ltlabner
08-28-2007, 06:54 AM
Out of curosity, what's the pitching track record (in terms of pitches thrown) on Chris Carpenter? Does he have the same high pitch counts and heavy PAP as AH and BA ?

nate
08-28-2007, 07:49 AM
Great stuff!

Because you raised the point, I looked at if there was a difference in pitch count for Harang and Arroyo after Jerry was replaced:

Average number of pitches thrown per start -

Jerry:
Bronson Arroyo: 104
Aaron Harang: 109

Pete:
Bronson Arroyo: 99
Aaron Harang: 100

Or maybe this is more telling:

Number of starts with 120 or more pitches thrown -

Jerry:
Bronson Arroyo: 2
Aaron Harang: 5

Pete:
Bronson Arroyo: 1
Aaron Harang: 1

edabbs44
08-28-2007, 08:47 AM
Makes a lot of sense, but I think the bullpen obviously has a lot to do with it. Of course I see the point when it comes to saving Harang and Arroyo for the rest of their careers. Then again, my job isn't riding on the Cincy 2007 W/L record.

MrCinatit
08-28-2007, 09:05 AM
A most excellent post, Cyclone.
A couple of points I would like to add, though I have nothing to back them up:
One thing I like about Black's move is putting in a pinch hitter - in doing that, he is replacing a fatigued pitcher less likely to produce a hit (or a run) in that situation with a fresh bat. More runs equals a better chance at winning.
Additionally, in allowing (say) Arroyo to hit for himself, you are only increasing Arroyo's fatigue level during that at bat. Even if a pitcher cannot hit - they get awful tired trying.
(Of course, this does not work in Santana's case).

Another thing this helps is the bullpen workload. I would imagine it would be much easier for a BP pitcher to come in at the start of an inning (and having warmed up at his own accord), rather than have to rush his warm-up and come in the middle of an inning - and usually in a situation where they already have guys on base.

And, AtomicDumpling, that stat about pitchers after a 120-pitch game is kind of scary.
BTW: Another thing about the four-man-rotation days: I imagine there were a lot more arm injuries.

mbgrayson
08-28-2007, 09:23 AM
Great post Cyclone. It needs to be sent to Krivsky, Castellini, and MacKanin.

In addition to the abuse the extra pitches pile on, Harang and Arroyo lose effectiveness.

Overall, batters hit .240/.291/.398 off of Harang. From pitches 106 to 120, they are hitting .286/.340/.429.

It is even worse with Arroyo. Overall, his batting against line is .284/.338/.454. From pitches 106 to 120, it is .444/.464/.815.

Yet another reason to get them out after they hit about 100 pitches.

oneupper
08-28-2007, 09:29 AM
BTW: Another thing about the four-man-rotation days: I imagine there were a lot more arm injuries.

I don't remember there being that many (Wayne Simpson, Gary Nolan and Don Gullet notwithstanding).

But there are plenty of good explanations for that. The injuries could have happened in the minors (and we're as "repairable"), acting as a sort of "resilience" filter.
Also, it seems like hard throwers kind of flamed out, too.

I wouldn't go out and say that the 4 man rotation (plus all the 130+ pitch games) was good for pitchers. Mostly likely not.

Always Red
08-28-2007, 09:33 AM
Excellent, excellent work, Cyclone. This is a perfect indication of how the stats behind the game can make a difference in how a manager handles his pitching.

Not only can make a difference, but SHOULD make a difference. The re-emergence of some good middle relief work by the Reds (of late, anyway) should give Pete confidence enough to get these guys out after they have reached their ideal (ie- not maximal) workload.



Great post Cyclone. It needs to be sent to Krivsky, Castellini, and MacKanin.

In addition to the abuse the extra pitches pile on, Harang and Arroyo lose effectiveness.

Overall, batters hit .240/.291/.398 off of Harang. From pitches 106 to 120, they are hitting .286/.340/.429.

It is even worse with Arroyo. Overall, his batting against line is .284/.338/.454. From pitches 106 to 120, it is .444/.464/.815.

Yet another reason to get them out after they hit about 100 pitches.

mbgrayson, this is also an excellent post- good work. :beerme:

I was not always a true believer in the strict pitch count theory, but when you show me numbers like this, well, it becomes very hard to dispute. :thumbup:

Chip R
08-28-2007, 09:38 AM
Makes a lot of sense, but I think the bullpen obviously has a lot to do with it. Of course I see the point when it comes to saving Harang and Arroyo for the rest of their careers. Then again, my job isn't riding on the Cincy 2007 W/L record.


I think the bullpen has a great deal to do with it. Look at the guys you could go to when you take Peavy, Webb or Santana out as opposed to the guys the Reds had to turn to. You can talk all you want about protecting the future of your top guys but a manager is looking to win as many games as he can to keep his job.

Johnny Footstool
08-28-2007, 09:38 AM
Harang ranked 4th in Pitcher Abuse Points in 2005, 3rd in Pitcher Abuse Points in 2006, and he currently ranks 3rd in Pitcher Abuse Points in 2007.

All the more reason for me to be in favor of in shopping Harang.

mbgrayson
08-28-2007, 10:34 AM
I think the bullpen has a great deal to do with it. Look at the guys you could go to when you take Peavy, Webb or Santana out as opposed to the guys the Reds had to turn to. You can talk all you want about protecting the future of your top guys but a manager is looking to win as many games as he can to keep his job.

The answer is simple. Krivsky needs to send a directive to the dugout: remove all starters by 110 (or whatever #) pitches. Then hold managers accountable to follow it.

puca
08-28-2007, 10:37 AM
That assumes that Krivsky buys into pitch counts. If he did, I'm guessing he would have made that directive already.

Cyclone792
08-28-2007, 10:51 AM
Out of curosity, what's the pitching track record (in terms of pitches thrown) on Chris Carpenter? Does he have the same high pitch counts and heavy PAP as AH and BA ?

It appears that the Cardinals have tried to take care of Carpenter as best they could. Carpenter has exactly two starts in his Cardinals career of 120+ pitches, with those two outings being 122 pitches and 120 pitches, and both occurred in 2004.

The Blue Jays weren't so careful with Carpenter though earlier in his career. In 1998, he had individual game pitch counts of 134 and 126 pitches. In 1999, he had another 131 pitch game. In 2000, he had outings with 132 pitches and 129 pitches. In 2001, two more long outings at 128 pitches and 125 pitches. Of course it was 2002 and 2003 that he went down with injury in Toronto before he resurfaced with the Cardinals in 2004.

Funny thing is Carpenter was never high on the PAP list while with Toronto, because even 5-10 years ago teams were running high pitch counts on a lot of pitchers. Back in the late 90s and early 00s, some guys were throwing upwards of 140-150 pitches in a game. Now the highest you'll typically see is 130 pitches per game, and that's a rarity.

Chip R
08-28-2007, 10:58 AM
The answer is simple. Krivsky needs to send a directive to the dugout: remove all starters by 110 (or whatever #) pitches. Then hold managers accountable to follow it.


The only manager I've heard of that was fired over pitch counts was Grady Little.

If Wayne wants to make his managers keep his pitchers on pitch counts and make them accountable to follow it, that's fine. But if he doesn't, how can you blame a manager for that?

Cyclone792
08-28-2007, 11:02 AM
Great stuff!

Because you raised the point, I looked at if there was a difference in pitch count for Harang and Arroyo after Jerry was replaced:

Average number of pitches thrown per start -

Jerry:
Bronson Arroyo: 104
Aaron Harang: 109

Pete:
Bronson Arroyo: 99
Aaron Harang: 100

Or maybe this is more telling:

Number of starts with 120 or more pitches thrown -

Jerry:
Bronson Arroyo: 2
Aaron Harang: 5

Pete:
Bronson Arroyo: 1
Aaron Harang: 1

I honestly don't know what Mackanin's going to be like yet, and part of it is I just don't think his sample is big enough yet. Harang and Arroyo have had one questionable high pitch count game each under Mackanin, and the ironic thing is Harang's back injury was the very next game after his big 10 inning start, and Arroyo got shelled the very next game after Mackanin ran him out there for 123 pitches in late July.

I'm not sure the average pitches per game stat will tell you much. Here's 2007, for example ...

Harang: 106
Arroyo: 102

Webb: 103
Peavy: 107
Santana: 102

The key difference between the Reds pitchers and the big three is that the big three just don't have those individual high pitch count games, and those are the real killers. As Atomic pointed out, when you crack that 120+ pitch territory, the injury risk starts climbing heavily. Pitchers such as Webb, Peavy, and Santana are seemingly always throwing 100, 105, or 110 pitches, but when they get stretched out it's only a few rare starts in the 115 pitch count territory. This is unlike the Reds, who when they stretch out Harang and Arroyo, they're up in the 120 or 125 pitch count territory where the risk is much higher for injury.

Peavy's 2007 gamelog is actually a thing of beauty regarding pitch counts ... http://www.baseball-reference.com/pi/gl.cgi?n1=peavyja01&t=p&year=2007

His average is 107 pitches per game, but look at the gamelog. Bud Black - who is a former pitcher turned pitching coach turned manager - has Peavy consistently throwing roughly the same number of pitches in every start this season, with the lowest being 98 pitches and the highest being 116 pitches (fewer than the high risk territory of 120+ pitches). All but four of Peavy's 27 starts this season have been between 100-114 pitches, with the two outliers being a pair of 98-pitch games and a pair of 116-pitch games.

dabvu2498
08-28-2007, 11:02 AM
Overall, batters hit .240/.291/.398 off of Harang. From pitches 106 to 120, they are hitting .286/.340/.429.


Reds bullpen this season:

.286/.363/.444

RedsManRick
08-28-2007, 11:04 AM
I'm continually amazed how willing managers are to risk the next start, starts, or season by allowing their starters to pitching beyond the point at which they are fatigued.

Often, it seems that the manager is too focused on whether or not a pitcher CAN go back out versus whether or not he SHOULD. As if the next 3 outs (which they quite possibly won't get, since they are tired and thus less effective) were somehow more important than that pitcher's health or effectiveness in the future.

flyer85
08-28-2007, 11:07 AM
... and what do the Pads, Snakes and Twinkies all have in common?

Answer: a very solid bullpen.

Hmmm. In the end you need to use your bullpen to protect your starters(far more valuable assets) even if the pitchers in the pen aren't very good.

Unassisted
08-28-2007, 11:09 AM
The "Fine China" contingent of RedsZone is sure to weigh in on this thread. ;)

I agree with the posters who've said that the undependability of the bullpen made it difficult for Jerry or Pete to end a quality start just because of a pitch count. Now that the bullpen has improved some, it seems to have made a big difference in the Reds' success at converting quality starts into wins.

The posts about starter abuse have made me think that giving a manager a short-term contract is inviting the manager to abuse the starters, since the 1-year deal sends the message that the manager's job is dependent upon winning now. Maybe those who would like to see Pete given just a 1-year deal should factor that into their equation?

Always Red
08-28-2007, 11:10 AM
The only manager I've heard of that was fired over pitch counts was Grady Little.

If Wayne wants to make his managers keep his pitchers on pitch counts and make them accountable to follow it, that's fine. But if he doesn't, how can you blame a manager for that?

This is a classic trade off between short term and long term success.

Pete, and Krivsky (Kriv to maybe a lesser degree) are both in "win-now" mode. They have been directed by Cast to win now. Pete's future directly depends on finishing as close as he can get to the top of the dismal NL Central. Because if he does that and the Reds don't want him, there are other teams out there who have seen what he has done.

The Reds managers this year, and in years past, have not had the relief pitching available to get a guy like Harang out of the game after 100 pitches or so, or they have not had the foresight to do so anyway. Probably a combination of both- especially in Narron's case.

Short term success would lead one to keep a guy in there an extra inning or so. But when you look at mbgrayson's stats from above, that's not really a winning strategy, either.

Long term success would mean getting the SP out of there at a responsible pitch number, saving his arm for the next time around, and hopefully for years after that as well. It might cost you a game here and there, especially if you have a weak bullpen.

This directive, of taking the long view, needs to come directly from the top.

The Reds have invested a ton of money in the right arms of Harang and Arroyo. They have solid statistical evidence of how poorly they both pitch after 110 pitches or so, and in Arroyo's case how it affects him for the next 3-4 starts.

Castellini and Krivsky need to make sure the manager, whomever it is, does the right thing.

mbgrayson
08-28-2007, 11:22 AM
This is a classic trade off between short term and long term success.

I disagree. Leaving Harang and Arroyo in up to 120 pitches seems to have four negative effects.

1. Long term risk to their health. This is the classic pitcher abuse theory.
2. Short term risk to their health. This is Harang's bad back, and Arroyo being worn out.
3. Decline in effectiveness after about the 105th pitch, especially for Arroyo.
4. Decline in performance in the start(s) immediately following their high pitch outings.

Of these four effects, only the first is long range. The other three all have short range, 'this season' impacts.

Cyclone792
08-28-2007, 11:31 AM
I think the bullpen has a great deal to do with it. Look at the guys you could go to when you take Peavy, Webb or Santana out as opposed to the guys the Reds had to turn to. You can talk all you want about protecting the future of your top guys but a manager is looking to win as many games as he can to keep his job.

Take a real good look at the 2005 Arizona Diamondbacks under Bob Melvin ...

Arizona Bullpen ERA: 5.50
Arizona Bullpen OPSA: .823

NL Bullpen ERA: 4.23
NL Bullpen OPSA: .745

The Diamondbacks had an awful bullpen in 2005, much like the Reds bullpens in recent seasons. Arizona finished 77-85 that season, which is also a won/loss record similar to the Reds in recent seasons.

The Diamondbacks also had a 26-year-old up-and-coming staff ace in Brandon Webb in their rotation yet he ranked only 40th in Pitcher Abuse Points for the season. Webb pitched 229.0 innings for the Diamondbacks that season, a number Harang and Arroyo have topped only once each in their careers.

Here's Webb's top 10 individual pitch count games for 2005: 118, 116, 115, 114, 114, 113, 113, 111, 111, 111, 110

The Diamondbacks as a team stunk. Their bullpen stunk. They also had a new manager in his first season. Yet that new manager took care of their prize pitcher that very same season and did not abuse him anywhere near the level that the Reds have abused Harang and Arroyo. If Bob Melvin could handle Brandon Webb with care in 2005 while also having a lousy bullpen, then why can't the Reds hire a manager who can do the same?

With regards to protecting pitchers, the Reds need to go out and find their own version of Bob Melvin.

flyer85
08-28-2007, 11:39 AM
A lot of the blame still has to fall back on the GM. Either the GM is OK with the abuse because both GM or manager are in a "win now" mode or the GM has the wrong manager. Either way it doesn't reflect well on the GM.

Unassisted
08-28-2007, 11:40 AM
If Bob Melvin could handle Brandon Webb with care in 2005 while also having a lousy bullpen, then why can't the Reds hire a manager who can do the same?

With regards to protecting pitchers, the Reds need to go out and find their own version of Bob Melvin.

While I agree with your reasoning, I think your conclusion is flawed. Instead of hiring a new manager, why can't the Reds just insist that their managers handle their starters with care?

flyer85
08-28-2007, 11:43 AM
Instead of hiring a new manager, why can't the Reds just insist that their managers handle their starters with care?they certainly could, we just haven't seen it to this point.

Always Red
08-28-2007, 11:44 AM
I disagree. Leaving Harang and Arroyo in up to 120 pitches seems to have four negative effects.

1. Long term risk to their health. This is the classic pitcher abuse theory.
2. Short term risk to their health. This is Harang's bad back, and Arroyo being worn out.
3. Decline in effectiveness after about the 105th pitch, especially for Arroyo.
4. Decline in performance in the start(s) immediately following their high pitch outings.

Of these four effects, only the first is long range. The other three all have short range, 'this season' impacts.

I agree with you; though I obviously didn't state it very clearly.

When I say short term success, I mean that is the goal, in the manager's eyes, of keeping the SP in the game longer than he should. As your eye-opening stats show, he's really just shooting himself in the foot anyway, as they both pitch no better, and in some cases, worse than even a bad bullpen.

Cyclone792
08-28-2007, 11:45 AM
While I agree with your reasoning, I think your conclusion is flawed. Instead of hiring a new manager, why can't the Reds just insist that their managers handle their starters with care?

My conclusion isn't necessarily to hire a new manager. If Pete Mackanin is Bob Melvin v2.0 in regards to protecting pitchers, then I like Pete Mackanin. Of course, right now we don't know much about Mackanin in that sense. My conclusion is whoever the Reds hire in 2008 - whether it's Mackanin or somebody else - that manager does need to be Bob Melvin v2.0, or Bud Black v2.0, or Ron Gardenhire v2.0 when it comes to protecting pitchers.

And yes, the Reds front office absolutely does need to insist that their managers handle their starters with care. Whether that happens, nobody knows, though since Krivsky has seemingly allowed the abuse to happen then the light should shine brightly on him too in addition to the manager.

Chip R
08-28-2007, 12:08 PM
While I agree with your reasoning, I think your conclusion is flawed. Instead of hiring a new manager, why can't the Reds just insist that their managers handle their starters with care?

That would be ideal but in the end, even if a manager is coddling his pitchers and the team is losing, he's going to get the axe. Narron was damned if he did and damned if he didn't.

It'd be nice if all organizations told their managers that they don't care about wins and losses, just make sure that they keep the starters on a short leash to protect them and actually follow through with it. But that's a fantasy. Like I said, the only manager I can recall who ever got fired for pitch counts was Grady Little. And that wasn't even a matter of protecting Pedro for the future. It was a matter of Pedro's effectiveness after a certain number of pitches.

blumj
08-28-2007, 01:41 PM
That would be ideal but in the end, even if a manager is coddling his pitchers and the team is losing, he's going to get the axe. Narron was damned if he did and damned if he didn't.

It'd be nice if all organizations told their managers that they don't care about wins and losses, just make sure that they keep the starters on a short leash to protect them and actually follow through with it. But that's a fantasy. Like I said, the only manager I can recall who ever got fired for pitch counts was Grady Little. And that wasn't even a matter of protecting Pedro for the future. It was a matter of Pedro's effectiveness after a certain number of pitches.
Sure, but I've yet to see another example of a manager so overtly breaking with known organizational philosophy. There's a reason pretty much everyone knew about the "Pedro rules", and pretty much everyone now knows about the "Joba rules", and most teams don't tell you their rules for anyone. There's some small potential for competitive disadvantage in making things like that public, but the advantage comes when the priority to have those rules carried out takes precedence over even competitive advantage. Making them public absolves the manager of responsibility while increasing the pressure on him to follow them. It obviously wasn't enough in the Pedro/Grady instance to override Grady's belief that he knew better, but it's at least more than just telling him what you want and crossing your fingers that he'll listen. Grady was sure he'd be fired if they lost that game regardless of how they lost it, the fact is that he was at philosophical odds with management all along, so he was probably right.

DoogMinAmo
08-28-2007, 01:49 PM
That would be ideal but in the end, even if a manager is coddling his pitchers and the team is losing, he's going to get the axe. Narron was damned if he did and damned if he didn't.

It'd be nice if all organizations told their managers that they don't care about wins and losses, just make sure that they keep the starters on a short leash to protect them and actually follow through with it. But that's a fantasy. Like I said, the only manager I can recall who ever got fired for pitch counts was Grady Little. And that wasn't even a matter of protecting Pedro for the future. It was a matter of Pedro's effectiveness after a certain number of pitches.

Wasn't Dusty Baker fired in Chicago for his abuse of a young pitching staff?

Chip R
08-28-2007, 01:51 PM
Wasn't Dusty Baker fired in Chicago for his abuse of a young pitching staff?


No. He was fired because they had been in a downward spiral since they went to the NLCS (finished in last place in 07) and he had trouble working and playing well with others.

Sea Ray
08-28-2007, 05:02 PM
No. He was fired because they had been in a downward spiral since they went to the NLCS (finished in last place in 07)


You mean last year, 06?

Chip R
08-28-2007, 05:09 PM
You mean last year, 06?

Freudian slip. ;)

nate
08-28-2007, 05:12 PM
You mean last year, 06?

Hey, its the Cubs!

oregonred
08-31-2007, 02:07 PM
Who are three guys that have never been in my kitchen?

RedsManRick
08-31-2007, 02:20 PM
I'm not sure I understand the bullpen comments. Yes, each of those teams have good bullpens. But if you're arguing that avoiding a bad bullpen at the expense of risking severe injury to your starters is the correct decision, than I have a bone to pick.

Sure, our starters might have more wins or slightly lower ERAs given better bullpen support. However, any manager who thinks the team benefits by getting those last 10-15 pitches out of his starter, instead of from a bullpen guy, given the inherent risks is out of his mind. If you need that starter to go 120 to win game 7, or game 162 which puts you in the playoffs, maybe the risk is worth it. But outside of that, it just doesn't make sense to me, regardless of who your bullpen option is.

I don't think it's a case of managers knowing the risk and taking it anyways. I think it's managers not really understanding the risks they're choosing to take when they extend their starters that way.

Cyclone792
08-18-2008, 11:10 AM
An update, because it's been about another year ...


Jake Peavy has 27 games started now under manager Bud Black (Black was hired on this season). Peavy's highest single game pitch count is 116 pitches, which he's done twice on April 25th and April 30th. Those are actually the only two starts Peavy's made all season in which he's thrown 115+ pitches. Tonight's start against Arizona was Peavy's third highest pitch count game at only 114 pitches. Additionally, Peavy entered tonight's game with 170.2 innings pitched and ranked way down at 45th on the Baseball Prospectus Pitcher Abuse Points chart.

That's zero starts for Peavy this season with 120+ pitches (or even 117+ pitches) and only two starts (7.4 percent) for Peavy this season with 115+ pitches.

Since this original post, here are Peavy's pitch counts at 115+:

127*
118
116
116

Looks like Bud Black got out of control back on July 27th against Pittsburgh as Peavy tossed 127 pitches. Peavy is 11th in PAP this season, though he did miss some time due to injury so it's possible he could be a few spots higher without his DL stint. It will be interesting to watch in the future if Peavy has any struggles in the near future, and if that 127-pitch outing was an anomaly or something that Black may do more often in the future.


Ron Gardenhire took over for the Minnesota Twins in 2002, and he's been the manager for 160 of Johan Santana's career 169 starts. In those 160 starts under Gardenhire, Santana has thrown 120+ pitches exactly one time, which was a 120-pitch outing on April 21st, 2006. Also during that stretch, Santana has only seven other starts in which he threw 115-119 pitches. That's one start with 120+ pitches (0.6 percent) and eight starts with 115+ pitches (5 percent) for Johan Santana under Ron Gardenhire.

In 2004, Santana pitched 228.0 innings yet ranked 72nd in Pitcher Abuse Points. In 2005, he pitched 231.2 innings and ranked 71st in Pitcher Abuse Points. In 2006, he pitched 233.2 innings and ranked 70th in Pitcher Abuse points. This season, Santana has pitched 182.0 innings and currently ranks 49th in Pitcher Abuse Points.

Santana is a Met now and played for Willie Randolph and Jerry Manuel so let's see how he's fared in New York with 115+ pitch count outings:

118
116
116
116

Santana is 17th in MLB in PAP. The Mets have pushed his pitch counts up a tad higher this season than Gardenhire did in Minnesota, and that accounts for the jump in PAP. Still, they haven't gotten out of control and have held him below 120 pitches thus far.


Bob Melvin took over as Diamondbacks manager in 2005, and he has been the manager for 93 Brandon Webb starts. In those 93 starts under Melvin, Webb has thrown 120+ pitches exactly zero times. Also during that stretch, Webb has 13 total outings in which he threw 115-119 pitches, with the 119 pitch outing earlier this season on August 11th being the most pitches Webb has ever thrown under Bob Melvin. Webb has thrown 115+ pitches in 14 percent of his starts under Melvin.

In 2005, Webb pitched 229.0 innings yet ranked 40th in Pitcher Abuse points. In 2006, Webb pitched 235.0 innings and ranked 64th in Pitcher Abuse Points. This season, Webb has pitched 191.2 innings already this season, but only ranks 25th in Pitcher Abuse Points.

Webb's 115+ pitch count outings:



You're not missing anything in that space above; Brandon Webb has zero 115+ pitch count outings since this original post. He has zero outings with 120+ pitches and still only 13 outings at 115-119 pitches, or 10.3 percent.


Let's add this up ...

Three of baseball's best pitchers have 280 combined starts under their current managers over eight total seasons. In those combined 280 starts, the highest single game pitch count total is 120 pitches by Johan Santana, which happened once. That start by Santana is the only start by all three pitchers under their current managers in which they threw 120+ pitches. Those three pitchers have also combined to post only 23 combined outings with even 115+ pitches. That's 23 outings in 280 combined starts, or 8.2 percent of all their starts.

Peavy: 55 starts
Santana: 192 starts
Webb: 126 starts

That's 373 combined starts for those three pitchers. In 31 of those starts, those three pitchers have thrown 115+ pitches, or 8.3 percent, which is right at their average as of last season. They also have two starts out of 373 in which they've thrown 120+ pitches, Peavy's 127-pitch outing last month and a 120-pitch outing by Santana a few years back.


For comparison sake, what have the Reds (i.e. mostly Jerry Narron) done to Aaron Harang since 2005 and Bronson Arroyo since 2006?

Harang has 94 starts for the Reds since the 2005 season, and he's thrown 120+ pitches 12 times in those 94 starts (12.8 percent). Included in those 120+ pitch outings are individual outings of 135 pitches, 131 pitches, 126 pitches, and 125 pitches. He's thrown 115+ pitches in 25 of his 94 starts, or 26.6 percent of his starts since 2005.

Harang ranked 4th in Pitcher Abuse Points in 2005, 3rd in Pitcher Abuse Points in 2006, and he currently ranks 3rd in Pitcher Abuse Points in 2007.

Arroyo has 62 starts for the Reds since being acquired in 2006, and he's thrown 120+ pitches six times in those 62 starts (9.7 percent). Included in those 120+ pitch outings are individual outings of 129 pitches and 127 pitches. He's thrown 115+ pitches in 17 of his 62 starts, or 27.4 percent of his starts since 2006.

Arroyo ranked 6th in Pitcher Abuse Points in 2006, and he currently ranks 4th in Pitcher Abuse Points in 2007.

That's 156 combined starts for Harang (since 2005) and Arroyo (since 2006) under primarily Jerry Narron, with a little bit of Dave Miley and Pete Mackanin thrown in. They've thrown 120+ pitches 18 times in those 156 starts (11.5 percent), and they've thrown 115+ pitches 42 times (26.9 percent).

The good news is that Dusty Baker hasn't abused Harang or Arroyo this season with regards to high pitch counts. Now using Harang out of the bullpen, well ... we know that story. Other bad news is that both pitchers have gotten their teeth kicked in so much that I'm not even sure if Dusty could abuse them with high pitch count outings even if he wanted too.

Anyhow, we're aware of all the abuse that Harang and Arroyo went through in previous seasons. We're also now aware of how lousy they've performed this season: in 274 innings they've allowed 50 home runs and have thrown up an impressive 5.55 ERA. At the time of the original post last season, the Reds had pushed Harang and Arroyo to 115+ pitch outings in nearly 27 percent of their starts compared to the Peavy/Santana/Webb trio who were only at just over 8 percent of their starts.

Peavy, despite his short DL stint, Santana, and Webb are all having pretty nice seasons - again - this season. They've been protected fairly well in recent seasons, and they continue to produce.

Would Harang and Arroyo be having these lousy seasons if they weren't abused in previous seasons? It's impossible to claim for sure, however, what I am fairly certain of is that the chances of them not pitching like total crap this year would have been lessened had they been protected in previous seasons.

And that's the goal with protecting pitchers: to give your team it's best probability of keeping those pitchers healthy and productive in future seasons. From 2005-07, the Reds did not do that with Harang and Arroyo. And it's certainly possible that they could very well be paying that price right now.

lollipopcurve
08-18-2008, 11:14 AM
Peavy, despite his short DL stint, Santana, and Webb are all having pretty nice seasons - again - this season. They've been protected fairly well in recent seasons, and they continue to produce.

Would Harang and Arroyo be having these lousy seasons if they weren't abused in previous seasons? It's impossible to claim for sure, however, what I am fairly certain of is that the chances of them not pitching like total crap this year would have been lessened had they been protected in previous seasons.

And that's the goal with protecting pitchers: to give your team it's best probability of keeping those pitchers healthy and productive in future seasons. From 2005-07, the Reds did not do that with Harang and Arroyo. And it's certainly possible that they could very well be paying that price right now.

Great stuff, Cyclone.

Handlers of Volquez and Cueto, take note!
__________________

wally post
08-18-2008, 11:19 AM
Wow. You can send this thread to the Smithsonian! Thank you so much, Cyclone!

OnBaseMachine
08-18-2008, 11:25 AM
Cueto has three 115+ games (119, 115, 120) and six 110+ games. Volquez only has one 115+ pitch game (118) but has nine 110+ pitch games.

lollipopcurve
08-18-2008, 11:28 AM
Cueto has three 115+ games (119, 115, 120) and six 110+ games.

This is a potential problem, in my estimation. He needs to be lifted pre-100 pitches occasionally, and given extra days here and there between now and the end of the season. Then keep him out of winter ball. Remember, he threw 30 innings in the Dominican last winter.

Always Red
08-18-2008, 11:37 AM
Great stuff, Cyclone.

Handlers of Volquez and Cueto, take note!
__________________

FWIW

2008 Pitcher Abuse Points (free content from BP)

http://www.baseballprospectus.com/statistics/sortable/index.php?cid=204015

11. Peavy
17. J. Santana
23. Cueto
24. Harang
32. Volquez
35. Arroyo
72. Webb

Brandon Webb is having an outstanding year, Cy Young quality, and is making it seem nearly effortless.

I think Dusty is doing OK, except for that extra-inning game...

Arroyo and Harang are both much further down this list than they have been in the past.

RedsManRick
08-18-2008, 12:02 PM
Cyclone, great follow up. I think it's very instructional in terms of understanding that long term impact. You don't take the guy out after 115 pitches because he's going to get hurt today or miss his next start. You do it because those extra long outings have a cumulative effect which will catch up to you eventually. And when it does, you're going to wish you had been more judicious.

The reaper is coming -- and high pitch counts accelerate his approach.

flyer85
08-18-2008, 12:09 PM
Arroyo and Harang are both much further down this list than they have been in the past.Mainly because they have pitcher poorly compared to prior years which translates to less pitches.

Always Red
08-18-2008, 12:49 PM
Mainly because they have pitcher poorly compared to prior years which translates to less pitches.

You're right, and that could very well be the case.

The best pitchers are usually near the top of the abuse list, primarily because they pitch the most. Brandon Webb is a huge exception, this year.

I've been critical of that Pitchers Abuse Points (mainly for calling it "abuse") list in the past, but it does provide a lot of useful information.

edabbs44
08-18-2008, 12:53 PM
Having a good bullpen and starters who are economical with their pitch counts also help the situation.

Cyclone792
08-18-2008, 03:37 PM
This is a potential problem, in my estimation. He needs to be lifted pre-100 pitches occasionally, and given extra days here and there between now and the end of the season. Then keep him out of winter ball. Remember, he threw 30 innings in the Dominican last winter.

I've generally been satisfied with Dusty's handling of Volquez; I remember that 118-pitch outing and didn't particularly like it, but if that's the worst mark thus far this season then it hasn't been too bad. Those high pitch Cueto starts had me a bit frustrated, though, especially due to Cueto's age and the workload he'll likely see this season barring an injury.

I hope the Reds can treat those two (and anybody else that's promising) with a mindset of ensuring they're not only healthy now, but likely healthy in 2009, 2010, and beyond. The last thing we need is to get excited for a possible run in 2010, then have our hopes slashed with key cogs in the rotation going down to injury and/or ineffectiveness ala Harang and Arroyo this season.

fearofpopvol1
08-19-2008, 10:24 AM
How about CC Sebathia? Dude made like 130 pitches last night. He's pitched a ton of complete games and regularly pitches 115+.

Cyclone792
08-19-2008, 11:10 AM
How about CC Sebathia? Dude made like 130 pitches last night. He's pitched a ton of complete games and regularly pitches 115+.

For the most part, the Indians protected Sabathia fairly well from 2005-07. And until his last outing as an Indian earlier this year when he threw 123 pitches, the Indians didn't run his pitch counts up much this season either.

Milwaukee, on the other hand, is treating him as if they have no intentions of keeping him beyond 2008. It'll be buyer beware for whoever offers up the big money to Sabathia this offseason considering that the Brewers don't seem too concerned about what they may be doing to his arm right now.

fearofpopvol1
08-19-2008, 12:41 PM
For the most part, the Indians protected Sabathia fairly well from 2005-07. And until his last outing as an Indian earlier this year when he threw 123 pitches, the Indians didn't run his pitch counts up much this season either.

Milwaukee, on the other hand, is treating him as if they have no intentions of keeping him beyond 2008. It'll be buyer beware for whoever offers up the big money to Sabathia this offseason considering that the Brewers don't seem too concerned about what they may be doing to his arm right now.

Good call. I didn't look at his stats from 2005-2007, but since he's been a Brewer, it's just been absolutely ridiculous. Why leave him in to make 130 pitches with a 7 run lead in the 9th??

edabbs44
08-24-2009, 09:36 PM
Boy, times have changed.

RedEye
08-24-2009, 11:06 PM
Boy, times have changed.

Well, Peavy at least hurt himself running the bases. So times haven't changed that much. But I hear you.