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Ltlabner
03-14-2008, 10:26 PM
What's the next currently undervalued skill set that will help teams gain a competitive edge?

A resurgance of speedy players?

A re-evaulation of bullpen roles, pitching types and roles?

Low cost crafty pitchers instead of volitle, injury prone flame throwers?

I'm just tossing out ideas off the top of my head. What directions do you think teams are heading with player skills, or should be heading, to find new ways to build competitive teams?

Or has everything under the baseball-sun been done?

TRF
03-14-2008, 10:31 PM
I think speed is on the rise. There seem to be fewer catchers with a gun, and I see quality SB threats making a comeback.

Spitball
03-14-2008, 10:32 PM
What's the next currently undervalued skill set that will help teams gain a competitive edge?

A resurgance of speedy players?

A re-evaulation of bullpen roles, pitching types and roles?

Low cost crafty pitchers instead of volitle, injury prone flame throwers?

I'm just tossing out ideas off the top of my head. What directions do you think teams are heading with player skills, or should be heading, to find new ways to build competitive teams?

Or has everything under the baseball-sun been done?

Good question. The Marlins won a World Series in 2003 with youth and speed, but there were no takers for the same blueprint.

RFS62
03-14-2008, 10:44 PM
I think speed is on the rise. There seem to be fewer catchers with a gun, and I see quality SB threats making a comeback.



I wish. But the slide step has changed the math on stealing bases.

Speed makes more of a difference going first to third, IMO.

M2
03-14-2008, 11:24 PM
I wish. But the slide step has changed the math on stealing bases.

Speed makes more of a difference going first to third, IMO.

Even so, bases have never been easier to steal. The SB success rate in the NL was 75.6% last season.

I suppose there's a chicken-and-egg argument to be made that the success rate is a function of being more cautious, but it seems to me that elite basestealers have almost no reason not to go more often (and I'll note that a lot of the CS I see are bad calls by the umps, giving the fielder credit for a tag that hasn't been made).

jojo
03-14-2008, 11:24 PM
Budgeting for wins rather than trying to squeeze out as many wins as possible from a compromised roster necessitated by a preset payroll....

GADawg
03-14-2008, 11:26 PM
Hopefully hiring overrated big name managers will be the new craze that leads to October....er, well November I guess nowadays. Oh yeah, and speed never slumps....

M2
03-14-2008, 11:32 PM
To answer the main question, I figure that in a decade or two we're going to see power pitching gain dominance over the hitters. If you go back 20 years, the average pitcher was in the high 80s. Now he's in the low 90s. I expect that trend to continue and what we'll eventually see is pitchers who throw so damn hard that hitters just can't catch up.

sonny
03-14-2008, 11:36 PM
I wish for the trend of bigger ballparks, but it ain't gonna happen.

GADawg
03-14-2008, 11:39 PM
To answer the main question, I figure that in a decade or two we're going to see power pitching gain dominance over the hitters. If you go back 20 years, the average pitcher was in the high 80s. Now he's in the low 90s. I expect that trend to continue and what we'll eventually see is pitchers who throw so damn hard that hitters just can't catch up.

that's a good observation...with that in mind I'm wondering with that trend how long we can expect the average pitcher to last without sitting out a year and a half rehabbing from surgery or counseling or whatever.

It seems to be getting to the point where you have to have 7 or 8 quality starter to compete instead of 4 of 5....scary for our guys.

RedlegJake
03-15-2008, 08:58 AM
To answer the main question, I figure that in a decade or two we're going to see power pitching gain dominance over the hitters. If you go back 20 years, the average pitcher was in the high 80s. Now he's in the low 90s. I expect that trend to continue and what we'll eventually see is pitchers who throw so damn hard that hitters just can't catch up.

I agree. But I see it as catching up to the hitters mostly. For years the adage has been you can't teach the fastball. Actually you can to a point. Sports science has helped hitters most to this point, imo.

Now the pitchers are breaking through -better coaching and understanding of the mechanics behind velocity, better training & conditioning methods, better equipment at young levels ( I mean pro style training stuff -here at MC Sports for instance they sell pitching mounds and cages for Pony baseball that will fit in a basement or backyard complete with JUGGS guns. Add a camcorder and you can teach all year long and believe me Dad's & coaches are buying this stuff for their boys. My son-in-law is an asst mgr for MCS and he tells me the money parents spend to help their kids is mind boggling - and pitcher's training equipment is one of their hot ticket items.

Soon most little league teams and just about every HS will have this kind of advanced equipment. Just a decade past when my son was in HS they had nothing of the kind). Our HS coach runs regular clinics for Pony coaches, with help from the baseball staff at MoWesternStateCollege.

He's set up a training funnel of quality coached kids who graduate Pony teams to Benton High School's program and last year they win the state title -after finishing in the top 4 3 years straight. Before he started this 'coaching the coaches' program Benton had only made the state tourney once in 50 years.

There have always been programs for hitters but now pitchers can get top level instruction, too. All of this helps identify and select the kids who can throw hard naturally and brings them way ahead of curve. Then as they grow and their bodies get stronger and bigger they gain even more velocity.

KronoRed
03-15-2008, 03:37 PM
I wish for the trend of bigger ballparks, but it ain't gonna happen.

Can't have those seats on the OF be too far away.

I'm hoping for the base ejector.

flyer85
03-15-2008, 03:55 PM
speed never slumps....especially if it can't get on base. :D

BCubb2003
03-15-2008, 04:30 PM
Speed gets tired.

Speed pulls a hammy.

Speed walks slowly back to the bench after striking out.

Speed was an underrated movie.

RedsManRick
03-15-2008, 04:40 PM
More tailoring defensive strategy to specific hitters and/or pitchers. A top notch middle infield for a ground ball pitcher, more shifts against pull hitters, etc.

*BaseClogger*
03-15-2008, 06:58 PM
Four man rotation...

Spitball
03-15-2008, 07:19 PM
Four man rotation...

:thumbup:

jojo
03-15-2008, 08:00 PM
Jet packs.

Chip R
03-15-2008, 09:46 PM
Four man rotation...


We'll see the 6 man rotation before we see the 4 man again.

Reds Nd2
03-15-2008, 10:05 PM
We'll see the 6 man rotation before we see the 4 man again.

Remember when the Red Sox were supposed to be toying with the idea of a six man rotation a couple of months or so ago? Now Schilling is out and Beckett may not be available for opening day.

Weaver's Seventh Law

"It's easier to find four good starters than five."

*BaseClogger*
03-15-2008, 10:07 PM
they made an excellent case for the four man rotation in Baseball Between the Numbers...

edabbs44
03-15-2008, 10:09 PM
More "set in stone" platoons.

It shouldn't matter what your name or pedigree is. If you don't perform versus a certain population, you shouldn't play versus that population.

Reds Nd2
03-15-2008, 10:11 PM
What's currently undervalued in my humble opinion though, are good defensive catchers with great pop times.

pedro
03-15-2008, 10:38 PM
Hippies dressed as punks.

Chip R
03-15-2008, 10:42 PM
Remember when the Red Sox were supposed to be toying with the idea of a six man rotation a couple of months or so ago? Now Schilling is out and Beckett may not be available for opening day.

Weaver's Seventh Law

"It's easier to find four good starters than five."


With an increased emphasis on pitch counts and trying to keep their arms in one piece, it's just a natural progression. Heck, I think it's possible that your starter that goes 6-7 innings now will be seen as an ironman in the future and pitchers are going to go 4-5 innings max. The complete game will go the way of the dodo. These starters are going to go all out for 3-5 innings and give way to a parade of relievers. It could be that we won't even have a set starting rotation per se. Relievers will start and starters will relieve. Just like in the old days except that there will be more pitchers instead of just a few.

pedro
03-15-2008, 10:49 PM
A wired game.

Microchips in the ball, players gloves, bases, the foul poles.

mth123
03-15-2008, 11:07 PM
With an increased emphasis on pitch counts and trying to keep their arms in one piece, it's just a natural progression. Heck, I think it's possible that your starter that goes 6-7 innings now will be seen as an ironman in the future and pitchers are going to go 4-5 innings max. The complete game will go the way of the dodo. These starters are going to go all out for 3-5 innings and give way to a parade of relievers. It could be that we won't even have a set starting rotation per se. Relievers will start and starters will relieve. Just lie in the old days except that there will be more pitchers instead of just a few.

I agree with this. I think the valued skill will be versatile position players. Teams will shorten the bench to two or three guys who can play everywhere to make room for a 15 man pitching staff. I think you'll see some version of DanO's tandem starters. Pitchers will come in and go hard once through the order and give way to the next guy. There will still be solid starters who do it he old way, but those 4 and 5 spots that are usually iffy anyway will go this direction. Teams will need versatile position guys to fit the extra pitchers on the roster and those guys will be valued much more than today.

M2
03-15-2008, 11:28 PM
With an increased emphasis on pitch counts and trying to keep their arms in one piece, it's just a natural progression. Heck, I think it's possible that your starter that goes 6-7 innings now will be seen as an ironman in the future and pitchers are going to go 4-5 innings max. The complete game will go the way of the dodo. These starters are going to go all out for 3-5 innings and give way to a parade of relievers. It could be that we won't even have a set starting rotation per se. Relievers will start and starters will relieve. Just lie in the old days except that there will be more pitchers instead of just a few.

My guess is that's more likely than the return of the four-man rotation. While it may technically be easier to find four good starters than five, find me one pitcher in MLB at this moment who can maintain his stuff if you upped his workload to that extent.

*BaseClogger*
03-15-2008, 11:46 PM
My guess is that's more likely than the return of the four-man rotation. While it may technically be easier to find four good starters than five, find me one pitcher in MLB at this moment who can maintain his stuff if you upped his workload to that extent.

When I brought up the four man rotation I had the Baseball Between the Numbers model in mind, which suggested a four man rotation but with those starters not going as deep into games, therefore, the starting pitchers could maintain their stuff...

blumj
03-16-2008, 12:10 AM
Remember when the Red Sox were supposed to be toying with the idea of a six man rotation a couple of months or so ago? Now Schilling is out and Beckett may not be available for opening day.
Well, that's a little deceptive, because their opening day is March 25, in Tokyo, but it'll be 10 more days before they even need to go to a 3 man rotation.

M2
03-16-2008, 02:17 AM
When I brought up the four man rotation I had the Baseball Between the Numbers model in mind, which suggested a four man rotation but with those starters not going as deep into games, therefore, the starting pitchers could maintain their stuff...

I still question whether they would be able to do that. Yet even if they could, where's the benefit? You're just trading 150 IP of bad #5 starter for 150 IP of bad middle relief. I don't see the point.

If you can't ride those four starters and hang 'em up wet, then you're really not getting anything from it. In fact, since you can only carry 25 men on the roster, I can see a major impediment to a four-man staff on short pitch counts. You might be asking three relievers to do the job of one starter in the 5-man rotation system. That's a shorter position player bench and you're now hunting for three competent arms instead of one.

*BaseClogger*
03-16-2008, 01:32 PM
I still question whether they would be able to do that. Yet even if they could, where's the benefit? You're just trading 150 IP of bad #5 starter for 150 IP of bad middle relief. I don't see the point.

The idea is that pitchers are more effective in short stints out of the bullpen, and that your crappy pitchers would be more effective for those 150 innings out of the bullpen than the back of the rotation...

Plus, you can't just look at the raw number of innings a guy like Harang throws. Yes, since he is not going as deep into games his total innings pitched for the season remains about the same. However, instead of only appearing in 33 of the Reds games, Harang has an opportunity to start, have an effect on, and win 40 of the Reds games with a four man rotation. That to me is a huge difference...

Big Klu
03-16-2008, 02:47 PM
What's next?

27-man rosters.

Reds Nd2
03-16-2008, 10:49 PM
With an increased emphasis on pitch counts and trying to keep their arms in one piece, it's just a natural progression. Heck, I think it's possible that your starter that goes 6-7 innings now will be seen as an ironman in the future and pitchers are going to go 4-5 innings max. The complete game will go the way of the dodo. These starters are going to go all out for 3-5 innings and give way to a parade of relievers. It could be that we won't even have a set starting rotation per se. Relievers will start and starters will relieve. Just like in the old days except that there will be more pitchers instead of just a few.

How many pitchers do you plan on carrying? A six man rotation just won't work with the current 25 man roster. Your taking away starts and innings pitched from your best pitchers and giving them to guys who, well, just aren't that good. Why would any team want to do that?

Reds Nd2
03-16-2008, 10:55 PM
A wired game.

Microchips in the ball, players gloves, bases, the foul poles.

Great point pedro. It could be the new wave of defensive analysis.

Reds Nd2
03-16-2008, 10:58 PM
Teams will shorten the bench to two or three guys who can play everywhere to make room for a 15 man pitching staff.

With a 25 man roster?

That. Won't. Work. Ever.

Reds Nd2
03-16-2008, 11:05 PM
My guess is that's more likely than the return of the four-man rotation. While it may technically be easier to find four good starters than five, find me one pitcher in MLB at this moment who can maintain his stuff if you upped his workload to that extent.

I agree that the four man rotation has gone the way of handlebar mustaches and running boards, but find me a sixth starter who makes it worth giving up those starts and innings pitched to a teams best pitchers.

Chip R
03-16-2008, 11:59 PM
How many pitchers do you plan on carrying? A six man rotation just won't work with the current 25 man roster. Your taking away starts and innings pitched from your best pitchers and giving them to guys who, well, just aren't that good. Why would any team want to do that?


Beats me. But they probably said the same thing about the 5 man rotation back in the 70s. Plus there was a time in the 80s where they only had 24 man rosters and they had 5 man rotations then too. It's just a natural progression.

klw
03-17-2008, 12:07 AM
more scrappy pinch hitters

http://www.conexioncubana.net/blogs/edwin/wp-content/uploads/2007/06/Eddie_Gaedel_01.jpg

Reds Nd2
03-17-2008, 12:10 AM
Well, that's a little deceptive, because their opening day is March 25, in Tokyo, but it'll be 10 more days before they even need to go to a 3 man rotation.

It wasn't meant to be deceptive at all. But, Beckett is now scratched for the two games in Tokyo. Schilling has been out for awhile now. The Red Sox, like well, every other team in the Major Leagues, are scrambling for a five man rotation. It ain't that easy to even get your best two pitchers into the rotation.

blumj
03-17-2008, 12:43 AM
It wasn't meant to be deceptive at all. But, Beckett is now scratched for the two games in Tokyo. Schilling has been out for awhile now. The Red Sox, like well, every other team in the Major Leagues, are scrambling for a five man rotation. It ain't that easy to even get your best two pitchers into the rotation.
Oh, sure. I didn't mean to imply that you were being deceptive, just that their weird schedule is.

Reds Nd2
03-17-2008, 01:11 AM
Oh, sure. I didn't mean to imply that you were being deceptive, just that their weird schedule is.

The Red Sox playing around with a six man rotation had nothing to do with their weird schedule.


11/06/2007

Something borrowed, something new: The Red Sox are in the very early stages of considering a dramatic switch to their pitching rotation that has nothing to do with signing a major free agent or acquiring a star hurler.

Based on the success the team had with giving Schilling and Josh Beckett more than seven days' rest on several occasions late in the season and the fact that Daisuke Matsuzaka thrived on five days' rest in his native Japan, the team is considering a switch to a six-man pitching rotation.

"We've discussed that concept, the concept of a six-man rotation," Epstein said. "I think it's premature to commit to any usage pattern, but certainly we're in a bit of a unique situation where you'd say a number of our starters might benefit from something like that in one way or another. But there's just so much attrition in baseball that the minute we start counting on having a six-man rotation or give it serious consideration, that's when we lose a pitcher or two in Spring Training and we look for someone to step up."

Adding more fuel to the speculation now is the return of Schilling for 2008, giving the Red Sox, at least on paper, six starters heading into the season in Beckett, Matsuzaka, Schilling, Tim Wakefield, Jon Lester and possibly Clay Buchholz.

"I'm sure that topic will come up in our internal discussions between now and Spring Training. It's an interesting concept, given the personnel we have, but not something we've fully explored yet," Epstein said.

http://mlb.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20071106&content_id=2294391&vkey=news_mlb&fext=.jsp&c_id=mlb

Reds Nd2
03-17-2008, 01:25 AM
Beats me. But they probably said the same thing about the 5 man rotation back in the 70s. Plus there was a time in the 80s where they only had 24 man rosters and they had 5 man rotations then too. It's just a natural progression.

How many innings did those starting pitchers in the '80's pitch though?

In your 6 man scenario, your limiting your best pitchers to 3 to 5 innings max while giving those other 600 innings to others. It's going to take alot of pitchers to make up those other innings. How deep do you want to cut your bench?

BCubb2003
03-17-2008, 03:01 AM
I would say the next game-changing thing that one team discovers to give it an edge would be advanced physical care and development of young arms.

Chip R
03-17-2008, 12:12 PM
How many innings did those starting pitchers in the '80's pitch though?

In your 6 man scenario, your limiting your best pitchers to 3 to 5 innings max while giving those other 600 innings to others. It's going to take alot of pitchers to make up those other innings. How deep do you want to cut your bench?


Probably a little more than they do now. In the AL you don't need a deep bench since you have a DH you're not pinch hitting for the pitcher in the 5th inning and you're not double switching.

I think a 6 man rotation is a little different than what I was talking about towards the end of my post. I think eventually, someone is going to scrap the rotation and just start the game with whomever they think will do the better job that day. It'll be kind of like spring training except the rotation wouldn't be set in stone. Starters become relievers and relievers become starters and they move back and forth in those roles as the season goes by. On a particular day in the season, you might have 5-6 pitchers available to pitch that day. The de facto starter goes 3 innings and is pulled before he becomes tired and/or ineffective. Then you bring the next guy in and he goes 2-3 innings. Pretty soon it's the 6th or 7th inning and then you play mix and match with the remaining guys like you do now. Maybe you still have a designated closer, maybe not. Then 2-3 days from then you can either start that guy who started the original game or put him in relief.

I'm just thinking outside the box here like this thread was intended to do. I don't know if it's a good idea or not but if it happens, I'll be more than happy to take credit for it. :D

M2
03-17-2008, 12:54 PM
The idea is that pitchers are more effective in short stints out of the bullpen, and that your crappy pitchers would be more effective for those 150 innings out of the bullpen than the back of the rotation...

Plus, you can't just look at the raw number of innings a guy like Harang throws. Yes, since he is not going as deep into games his total innings pitched for the season remains about the same. However, instead of only appearing in 33 of the Reds games, Harang has an opportunity to start, have an effect on, and win 40 of the Reds games with a four man rotation. That to me is a huge difference...

Yet if he pitches less in each game, then he's got less effect on the outcomes of those games. You wouldn't be getting 40 games of Aaron Harang at the level of production he current provides in 33 games. If you were, then a 4-man rotation would make a ton of sense (provided you could find three other pitchers to join him).

And the problem you then run into is crappy middle relief is every bit as bad as, and often worse than, crappy #5 starters. You're talking about more work for guys like Victor Santos, Kirk Saarloos and Mike Gosling. What you've got is recipe for using more total pitchers in a game with a dearth of quality pitching.

Ltlabner
03-17-2008, 01:19 PM
I would say the next game-changing thing that one team discovers to give it an edge would be advanced physical care and development of young arms.

That's kinda what I was thinking. A team that is able to come up with some revolutionary way of drafting, training and conditioning young pitching arms will leap out ahead of the competion once those arms start to hit the bigs. I have no idea what that revolutionary system would be, or if theres even anything that could be done differently.

But since the currency of pitchers has become more and more valuable I'd say it's a mine worth digging.

dabvu2498
03-17-2008, 01:31 PM
I have no idea what that revolutionary system would be, or if theres even anything that could be done differently.

http://www.drmikemarshall.com/

KronoRed
03-17-2008, 03:47 PM
more scrappy pinch hitters

http://www.conexioncubana.net/blogs/edwin/wp-content/uploads/2007/06/Eddie_Gaedel_01.jpg

That guy walked, freaking base clogger

*BaseClogger*
03-17-2008, 05:39 PM
Yet if he pitches less in each game, then he's got less effect on the outcomes of those games. You wouldn't be getting 40 games of Aaron Harang at the level of production he current provides in 33 games. If you were, then a 4-man rotation would make a ton of sense (provided you could find three other pitchers to join him).

And the problem you then run into is crappy middle relief is every bit as bad as, and often worse than, crappy #5 starters. You're talking about more work for guys like Victor Santos, Kirk Saarloos and Mike Gosling. What you've got is recipe for using more total pitchers in a game with a dearth of quality pitching.

what is harder to find... a starting pitcher with a 4.50 ERA or a reliever with a 4.50 ERA? (I know ERA is a bad stat to use here but I think you get the point)

M2
03-17-2008, 05:47 PM
what is harder to find... a starting pitcher with a 4.50 ERA or a reliever with a 4.50 ERA? (I know ERA is a bad stat to use here but I think you get the point)

You're not talking about a single reliever, you're looking for three. Actually, what you'd really be doing (for most teams) is creating a situation where half a dozen wretched relievers cycle in and out of the roster. As hard as it may be to find a reasonable #5 starter, I'd much rather be hunting for one guy than a pile of them. There is a scarcity of pitching talent. Given that, I can't get behind any plan that requires a team to use more pitchers.

klw
03-17-2008, 06:02 PM
That guy walked, freaking base clogger

Yes but combine him with the base stealing stylings of Herb Washington and you could be onto something.


http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/baseball/mlb/features/1997/swinginas/1974/images/1974washington.gif http://www.langenberg.org/images/herbwashington.jpg

He also got thrown out alot too. Less clogging.

Reds Nd2
03-17-2008, 10:50 PM
I'm just thinking outside the box here like this thread was intended to do. I don't know if it's a good idea or not but if it happens, I'll be more than happy to take credit for it. :D

When a team goes to a six man rotation for an entire season, I'll go on my soap box to have it called the Chip Rotation. :)

I don't really disagree with you. I think we're probably closer to seeing a six man rotation than we are of seeing a return to a four man rotation. I'm just not sold on the idea that it's a good thing with a twenty-five man roster. Even if teams could expand to say a twenty-seven man rotation, I just think they would rather have more position players. The five man rotation is here to stay for awhile.

However, I really do like your idea of relievers starting and starters relieving. Use your closer to shut down the opposing managers one time to set up his line up in the first inning. Then call in your best middle reliever to get through the second and third innings. Then you use your starter for the teams highest leveraged innings. Maybe keep a second closer just in case your starter can't get through seven innings. I'm not sure how to make it work, but I would like to see a team try it.

Will it happen? Probably not. Just like the four man/six man rotation, it's not likely to happen. What I do think might happen in the future is a true closer by committee.

*BaseClogger*
03-17-2008, 10:53 PM
yeah, how come that closer by comittee thing hasn't worked yet?

Has anyone mentioned the use of an "ace reliever" instead of a closer in high leverage situations?