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westofyou
04-23-2008, 11:17 PM
http://www.usatoday.com/sports/baseball/al/rangers/2008-04-22-Ryan_N.htm?loc=interstitialskip


Ryan, baseball's first million-dollar player, realizes the game has changed. Players are averaging nearly $3 million a year. The industry is generating nearly $7 billion. And agents are loathe to let their clients throw 300 innings.

Still, Ryan is determined to change the pitching philosophy in Texas. He would love to confiscate every pitch counter used by coaches. It drives him batty when he watches pitchers being pulled from games because their pitch count hits 110 or 120.

"We have to change this mindset," says Ryan. "Some of the guys have been on a pitch count since Little League. It should be tailored to the individual.

"These pitchers have to realize what their capabilities are, and build up their stamina. I remember it used to be that 300 innings was the benchmark for an ace. If you were a starter, you were expected to pitch at least 250 innings. Now, you may have one guy go 200 innings on your whole staff.

"That's why you see 12, 13 pitchers on every team.."

Ryan expressed these sentiments to the Rangers front office and coaching staff. He may be a softy at heart and always a gentleman, but when the boss talks, you better listen.

"He made suggestions along those lines about pitch counts," Rangers manager Ron Washington says. "So we're trying to keep them out there as long as they can. We have to be smart monitoring what they're doing, but if you got the horses, you can let them go a bit."

There was a moderate difference in the first three weeks. The Rangers' rotation averaged 96.3 pitches per game and lasted 5.93 innings per start. A year ago, they averaged 81.2 pitches and 5.44 innings.

Rangers ace Kevin Millwood became the first Ranger in nearly two years to throw a complete game. It was April 5 vs. the Los Angeles Angels, albeit an eight-inning effort in a 2-1 loss. The starters have thrown at least 100 pitches in eight games.

"I love it," Millwood says. "It seems like they've let me go a little longer than I did in the past. I'm not going to jeopardize the game just to be a tough guy, but I can tell you when I'm tired and when I'm not.

"But what (Ryan) did, I don't see anyone doing anything like that again."

Ryan, who threw the fifth-most innings in baseball history, told the Rangers' executives and coaches how critical conditioning was to his career. He would not only routinely throw batting practice to his teammates, but would do wind sprints after each 10-minute interval, lasting about 30 minutes.

"Obviously, he's got strong feelings about pitching," Rangers general manager Jon Daniels says, "and we were able to incorporate some of the things Nolan did into our farm system. We've encouraged a lot of our (minor league) managers and pitching coaches that they have the flexibility to let their pitchers go past 100 pitches. We're not going to call down there (and complain) as long as they're not putting the pitchers at risk. We're having our young pitchers throw live batting practice, too."

So they're running wind sprints between BP sessions, too?

"Uh, baby steps," Daniels says. "We don't want to shock these guys too much."



CAREER


INNINGS PITCHED IP
1 Cy Young 7356
2 Pud Galvin 5941.1
3 Walter Johnson 5914.2
4 Phil Niekro 5404.1
5 Nolan Ryan 5386
6 Gaylord Perry 5350.1
7 Don Sutton 5282.1
8 Warren Spahn 5245.2
9 Steve Carlton 5217.1
10 Grover C Alexander 5189

Chip R
04-23-2008, 11:22 PM
I think Kremchek is contemplating opening up a branch office in Arlington.

WMR
04-23-2008, 11:25 PM
Funny article!! :laugh:

Tony Cloninger
04-24-2008, 01:17 AM
Just like it is extreme to have pitchers throw 140 pitches a game like in the 60's and 70's....it's just the same to cut them off at 100.

You have to find a way to have pitchers throw more innings and if need be more pitches...it is a case of finding out which ones can do it better than others.

Harang can....Arroyo cannot. We found out about BA the hard way however.

RedlegJake
04-24-2008, 09:32 AM
Just like it is extreme to have pitchers throw 140 pitches a game like in the 60's and 70's....it's just the same to cut them off at 100.

You have to find a way to have pitchers throw more innings and if need be more pitches...it is a case of finding out which ones can do it better than others.

Harang can....Arroyo cannot. We found out about BA the hard way however.

Money has ended the old way of sorting them out. The ones who couldn't ended up in the pen or done. I agree with Ryan, though, to a point. A flat edict of no more than a set number of pitches for all pitchers is dumb. Body type, mechanics, age, conditioning - all have a lot to do with it.

For every Nolan Ryan, though, there are ten guys who threw a ton of pitches and saw their arm blow out prematurely, from Amos Rusie to Jim Maloney.

jmcclain19
04-24-2008, 05:58 PM
In the 60s & 70s - the Heyday of the Nolan Ryan Era, not only did the pitcher bat in both leagues, but the SS, the C, the CF and usually the 2B were slap happy offensive zeros who were only good glove men on most teams. So Nolan could count on taking three to five hitters off every turn of the order every night he was on the bump. Not even close to being the case today.

Everytime I hear some media blowhard pining for the days of pitching yore where men were men I want to smack them and remind them of that simple fact.

I don't have the numbers in front of me, but I'd bet cash money that the pitchers per at bat have gone way up in the last 10-15 years as well.

westofyou
04-24-2008, 06:01 PM
In the 60s & 70s - the Heyday of the Nolan Ryan Era, not only did the pitcher bat in both leagues, but the SS, the C, the CF and usually the 2B were slap happy offensive zeros who were only good glove men on most teams. So Nolan could count on taking three to five hitters off every turn of the order every night he was on the bump. Not even close to being the case today.

Every time I hear some media blowhard pining for the days of pitching yore where men were men I want to smack them and remind them of that simple fact.

I don't have the numbers in front of me, but I'd bet cash money that the pitchers per at bat have gone way up in the last 10-15 years as well.

One thing that seems to slip into the background concerning the rise in pitching during that era is the introduction of newer parks that were strictly pitchers parks (Dodger Stadium, Candlestick, Busch, Astrodome, RFK, Oakland, Angels) each time a park like these showed up in the league hits disappeared and the pitching talents shown just a bit brighter. Another factor was the offenses slow reaction to the change in the game. On the heels of the 1950’s the game had become more and more station to station and the running game had stagnated and almost became extinct in some towns (though it showed its head every now and then here and there) the transition to the blended game of power and speed of the 1970’s evolved during the 1960’s and like most evolutionary treks it exhibited some periods that were fraught with pitfalls, in the case of baseball in the 1960’s it’s the other side of the coin that hardly ever is spoken of, it’s the laundry list of poor hitters that would make a mockery of the game we watch today if they strolled to the dish.

In an era that didn’t value speed on the base paths or on base percentage there were more than a few less than stellar players with the stick getting at bats against these legends.

For every Koufax there was a Willie Davis, for every Marichal a Hal Lanier, in the span of 1963-1968 there were 36 regulars in MLB who had over 150 games played and a slugging percentage less than .400 and a on base percentage less than .300. in the years of 1953-1958 there were 4.

The game had swung drastically to the other end of the spectrum in the years between 1953 and 1968, glove men with little on base skills or pop were all over the place, among them was perhaps the most wonderful outmaker of all, Hal Lanier.

Lanier was a legacy player, son of Cardinal hurler Max Lanier. Hal was a sought after high school player who surprised most of baseball when he signed with the Giants. While hitting over .300 in the minor leagues in 1964 Lanier got the call, a swift fielding 2nd sacker Lanier hit a respectable .274 in 90 games in San Francisco, however his 5 walks in 401 plate appearances should have been a warning flag the size of Texas. The next season Hal played with an assortment of players at shortstop, but a mid season trade brought Dick Schofield over. Schofield had been the transition shortstop from Grote to Alley in Pittsburgh, when Alley was ready to take over full time the inept bat of Schofield was sent to San Francisco to fill out there shortstop problem.

Together in San Francisco Schofield and Lanier teamed up for 997 trips to the plate that season, unfortunately for the Giants they made an out 758 times, that’s a robust 76% of the time they came to bat. Lanier honed that skill into an art form and no better was that displayed than in the 1967-1968 seasons. By then Lanier had been moved to shortstop, solving the Giant’s lack of defense at the keystone position and also bettering the bat at second by default. Lanier came to the dish 1075 times in the 67-68 seasons and made an astonishing 871 outs, that’s an out 76% of the time he batted. Of the 212 hits that he had 16% were extra bases, none home runs.

Lanier’s 1968 season produced the worst secondary average (The formula is (TB-H+BB+SB)/AB) in the history of the modern game, with his 1969 and 1967 season taking slots 3 and 4.

Meanwhile his teammate Juan Marichal was starting 64 games, piling up 528 innings pitched going 40-19 with a 2.56 era.

Ying and Yang I guess…


YEAR AVG SLG OBA OPS
1963 .246 .372 .309 .681
1964 .250 .378 .313 .690
1965 .246 .372 .311 .683
1966 .249 .376 .310 .686
1967 .242 .357 .306 .664
1968 .237 .340 .299 .639
TOT .245 .366 .308 .674

Chip R
04-24-2008, 06:40 PM
Nolan's assuming that every pitcher in their organization is going to work as hard as he did when he pitched. Some will, most won't. Anyone who has ever created anything from a computer program, to an experiment in a lab, to a recipie, to building a house knows that if you deviate in any way from the way the first successful product was made, there is a better than average chance you will get different results.

When Nolan was pitching, he may have rode a stationary bike after his starts or he may have lifted weights. If some kid in AA decides to go out and chase some tail after his start instead of riding a bike or lifting weights like Nolan did, he may not be able to have the endurance that Nolan did and therefore his arm may not be able to handle the rigors of pitching that Ryan's arm did.

Yachtzee
05-18-2008, 09:09 PM
Nolan's assuming that every pitcher in their organization is going to work as hard as he did when he pitched. Some will, most won't. Anyone who has ever created anything from a computer program, to an experiment in a lab, to a recipie, to building a house knows that if you deviate in any way from the way the first successful product was made, there is a better than average chance you will get different results.

When Nolan was pitching, he may have rode a stationary bike after his starts or he may have lifted weights. If some kid in AA decides to go out and chase some tail after his start instead of riding a bike or lifting weights like Nolan did, he may not be able to have the endurance that Nolan did and therefore his arm may not be able to handle the rigors of pitching that Ryan's arm did.

I can't help but think that part of the problem with Ryan's logic is that there is no context with regard to the number of arm injuries. Do we have an idea as to the percentage of pitchers who made big league starts in his era who washed out because of arm injuries vs. now? I think the greats like Ryan and Steve Carlton were able to throw so many innings because they were freaks of nature. But for every Carlton and Ryan, I'm sure there were plenty of sore arms struggling in the minors trying to come back after catastrophic arm injuries. This was the era before Tommy John surgery. But you might not have heard about them as much because "out of sight, out of mind." Now, of course, we hear all the time about arm injuries because we're constantly reminded of them with all the pitchers making rehab starts and coming back from their second or third surgeries. Back in the early part of Ryan's career, you didn't even get one surgery. You either struggled to come back, learned to throw the knuckle ball, or simply retired to sell insurance or work the farm.

Always Red
05-18-2008, 09:33 PM
I can't help but think that part of the problem with Ryan's logic is that there is no context with regard to the number of arm injuries. Do we have an idea as to the percentage of pitchers who made big league starts in his era who washed out because of arm injuries vs. now? I think the greats like Ryan and Steve Carlton were able to throw so many innings because they were freaks of nature. But for every Carlton and Ryan, I'm sure there were plenty of sore arms struggling in the minors trying to come back after catastrophic arm injuries. This was the era before Tommy John surgery. But you might not have heard about them as much because "out of sight, out of mind." Now, of course, we hear all the time about arm injuries because we're constantly reminded of them with all the pitchers making rehab starts and coming back from their second or third surgeries. Back in the early part of Ryan's career, you didn't even get one surgery. You either struggled to come back, learned to throw the knuckle ball, or simply retired to sell insurance or work the farm.

That's why I agree with Ryan, to a certain extent. You're right that injuries were not well documented back then. There were also far less teams, and if you washed out- back to the farm with you and the next guy steps into your place. But, there's also no proof that limiting innings leads to less injury, and Ryan's big beef seems to be with an arbitrary cut-off number of pitches. He thinks (and I do too) that it needs to be individualized.

Freaks? I don't think so.
Just picking 1972, here are the NL and AL leaders for IP:


NL Innings
Carlton-PHI 346.3
Jenkins-CHC 289.3
Niekro-ATL 282.3
Gibson-STL 278.0
Sutton-LAD 272.7


AL Innings
Wood-CHW 376.7
Perry-CLE 342.7
Lolich-DET 327.3
Hunter-OAK 295.3
Blyleven-MIN 287.3


None of these guys flamed out early due to overuse; they all had at least 15 year careers.

My hunch is that there are certainly pitchers today who could throw the same amount of innings as they did back in the stone ages of 1972, safely, and without injury. Certainly not everyone can do that, and pitch counts can help identify feebler arms that need more rest and coddling from the freaks who can throw a lot of effective innings.

If I'm a GM, and I am paying $15-20 million dollars a year for a stud SP, I want to maximize his use; I want him on the mound as much as he can be. IF I can get 300 IP out of him instead of 220, safely, I do it every single time. There's just not enough data out there to define what "overuse" is, how many pitches/game and innings/year constitute abuse, and it most probably differs for every single pitcher.

George Anderson
05-18-2008, 10:23 PM
Sounds like Edinson Volquez got outta Dodge just in time!!

Yachtzee
05-18-2008, 10:29 PM
That's why I agree with Ryan, to a certain extent. You're right that injuries were not well documented back then. There were also far less teams, and if you washed out- back to the farm with you and the next guy steps into your place. But, there's also no proof that limiting innings leads to less injury, and Ryan's big beef seems to be with an arbitrary cut-off number of pitches. He thinks (and I do too) that it needs to be individualized.

Freaks? I don't think so.
Just picking 1972, here are the NL and AL leaders for IP:


NL Innings
Carlton-PHI 346.3
Jenkins-CHC 289.3
Niekro-ATL 282.3
Gibson-STL 278.0
Sutton-LAD 272.7


AL Innings
Wood-CHW 376.7
Perry-CLE 342.7
Lolich-DET 327.3
Hunter-OAK 295.3
Blyleven-MIN 287.3


None of these guys flamed out early due to overuse; they all had at least 15 year careers.

My hunch is that there are certainly pitchers today who could throw the same amount of innings as they did back in the stone ages of 1972, safely, and without injury. Certainly not everyone can do that, and pitch counts can help identify feebler arms that need more rest and coddling from the freaks who can throw a lot of effective innings.

If I'm a GM, and I am paying $15-20 million dollars a year for a stud SP, I want to maximize his use; I want him on the mound as much as he can be. IF I can get 300 IP out of him instead of 220, safely, I do it every single time. There's just not enough data out there to define what "overuse" is, how many pitches/game and innings/year constitute abuse, and it most probably differs for every single pitcher.

I would say they were freaks in that they were able to pitch all those innings and not flame out. The problem with finding out who can throw 300 innings a year is that you're going to trash a lot of arms finding the few who can do it consistently. With the increased number of teams and the higher demand for pitching, most teams just aren't willing to use arm injuries to weed out the weak arms who can't throw 300 innings.

kaldaniels
05-18-2008, 10:30 PM
That's why I agree with Ryan, to a certain extent. You're right that injuries were not well documented back then. There were also far less teams, and if you washed out- back to the farm with you and the next guy steps into your place. But, there's also no proof that limiting innings leads to less injury, and Ryan's big beef seems to be with an arbitrary cut-off number of pitches. He thinks (and I do too) that it needs to be individualized.

Freaks? I don't think so.
Just picking 1972, here are the NL and AL leaders for IP:


NL Innings
Carlton-PHI 346.3
Jenkins-CHC 289.3
Niekro-ATL 282.3
Gibson-STL 278.0
Sutton-LAD 272.7


AL Innings
Wood-CHW 376.7
Perry-CLE 342.7
Lolich-DET 327.3
Hunter-OAK 295.3
Blyleven-MIN 287.3


None of these guys flamed out early due to overuse; they all had at least 15 year careers.

My hunch is that there are certainly pitchers today who could throw the same amount of innings as they did back in the stone ages of 1972, safely, and without injury. Certainly not everyone can do that, and pitch counts can help identify feebler arms that need more rest and coddling from the freaks who can throw a lot of effective innings.

If I'm a GM, and I am paying $15-20 million dollars a year for a stud SP, I want to maximize his use; I want him on the mound as much as he can be. IF I can get 300 IP out of him instead of 220, safely, I do it every single time. There's just not enough data out there to define what "overuse" is, how many pitches/game and innings/year constitute abuse, and it most probably differs for every single pitcher.

How bad of an idea would it be to see if Harang and Harang only could go on 3 days rest all the time. If he liked the idea I would try it.

Deepred05
05-18-2008, 11:06 PM
What year was the mound lowered? I wanna guess 1969. Two of those pitchers on that list were knuckleball pitchers too if I recall correctly.

George Anderson
05-18-2008, 11:14 PM
What year was the mound lowered? I wanna guess 1969. Two of those pitchers on that list were knuckleball pitchers too if I recall correctly.

In 1969, the mound was lowered from 15 to 10 inches and the strike zone expanded.

BCubb2003
05-18-2008, 11:23 PM
There are only a certain number of hosses born in the world, like Feller, Ryan and Clemens, and a few amazing whippets like Koufax and Pedro Martinez. The rest are merely more talented than the other schoolboys at the inhuman art of pitching. Their arms are probably on borrowed time from the beginning.

Always Red
05-19-2008, 07:00 AM
There are only a certain number of hosses born in the world, like Feller, Ryan and Clemens, and a few amazing whippets like Koufax and Pedro Martinez. The rest are merely more talented than the other schoolboys at the inhuman art of pitching. Their arms are probably on borrowed time from the beginning.

So was Koufax's arm.

After spending the first 6 years of his career trying to find the strike zone, and then turning in 6 excellent years, 4 of which were simply stunning, Koufax retired at the age of 30 due to arthritis. Even today, there is no operation which could have prolonged Koufax's career.

This is where it gets interesting to me. Was Sandy's arthritis due to overuse? He did pitch in a 4 man rotation for those years, and started over 40 games a year 3 of those last 4 years. Or was the arthritis something that was going to happen anyway- a genetic predisposition? There really is no way of knowing this. My guess would be that the pitching certainly accelerated the process. Would Koufax's career have been prolonged today had he been used differently- with set-up men and closers? Or would he actually have spent even more time on the DL than he did- with todays sophisticated diagnosis and imaging techniques? Maybe Koufax would have been one of those guys who benefited from a stricter pitch count- unlike the guys on that list above who threw 250 innings a year for 15 years. The point is not that everyone SHOULD be able to throw that much, but that some guys ARE ABLE to pitch 250-300 innings a year, and do not need to be held back.

Pitching (overhand) always has, and always will, cause arm injuries- there is just no way around it. Every pitcher needs to be handled and treated individually. I haven't seen any evidence yet that stricter pitch counts are causing less injury. Some of the old-timers think throwing less is actually causing more injury, due to the inability to build up endurance. They don't have any evidence, either. It's all conjecture and conventional wisdom, which is what makes it a good discussion point. Time to start collecting data!!

LoganBuck
05-19-2008, 07:43 AM
Marty agrees with him. He hasn't failed to bring it up for the last week. The data is easily tallied from the last 20 years. I am sure someone that can crunch the numbers is working on a rebuttal right now.

RedlegJake
05-19-2008, 07:51 AM
I tend to think pitch counts are overblown as a way to prevent injury. I subscribe to the theory that some guys are just better adapted physically through a combination of genetic body type, muscle fibre type (fast or slow twitch), and mechanics to pitch lots of innings and as Ryan alludes "regenerate their own bullets". Other guys have so many bullets and that's it and some are just not able to make it past the growth stage from flexible indestructible teen to mature physical adult. Pitch counts certainly help in my opinion, and Jim Maloney style 160-180 pitch counts are crazy, as are the tales of old iron men of yore starting back to back games or in both ends of a double header, but the pendulum has arced too far. Volquez throws 110 pitches and people scream. 110? Too many? I don't buy it for a minute. Show me the proof. There isn't any. As Always Red said there is no evidence. Nothing scientifically studied and analyzed. It's the money. When you paid $500 bucks and a bus ticket to sign kids it was no big deal if the method for weeding out arms was to pitch em til they blew or didn't. When bonuses hit 50 grand up to millions that method not only suddenly seemed barbaric but hit the owners the only place that ever gives them any inclination to make changes. If 95 pitches is all Brandon Webb safe and prolongs careers across the board I'm all for it. Just change pitching to regular 5 inning starts in all games, expand rosters to ad 2 more relievers to every team and go for it. I'm just not convinced at all that's necessary. What I am convinced of is that it will definitely produce pitchers who can't throw more pitches than that effectively.

Always Red
05-19-2008, 07:52 AM
Pitching (overhand) always has, and always will, cause arm injuries- there is just no way around it. Every pitcher needs to be handled and treated individually. I haven't seen any evidence yet that stricter pitch counts are causing less injury. Some of the old-timers think throwing less is actually causing more injury, due to the inability to build up endurance. They don't have any evidence, either. It's all conjecture and conventional wisdom, which is what makes it a good discussion point. Time to start collecting data!!

Dr. Mike Marshall (who was an iron man reliever for the Dodgers in the 70's) has a different approach to the injury problem: http://www.drmikemarshall.com/

buckeyenut
05-19-2008, 09:45 AM
Nolan's assuming that every pitcher in their organization is going to work as hard as he did when he pitched. Some will, most won't. Anyone who has ever created anything from a computer program, to an experiment in a lab, to a recipie, to building a house knows that if you deviate in any way from the way the first successful product was made, there is a better than average chance you will get different results.

When Nolan was pitching, he may have rode a stationary bike after his starts or he may have lifted weights. If some kid in AA decides to go out and chase some tail after his start instead of riding a bike or lifting weights like Nolan did, he may not be able to have the endurance that Nolan did and therefore his arm may not be able to handle the rigors of pitching that Ryan's arm did.

I think this is the key point in this discussion and one Ryan mentions. Every pitcher is different and conditioning is key. So individual programs for individual players. If they are willing to work harder and condition better, they get the opportunity to pitch longer. But I think it comes with a trade off. COMPLETE transparency between player and pitching coach when it comes to pain. No more of this pitching through pain because I am a man crap. Pain is telling your body something so you need to listen to it. Not to say you shouldn't pitch with pain, you just need a medical professional monitoring the pain and understanding when it is pain and when it is an injury.

westofyou
12-10-2008, 01:02 PM
http://www.baseballprospectus.com/article.php?articleid=8356

On the Beat
Winter Meetings

by John Perrotto


LAS VEGAS—Nolan Ryan's 27 seasons as a major league pitcher seem to have spanned every era of baseball history except that of the dead ball. The Hall of Famer began his career in 1966, during a time when pitchers frequently threw complete games, and he ended it in 1993, when the era of one-inning closers and a platoon of set-up men was well under way, and when managers became just a little more ready to settle for six innings out of their starters.

Ryan prefers the old style of play, and would like to see starting pitchers become more durable. As he prepares for his second season as the Rangers' club president, Ryan is overseeing the introduction of some changes in the way that they develop starters both at the major league level and in the minor leagues. "I'd like to see our starters throw more innings," Ryan said Tuesday during the second day of the Winter Meetings at the Bellagio. "I don't see any reason why guys can't pitch more innings than they do today. I'm not saying we should run the starting pitchers into the ground, but I think it's reasonable to ask a little more out of them. It would make a big difference in our club."

No Rangers starting pitcher was even close to having 200 innings pitched, with Vicente Padilla leading the rotation with 171 frames in 2008, as they went 79-83 and had the worst ERA in the majors with a 5.37 mark. The Rangers' pitching problems go beyond last season however; they've finished in the top half of the 14-team AL in ERA only once in the last 11 seasons, when they ranked fifth in 2004. "With the setup we have in the bullpen, it would be a dream come true if we could get more production out of our starting rotation," Rangers manager Ron Washington said. "It would take some pressure off the bullpen, especially when you start getting deep into the season. I don't think they would be so tired. Starting pitching can save your bullpen. I think everyone would like to see a starter at least give you six innings."

Rangers starters averaged 5.4 innings per outing last season, and Ryan is determined to change that next year. Spring training begins a week earlier in order for players to prepare for participation in the World Baseball Classic, and the Rangers plan to put that extra time to good use. "We'll have our pitchers on a different schedule than in other years," Ryan said. "They will throw more on the side. They will throw more live batting practice. We will take the extra time to try to build them up to pitch more innings this season. I really believe that if you condition your body to handle a heavier work load, that it will respond. I don't see any reason why all of our starters can't exceed their innings-pitched totals of last season next season."

While Ryan admits to being a little old school, he also is not looking to blow out the pitching staff. He says that the Rangers will use a heavy dose of common sense while ramping up their conditioning program. "We're not going to ask our pitchers to do something they aren't capable of doing, or put them in a position where they are more susceptible to injuries," Ryan said. "It's just that I feel, with sports medicine being what it is and the advancement in training and injury prevention, that we can find a way to condition pitchers better without risking them to injury."

The Rangers will also ask their minor league pitchers to work harder, but again, it will be within reason. "You have to be really careful with the younger kids in the minor leagues because so many of them have played select ball in the summer, played in travel tournaments, and just really have had their arms abused in situations where there are no restrictions on pitch counts or innings limits," Ryan said. "You can't ask a kid like that to come in and throw 200 innings in a season. However, when our guys begin moving up through the organization, we want them to be able to handle a heavier workload, to where pitching at least 200 innings in a season by the time they get to the major leagues becomes second nature because their bodies are used to doing it."

With Mike Maddux being hired away from the Brewers last month, the Rangers will have a new pitching coach to implement Ryan's program. Maddux had been the pitching coach for the Astros' Triple-A Round Rock affiliate for three years from 2000 through 2002, a team that is owned by Ryan, and they have built an outstanding relationship.

While Maddux is a progressive thinker, he is also on board with Ryan's theories about increasing the number of innings and pitches thrown by the starters. Maddux was the pitching coach last season when CC Sabathia won three straight starts on short rest at the end of the season to lead the Brewers to their first playoff appearance in 26 years. "It seems like 100 is the magic number for pitch counts now, and managers automatically go the bullpen at that point," Ryan said. "Sometimes, though, there really isn't a difference between 100 or 120 pitches. If you are staying in your delivery and not having a lot of stressful innings, there are some games where 120 pitches are easier on your arm than 100 might be if you're pitching in a close game and everything in riding on each pitch. I think you need to use some common sense in that case. That's all we're looking to do, just use some common sense, and see if we can't get more out of our starting pitchers."

Cyclone792
12-10-2008, 01:08 PM
"It seems like 100 is the magic number for pitch counts now, and managers automatically go the bullpen at that point," Ryan said. "Sometimes, though, there really isn't a difference between 100 or 120 pitches. If you are staying in your delivery and not having a lot of stressful innings, there are some games where 120 pitches are easier on your arm than 100 might be if you're pitching in a close game and everything in riding on each pitch. I think you need to use some common sense in that case. That's all we're looking to do, just use some common sense, and see if we can't get more out of our starting pitchers."

So long as it's not the Reds experimenting with this, then let someone else do it. Ryan will either discover a safe avenue to reach his goal, or he may blow up his staff so bad that it makes the world forget about teh Uncle Dusty.

We'll see. Just keep the experimenting away from Harang, Volquez, Cueto and everyone else in the Reds system.

RedsManRick
12-10-2008, 01:30 PM
...If you are staying in your delivery and not having a lot of stressful innings...

For the bulk of his career, Ryan didn't have to face lineups with 8 games who could hit 20 homers. I don't think he gives enough credence to the fact that there is simply more offensive talent in the game these days. Pitching effectively is simply more stressful than it was 20 years ago. That's not the only factor, to be sure, but it shouldn't be so easily discounted.

I'd love to see an analysis which examines the full arc of pitchers careers. Are guys staying healthier longer? Effective longer?

Clearly Ryan was an exception to the rule, even in his day.

oneupper
12-10-2008, 07:47 PM
What year was the mound lowered? I wanna guess 1969. Two of those pitchers on that list were knuckleball pitchers too if I recall correctly.

Yep. Phil Niekro and Wilbur Wood.

remdog
12-10-2008, 10:14 PM
Leo Mazzoni approached pitching in much the same way that Ryan is approaching it.

Those Braves pitchers under Mazzoni did OK.

Rem

westofyou
04-27-2009, 12:00 PM
http://www.usatoday.com/sports/baseball/columnist/thorne/2009-04-26-thorne-column_N.htm


Nolan Ryan stresses conditioning over pitch counts
By Gary Thorne, Special to USA TODAY

Under the leadership of club president Nolan Ryan, the Texas Rangers have embarked on a pitching experiment that could be called "back to the future on the mound."

The experiment may also have a major impact on the use of the dreaded pitch count which has been in vogue for perhaps too long in MLB

Ryan has banished the use of the pitch count in determining how long a pitcher stays in the game through out the organization.

Of course, every pitching coach will know that count, but that is no longer the criteria for when to pull a pitcher. We are primarily talking starters here, a role Ryan filled to HOF standards, going deep into games.

If a pitch count had been around when Ryan pitched, he would have been out in the third or fourth inning of most games with all the strikeouts and walks.

As part of the effort, Ryan has also established a year round fitness program for pitchers. He told the Dallas Morning News the idea is to "establish our foundation" for starters.

Speaking from his own experience, Ryan said he "had to develop stamina because my intent was to pitch a lot of innings." That message is being sent loud and clear to the Texas starters.

Mike Maddux, the pitching coach for the Rangers, says you don't need a pitch count to know when your day is done. "The hitters will let you know that," he said.

"The ceiling is off," said Maddux. "This is a mental thing we have to overcome. We have to change the attitude of the starters to want to go deep and believe they can."

The Rangers instituted the process of eliminating the pitch count and building stamina in spring training said Maddux. "We had the pitchers throwing live batting practice besides their regular work."

"We want guys who want the ball deep in the game," said Maddux. He believes that the results of this experiment will be seen as early as June.

Andy MacPhail, the president of baseball operations for the Orioles finds the Texas effort "a good idea." He smiled and said, "We will let them (Texas) go first, but the other 29 clubs are going to be monitoring the results."

"Having Nolan Ryan and his reputation behind the effort lends tremendous credibility to the concept," said MacPhail.

MacPhail cited a number of changes in the game that brought the pitch count to the fore.

"Pitchers are on for the short term now," he said. "We play the game in high energy, short bursts. It's a give it all you've got for as long as you can and then you come out."

"Specialization also drove the pitch count," said MacPhail. With middle relievers, long men, set up pitchers and closers all part of a team's structure, the need to use them in their roles suggested a pitch count on the starter, then turn the game over to the pen.

MacPhail thinks it will take years to know if the experiment works. "We need to see if the pitchers under the Texas system remain durable and how many more innings they pitch over an extended time. That's how we will gauge the results."

Maddux noted that the system is in place with the Rangers big league staff now. Starters understand that not only does their pitching coach and manager expect efforts deep in to the game, but the president of the club wants the same.

Ryan summed up for the Dallas Morning News at the start of the season what he wants to see from starters: "The dedication and work ethic that it takes to pitch an entire season as a starting pitcher and the discipline to continue to maintain his routine all year. And he wants the ball every fifth day, and he's going to go out there with the intent of pitching late into games and not complaining."

The rest of baseball is intently watching.

westofyou
04-27-2009, 12:01 PM
http://www.bbtia.com/home/2009/4/27/on-pitching-futility-and-the-plan.html


Pitching coach Mike Maddux squandered no time in impressing the importance of throwing strikes and averting free passes upon his pupils, but emphasis is not tantamount to execution, and both the positive mid-March vibes emanating from Surprise, Arizona and the apparent “comfort zone” that some Rangers hurlers had settled into have dissipated. Texas has actually produced a lower strike percentage (59.6 percent) than any other American League team thus far in 2009, which runs counterintuitive to Maddux’s philosophy and is also indicative of the reality that talent will always trump instruction, regardless of the quality of the latter. Maddux is a good coach, but the one thing he is not is a miracle-worker, and whenever silly remarks in the vein of “He can fix [insert mediocre pitcher here]!” are made I feel it necessary to play the role of contrarian.

flyer85
04-27-2009, 12:16 PM
the pitching staff could turn into Billy Martins A's of the early 80s. Had some success and before they blew out their arms.

westofyou
04-27-2009, 12:27 PM
the pitching staff could turn into Billy Martins A's of the early 80s. Had some success and before they blew out their arms.

I blame Art Fowler, he had a rubber arm and was Billy's PC everywhere, he also was the Angels PC when Dean Chance was throwing 270 Inn at age 22.

Cooper
04-27-2009, 12:29 PM
Nolan has selection bias on his side....he'll never hear a word from the guys that blow out their arms cause they couldn't handle the load cause they ain't around to complain about it.

flyer85
04-27-2009, 12:34 PM
I blame Art Fowler, he had a rubber arm and was Billy's PC everywhere, he also was the Angels PC when Dean Chance was throwing 270 Inn at age 22.
after I posted that about the A's I went to baseball reference and looked up the 1980 A's.

All 5 starters pitched over 200 innings, 3 of then were 250+. The bullpen combined to pitch less than 200 innings on the season.

westofyou
04-27-2009, 12:39 PM
after I posted that about the A's I went to baseball reference and looked up the 1980 A's.

All 5 starters pitched over 200 innings, 3 of then were 250+. The bullpen combined to pitch less than 200 innings on the season.

Here's what the squeezed out of 2 guys in 3 straight years.


DETROIT TIGERS
SEASON
1971-1973

INNINGS PITCHED YEAR IP GS AGE
1 Mickey Lolich 1971 376 45 30
2 Mickey Lolich 1972 327 41 31
3 Mickey Lolich 1973 309 42 32
4 Joe Coleman 1973 288 40 26
5 Joe Coleman 1971 286 38 24
6 Joe Coleman 1972 280 39 25

flyer85
04-27-2009, 12:45 PM
Mickey lolich is probably one of the more under appreciated pitchers in baseball history.

*BaseClogger*
04-27-2009, 01:29 PM
Mickey Lolich used to own a delicious little donut store near my house. It was great after church but you just don't see donut stores like that anymore... :(

westofyou
04-27-2009, 01:33 PM
Mickey Lolich used to own a delicious little donut store near my house. It was great after church but you just don't see donut stores like that anymore... :(

Mickey is not only my favorite pitcher as a kid, but a fellow PDXer.. though I bet he would not recognize his town.

http://info.detnews.com/dn/history/lolich/images/21.jpg

paulrichjr
04-27-2009, 01:55 PM
Something from the article that I would like someone to clarify...I could have sworn when I was a kid I remember Dave Parker being awarded the first $1 million dollar contract. I remember a lot of discussion about it between me and my friends. Am I wrong or is the article wrong?

westofyou
04-27-2009, 02:14 PM
Something from the article that I would like someone to clarify...I could have sworn when I was a kid I remember Dave Parker being awarded the first $1 million dollar contract. I remember a lot of discussion about it between me and my friends. Am I wrong or is the article wrong?

There is no distinction for money deferred without interest:

Nov. 19, 1979 — Nolan Ryan, Hou, $1 million a year for 4 seasons
Feb. 7, 1982 — George Foster, NYM, $2.04 million a year for 5 seasons
Nov. 22, 1989 — Kirby Puckett, Min, $3 million a year for 3 seasons
June 27, 1990 — Jose Canseco, Oak, $4.7 million a year for 5 seasons
Feb. 8, 1991 — Roger Clemens, Bos, $5,380,250 a year for 4 seasons
March 2, 1992 — Ryne Sandberg, Cubs, $7.1 million a year for 4 seasons
Jan. 31, 1996 — Ken Griffey Jr., Sea, $8.5 million a year for 4 seasons
Nov. 19, 1996 — Albert Belle, WSox, $11 million a year for 5 seasons
Dec. 12, 1997 — Pedro Martinez, Bos, $12.5 million a year for 6 seasons
Oct. 26, 1998 — Mike Piazza, NYM, $13 million a year for 7 seasons
Dec. 12, 1998 — Kevin Brown, LA, $15 million a year for 7 seasons
Aug. 11, 2000 — Roger Clemens, NYY, $15.45 million a year for 2 seasons
Oct. 20, 2000 — Carlos Delgado, Tor, $17 million a year for 4 seasons
Dec. 11, 2000 — Alex Rodriguez, Tex, $25.2 million a year for 10 seasons

M2
04-27-2009, 02:59 PM
Why doesn't Ryan just give Rangers pitchers whatever juice it was he was taking in the latter portion of his career if he wants them to pitch like iron men?

westofyou
04-27-2009, 03:00 PM
Why doesn't Ryan just give Rangers pitchers whatever juice it was he was taking in the latter portion of his career if he wants them to pitch like iron men?

Wildwood flower grew wild on the farm
And we never knowed what it was called
Some said it was a flower and some said it was a weed
I didn't give it much thought
One day I was out there talkin' to my brother
And I reached down for a weed to chew on
Things got fuzzy and things got blurry
And then ev'rything was gone

*BaseClogger*
04-27-2009, 03:27 PM
http://info.detnews.com/dn/history/lolich/images/21.jpg

That was the place! :)

Strikes Out Looking
04-27-2009, 03:57 PM
Don Gullett, Gary Nolan, Wayne Simpson, Bruce Berenyi, Jack Armstrong . . .

The good old days weren't so great for everyone and not all pitchers are going to be able to throw 200 plus innings for 10-15 seasons.

I think medical advances (surgical advances especially) will probably help today's pitchers much more than the argument between pitch counts v. conditioning.

Highlifeman21
04-27-2009, 06:01 PM
Why doesn't Ryan just give Rangers pitchers whatever juice it was he was taking in the latter portion of his career if he wants them to pitch like iron men?

http://www.smackbomb.com/nolanryan/ad-advil.jpg

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GtrjtMiPqpU

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y8wvx4kqOcY

_Sir_Charles_
04-27-2009, 06:16 PM
Why doesn't Ryan just give Rangers pitchers whatever juice it was he was taking in the latter portion of his career if he wants them to pitch like iron men?

You really think he was on something? I surely don't.

In regards to the article(s), I also agree with Ryan's philosophy in regards to pitch counts. They're bull. It's all about the individual. Some guys have the build and strength/stamina to go deeper in games regularly (Harang's one), but just because a pitcher's a smaller guy (Cueto) doesn't mean he should be on a pitch count. You just need to start with them earlier to build up their stamina. The extra workload does NOT mean more burnt out arms. Burnt out arms don't come from too much work, it comes from too much work with poor mechanics. It comes from pitching when you're too tired to throw effectively. A pitch count won't tell you when a kid is tired. The kid will, or the catcher will, or the pitching coach will...if he's any damned good.

TRF
04-27-2009, 06:24 PM
You really think he was on something? I surely don't.

In regards to the article(s), I also agree with Ryan's philosophy in regards to pitch counts. They're bull. It's all about the individual. Some guys have the build and strength/stamina to go deeper in games regularly (Harang's one), but just because a pitcher's a smaller guy (Cueto) doesn't mean he should be on a pitch count. You just need to start with them earlier to build up their stamina. The extra workload does NOT mean more burnt out arms. Burnt out arms don't come from too much work, it comes from too much work with poor mechanics. It comes from pitching when you're too tired to throw effectively. A pitch count won't tell you when a kid is tired. The kid will, or the catcher will, or the pitching coach will...if he's any damned good.

wow. couldn't disagree more.

Sure SOME pitchers like Harang, Randy Johnson, Clemens, and Ryan have the ability to throw 120+ pitches and be relatively unfazed. Just a hint though, three of those guys have HOF credentials.

The average pitcher needs to be protected, ESPECIALLY in the early stages of his development. Pitchers need to have their innings extended my no more than 20 IP per year from the low minors on, and keeping kids on strict PC's can prolong their careers and their effectiveness.

But it maybe shouldn't be a blanket pitch count, but rather a guide for finding an individuals comfort/safety zone.

but getting rid of them altogether is just silly talk.

Always Red
04-27-2009, 06:47 PM
Don Gullett, Gary Nolan, Wayne Simpson, Bruce Berenyi, Jack Armstrong . . .

The good old days weren't so great for everyone and not all pitchers are going to be able to throw 200 plus innings for 10-15 seasons.

I think medical advances (surgical advances especially) will probably help today's pitchers much more than the argument between pitch counts v. conditioning.

Some guys CAN do it.

MOST guys cannot.

The trick is using modern science and medicine to identify those super-human arms out there, and train them to do just what Ryan is trying to do with them. But applying Ryan's approach to all arms will definitely result in more injury and set his cause back 20 years. Taking a shotgun approach is going to get him ridiculed even more than he already does.

Let the guys who can pitch 300 innings a year do just that (because some can, safely). But the trick is identifying them first. The science isn't up to it just yet. For now it's just trial and error. Which is very expensive. How many long term pitching contracts of late (last 10 years or so) have turned out to be good investments?? And this is during the era of pitch counts, when pitching is supposed to be so much safer than it ever was.

_Sir_Charles_
04-27-2009, 06:50 PM
wow. couldn't disagree more.

Sure SOME pitchers like Harang, Randy Johnson, Clemens, and Ryan have the ability to throw 120+ pitches and be relatively unfazed. Just a hint though, three of those guys have HOF credentials.

The average pitcher needs to be protected, ESPECIALLY in the early stages of his development. Pitchers need to have their innings extended my no more than 20 IP per year from the low minors on, and keeping kids on strict PC's can prolong their careers and their effectiveness.

But it maybe shouldn't be a blanket pitch count, but rather a guide for finding an individuals comfort/safety zone.

but getting rid of them altogether is just silly talk.

Why? Why is it crazy talk to think pitchers should be able to have the stamina to go longer? What is it about this game that has so drastically changed over the past 50 years that has cut the durability of pitchers in HALF?!? I'm not talking about HoF pitchers, I'm talking about middle of the rotation starters. Why is it that pitchers in the 60's & 70's could routinely pitch for 200 innings (and quite a few to 300) and we'd see lots of pitchers with 10-20 complete games? Were those pitchers THAT much better than today's pitchers? Were those parks THAT much bigger than today's ballparks? Was it all about the quality of hitters they faced? I certainly don't see shorter careers back then. I certainly don't see more injured arms back then.

I agree that the traditionally weaker hitting spots (CF, SS, C & 2B) have gotten stronger in recent years. I can even see that as being a reason for more pitches being thrown per inning thus leading to fewer innings pitched over the long haul. But 100-200 fewer innings pitched on average? I don't think so. I think more was expected out of starters in the past. I think more was expected out of pitching coaches in regards to pushing pitchers, stretching them out, teaching them proper form, etc.

I know that most people here won't agree with me, and I'm sure that several will even be able to pull some stats out of some website that calculates a pitcher's effectiveness based on trigonometry. But until someone actually steps up and tries this (pushing pitchers and ignoring pitch-counts), all those stats are speculation.

I'd be curious to know if innings pitched effects career longevity on the average pitcher. If it leads to more injuries. Or if those injuries would've happened regardless of IP and was due to poor mechanics/pitching while tired. But no stat will tell us that I think.

On a side note, I'm also in favor of the 4 man rotation. :O) I'm sure I'll get blasted for that one too. *grin*

kaldaniels
04-27-2009, 06:55 PM
wow. couldn't disagree more.

Sure SOME pitchers like Harang, Randy Johnson, Clemens, and Ryan have the ability to throw 120+ pitches and be relatively unfazed. Just a hint though, three of those guys have HOF credentials.

The average pitcher needs to be protected, ESPECIALLY in the early stages of his development. Pitchers need to have their innings extended my no more than 20 IP per year from the low minors on, and keeping kids on strict PC's can prolong their careers and their effectiveness.

But it maybe shouldn't be a blanket pitch count, but rather a guide for finding an individuals comfort/safety zone.

but getting rid of them altogether is just silly talk.

I use them as a guide. Not all pitches are created equal. Not all pitchers are created equal. 120 pitches for Harang (who this year more than ever, by my eye, throws so effortlessly) is not the same as 120 for Cueto.

One question...should a changeup equal the same as a fastball (or does it create the same arm stress)...I ask b/c Volquez throws his 30% of the time...should he be allowed a few more pitches to compensate.

Another question...should pickoff attempts be considered...some guys really whip the ball over there.

I get a headache considering all the variables.

kaldaniels
04-27-2009, 06:57 PM
On a side note, I'm also in favor of the 4 man rotation. :O) I'm sure I'll get blasted for that one too. *grin*

I'd be one to attempt a 4-man rotation myself if the right pitchers were assembled.

Here's one...could baseball ever evolve to where starters = running backs in the NFL. Just a couple year lifespan, wear him out, then on to the next young guy. The payroll help would be incredible. Carries to RB are pretty similar to pitch counts/innings to pitchers.

westofyou
04-27-2009, 07:00 PM
In today's game with the increased walk totals and power numbers I can't see 300 IP as a reality.


Look at the top 50 pitchers in batters faced in a season since 1961 (expansion) none past 1979, multiple pitchers achieving the task more than twice, this is a largely a state of the game reaction, most of them except for the knuckleballers would be hard pressed to top that today.

.254/.320/.376/.696 - 1961-1980
.259/.325/.390/.715 - 1981-1994
.267/.336/.424/.760 - 1995-2008

It's a heck of a lot easier to pile up innings when the league hits .696 then when the league hits .760.



SEASON
1961-2008

ERA vs. the league average displayed only--not a sorting criteria
INNINGS PITCHED displayed only--not a sorting criteria
GAMES STARTED displayed only--not a sorting criteria
COMPLETE GAMES displayed only--not a sorting criteria
BASERUNNERS/9 IP displayed only--not a sorting criteria

BATTERS FACED YEAR BFP ERA IP GS CG BR/9 IP
1 Mickey Lolich 1971 1538 0.55 376 45 29 10.41
2 Wilbur Wood 1973 1531 0.36 359 48 21 12.01
3 Wilbur Wood 1972 1490 0.56 376 49 20 9.72
4 Phil Niekro 1979 1436 0.35 342 44 23 11.45
5 Phil Niekro 1977 1428 -.12 330.1 43 20 13.27
6 Gaylord Perry 1973 1410 0.45 344 41 29 11.38
7 Nolan Ryan 1974 1392 0.73 332.2 41 26 11.69
8 Phil Niekro 1978 1389 0.70 334.1 42 22 11.04
9 Nolan Ryan 1973 1355 0.95 326 39 26 11.24
10 Steve Carlton 1972 1351 1.48 346.1 41 30 8.97
11 Bill Singer 1973 1348 0.61 316 40 19 11.93
T12 Gaylord Perry 1969 1345 1.11 325.1 39 26 10.84
T12 Gaylord Perry 1972 1345 1.15 342.2 40 29 9.11
14 Gaylord Perry 1970 1336 0.85 328.2 41 23 10.52
T15 Bert Blyleven 1973 1321 1.30 325 40 25 10.30
T15 Mickey Lolich 1972 1321 0.57 327 41 23 10.10
T17 Wilbur Wood 1974 1316 0.02 320 42 22 11.08
T17 Wilbur Wood 1971 1316 1.55 334 42 22 9.19
19 Juan Marichal 1968 1307 0.56 326 38 30 9.58
20 Ferguson Jenkins 1974 1305 0.80 328.1 41 29 9.29
21 Denny McLain 1969 1304 0.83 325 41 23 9.94
22 Ferguson Jenkins 1971 1299 0.70 325 39 30 9.58
23 Sandy Koufax 1965 1297 1.50 336 41 27 7.82
24 Catfish Hunter 1975 1294 1.21 328 39 30 9.22
25 Claude Osteen 1969 1291 0.93 321 41 16 10.46
26 Don Drysdale 1962 1289 1.10 314 41 19 10.35
27 Denny McLain 1968 1288 1.02 336 41 28 8.30
28 Jim Colborn 1973 1287 0.64 314 36 22 11.09
29 Mickey Lolich 1973 1286 0.01 309 42 17 11.62
30 Jim Kaat 1975 1279 0.68 303.2 41 12 12.06
31 Andy Messersmith 1975 1276 1.34 322 40 19 9.64
32 Ferguson Jenkins 1969 1275 0.39 311.1 42 23 10.49
33 Sandy Koufax 1966 1274 1.88 323 41 27 8.86
34 Nolan Ryan 1977 1272 1.30 299 37 22 12.37
T35 Bob Gibson 1969 1270 1.42 314 35 28 10.20
T35 Juan Marichal 1963 1270 0.88 321 40 18 9.03
37 Jim Palmer 1977 1269 1.17 319 39 22 10.30
38 Jim Palmer 1975 1268 1.70 323 38 25 9.33
T39 Luis Tiant 1974 1266 0.71 311.1 38 25 10.61
T39 Don Drysdale 1963 1266 0.66 315 42 17 10.11
41 Ferguson Jenkins 1970 1265 0.66 313 39 24 9.55
42 Don Drysdale 1964 1264 1.35 321 40 21 8.97
T43 Bill Singer 1969 1263 1.26 316 40 16 9.34
T43 Mickey Lolich 1974 1263 -.52 308 41 27 11.43
T45 Don Drysdale 1965 1262 0.76 308 42 20 10.17
T45 Joe Coleman 1974 1262 -.69 286 41 11 13.91
T45 Steve Carlton 1973 1262 -.23 293.1 40 18 12.55
T45 Gaylord Perry 1974 1262 1.11 322.1 37 28 9.35
T49 Sam McDowell 1970 1257 0.80 305 39 19 11.04
T49 Jim Palmer 1970 1257 1.00 305 39 17 10.74

M2
04-27-2009, 07:07 PM
You really think he was on something? I surely don't.

Not much doubt in my mind. Ryan's innings load dropped in his late 30s, rather predictably, but then rebounded in his 40s. His K rate dropped in his 30s and rose in 40s. He also went from 1975-88 never posting consecutive seasons of an ERA+ of 110 or better. In fact, he only did it in 5 of those 14 seasons. Yet from 1989-91 he did it three times in a row ... at ages 42-44 ... playing in one of the dirtiest clubhouses in MLB.

Plus, I used to work with a guy who covered the Mets for years and he maintained Ryan and Mike Scott were considered juicers by many inside the game. In Ryan's case, he used the term "pioneer."

dougdirt
04-27-2009, 07:34 PM
Why? Why is it crazy talk to think pitchers should be able to have the stamina to go longer? What is it about this game that has so drastically changed over the past 50 years that has cut the durability of pitchers in HALF?!? The way they are brought up is a good start. Everyone has pitch counts by the age of 8 now. Those counts are closely monitored and it leads to a phase where not only are guys not being weeded out by the time they get done with high school, its also leading to guys not building up the arm strength because of it.



I'm not talking about HoF pitchers, I'm talking about middle of the rotation starters. Why is it that pitchers in the 60's & 70's could routinely pitch for 200 innings (and quite a few to 300) and we'd see lots of pitchers with 10-20 complete games? Were those pitchers THAT much better than today's pitchers? Were those parks THAT much bigger than today's ballparks? Was it all about the quality of hitters they faced? I certainly don't see shorter careers back then. I certainly don't see more injured arms back then.
Well on top of what I mentioned above, it comes down to money, pure and simple. Guys make to much money these days for teams to risk running them into the ground. The parks were bigger and the hitters weren't as good as they are today. They were full of slap hitters trying to hit singles. Now days guys as a whole have more patience, strike out a lot more (which runs up pitch counts) and well, the defenses might not be as good because the days of carrying a .600 OPS bat for his defense at 2 positions is just about over.

westofyou
04-27-2009, 07:46 PM
Ten Years Ago -
http://www.birdsinthebelfry.com/vanishing_art.htm



Baseball's changed. It's an era of specialization now.

This is a description, not an explanation, but it's staggering how often it's cited as an explanation. It explains nothing. It begs the question of why, for which few answers are traditionally provided.

Obviously I'm not particularly enamored with any of these statements, though there is probably at least kernel of relevance to be found in all of them. There are alternate explanations, however, and I want to take this opportunity to attempt to present an argument for two of them: pitchers apparently throw more pitches per inning than was the case 30 years ago (and this total, as a whole, appears to be ever-increasing) and, as a bit of a corollary, pitchers throw more pitches under pressure than was the case 30 years ago. The second half of the equation deals with notions of effectiveness. The thrust of this perspective centers around the concept that, while scoring runs has become easier--more prevalent if you prefer--over the past thirty years, long-standing concepts of what constitutes effective performances by pitchers have lagged. Baseball decision makers, this theory goes, are largely using outdated notions of effective pitching in evaluating their performers. Allowing three runs by the end of the sixth inning, in today's game, is an average performance. It was a very poor performance not that many years ago, but there is still an inclination to assess a 1999 performance as if it were 1971. To the extent that a new paradigm has been attempted to measure modern starting pitcher performance, such notions have been either ignored or widely derided (consider the much-maligned quality start statistic).

M2
04-27-2009, 07:49 PM
Why? Why is it crazy talk to think pitchers should be able to have the stamina to go longer? What is it about this game that has so drastically changed over the past 50 years that has cut the durability of pitchers in HALF?!?

It hasn't been cut in half, more like 25%. And it's got nothing to do with stamina.

The problem is a pitcher today can't get by with 85% of his stuff, like he could back in the 1970s. Back then there were a pile of guys in a lot of lineups who couldn't hit the ball out of the IF.

In 1972 the league average OPS was .680. Seven NL teams did better than that from the #8 slot last year:

COL - .784
CHC - .781
WAS - .758
ARI - .706
FLA - .695
NYM - .691
PHI - .688

If pitchers could cruise through a lineup not working 100%, not having to pinpoint location, not having to throw as wide a variety of pitches to keep hitters honest, then they could pitch 300 IP today as well.

There isn't a single one of those warhorses from WOY's list that's got anything on guys like Roy Halladay and C.C. Sabathia in terms of stamina. It's just that the game has changed.

westofyou
04-27-2009, 07:58 PM
In 1972 the league average OPS was .680. Seven NL teams did better than that from the #8 slot last year:

Yeppers and last year there were 91 players who had 50 or more BB and in 1972 there were 57, sure there are more teams.. that pays some of the piper or some of the increase in pitches, but as Doug also noted the K rate is way larger, in 1972 only 40 players had 80 or more K's, last year 148 did... it takes pitches to create those outs and that takes more work then a cut fastball grounded into the dirt by Fred Kendall 4 times a night on a total of 8 pitches.

RedsManRick
04-27-2009, 07:59 PM
I have no problem with the basic premise that pitch counts are at best a proxy and should not be strictly adhered to as the sole determination of when a guy should come out of a game. But we also have to get past the idea that "real men" throw 150 pitches a start and that guys today are wimps who just need to condition better and man up.

Guys should be taken out of the game when they either lose effectiveness or become fatigued such that they are risking injury. A good coach should be able to see the effects of fatigue and manage his pitcher accordingly. The real question not being discussed is what that looks like. At what point is a guy risking injury by continuing to pitch. If and when the scouting community can articulate that in a way that is as easily understood as the pitch count proxy, pitch counts won't be necessary.

Unfortunately, the biomechanical issue of pitcher use has been so completely conflated with the testosterone driven, athletic pride of "in my day" types that it's virtually impossible to have that conversation. Some pitchers may be built and physically capable of throwing 150 pitches a night with 3 days rest in between. Some guys may start losing form after 45 pitches. Every pitcher is unique.

There was another point made earlier that is often ignored. Selection bias is a huge issue here. If your definition of a starter is a guy who can throw 300 innings a year, than the guys who weren't physically capable of doing so probably lost their careers to injury before they became established major leaguers. And those pitchers weren't facing lineups with 7 hole hitting SS who could hit 20 homers. The increased power in the game makes mistakes much more costly than in the past. Pitchers have to bear down more, making the average pitch that much more stressful.

The basic premise of pitch counts being overrated is accurate. But we shouldn't move from one bad idea to another.

Tony Cloninger
04-27-2009, 11:46 PM
This to me leads to a bigger beef with the game....the home plate umpire.

These guys squeeze pitchers....change their strike zone...hitter to hitter....and late in the games seem to squeeze the zone (in some cases expand...but rarely)

You have a machine calling balls and strikes....you will know what it is...all game long...every game. You will see less of that working the count .... beacuse these guys will swing at more pitches...knowning that just beacuse they are the Red Sox or yankees...does not mean they will get the close calls.

Less pitches.......more innings.....maybe even back to the 4 man rotation. Maybe....at least some middle ground.

*BaseClogger*
04-28-2009, 01:06 AM
This to me leads to a bigger beef with the game....the home plate umpire.

These guys squeeze pitchers....change their strike zone...hitter to hitter....and late in the games seem to squeeze the zone (in some cases expand...but rarely)

You have a machine calling balls and strikes....you will know what it is...all game long...every game. You will see less of that working the count .... beacuse these guys will swing at more pitches...knowning that just beacuse they are the Red Sox or yankees...does not mean they will get the close calls.

Less pitches.......more innings.....maybe even back to the 4 man rotation. Maybe....at least some middle ground.

Maybe it's an old article but I'm a sucker for standing up for umpires:


Here is how the umpires have graded on ball/strike calls over the past three years:

2003: 92.91 percent
2004: 93.62 percent
2005: 94.20 percent

http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2005/writers/tom_verducci/11/15/umpires.replay/index.html

Tony Cloninger
04-28-2009, 02:15 AM
Well this year....it seems to be worse.....even Bobby Cox ..who I know complains a lot, but he has said it is the worst umpiring he has seen in a while.

They are good....most of them....but it could be better and with balls and strikes...it should be.

dfs
04-28-2009, 09:56 AM
Why? Why is it crazy talk to think pitchers should be able to have the stamina to go longer? What is it about this game that has so drastically changed over the past 50 years that has cut the durability of pitchers in HALF?!?

Lots more pitches being thrown. The number of K's and the number of walks is way up.

Lots more high stress pitches being thrown to guys who can knock the ball out of the park. 50 years ago It used to be that pitchers faced several lineup slots where they didn't have to worry about a home run. Here...the 1959 Pirates came in 4th in an 8 team league. Those Pirates had 1 guy who hit more than 20 home runs and two more guys who hit more than 10. Last year's florida marlin's were a mid pack team. 3 guys hit 30 homers, another 2 had more than 20 and another 2 had more than 10. If you are a pitcher facing the 59 pirates you have to worry about the ball going out of the park in roughly 1/3 of the at bats you face. Against last years marlins it was in 7/9 of the at bats. And that's not bringing up the American league with a dh.

More pitches per at bat and more high stress at bats.

Add on to that the natural pressure of more teams with huge investments in their starting pitchers wanting to keep the guys healthy AND the pitchers recognizing that hanging around healthy makes it that much more likely that they can stay on the gravy train longer....

Of course you see starters throwing fewer pitches.

TRF
04-28-2009, 11:16 AM
Wasn't the pitchers mound higher then as well? The game mad an adjustment towards offense, pharmaceuticals enhanced that offensive game, and even pitchers that juiced couldn't keep up unless they were elite.

It's damn hard to pitch 250+ innings when you have behemoths like Bret Boone striding to the plate.

westofyou
04-28-2009, 11:24 AM
On December 3, 1968, the Baseball Rules Committee voted to lower the height of the pitching mound from fifteen to ten inches and to require that all pitching mounds be sloped gradually so that pitchers will not appear to be firing from a steep cliff to the batter below.

Not known to many was also the redefining of the strike zone.

1969 - “The Strike Zone is that space over home plate which is between the batter’s armpits and the top of his knees when he assumes a natural stance. The umpire shall determine the Strike Zone according to the batter’s usual stance when he swings at a pitch.”

This redefinition was a result of stagnating offense and pitching dominated contests, it also was a reaction to a prior strike zone change that was instituted against the rise of offense in the first few years of the 60’s.

1963 - “The Strike Zone is that space over home plate which is between the top of the batter’s shoulders and his knees when he assumes his natural stance. The umpire shall determine the Strike Zone according to the batter’s usual stance when he swings at a pitch.”

The key lies in the first paragraphs accent on “the top of his knees” where the second only says “knees” thus leaving some ambiguity for the officials creating the Strike Zone when a player steps into the box

In 1961 the home run race involving Maris and Mantle plus the hitting of Cash and Gentile staggered many of the old timers who were in the upper echelon of the baseball management. In an attempt to “even” things out they decided to attack the hitters at home, so they adjusted the strike zone after the 1962 season

This small but significant addition to the rules helped freeze the offense in the game faster than the Cassadines could freeze Port Charles.

I grew up in the 70’s I know what limited offense’s look like, as well as dominating hall of fame players in their prime. But despite this you always hear from the guys older than you about the 60’s pitchers, their brush back style and their otherworldly talent that controlled the era. We all know their names and even in retrospect some guys we forgot about show up on the roll call.

Best 10 starters vs. the league in ERA from 1963-1968


AMERICAN LEAGUE
CAREER
1963-1968

ERA DIFF PLAYER LEAGUE G IP
Joe Horlen 0.96 2.41 3.37 206 1247
Whitey Ford 0.91 2.63 3.55 143 875
Gary Peters 0.77 2.65 3.42 210 1321
Dean Chance 0.69 2.69 3.38 252 1588
Luis Tiant 0.68 2.61 3.30 173 950.1
Tommy John 0.64 2.69 3.33 160 877
Sam McDowell 0.59 2.75 3.34 197 1210
Sonny Siebert 0.58 2.75 3.34 179 977
Jim Perry 0.47 2.92 3.39 220 865
Mel Stottlemyre 0.44 2.86 3.30 159 1172

NATIONAL LEAGUE
CAREER
1963-1968

ERA DIFF PLAYER LEAGUE G IP
Sandy Koufax 1.64 1.86 3.49 153 1193
Juan Marichal 0.99 2.39 3.38 214 1720
Jim Bunning 0.81 2.64 3.45 190 1351
Bob Gibson 0.77 2.62 3.39 207 1601
Don Drysdale 0.75 2.65 3.40 235 1739
Bob Veale 0.68 2.73 3.41 220 1340
Chris Short 0.55 2.84 3.39 240 1457
Jim Maloney 0.47 2.92 3.39 192 1349
Gaylord Perry 0.39 2.98 3.38 236 1317.2
Claude Osteen 0.39 2.99 3.38 157 1069

Quite the list, one thing that seems to slip into the background concerning the rise in pitching during that era is the introduction of newer parks that were strictly pitchers parks (Dodger Stadium, Candlestick, Busch, Astrodome, RFK, Oakland, Angels) each time a park like these showed up in the league hits disappeared and the pitching talents shown just a bit brighter. Another factor was the offenses slow reaction to the change in the game. On the heels of the 1950’s the game had become more and more station to station and the running game had stagnated and almost became extinct in some towns (though it showed its head every now and then here and there) the transition to the blended game of power and speed of the 1970’s evolved during the 1960’s and like most evolutionary treks it exhibited some periods that were fraught with pitfalls, in the case of baseball in the 1960’s it’s the other side of the coin that
hardly ever is spoken of, it’s the laundry list of poor hitters that would make a mockery of the game we watch today if they strolled to the dish. In an era that didn’t value speed on the base paths or on base percentage there were more than a few less than stellar players with the stick getting at bats against these legends.

For every Koufax there was a Willie Davis, for every Marichal a Hal Lanier, in the span of 1963-1968 there were 36 regulars in MLB who had over 150 games played and a slugging percentage less than .400 and a on base percentage less than .300. in the years of 1953-1958 there were 4.

RANDY IN INDY
04-28-2009, 11:37 AM
Wasn't the pitchers mound higher then as well? The game mad an adjustment towards offense, pharmaceuticals enhanced that offensive game, and even pitchers that juiced couldn't keep up unless they were elite.

It's damn hard to pitch 250+ innings when you have behemoths like Bret Boone striding to the plate.

They should raise the mound again.

Chip R
04-28-2009, 11:43 AM
They should raise the mound again.


The Reds have enough trouble scoring runs as it is. ;)

RedlegJake
04-28-2009, 11:46 AM
In re to West of You's post I'd add that the mid to late 60s pitching dominance was an anomaly abetted by those weak bats-great gloves. Almost every poor hitter of that period was an exceptional glove - Ray Oyler, Hal Lanier, Wes Parker, Julian Javier, Eddie Brinkman, Johnny Edwards, Bob Uecker etc. It seems clubs tried to offset the number of great pitchers in the game at the time by valuing glovework over offense - even when that offense was really putrid. And that made the good hitters' numbers shrink even more. There were very few holes anywhere on any team defensively. The cycle just got worse - even lower scoring games, even more dominance from pitchers. Add back the height to the mound, replace every suspect glove with a great defender regardless of the offensive difference and today's pitchers might equal that dominance. It was a screwy decade. Players were starting to speak out and hold out against the reserve system, black players started demanding full equality in a game that from Jackie's debut to the early 60s allowed them to play but wanted them to be quiet and kept unofficial quotas of how many black players you wanted to have, expansion came not once but twice in the decade - after nearly a century of just 8 teams in a league, the west coast opened up, news reporting began to change from the chummy arrangements of the past, drugs like uppers and bennies began appearing in player's lockers, televised games went from rare at the start of the decade to the game's biggest revenue source by the end of the decade. Just as the 60s are seen as a decade of social upheaval and change the game reflected the society it operated in and went through similar upheavals.

Chip R
04-28-2009, 11:51 AM
In re to West of You's post I'd add that the mid to late 60s pitching dominance was an anomaly abetted by those weak bats-great gloves. Almost every poor hitter of that period was an exceptional glove - Ray Oyler, Hal Lanier, Wes Parker, Julian Javier, Eddie Brinkman, Johnny Edwards, Bob Uecker etc. It seems clubs tried to offset the number of great pitchers in the game at the time by valuing glovework over offense - even when that offense was really putrid. And that made the good hitters' numbers shrink even more. There were very few holes anywhere on any team defensively. The cycle just got worse - even lower scoring games, even more dominance from pitchers. Add back the height to the mound, replace every suspect glove with a great defender regardless of the offensive difference and today's pitchers might equal that dominance. It was a screwy decade. Players were starting to speak out and hold out against the reserve system, black players started demanding full equality in a game that from Jackie's debut to the early 60s allowed them to play but wanted them to be quiet and kept unofficial quotas of how many black players you wanted to have, expansion came not once but twice in the decade - after nearly a century of just 8 teams in a league, the west coast opened up, news reporting began to change from the chummy arrangements of the past, drugs like uppers and bennies began appearing in player's lockers, televised games went from rare at the start of the decade to the game's biggest revenue source by the end of the decade. Just as the 60s are seen as a decade of social upheaval and change the game reflected the society it operated in and went through similar upheavals.


Taking this on a bit of a tangent, what I've been wondering over the past few years is if those great pitchers from the 60s were somewhat overrated. Guys like Koufax and Gibson and Drysdale and Marichal and Maloney and Jenkins didn't really begin to excel till they raised the mound and shrank the strike zone.

westofyou
04-28-2009, 11:51 AM
In re to West of You's post I'd add that the mid to late 60s pitching dominance was an anomaly abetted by those weak bats-great gloves. Almost every poor hitter of that period was an exceptional glove - Ray Oyler, Hal Lanier, Wes Parker, Julian Javier, Eddie Brinkman, Johnny Edwards, Bob Uecker etc. It seems clubs tried to offset the number of great pitchers in the game at the time by valuing glovework over offense - even when that offense was really putrid. And that made the good hitters' numbers shrink even more. There were very few holes anywhere on any team defensively. The cycle just got worse - even lower scoring games, even more dominance from pitchers. Add back the height to the mound, replace every suspect glove with a great defender regardless of the offensive difference and today's pitchers might equal that dominance. It was a screwy decade. Players were starting to speak out and hold out against the reserve system, black players started demanding full equality in a game that from Jackie's debut to the early 60s allowed them to play but wanted them to be quiet and kept unofficial quotas of how many black players you wanted to have, expansion came not once but twice in the decade - after nearly a century of just 8 teams in a league, the west coast opened up, news reporting began to change from the chummy arrangements of the past, drugs like uppers and bennies began appearing in player's lockers, televised games went from rare at the start of the decade to the game's biggest revenue source by the end of the decade. Just as the 60s are seen as a decade of social upheaval and change the game reflected the society it operated in and went through similar upheavals.


In San Francisco Schofield and Lanier teamed up for 997 trips to the plate in 1965, unfortunately for the Giants they made an out 758 times, that’s a robust 76% of the time they came to bat. Lanier honed that skill into an art form and no better was that displayed than in the 1967-1968 seasons. By then Lanier had been moved to shortstop, solving the Giant’s lack of defense at the keystone position and also bettering the bat at second by default. Lanier came to the dish 1075 times in the 67-68 seasons and made an astonishing 871 outs, that’s an out 76% of the time he batted. Of the 212 hits that he had 16% were extra bases, none home runs.

Lanier’s 1968 season produced the worst secondary average (The formula is (TB-H+BB+SB)/AB) in the history of the modern game, with his 1969 and 1967 season taking slots 3 and 4.

Meanwhile his teammate Juan Marichal was starting 64 games, piling up 528 innings pitched going 40-19 with a 2.56 era.

Ying and Yang


YEAR AVG SLG OBA OPS
1963 .246 .372 .309 .681
1964 .250 .378 .313 .690
1965 .246 .372 .311 .683
1966 .249 .376 .310 .686
1967 .242 .357 .306 .664
1968 .237 .340 .299 .639
TOT .245 .366 .308 .674

Below is the list of the worst 10 players vs. the league by position in that great pitching era, so next time you roll about in the grandeur of those 60’s era hurlers, remember that every coin has two sides, and sometimes the other side says a lot about the other side we’ve stared at for so long.


3B

OBA YEAR OBA PA OUTS G
Charley Smith 1965 .273 531 402 135
Bob Aspromonte 1963 .276 514 389 136
Jim Hickman 1963 .291 546 401 146
Clete Boyer 1967 .292 619 455 154
Bob Aspromonte 1966 .297 603 451 152
Jim Davenport 1963 .297 509 374 147
Mike Shannon 1967 .302 528 385 130
Tony Taylor 1968 .302 598 433 145
Bob Bailey 1963 .303 640 465 154
Ken Boyer 1966 .304 534 390 136

SLG YEAR SLG PA OUTS G
Bob Aspromonte 1963 .306 514 389 136
Tony Taylor 1968 .311 598 433 145
Maury Wills 1968 .316 685 496 153
Bob Aspromonte 1965 .322 628 451 152
Bob Bailey 1963 .328 640 465 154
Jim Davenport 1963 .333 509 374 147
Bob Aspromonte 1966 .334 603 451 152
Bob Bailey 1965 .363 702 502 159
Maury Wills 1967 .365 664 462 149
Jim Lefebvre 1967 .366 553 392 136

SHORTSTOP

OBA YEAR OBA PA OUTS G
Hal Lanier 1968 .222 518 425 151
Hal Lanier 1967 .239 557 446 151
Leo Cardenas 1963 .270 601 459 158
Don Kessinger 1967 .275 628 473 145
Tito Fuentes 1966 .276 564 420 133
Jose Pagan 1963 .277 519 389 148
Roy McMillan 1965 .280 574 425 157
Dick Schofield 1965 .282 548 408 132
Don Kessinger 1968 .283 707 526 160
Sonny Jackson 1967 .285 566 430 129

SLG YEAR SLG PA OUTS G
Hal Lanier 1968 .239 518 425 151
Hal Lanier 1967 .255 557 446 151
Dick Schofield 1965 .256 548 408 132
Don Kessinger 1967 .272 628 473 145
Dal Maxvill 1967 .279 530 386 152
Sonny Jackson 1967 .283 566 430 129
Don Kessinger 1968 .287 707 526 160
Roy McMillan 1965 .292 574 425 157
Dal Maxvill 1968 .298 516 357 151
Roberto Pena 1968 .300 546 396 138

SECOND BASE

OBA YEAR OBA PA OUTS G
Cookie Rojas 1968 .248 650 511 152
Hal Lanier 1965 .256 556 439 159
Glenn Beckert 1965 .275 653 497 154
Julian Javier 1964 .282 574 430 155
Ken Hubbs 1963 .285 614 466 154
Bill Mazeroski 1963 .286 576 428 142
Julian Javier 1968 .291 553 406 139
Bill Mazeroski 1967 .292 679 501 163
Bill Mazeroski 1965 .294 527 390 130
Frank Bolling 1965 .295 577 427 148

SLG YEAR SLG PA OUTS G
Hal Lanier 1965 .289 556 439 159
Ron Hunt 1968 .297 650 430 148
Glenn Beckert 1965 .298 653 497 154
Cookie Rojas 1968 .306 650 511 152
Frank Bolling 1963 .312 606 442 142
Bill Mazeroski 1968 .312 556 411 143
Tony Taylor 1964 .316 636 450 154
Nellie Fox 1964 .319 502 358 133
Ken Hubbs 1963 .322 614 466 154
Pete Rose 1964 .326 558 397 136

OUTFIELDER

OBA YEAR OBA PA OUTS G
Willie Davis 1965 .263 595 457 142
Ken Berry 1965 .268 518 390 157
Billy Cowan 1964 .268 520 390 139
Willie Davis 1963 .281 555 421 156
Del Unser 1968 .282 690 507 156
Willie Davis 1968 .284 686 506 160
Bill Virdon 1964 .287 511 383 145
Jose Cardenal 1965 .287 550 415 134
Ken Berry 1968 .288 541 409 150
Mike Hershberger 1965 .289 541 407 150

SLG YEAR SLG PA OUTS G
Del Unser 1968 .277 690 507 156
Mike Hershberger 1964 .290 510 370 141
Bill Virdon 1964 .298 511 383 145
Mike Hershberger 1965 .312 541 407 150
Mike Hershberger 1967 .317 537 386 142
Ron Fairly 1967 .321 554 409 153
Curt Blefary 1968 .322 535 383 137
Ken Berry 1967 .330 538 391 147
Al Spangler 1964 .334 505 364 135
Mike Hershberger 1966 .340 599 432 146

CATCHER

OBA YEAR OBA PA OUTS G
Paul Casanova 1967 .273 551 421 141
Randy Hundley 1968 .280 606 457 160
Randy Hundley 1966 .285 579 431 149
John Roseboro 1963 .291 518 383 135
Bill Freehan 1966 .294 544 399 136
Bob Rodgers 1964 .299 572 421 148
Johnny Bench 1968 .311 607 438 154
Tim McCarver 1966 .319 586 415 150
Randy Hundley 1967 .322 597 423 152
Johnny Edwards 1963 .322 551 387 148

SLG YEAR SLG PA OUTS G
Randy Hundley 1968 .311 606 457 160
Bob Rodgers 1964 .313 572 421 148
Paul Casanova 1967 .339 551 421 141
John Roseboro 1963 .351 518 383 135
Bill Freehan 1966 .352 544 399 136
Clay Dalrymple 1963 .365 511 357 142
Johnny Edwards 1963 .380 551 387 148
Tom Haller 1968 .388 534 358 144
Randy Hundley 1966 .397 579 431 149
Tim McCarver 1964 .400 515 348 143

FIRST BASE

OBA YEAR OBA PA OUTS G
Joe Pepitone 1964 .281 647 484 160
Fred Whitfield 1966 .283 538 395 137
Ernie Banks 1968 .287 595 439 150
Dick Stuart 1965 .287 586 428 149
Joe Pepitone 1966 .290 621 458 152
Tom McCraw 1968 .293 530 391 136
Vic Power 1963 .297 578 426 138
Donn Clendenon 1967 .298 518 383 131
Lee Thomas 1963 .301 594 429 149
Tony Horton 1968 .302 517 370 133

SLG YEAR SLG PA OUTS G
Rusty Staub 1963 .308 585 416 150
Tony Taylor 1967 .312 520 387 132
Wes Parker 1968 .314 534 380 135
Lee Thomas 1963 .316 594 429 149
Ken Harrelson 1966 .348 519 370 134
Wes Parker 1965 .352 644 448 154
Donn Clendenon 1967 .370 518 383 131
Ed Kranepool 1965 .371 575 418 153
Ed Kranepool 1967 .373 516 369 141
Tom McCraw 1968 .375 530 391 136

RANDY IN INDY
04-28-2009, 12:44 PM
Taking this on a bit of a tangent, what I've been wondering over the past few years is if those great pitchers from the 60s were somewhat overrated. Guys like Koufax and Gibson and Drysdale and Marichal and Maloney and Jenkins didn't really begin to excel till they raised the mound and shrank the strike zone.

They didn't raise the mound. They lowered it 5 inches from 15 inches to 10 inches in 1969.

RANDY IN INDY
04-28-2009, 12:46 PM
The steeper the angle, the harder the pitch is to hit. Flat pitches are always the easiest to hit. I think they should raise the mound a couple of inches. 15 inches is probably too much. Raise it to 12 and see what happens.

M2
04-28-2009, 01:13 PM
The steeper the angle, the harder the pitch is to hit. Flat pitches are always the easiest to hit. I think they should raise the mound a couple of inches. 15 inches is probably too much. Raise it to 12 and see what happens.

That makes way too much sense for it ever to happen.

jmcclain19
04-28-2009, 08:33 PM
The steeper the angle, the harder the pitch is to hit. Flat pitches are always the easiest to hit. I think they should raise the mound a couple of inches. 15 inches is probably too much. Raise it to 12 and see what happens.

Absolutely.

Do this - add the DH in the NL and disallow body armor. And don't toss guys the first time they come up and in

It'll be a nice balance to keep scoring as is but up the performances on the field.

M2
04-28-2009, 08:44 PM
add the DH in the NL

Over my dead body.

westofyou
04-28-2009, 09:06 PM
Over my dead body.

Mine as well, it's the devil.

RedsManRick
04-28-2009, 10:02 PM
They didn't raise the mound. They lowered it 5 inches from 15 inches to 10 inches in 1969.

It was lowered in 1969 because of the low scoring across the league throughout the mid-late 60's (less than 8 runs per game) -- particularly the ridiculous 1968 season. The ridiculous relative level of dominance of guys like Koufax and Gibson was at least in part due to height of the mound in the '60s. League-wide scoring jumped about half a run on average in subsequent years.

traderumor
04-29-2009, 09:37 AM
Perhaps they should rename the 9-10 year old tournament that I sat through this weekend "The Nolan Ryan Memorial Tournament." My 9 year-old's team played five games in two days to come in second place, a triple header on Sunday. They used the same two pitchers, throwing them three and three in each game. So, in two days, those 9 or 10 year old boys logged 15 innings. Fortunately, my son is a rightfielder and is only a target for wild pitchers when he goes to the plate (hit twice, momma is not happy). But the coach would have been in for a big surprise if my boy was one of those pitchers and I told him he would not be pitching on Sunday after logging 6 innings in two games on Saturday.

RANDY IN INDY
04-29-2009, 10:17 AM
Perhaps they should rename the 9-10 year old tournament that I sat through this weekend "The Nolan Ryan Memorial Tournament." My 9 year-old's team played five games in two days to come in second place, a triple header on Sunday. They used the same two pitchers, throwing them three and three in each game. So, in two days, those 9 or 10 year old boys logged 15 innings. Fortunately, my son is a rightfielder and is only a target for wild pitchers when he goes to the plate (hit twice, momma is not happy). But the coach would have been in for a big surprise if my boy was one of those pitchers and I told him he would not be pitching on Sunday after logging 6 innings in two games on Saturday.

That is unbelievable. Those coaches should be relieved of their duties.

RANDY IN INDY
04-29-2009, 10:23 AM
It was lowered in 1969 because of the low scoring across the league throughout the mid-late 60's (less than 8 runs per game) -- particularly the ridiculous 1968 season. The ridiculous relative level of dominance of guys like Koufax and Gibson was at least in part due to height of the mound in the '60s. League-wide scoring jumped about half a run on average in subsequent years.

No doubt that the height of the mound helped, but Gibson and Koufax would have been dominant anyway. It is the "average" guys that it helped the most. Interesting that the league wide scoring average was not affected in the same way it was in '68 for the nearly 70 years that the mound was at the 15 inch height.

I'm all for raising it to 12 inches.

traderumor
04-29-2009, 10:24 AM
That is unbelievable. Those coaches should be relieved of their duties.Well, at least one of them is the coach's son, and I believe the other's dad is his assistant. Still, that is overload for a ten year old arm. At least he doesn't have them throwing breaking balls :rolleyes:

RANDY IN INDY
04-29-2009, 10:35 AM
Well, at least one of them is the coach's son, and I believe the other's dad is his assistant. Still, that is overload for a ten year old arm. At least he doesn't have them throwing breaking balls :rolleyes:

It is the pitch count that matters the most. A breaking ball, here and there, would probably be a relief to the constant pounding of throwing a fastball for 15 innings in a couple of days. Problem is, most kids don't throw the breaking ball correctly, merely spinning the ball and putting a tremendous amount of pressure on the elbow. The other thing that I see, with regard to arm injuries, is that most kids don't throw with proper mechanics. That, not the breaking ball, is probably the number one reason that kids hurt their arms. If coaches at the lower levels can teach a kid anything, it should be to throw the ball properly, and so many pitchers are feeling the results of bad coaching. When I watch kids throw, I look for the way the ball is coming out of their hands and for the proper, 4 seam spin. There are so many kids that are throwing "sliders" and they don't even realize what they are doing. Bad mechanics and a bad elbow waiting to happen.

It is interesting that Little League baseball, who is basically "paranoid" about everything that relates to safety and has a study done on just about everything, has not banned the breaking ball. In moderation, I don't think it is a bad thing. What is bad, is when you watch the Little League World Series and watch those 12 year old pitchers throw it 60% of the time. What would help with safety, more than anything, would be to move the mound back 4 feet and the bases back 10 feet. Then you would see a more representative game. It is very dangerous, with the current bats, for a pitcher to be throwing from 46 feet. A breaking ball, or a changeup is a pitchers only defense from being absolutely "knocked" off the mound.

remdog
04-29-2009, 12:07 PM
Absolutely.

Do this - add the DH in the NL and disallow body armor. And don't toss guys the first time they come up and in.

Remove the DL in the AL. Raise the mound 2".

That should do the trick, IMO.

Rem

RedsManRick
04-29-2009, 12:53 PM
Remove the DL in the AL. Raise the mound 2".

That should do the trick, IMO.

Rem

No DL for the American League!?! :eek::eek:

Serves 'em right, I guess...

westofyou
04-30-2009, 12:56 PM
http://sports.yahoo.com/mlb/news;_ylt=AssfWZKD1H8Gs8WWR1NylGY8R9MF?slug=ti-pitchcounts042909&prov=yhoo&type=lgns&print=1

No victor in Rays-Rangers culture clash

By Tim Brown, Yahoo! Sports 10 hours, 2 minutes ago



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All this time throwing overhanded, since the first four-seamer was hurled at the first curious woolly mammoth, and still we have almost no clue why Jamie Moyer can pitch 1,200 innings past his 40th birthday and Og carried his sore elbow into Frank Jobe’s cave at 28 and was done by 31.

Otherwise, we don’t have weeks like this one, in which Texas Rangers president Nolan Ryan declares pitch counts to be largely frivolous while Tampa Bay Rays manager Joe Maddon is defending his organization’s decision to ease off its pitchers during spring training.

Ryan demands more, the Rays wanted less, and neither rotation has been particularly effective, which, in the Rays’ case, is news.

They’d both like the same things: For their starting pitchers to make every start, pitch into the seventh inning or so, never lose velocity or command and never get hurt.

So, they’d like all their pitchers to be Nolan Ryan, who pitched 27 seasons and came from an era (just after the Paleolithic) when pitchers made 41 starts and completed 26 games (which Ryan did in 1974).

The Rangers chipped the ice from Ryan, made him their president, and he’s trying to make something of a staff that’s killed practically every Rangers season for a decade. He began with a conditioning program (his) and now is insisting on a mentality (his, too) that you start a game to finish it, from A-ball to the big leagues, and that pitch counts are an artificial barrier to that.

“Listen, it’s not going to happen overnight,” Rangers GM Jon Daniels said. “And obviously talent and experience plays a part, too.”

The Rays, for the first time in their history, had a staff that pitched from the first inning to the ninth, and it took them to the World Series. Thinking they’d had a lot of young arms go a month’s worth of innings they hadn’t gone before, the Rays slightly relaxed the spring workload: starters maxed out at 90 pitches instead of 105. The Detroit Tigers employed a similar strategy last season. It didn’t work for them, either, and by May they believed their starters lacked velocity and touch because of their soft springs. The Tigers had the best pitching staff in baseball in 2006, when they went to the World Series. Two years later, it was among the worst.

Through a little more than three weeks, not only is neither plan working, but we’re seeing again there is no science quite so inexact as pitching. Not acquiring it, not developing it, not predicting it. And, Maddon said, definitely not caring for it.

“It’s personal preference, like anything else,” he said. “It’s like which church you go to.”

Ryan was smart enough and resilient enough to win 324 games and strike out 5,714 batters. He ought to know what’s best for a pitcher. Rays GM Andrew Friedman was bright enough and patient enough to construct a very talented young staff. He and his people – Maddon and pitching coach Jim Hickey – ought to know what’s best for a pitcher.

And yet they arrive at organizational philosophies that run foul line to foul line.

“We think it’s the right thing to do for a six-month season with aspirations for a seventh month,” Friedman said.

Dr. Lewis Yocum, who has seen the insides of pitching arms and fixed them for decades, chuckled at the organizations’ divergent paths. He’s been the Los Angeles Angels’ team physician long enough to have tended to Ryan’s arm, and indeed still refers to him as, “Noley.”

He knows as much about the effects of throwing overhanded as anyone, and yet talks about the pitcher’s arm as if it were a mystery folded into a miracle. This is not about why pitchers break down, he said, but how they don’t. Given the same programs and conditions, some last. Others don’t.

“Who knows why,” Yocum said. “It’s hard to say.”

In an age the Tommy John procedure is practically elective surgery, of remarkable advancements in medicine and technology, of revolutionary conditioning and rehab methods, Moyer pitches forever and Mark Prior barely gets started and there’s no real explanation. Are CC Sabathia and David Wells put together better than, say, Chris Carpenter? Should Greg Maddux pitch forever while Kerry Wood rehabs forever?

In an age of 100-pitch ceilings and five-man rotations, when elbows and shoulders routinely give out anyway, is Ryan simply leading the Rangers into another disastrous era of tired and ineffective arms? Or are the Rays guilty of yet more pitcher coddling, the kind of excessive caution that has made them all so fragile to begin with?

Asked if he ever considers that the more he knows, the less he knows, Yocum laughed and said, “Every day of my life.”

“I think what these guys do for a living, what they can do, is phenomenal,” he said.

The Rangers have pitched a little better lately, led by veteran Kevin Millwood, a workhorse type who has thrown at least 111 pitches and gone at least seven innings in each of his five starts. He’s Ryan’s kind of guy, as long as he’s on the field and keeps his ERA under 5.00. The Rangers will need more like him.

“This is not an exact science,” Daniels said.

The Rays haven’t come upon the pitching consistency of last season still. The staff hasn’t been awful, but it hasn’t been good, either, and the season is waiting on Matt Garza and Andy Sonnanstine in particular. Friedman grants the organizational strategy might have led to a less prepared staff in the first week or two, but that time is gone.

“I don’t want our guys using it as a crutch,” he said. “It could be. But, if it is, I don’t see how it lasts all that long. Here’s the thing, if it helps us avoid injuries, then it’s worth it.”

By the way, the general managers and the surgeon agree in one area in particular: There are no perfect philosophies.

“My only blanket rule,” Friedman said, “is there is no blanket rule. Each one of those guys is unique.”

Daniels insisted the Rangers were not expecting 150 pitches a game and 300 innings a season from anyone.

“There’s nothing crazy going on,” he said. “There certainly are guidelines we all try to follow, but at the end of the day these guys are individuals. There is no magic formula.”

So, the point of an organizational philosophy? Well, Yocum pointed out, it’s better than the pitchers had in previous generations, like Ryan’s, when the science of it was a little more apparent.

“Those guys,” he said, “would throw until their arms fell off.”

BuckeyeRedleg
04-30-2009, 01:14 PM
What would help with safety, more than anything, would be to move the mound back 4 feet and the bases back 10 feet. Then you would see a more representative game. It is very dangerous, with the current bats, for a pitcher to be throwing from 46 feet. A breaking ball, or a changeup is a pitchers only defense from being absolutely "knocked" off the mound.

I agree. 46 feet is ridiculous.

jmcclain19
04-30-2009, 01:34 PM
Over my dead body.


Mine as well, it's the devil.


Remove the DL in the AL. Raise the mound 2".

That should do the trick, IMO.

Rem

Accept the future. Embrace it with loving, open arms.

Envision baseball games where we aren't tortured to the likes of hitters flailing about like first timers at a beer league softball game 4 times a night.

M2
04-30-2009, 02:18 PM
Accept the future. Embrace it with loving, open arms.

Envision baseball games where we aren't tortured to the likes of hitters flailing about like first timers at a beer league softball game 4 times a night.

I generally take that point of view, but I like that pitchers have to hit in the NL. I like that teams have to try to wring something out of nothing at the bottom of the order. I like that managers have to decide in the 6th inning of a tight game whether to pull a pitcher who's doing well in order to get a PH to the plate. I like that palooka hitters in the NL have to play in the field in order to get their bats in the lineup.

I find non-DH baseball vastly more entertaining. There's so much more going on in the game than just hitter vs. pitcher.

Yachtzee
04-30-2009, 07:39 PM
I generally take that point of view, but I like that pitchers have to hit in the NL. I like that teams have to try to wring something out of nothing at the bottom of the order. I like that managers have to decide in the 6th inning of a tight game whether to pull a pitcher who's doing well in order to get a PH to the plate. I like that palooka hitters in the NL have to play in the field in order to get their bats in the lineup.

I find non-DH baseball vastly more entertaining. There's so much more going on in the game than just hitter vs. pitcher.

I agree. I like the strategy of the NL. I also like that teams have to deal with the defensive liability of that big bat in the middle of the lineup.

StillFunkyB
05-01-2009, 07:10 PM
Forgive me if this was posted already, I didn't read the whole thread...

I thought Kirby Puckett was the first million dollar player?????

BCubb2003
05-01-2009, 07:25 PM
No DL for the American League!?! :eek::eek:

Serves 'em right, I guess...

Play hurt! Walk it off!

westofyou
05-01-2009, 08:16 PM
Forgive me if this was posted already, I didn't read the whole thread...

I thought Kirby Puckett was the first million dollar player?????

Millions started post FA in the 70's

redsfandan
05-01-2009, 09:28 PM
I thought Kirby Puckett was the first million dollar player?????
Pretty sure Ryan was the first to make a million in '79 and Puckett was the first to make $3m in '89.

westofyou
06-15-2009, 11:50 PM
http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2009/writers/joe_posnanski/06/15/james.pitchcounts/index.html


Posted: Monday June 15, 2009 12:50PM; Updated: Monday June 15, 2009 4:17PM
Joe Posnanski Joe Posnanski >
INSIDE BASEBALL
Talkin' pitch counts and Nolan Ryan's crusade, with Bill James

Story Highlights
The current 100-pitch limit that has overtaken baseball doesn't make much sense
Rangers president Nolan Ryan is trying to get his pitchers to go deeper into games
Last season there were only 71 games where a pitcher threw 120-plus pitches

The following is the continuing evolution of an experiment that we tried a few weeks ago -- and the latest installment of a new weekly column on SI.com. It's a combination column with Boston Red Sox senior advisor and baseball writer extraordinaire Bill James. For a few years now, Bill and I have exchanged e-mails about everything from sports to politics to religion to crime to the qualities of Marlon Brando as an actor (Bill thinks he's overrated). So we have talked about bringing those e-mails to the stage. This is not a pure e-mail exchange ... it is rewritten to come out as a column. Anyway, we hope so ...

The topic this week is pitch counts, and it's mostly fair to say that we don't like them. That's oversimplifying, of course. We both like the idea of team officials doing what they can to protect their young starting pitchers ... nobody wants to go back to those days when a 21-year-old Mark Fidrych throws a preposterous 198 innings in the 13 weeks between May 15 and Aug. 29.

But the current 100-pitch limit that has overtaken baseball doesn't make much sense, either. Why 100 pitches? Is it because it's a nice round number? Does it have any basis at all? Has it proven to prevent pitcher injuries -- does anyone believe pitchers are getting hurt less often these days? With teams spending more money now than ever on starting pitchers, doesn't it make sense to get MORE for the money rather than less?

Questions. Down in Texas, Rangers president and Hall of Famer Nolan Ryan is taking on convention. He is trying, slowly, to get his pitchers to train harder and go a little bit deeper into games. Already, he is taking abuse for it -- "It won't work, we're a soft society today," a baseball man told Randy Galloway of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram -- but we're watching closely. We think it can work.

More to the point, we hope it does work. We both would love to get back to the days when starting pitchers had a bigger impact on games. As Bill says: "Baseball is a better game for the fans when you have two starting pitchers engaged in a duel, rather than each pitching five innings and turning it over to a long series of interchangeable relievers. Joe Wood vs. Walter Johnson, man. Nobody reminisces about Clint Brown vs. Al Benton."

* * *

Bill James: I think that what Ryan is doing CAN succeed, because he is doing battle with an empty suit. There's really no basis to the belief that a mature starting pitcher can't throw 150 or 160 pitches in a game -- when he's feeling good, when he's throwing freely and not fighting anything -- without negative consequences.

Joe Posnanski: The thing that fascinates me: How did we get here? Let's think about this for a moment. Baseball, as an industry, spends billions of dollars on starting pitchers. Billions. Look: CC Sabathia signed a $161 million contract. Johan Santana signed a $137 million deal. Barry Zito cost $126 million, Carlos Zambrano $91 million. That's a half billion dollars RIGHT THERE, four pitchers. Throw in Roy Oswalt ($73 million), Josh Beckett ($42 million), A.J. Burnett ($82 million), Zack Greinke ($38 million), Roy Halladay ($40 million), Jason Schmidt ($47 million), Kelvim Escobar ($28.5 million), on and on ... yes, everybody knows that teams spend a lot of money on pitching, but I really want to highlight the point.

And the point? Teams spend all this money on starting pitchers, and then they decide that the round number, 100 pitches, is ideal. Exactly 100 pitches. Not 110. Not 123. Not 97. No, 100 pitches, ideal, no matter how old the pitcher, no matter what kind of stuff he throws, no matter if he's left-handed or right-handed, no matter what. One hundred pitches.

And make no mistake: 100 pitches is the magic number. This year, going into Sunday, there were 1,543 starters who went at least five innings in a game. Their average pitch count: 99.2. Can you believe that? Teams are spending all this money on pitching, and they sure seem to be trying to protect their investment based on a decision my 7-year-old daughter could make ("Um, let them throw, uh, 100 pitches. Is 100 a lot?").

Bill: The movement toward harder and lower pitch counts, which began about 1980 and matured about 2000, was driven by the desire to avoid injuring pitchers, which is laudable. None of us wants to see starting pitchers get hurt. It was -- is -- an excellent idea to do anything you can to avoid starting pitchers getting hurt.

In the 1970s there was a lot of criticism directed at managers who allowed pitchers to burn out. There was criticism of Larry Shepard, the pitching coach for the Big Red Machine, after the early career arm problems of Wayne Simpson, Don Gullett and Gary Nolan.

Joe: Not to interrupt, but since the Big Red Machine came up: Sparky Anderson, in many ways, invented the modern bullpen in the early-to-mid 1970s. In 1975 the Reds set what was then a record by going 45 consecutive games without a starter throwing a complete game. Funny to think that was a record once: In 2007 the Florida Marlins went THE ENTIRE SEASON without throwing a complete game.

Anyway, Anderson took a terrible beating. The Reds were running away with the division, but Anderson would get booed at home when he went to the mound. His pitchers -- well, some of them still despise him for it. It was a whole other mindset in 1975 -- by managers, fans, pitchers, everyone.
Posted: Monday June 15, 2009 12:50PM; Updated: Monday June 15, 2009 4:17PM
Joe Posnanski Joe Posnanski >
INSIDE BASEBALL
Talkin' pitch counts, Nolan Ryan's crusade, with Bill James (cont.)

Bill: On June 25, 1975, Kansas City's Steve Busby pitched 12 innings in a game at California, winning the game 6-2 when the Royals scored four in the 12th. Busby was 25 years old at the time. His career record before that game was 52-35, and he had thrown two no-hitters. His career record after that game was 18-19.

Buck Martinez, the Royals catcher in that game, would say later that he was trying to tell manager Jack McKeon for several innings that Busby wasn't right. McKeon, under pressure to keep his job, put winning that game ahead of keeping Busby healthy. McKeon was fired less than a month later (July 23), and came to be widely blamed for destroying Busby's career because of that game.

Fidrych the next year threw 24 complete games at the age of 21. He was never good again.

These incidents generated a great deal of chatter among those of us who talk about managers -- and I don't doubt, even now, that they should have done so. Twenty-four complete games for a 21-year-old? It's crazy.

Joe: Nolan Ryan threw 26 complete games in back-to-back years -- 1973 and 1974 -- and he threw 300 innings in each of those years. As far as I know, nobody counted pitches then, but can you even IMAGINE the number of pitches Nolan Ryan must have thrown in, say, 1974? The guy set the modern record that year with 383 strikeouts -- here we are, 35 years later, and that record still stands. But Ryan also walked 204 batters that year -- nobody has come CLOSE to that number in the last 35 years. According to Tom Tango's pitch-count estimator, Ryan AVERAGED 134 pitches per start that year, and almost certainly threw more than 200 pitches on a couple of occasions.

And he loved it. That, undoubtedly, is what drives him now. Ryan believed that the game belonged to the starting pitcher. It was his. Ryan HATED 1987 -- that was the year when Houston manager Hal Lanier put Ryan on a strict pitch count (Ryan did not complete a single game that year). On one level it worked: Ryan led the league in ERA. On another, it did not: Ryan finished the season 8-16. You have to think that year is part of what's driving him to recapture a little bit of the 1970s.

Bill: Putting Nolan Ryan on a pitch count is like telling Oprah she can't cry. It's like telling him, "Be somebody else."

Around 1984 ... wish I knew for sure the exact year... USA Today began publishing box scores WHICH INCLUDED PITCH COUNTS FOR PITCHERS.

When you introduce hard facts into a discussion, it changes the discussion. The pitch counts introduced by USA Today became a weapon of the critics. Whenever a young pitcher got hurt, someone could always point to this game when he threw 162 pitches on a cold day in Detroit, or these two games in July when he threw 150-plus pitches twice in six days in hot weather, or ... SOMETHING. Every time a pitcher got hurt, somebody could point to something that the manager had done to cause this injury.

It is my view that, once conventional wisdom about leaving pitchers in the game stampeded into a full-fledged retreat, it ran right past the point of reason, without any real effort to balance the discussion by taking account of the costs of pulling pitchers out of the game too early and too often.

Joe: Something happened around 2001, too. I'm not sure what it was ... but while managers were definitely being more careful with pitchers throughout the 1980s and 1990s, it had not reached the point of absurdity. In 2000 managers let their starters throw 120 pitches or more about 12 percent of the time -- there were 454 instances of a pitcher throwing 120-plus pitches. That was more or less in line with the 1990s.

But in 2001 the 120-plus pitch games were cut in half. By 2006 they were cut in half again. Last season there were only 71 games where a pitcher threw 120-plus pitches ... these games have become almost extinct. I do think it's fear-driven ... most of the managers I talk to around the game privately DESPISE the pitch count. Or, more to the point, they despise the oppressive nature of pitch counts -- "Sure, we have to be careful with pitchers," one big-league manager told me. "But we're to the point now where we're babying them. You'll see pitchers now throw five or six good innings, and they feel like they've done their job. That's our fault."

Bill: The problem with the move toward pitch counts was that there was never any logic or research that said that limiting a pitcher to 100 pitches would prevent injuries, as opposed to 130 pitches, or 130 for young pitchers and 160 for mature pitchers, or as opposed to getting the pitcher out of the game at the first sign of a problem, or as opposed to improving his training regimen. I am opposed to making decisions based on fear, and in favor of making decisions based on logic and research, and therefore I support what Nolan Ryan is trying to do.

I always admire people who have the courage to confront the conventional wisdom ... I mean, people within the system. Those of us on the outside ... it's easy for us to say whatever we think, because there are no consequences to it. It's much harder to say, "I think the conventional wisdom is full of beans, and I'm not going to go along with it," when you're inside the system and exposed to the possibility of actual failure. I think the people who do this drive the world to get better, whereas the people who snipe at anybody who dares suggest that the conventional wisdom is malarkey are, in my view, gutless conspirators in the mediocrity of the universe. To me, what Ryan is doing is the clearest and boldest example of challenging the conventional wisdom from within the system that I've seen in years, and I'm applauding.

Crash Davis
06-16-2009, 12:07 AM
It's much harder to say, "I think the conventional wisdom is full of beans, and I'm not going to go along with it," when you're inside the system and exposed to the possibility of actual failure. I think the people who do this drive the world to get better, whereas the people who snipe at anybody who dares suggest that the conventional wisdom is malarkey are, in my view, gutless conspirators in the mediocrity of the universe. To me, what Ryan is doing is the clearest and boldest example of challenging the conventional wisdom from within the system that I've seen in years, and I'm applauding.

:thumbup:

"Gutless conspirators in the mediocrity of the universe."

Good Rotisserie league name.

*BaseClogger*
06-16-2009, 12:09 AM
It's interesting to compare this thread to this thread (http://www.redszone.com/forums/showthread.php?t=63038)...

Tony Cloninger
06-16-2009, 12:32 AM
Anybody notice that since about 2007....Complete games are up more than they have been in the last several years. Does not seem like my imagination that some managers are trying to push these pitchers a litle more and realize that some can handle it.

RANDY IN INDY
06-16-2009, 08:50 AM
:thumbup:

"Gutless conspirators in the mediocrity of the universe."

Good Rotisserie league name.

Double thumbs up.:thumbup::thumbup:

WebScorpion
06-18-2009, 12:47 AM
:thumbup:

"Gutless conspirators in the mediocrity of the universe."

Good Rotisserie league name.
I think I can use this phrase at work tomorrow...and probably every day after that. :D

Sea Ray
06-18-2009, 10:17 AM
In 1969, the mound was lowered from 15 to 10 inches and the strike zone expanded.

I'd never heard that they changed the strike zone. To expand it seems counter productive to lowering the mound. I know they did that in order to get more offense. They didn't want anymore 1.12 ERAs

westofyou
06-18-2009, 10:24 AM
On December 3, 1968, the Baseball Rules Committee voted to lower the height of the pitching mound from fifteen to ten inches and to require that all pitching mounds be sloped gradually so that pitchers will not appear to be firing from a steep cliff to the batter below.

Not known to many was also the redefining of the strike zone.


1969 - “The Strike Zone is that space over home plate which is between the batter’s armpits and the top of his knees when he assumes a natural stance. The umpire shall determine the Strike Zone according to the batter’s usual stance when he swings at a pitch.”

This redefinition was a result of stagnating offense and pitching dominated contests, it also was a reaction to a prior strike zone change that was instituted against the rise of offense in the first few years of the 60’s.


1963 - “The Strike Zone is that space over home plate which is between the top of the batter’s shoulders and his knees when he assumes his natural stance. The umpire shall determine the Strike Zone according to the batter’s usual stance when he swings at a pitch.”

The key lies in the first paragraphs accent on “the top of his knees” where the second only says “knees” thus leaving some ambiguity for the officials creating the Strike Zone when a player steps into the box

In 1961 the home run race involving Maris and Mantle plus the hitting of Cash and Gentile staggered many of the old timers who were in the upper echelon of the baseball management. In an attempt to “even” things out they decided to attack the hitters at home, so they adjusted the strike zone after the 1962 season

This small but significant addition to the rules helped freeze the offense in the game in the 60's

Sea Ray
06-18-2009, 10:38 AM
On December 3, 1968, the Baseball Rules Committee voted to lower the height of the pitching mound from fifteen to ten inches and to require that all pitching mounds be sloped gradually so that pitchers will not appear to be firing from a steep cliff to the batter below.

Not known to many was also the redefining of the strike zone.



This redefinition was a result of stagnating offense and pitching dominated contests, it also was a reaction to a prior strike zone change that was instituted against the rise of offense in the first few years of the 60’s.


The key lies in the first paragraphs accent on “the top of his knees” where the second only says “knees” thus leaving some ambiguity for the officials creating the Strike Zone when a player steps into the box

In 1961 the home run race involving Maris and Mantle plus the hitting of Cash and Gentile staggered many of the old timers who were in the upper echelon of the baseball management. In an attempt to “even” things out they decided to attack the hitters at home, so they adjusted the strike zone after the 1962 season

This small but significant addition to the rules helped freeze the offense in the game in the 60's


That's interesting. It seems like they decreased the strike zone by changing it from the top of the shoulders to the armpits.

When did they change the top of the strike zone from the armpits to "the midpoint between the top of the shoulders to the belt"?

*BaseClogger*
06-18-2009, 04:21 PM
Heck, the top of the strike zone these days in MLB is the belt...

Sea Ray
06-18-2009, 05:01 PM
Heck, the top of the strike zone these days in MLB is the belt...

It sure was 10-15 years ago, but the width of the plate was huge...especially if Eric Gregg (bless his soul) was behind the plate and Maddox or Glavine was pitching...

Supposedly they fixed that width problem at the expense or raising it back to where it should be

Dom Heffner
06-18-2009, 09:37 PM
How on earth is Marlon Brando overrated?


On one level it worked: Ryan led the league in ERA. On another, it did not: Ryan finished the season 8-16.

This made me ignore pretty much every other point the guy made.

Thanks for posting these, WOY. Great reads.

Tony Cloninger
06-18-2009, 09:43 PM
He said Bill James thought Marlon was overrated. Not himself.

I think more managers are letting pitchers go further....like i posted earlier...CG seem to be up.

Maybe they should make umpires wear those big protectors so they don't crouch as much and therefore call the higher strike.

Dom Heffner
06-18-2009, 09:52 PM
He said Bill James thought Marlon was overrated. Not himself.


I don't think I said otherwise. No matter who said it, though, that's just wrong.

D-Man
06-18-2009, 10:28 PM
Ironically enough, several of James' apostles (Neyer, Jazayerli, other BP writers) bear the responsibility for the 100-pitch count as much as anyone else.

I think the root of the dramatic shift in pitch counts happened in 1998. A 21-year-old Kerry Wood blew out his elbow in August 1998, subsequently after a 132-pitch game. Back then Wood looked like a once-in-a-generation talent, and the early sabermetricians brought out the pitchforks when he got hurt.

Rany Jazayerli introduced the pitching abuse points (PAP) on page 14 in the 1999 BP annual. In it, he assigned PAP in a pseudo-scientific fashion to any pitcher with a pitch count over 100.


[PAP] is not that big deal for Roger Clemens or Rick Reed, or Mike Morgan to go out and throw 110 or 115 pitches a start. But that kind of load on a Kevin Millwood or a Jose Rosado or Kerry Wood is a truly dangerous thing.

Jazayerli provided no evidence that 110 pitches is "a truly dangerous thing" other than the rule of thumb that young pitchers + more pitches = risk factor.