View Full Version : Pitchers' Development Question

06-03-2008, 03:12 PM
Why does it seem like pitchers in the minors or even, say, coming out of college, are generally tagged as being starters or relievers early in their pro career? This happens and then the starter gets 6-ish innings of experience 5 day turn in the rotation, while the reliever may get 2-3 innings in the same 5-day period. To me, this doesn't make sense.

The player I'm thinking of lately is Danny Herrera, who's been in the minors as a reliever. He's only got 39 innings pitched this year, while Homer Bailey has 69 and Daryl Thompson has 75. Over the course of a 4 season minor league career, that difference adds up to a couple hundred innings of valuable experience the reliever isn't getting.

Would it not be better to have your best arms as starters, and only after they reach the majors, weed out certain ones to be relievers?

06-03-2008, 03:18 PM
Some pitchers have only one or two quality pitches and are then considered relievers. Other pitchers may be incapable of being effective for multiple innings. Some players are able to get a little more velocity if they are reserved for the bullpen, and the difference in velocity makes the difference between them being a mediocre starter and an effective reliever. That's just the tip of the iceberg on how to answer this question.

There have been many players who are tagged as relievers, but they play as starters in the minors to give them more experience. A few recent cases of this in the Reds organization are Ty Pelland, Ramon Ramirez, and Sean Watson.

06-03-2008, 03:28 PM
Would it not be better to have your best arms as starters, and only after they reach the majors, weed out certain ones to be relievers?

I think you underestimate the difference between starting and relieving. With starting you pretty have all day to get ready both physically and mentally. With relieving you only have a short period of time to do so. IMO with a young arm you want to get it used to a routine and have it stick with the routine. I don't know how long it would take for a player to get used to switching from starting to relieving or vice versa. Also wouldn't you want the players you had pegged for a reliever to get used to pitching in that situation?

Sea Ray
06-03-2008, 06:41 PM
Your top notch prospects are generally used as starters early in their minor league career with the idea that you max out their innings and experience. As you get closer to the bigs, like AA and AAA they might start moving you into roles that they project for you in the majors, but at the end of the day someone has to pitch relief, even in the minors