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OnBaseMachine
02-16-2010, 12:13 PM
10 for '10: Young aces among those at risk of Verducci Effect

Nothing is more inspirational this time of year than the pop of a well accelerated fastball into the cavern of a catcher's mitt -- so welcome after a long, cold winter that the fastball's usual antagonist, the hitter, is unnecessary to its drama. Such a sound is all the more inspiring when at its origin is a young arm, as full of promise as Chapter 1. The scene plays out this week in every camp in Florida and Arizona, at once prompting joy and fear from the club elders who watch them. For as they imagine young pitchers' success, they also must ask the question no one has yet truly cracked: How do we keep them healthy?

The question is particularly timely in today's game. A wave of young pitching has washed ashore. Last year more 25-and-under pitchers made at least 10 starts than any time in the history of the game (71), including a 69 percent increase from five years ago. In just the past 13 months teams have handed out contract extensions that bought out free agent years of young homegrown stars Zack Greinke, Jon Lester, Josh Johnson, Ubaldo Jimenez, Felix Hernandez and Justin Verlander.

This spring offers more potential stars: Madison Bumgarner with San Francisco, Brian Matusz with Baltimore, Stephen Strasburg with Washington and Aroldis Chapman with Cincinnati. Meanwhile, pitchers such as Rick Porcello and Max Scherzer with Detroit and Joba Chamblerlain with the Yankees, like Milo of Croton, bear the heavier burden on their shoulders of a second year of full-time starting duty.

The only task harder than a breakthrough season is trying to do it again. Breakdowns are almost inevitable in pitching, but difficult to see coming. The best we know is that the two factors that most elevate risk of injury are overuse and poor mechanics, which often are interconnected.

More than a decade ago, with the help of then-Oakland pitching coach Rick Peterson, I began tracking one element of overuse which seemed entirely avoidable: working young pitchers too much too soon. Pitchers not yet fully conditioned and physically matured were at risk if clubs asked them to pitch far more innings than they did the previous season -- like asking a 10K runner to crank out a marathon. The task wasn't impossible, but the after-effects were debilitating. I defined an at-risk pitcher as any 25-and-under pitcher who increased his innings log by more than 30 in a year in which he pitched in the big leagues. Each year the breakdown rate of such red-flagged pitchers -- either by injury or drop in performance -- was staggering.

I called the trend the Year After Effect, though it caught on in some places as the Verducci Effect. As I was tracking this trend, the industry already was responding to the breakdown in young pitchers. The Yankees instituted the Joba Rules. The Orioles shut down pitchers late in the year. Teams set "target innings" for their young pitchers before camp even began. Clubs sent underworked starters to the Arizona Fall League to build their arms to better withstand regular work the next year.

Still, by oversight, circumstances or old school "take-it-as-it-comes" thinking, teams continue to overload young pitchers, which is why the Verducci Effect is still in business, with 10 pitchers red-flagged for 2010. Imagine my surprise when I first ran the numbers and found two pitchers from the earliest adapters of the Year After Effect, the Oakland Athletics. How could they of all teams, I wondered, let Brett Anderson and Trevor Cahill take jumps of 55 and 54 1/3 innings in 2009?

"Oh, no," Oakland GM Billy Beane told me. "We didn't. We always keep an eye on the Verducci metrics."

Beane explained that Anderson and Cahill pitched for the 2008 U.S. Olympic team, so their innings jump was not nearly as large or as dangerous as their professional innings would suggest. Goodbye red flags.

"We always keep an eye on that, especially when we get to September," Beane said. "In fact, we backed off them in September [with extra days of rest and lower pitch counts] just because of that. They each wound up in the 170s in innings, which was perfect. They're right on track this year to go out and make 30 to 35 starts and throw right around 200 innings. We think that's the natural progression."

Peterson convinced Beane back in 1998 that young pitchers needed their workload to "staircase," with modest annual increases so the body could grow accustomed to, rather than be shocked by, greater work capacity. It was an idea that was not radical to road running or weight training, but was new to pitching. Beane is a proponent of the "only so many bullets" theory -- that pitchers have only so many throws in their arms -- so when Peterson backed up his theory with data, Beane, who by the next year was sitting on a gold mine of young pitching in Mark Mulder, Tim Hudson and Barry Zito, was sold.

"One thing I told Rick was, 'I can be sold if you give me information,'" Beane said. "I don't pretend to know the answer. Nobody knows. But this just makes sense. Given a choice between too much throwing at too young an age and being conservative, we'll always take the conservative route. Look, Hudson, Mulder, Zito . . . we took good care of those guys."

The reality is that the cost-effectiveness and durability of those three young starting pitchers defined what made those Oakland teams successful more so than all the attention given to finding guys with good on-base percentages. In their 15 combined individual seasons in Oakland (not including partial rookie years), Hudson, Mulder and Zito averaged 17 wins, 33 starts and 219 innings.

"With Rick, he did his homework, sold me on it and we're abiding by it," Beane said.

Of course, baseball is such a beautiful, analog sport that circumstance and 30 franchise cultures defy a one-size-fits-all philosophy. That's how I wound up with 10 young pitchers this year who fall into the danger zone. It's not a prediction that they will break down, but only an estimate that they are at risk of a fallback season because of an aggressive workload increase in 2009. Here they are, the 10 at '10 (includes all professional innings, including postseason and AFL):


Pitchers At Risk
Pitcher Age IP Increase
Cesar Carillo, SD 25 160.2 +84.1
Bud Norris, Hou. 24 175.2 +73*
Mat Latos, SD 22 123 +66.2
Joba Chamberlain, NYY 24 163.2 +47.2*
Homer Bailey, Cin. 23 203 +55.1
Josh Johnson, Fla. 25 209 +52*
Rick Porcello, Det. 21 170.2 +45.2
Max Scherzer, Det. 25 175 +42
Felix Hernandez, Sea. 23 238.2 +38
Wade Davis, TB 24 195 +35.1

* = Previous career high occurred prior to most recent season

In general, the younger the pitcher and the greater the increase the greater the risk. Likewise, the risk minimizes the closer guys are to the age and innings cutoffs. Here are thumbnail looks at the young pitchers at risk:

• Carillo, Norris, Latos: I hate to see guys with non-contenders getting pushed, as Kansas City and Pittsburgh used to do, but these guys have a common denominator: their previous workloads were depressed by injuries in minor league seasons. Carillo had Tommy John surgery, Norris suffered from an elbow strain (the Astros sent him to the AFL in 2008 and he still made the at-risk list) and Latos was bothered by oblique, ankle and shoulder injuries. The size of those increases remains significant.

• Chamberlain: Even with Yankees fans complaining about the Yankees treating him with kid gloves, Chamberlain made the list because he transitioned from a reliever into a full-time starter.

• Bailey: This is probably the most troubling case on this list, if only because there was no reason to lean so hard on Bailey down the stretch. The Reds finished 13 games out. In his last nine starts, Bailey averaged 112 pitches and was given an extra day of rest only twice even as he far exceeded his previous high in innings. The club kept leaning on him because he was pitching well, but to what end?

• Johnson and Porcello: These are understandable to a certain degree. Both clubs were playing meaningful games late in the season, when backing off one of your best pitchers is very hard to do. Porcello, because of his age, is more at risk of paying for the workload than is Johnson.

• Scherzer: Like Johnson, he took his increase at age 25, which minimizes the risk. But Scherzer bears close scrutiny because, like Chamberlain, his pitching health has long been questioned because of his throwing style. The Diamondbacks traded Scherzer in part because they never were sure that he would develop into the kind of workhorse starter that Edwin Jackson became in Detroit.

• Hernandez and Davis: They barely made the list, though Hernandez's innings do not reflect the two high-intensity games he threw in the World Baseball Classic -- once out of the bullpen.

At this time last year Mets pitcher Mike Pelfrey tried to convince me why he should not be on my 2009 list despite his 48-inning jump. He was a big guy, he said, who learned to be more efficient with his pitches. What happened? His ERA shot up from 3.72 to 5.03.

I try to stress that the effect is not a predictor -- it's just a guideline of risk. In the previous four years, I have identified 34 at-risk pitchers. Only four of them made it through that year without injury and with a lower ERA: Jimenez and three studs who did it last year, Tim Lincecum, Clayton Kershaw and Jair Jurrjens. (Jurrjens may not have escaped the effect after all. He reported to camp this week with a sore shoulder and will undergo an MRI to determine the extent of the problem.) Jon Lester, with only a slightly higher ERA in a fine 2009 season, merits mention, too. The at-risk pitchers last year who confirmed the effect included Pelfrey, Cole Hamels, Chad Billingsley, John Danks and Dana Eveland.

Past red-flag lists presaged the breakdowns of pitchers such as Jose Rosado, Chris George, Runelvys Hernandez, Dustin McGowan, Gustavo Chacin, Francisco Liriano, Anibal Sanchez, Fausto Carmona, Adam Loewen and Scott Mathieson. It's not perfect nor is it meant to be. But to borrow from Beane, given a choice, why not take the conservative route?

http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2010/writers/tom_verducci/02/16/verducci.effect/index.html?eref=twitter_feed

Nasty_Boy
02-16-2010, 12:32 PM
That doesn't sound like anything Dusty has been accused of in the past.

I'm keeping my fingers crossed on Homer because he looked like he was finally getting in together. The Verducci Effect (from what I've heard) is normally pretty accurate.

lollipopcurve
02-16-2010, 12:49 PM
It would be interesting to see the pitch breakdowns of these guys. A possible protection for Bailey is that he was throwing a high percentage of fastballs.

OnBaseMachine
02-16-2010, 12:57 PM
I remember late in the season when many of us were questioning why Bailey was pushed so hard. At one point Bailey had six straight starts where he threw 114+ pitches. I had no problem running him out there every five days because he obviously had something to prove since he was out of options, but he should have been given a pitch count, IMO. Hopefully Bailey and the Reds can dodge a bullet and he can build on his late season success and put together a good 2010 season.

Always Red
02-16-2010, 01:21 PM
Chances are that 80% of the guys on that list (or any list) will wind up with some injury or another this year.

There are so many variables to it; it's not very unscientific.

Teams are more cautious with pitchers than they EVER have been, and pitchers are still getting hurt. I'm not sure that pitching guys LESS results in less injury?

I didn't see any reason to hold Homer back at the end of last season; he was throwing free and easy, in non-stressful situations, his confidence was sky-rocketing, and he was really learning how to perfect his craft. And he wasn't hurt.

I'm not a believer in the adage that "there are only so many bullets (pitches) in the arm." Some arms can simply stand more work than others can- the science (and fun and useful part of this) will be in identifying those arms and leveraging them to the hilt.

Maybe some combination of the Pitching Abuse Points leaders who do Not get hurt, and guys like Lincecum and Kershaw who escaped the Verducci Effect (interestingly are called "studs" in this article), are outliers, guys who maybe really are studs and can pitch more injury free innings than the average guy?

The only SP the Reds have had of late who has not been injured is Arroyo, who is a freak of nature.

Plus, I think we also have to factor into this how much better medical diagnosis is these days, and how careful most teams are with SP's- any twinges at all, and they're skipping a start.

bucksfan2
02-16-2010, 01:22 PM
I remember late in the season when many of us were questioning why Bailey was pushed so hard. At one point Bailey had six straight starts where he threw 114+ pitches. I had no problem running him out there every five days because he obviously had something to prove since he was out of options, but he should have been given a pitch count, IMO. Hopefully Bailey and the Reds can dodge a bullet and he can build on his late season success and put together a good 2010 season.

Whats the difference between 105 and 114 pitches? Whats more important, innings pitched or pitch counts? I think you can make a pretty good argument that a pitcher who doesn't have his top stuff could put more stress on his arm throwing 5 innings of 90 pitches vs a pitcher who has his stuff and throws 7 innings of 115 pitches.

IMO too much time spent worrying about codling young pitches vs building up their arm strength over the course of a season.

Nasty_Boy
02-16-2010, 01:29 PM
I think the difference is where fatigue sets in and mechanics start to suffer. It's a fine line but until the young guys are used to pitching over 100+ pitches or throwing 175+ innings, I would be more carefull. I know there isn't an exact science on this sort of thing, but I don't exactly like Dusty's track record on the subject.

TheNext44
02-16-2010, 01:29 PM
The Verducci Effect is highly inaccurate and should not be taken seriously.

Raising a young pitchers innings too much from one year to the next is something that should be monitored, but is far to general a concept to used as a real measure of overuse. It does not take into account pitches thrown, the type of pitches, when the innings were pitched or many other particulars that are essential for understanding the true wear on a pitchers arm.

For instance, if a pitcher becomes more efficient, and goes from throwing 100 pitches in 5 innings to throwing 100 pitches in 7 innings, his innings rise by around 50 innings that year, but he putting the same wear on his arm.

Likewise, if a pitcher doesn't pitch much for most of the season, but then finishes the last two months with a lot of 7, 8 and 9 inning games, he will put more wear on his arm, than a pitcher who steadily increases over the year from averaging 4 innings a game to 6 innings a game, even though both pitchers will have pitched around the same number of innings.

The Verducci Effect is something a sports writer came up with that is nice general concept, that is far too simplistic to have any real accuracy.

camisadelgolf
02-16-2010, 03:14 PM
Instead of the Verducci effect being based on innings pitched, it should be based on pitches thrown. Homer Bailey is a great example of that.

1.) As a result of better pitching, he faced less batters per inning in 2009 than he did the year before.
2.) He walked less batters per inning in 2009 than he did the previous year. This is another thing that will reduce pitches per inning.
3.) His WHIP improved dramatically. This will decrease the number of pitches a pitcher throws.

I can go on, but it's pretty obvious what I'm saying. 100 IP of bad innings can result in at least as many pitches thrown over the course of 120 good innings. Bailey's improvements were so big that I think it helps mitigate his increased workload.

camisadelgolf
02-16-2010, 03:15 PM
Okay, it looks like I was late to the party. Darn.

membengal
02-16-2010, 03:23 PM
What comes to mind on Bailey about his jump in innings and heavier than optimal usage at the end of last season was that success for Bailey at the big league level was real important given his previous struggles. Now, once he showed that a leap was underway, should they have backed off some of his innings pitched and total pitches thrown as September unwound? Yes. But I understand them also thinking that he needed to feed off some success and riding that a bit. I don't think his overall usage was that insane compared to previous years.

bucksfan2
02-16-2010, 03:40 PM
What comes to mind on Bailey about his jump in innings and heavier than optimal usage at the end of last season was that success for Bailey at the big league level was real important given his previous struggles. Now, once he showed that a leap was underway, should they have backed off some of his innings pitched and total pitches thrown as September unwound? Yes. But I understand them also thinking that he needed to feed off some success and riding that a bit. I don't think his overall usage was that insane compared to previous years.

I disagree with this. Homer finally looked like he figured it out at the end of last season. So why not let him go out there, on regular rest, and continue to improve on what he has learned? To me it would make little to no sense to have Homer finally figure it out and then shut him down for the year. I think the Reds handled him just fine at the end of last season. I also wonder how much Verducci actually saw him pitch at the end of the season last year.

membengal
02-16-2010, 03:49 PM
I think that's what I said. I understood why they did it and acknowleged that there was perhaps some value with that in his case. That was the point of my last two sentences.

That said, ideally, they could have dialed it back a tad, but I don't know that I have issues with what they did, all things considered.

I am not sure what you are disagreeing with.

_Sir_Charles_
02-16-2010, 04:16 PM
Whats the difference between 105 and 114 pitches? Whats more important, innings pitched or pitch counts? I think you can make a pretty good argument that a pitcher who doesn't have his top stuff could put more stress on his arm throwing 5 innings of 90 pitches vs a pitcher who has his stuff and throws 7 innings of 115 pitches.

IMO too much time spent worrying about codling young pitches vs building up their arm strength over the course of a season.

I couldn't agree more. Too much is being made out of this kind of thing. Especially when you consider that every pitcher is different. They'll throw different amounts in BP sessions and warmups and at different velocities. Then you've also got the individual's stamina, strength, body type, etc. The only thing I ever worry about (and this is with EVERY pitcher...not just young pitchers) is having a pitcher continue to pitch after he's exhausted and his mechanics begin to alter. A specific number of pitches is a bad way to compare this stuff. 80 pitches from Danny Ray Herrera is different than 80 pitches from Aaron Harang.

Hoosier Red
02-16-2010, 04:40 PM
Instead of the Verducci effect being based on innings pitched, it should be based on pitches thrown. Homer Bailey is a great example of that.

1.) As a result of better pitching, he faced less batters per inning in 2009 than he did the year before.
2.) He walked less batters per inning in 2009 than he did the previous year. This is another thing that will reduce pitches per inning.
3.) His WHIP improved dramatically. This will decrease the number of pitches a pitcher throws.

I can go on, but it's pretty obvious what I'm saying. 100 IP of bad innings can result in at least as many pitches thrown over the course of 120 good innings. Bailey's improvements were so big that I think it helps mitigate his increased workload.

Fewer Batters. Less is something you can't count. Fewer is something you can. I have less money. I have fewer dollars.

Sorry that was mean and picky. One of those things that's nails on a chalkboard to me.

Sea Ray
02-16-2010, 05:49 PM
If I understand the Verducci Effect it's that only 4 of 34 pitchers followed the year with a lower ERA and was injury free.

Well that's judging two completely different parameters. Is it really a problem if King Felix wins 20 this year but his ERA is a little higher? I'd like to know how often these pitchers had injuries that put them on the DL. If their ERAs just went up, perhaps it's that the league adjusted a little to them which would have next to nothing to do with an increased workload.

dougdirt
02-16-2010, 06:15 PM
If I understand the Verducci Effect it's that only 4 of 34 pitchers followed the year with a lower ERA and was injury free.

Well that's judging two completely different parameters. Is it really a problem if King Felix wins 20 this year but his ERA is a little higher? I'd like to know how often these pitchers had injuries that put them on the DL. If their ERAs just went up, perhaps it's that the league adjusted a little to them which would have next to nothing to do with an increased workload.

I would be more interested to see what the DL trips were for. If a guy went on the DL for 2 weeks with a blister he gets counted here I am sure.

dunner13
02-16-2010, 07:29 PM
heres the article from verducci on the 7 pitchers he thought would get hurt in 09
http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2009/writers/tom_verducci/04/07/yearafter.effect/index.html

TheNext44
02-16-2010, 07:58 PM
heres the article from verducci on the 7 pitchers he thought would get hurt in 09
http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2009/writers/tom_verducci/04/07/yearafter.effect/index.html

So on this list, 6 had fine years (Lester, Lincecum, Kershaw, Danks, Jurrjens, and Neise), two had off years (Billingsley and Pelfrey) and two were hurt (Hamels and Eveland.)

I think if anyone on Redszone could pick 10 guys who would most likely get hurt the next season, they would have at least as good or better results.

fearofpopvol1
02-16-2010, 08:10 PM
Isn't the real point of Verducci to say "better safe than sorry?"

It is pretty preposterous in my opinion that Bailey was trotted out as much as he was pitching as much as he was in meaningless games.

mth123
02-16-2010, 09:04 PM
Isn't the real point of Verducci to say "better safe than sorry?"

It is pretty preposterous in my opinion that Bailey was trotted out as much as he was pitching as much as he was in meaningless games.

Exactly. Even if the injury rate (or ineffectiveness rate) goes up only slightly, why risk it at all when its a kid who is so obviously a key to the future and the team has nothing to gain from running him out there?

For that matter, why not take the opportunity to get a look at some of the glut of young bullpen arms for an inning or two while pushing Bailey a little less in the process?

TheNext44
02-16-2010, 09:17 PM
The argument for keeping Bailey out there for one more inning is twofold.

1) Build up his endurance.

2) Build up his confidence.

I'm not smart enough, or know enough about the physics and psychology of pitching, or of the particulars of each game to know what was the right move, but that's the breakdown of the decision.

Possible extra wear on a young arm vs. building his stamina and confidence.

To be honest, I wanted them to take him out an inning earlier in most of his starts at the end of the year, but those were more gut calls than anything. Only time will tell if it was smart of the Reds to have him pitch those extra innings.

mth123
02-16-2010, 09:32 PM
The argument for keeping Bailey out there for one more inning is twofold.

1) Build up his endurance.

2) Build up his confidence.

I'm not smart enough, or know enough about the physics and psychology of pitching, or of the particulars of each game to know what was the right move, but that's the breakdown of the decision.

Possible extra wear on a young arm vs. building his stamina and confidence.

To be honest, I wanted them to take him out an inning earlier in most of his starts at the end of the year, but those were more gut calls than anything. Only time will tell if it was smart of the Reds to have him pitch those extra innings.

IMO at age 23 it wasn't worth it. Stopping at 180 innings would have still put him on safe pace for 210 to 220 innings in 2010. If he's pushed beyond that its too much anyway. The team needs Bailey to be at the top of its rotation for several years. Getting that extra inning or two each start doesn't seem as important compared to the risk.

bucksfan2
02-16-2010, 09:39 PM
IMO at age 23 it wasn't worth it. Stopping at 180 innings would have still put him on safe pace for 210 to 220 innings in 2010. If he's pushed beyond that its too much anyway. The team needs Bailey to be at the top of its rotation for several years. Getting that extra inning or two each start doesn't seem as important compared to the risk.

That extra inning or two may very well help Bailey build for the future. Its easy to say, stop at 180 innings. But the reality is those extra innings that Bailey threw may very well have helped him develop and grow more as a pitcher. As a young pitcher Bailey is still going through a learning curve as a pitcher. Stopping him because of some arbitrary number, when Homer is on the biggest role of his life, seems to me to do more harm than good.

cincrazy
02-16-2010, 09:49 PM
I think the difference is where fatigue sets in and mechanics start to suffer. It's a fine line but until the young guys are used to pitching over 100+ pitches or throwing 175+ innings, I would be more carefull. I know there isn't an exact science on this sort of thing, but I don't exactly like Dusty's track record on the subject.

I think Dusty has been treated a bit unfairly. Kerry Wood and Mark Prior, IMO only of course, were going to breakdown regardless of the manager.

I worry less about Dusty's track record with pitchers, and more about him batting men with .280 OBPs in the leadoff spot.

mth123
02-16-2010, 09:49 PM
That extra inning or two may very well help Bailey build for the future. Its easy to say, stop at 180 innings. But the reality is those extra innings that Bailey threw may very well have helped him develop and grow more as a pitcher. As a young pitcher Bailey is still going through a learning curve as a pitcher. Stopping him because of some arbitrary number, when Homer is on the biggest role of his life, seems to me to do more harm than good.


Plenty of time to grow in 2010. If he ends up hurt from the big inning jump, its over.

Nasty_Boy
02-16-2010, 10:17 PM
I think Dusty has been treated a bit unfairly. Kerry Wood and Mark Prior, IMO only of course, were going to breakdown regardless of the manager.

I worry less about Dusty's track record with pitchers, and more about him batting men with .280 OBPs in the leadoff spot.


Maybe so... but I haven't been a fan of the way he uses pitchers. Case in point, the Harang in SD fiasco followed by the start against Pittsburgh. And I worry about everything he does... Although listening to his explanations for such moves is always priceless.

PuffyPig
02-16-2010, 10:51 PM
While I am going from memory (which is always dangerous), I seem to recall that when Bailey was throwing pitches later in his starts at the end of the season he certainly didn't look like he was labouring at all, throwing free and easy.

fearofpopvol1
02-16-2010, 11:25 PM
That extra inning or two may very well help Bailey build for the future. Its easy to say, stop at 180 innings. But the reality is those extra innings that Bailey threw may very well have helped him develop and grow more as a pitcher. As a young pitcher Bailey is still going through a learning curve as a pitcher. Stopping him because of some arbitrary number, when Homer is on the biggest role of his life, seems to me to do more harm than good.

And it very well may hurt him, too. If he had been 24 or 25, I'd agree...but why take the risk??

As Mth suggested and I agree...the Reds have a lot of arms in the system. Why not give them a chance and see what you have there instead of continuing to pitch into higher counts in games that mean(t) nothing?

REDblooded
02-17-2010, 12:34 AM
IIRC (because I was REALLY annoyed with how they were using him down the stretch) there were a lot of "WHAT ARE YOU DOING?" moments down the stretch with Bailey. Just keeping him out in really weird situations where it wasn't worth the risk...

Oct 4 - 6 ip/112 p's... Reds had 6-0 lead when they ran him out for the 6th to pitch against the 5/6/7 hitters...

Sep 29 - 7 ip/108 p's... Reds had 7-1 lead when they ran him out for the 7th (pujols/holliday/rasmus/ludwick) (was last batter in bottom of 6th. perfect opportunity to pull Bailey rather than having him hit, then pitch a meaningless inning)

Sep 23 - 6 ip/96 p's... Reds had 8-2 lead when they ran him out for the 6th (was also lead-off hitter to start top of 6th)

Sep 18 - 7 ip/118 p's... close game... 1-0 lead when pulled

Sep 13 - 5.1 ip/115 p's... trailing 3-0 brought him back out for 6th to face 7/8/9.. didn't make it through inning

Sep 7 - 5.2 ip/117 p's... 3-0 lead when they brought him back for the 6th to face 5/6/7... 2 runners on base before pulled

Sep 2 - 6.1 ip/116 p's... 5-3 lead when they brought him back for the 7th to face 9/1/2...

Aug 28 - 8 ip/115 p's... 4-0 lead when brought out for 7th and 8th...


Quiet a few of these situations there was no reason to run him back out for that last inning... I understand arguing for building his confidence, but quite a few of these situations were just logging extra innings/pitches when the game was already effectively in the Reds hands.

mbgrayson
02-17-2010, 12:47 AM
• Bailey: This is probably the most troubling case on this list, if only because there was no reason to lean so hard on Bailey down the stretch. The Reds finished 13 games out. In his last nine starts, Bailey averaged 112 pitches and was given an extra day of rest only twice even as he far exceeded his previous high in innings. The club kept leaning on him because he was pitching well, but to what end?


I agree with this statement 110%. Exactly. Perfect. Right on. Of course I applaud these comments because it sounds a lott like what I was saying on September 23, 2009 in THIS RedsZone thread (http://www.redszone.com/forums/showthread.php?t=78346)when Homer was at +42 innings:


Even now, I wonder if Homer is starting to wear down. Tonight, six innings and no strikeouts. However, he only gave up two runs, and got another 'W'. Personally, I am convinced that he has turned a corner this year. His ERA has improved each month. I am hopeful for next year, but I would love to see him shut down.

His last two turns will come on 9/29 against the Cards, and on 10/4 against the Pirates again. Why have him pitch more innings? To what end?


Of course, he went on to pitch well in those last two games, and added 13 more innings to his totals. The Reds kept up their late season run, and fell a couple draft choices further down the list. However, the issue was not how Homer would do last year, but how all those extra innings would impact 2010 and beyond.

In the same thread cited above, I put up the following analysis of the Verducci class of 2009:

As we near the end of season, lets look at Verducci's 2009 list and see how his 'year after' effect rule of thumb played out. How many of the following pitchers had either an injury or significant regression in their performance.

1. Jon Lester, age 25. No significant injury. Only a slight drop in performance from 3.21 to 3.52 ERA. Has pitched 13 innings fewer than last year.

2. Cole Hamels, age 25. No significant injury. There is a significant drop in performance, from a 3.09 ERA last year, to a 4.25 ERA this year. WHIP and BAA also up. Pitched 37 fewer innings so far this year.

3. Chad Billingsley, age 24. No significant injury. There is a modest drop in performance, from a 3.14 ERA to a 4.03 ERA. WHIP and BAA a little better this year. Has pitched 4 fewer innings so far.

4. Tim Lincecum, age 24. No significant injury. Performance better than last year. ERA, WHIP, and BAA are all lower. Nine fewer innings than last year so far.

5. Clayton Kershaw, 21. Minor shoulder issues. Performance better than last year. ERA, WHIP, and BAA are all lower. Has thrown 58 more MLB innings than last year, but overall total is down.

6. Dana Eveland, age 25. Significant drop in performance, from 4.34 to 7.09 ERA.

7. Mike Pelfrey, age 25. Significant drop in performance, from 3.72 to 5.03 ERA.

8. John Danks, age 23. No significant injury. Performance about the same, from 3.32 to 3.69 ERA. IP is about the same as last year.

9. Jair Jurrjens, age 23. Significant improvement this year. ERA improved from 3.68 to 2.61 this year. Has thrown 19 more MLB innings than last year.

10. Jon Niese, age 22. Went out for the season with right hamstring injury on August 5th.

So it seems clear that the Verducci class of 2009 did not have much impact from their extra innings last year.

I do not think that the Verducci measure of innings pitched really works. Pitch counts would be better, but what about spring training pitches, WBC appearances, winter ball, etc. A pitch is a pitch. Still, it is interesting and we should pay attention.

We are really still in the early days of truly understanding how pitcher workloads impact injuries and future performance. I think it is smart to look carefully at these issues and try to find ways to minimize our young pitchers injury risk. These guys are the true hope of the franchise. Any risk factors must be looked at carefully if we are to get their full value. We will only have these young pitchers a few seasons at below market cost, and we need to keep them healthy.

LoganBuck
02-17-2010, 12:50 AM
Just a reminder of comments made last season about this topic.
http://www.redszone.com/forums/showthread.php?t=78346&highlight=homer+bailey+verducci

LoganBuck
02-17-2010, 12:56 AM
from mbgrayson's post, and the Hot Stove League last night. Jair Jurrjens has pain in his shoulder, and is being examined for possible injury.

http://www.ajc.com/sports/atlanta-braves/jurrjens-to-have-mri-306819.html

mbgrayson
02-17-2010, 01:16 AM
from mbgrayson's post, and the Hot Stove League last night. Jair Jurrjens has pain in his shoulder, and is being examined for possible injury.

http://www.ajc.com/sports/atlanta-braves/jurrjens-to-have-mri-306819.html

I just saw that too...from ESPN (http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/news/story?id=4917877):



Atlanta Braves (http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/clubhouse?team=atl) starter Jair Jurrjens (http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/players/profile?playerId=28854) has a sore right shoulder and will undergo an MRI exam on Wednesday. Braves general manager Frank Wren says Jurrjens reported early to the team's spring training facility in Kissimmee, Fla. Wren says the scan is precautionary and Jurrjens could return to Florida after the exam "if everything is OK."
Jurrjens went 14-10 in 2009, throwing a career-high 215 innings and holding opposing teams to two earned runs or fewer in 26 of his 34 starts. His 2.60 ERA was the third-lowest ERA in the National League last season.
A Braves trainer examined Jurrjens this week and determined his rotator cuff and labrum were structurally sound. But when the soreness lingered, the team decided to fly him to Atlanta for an MRI as a precaution, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. The team is hoping the soreness is nothing more than tendinitis.

fearofpopvol1
02-17-2010, 01:21 AM
IIRC (because I was REALLY annoyed with how they were using him down the stretch) there were a lot of "WHAT ARE YOU DOING?" moments down the stretch with Bailey. Just keeping him out in really weird situations where it wasn't worth the risk...

Oct 4 - 6 ip/112 p's... Reds had 6-0 lead when they ran him out for the 6th to pitch against the 5/6/7 hitters...

Sep 29 - 7 ip/108 p's... Reds had 7-1 lead when they ran him out for the 7th (pujols/holliday/rasmus/ludwick) (was last batter in bottom of 6th. perfect opportunity to pull Bailey rather than having him hit, then pitch a meaningless inning)

Sep 23 - 6 ip/96 p's... Reds had 8-2 lead when they ran him out for the 6th (was also lead-off hitter to start top of 6th)

Sep 18 - 7 ip/118 p's... close game... 1-0 lead when pulled

Sep 13 - 5.1 ip/115 p's... trailing 3-0 brought him back out for 6th to face 7/8/9.. didn't make it through inning

Sep 7 - 5.2 ip/117 p's... 3-0 lead when they brought him back for the 6th to face 5/6/7... 2 runners on base before pulled

Sep 2 - 6.1 ip/116 p's... 5-3 lead when they brought him back for the 7th to face 9/1/2...

Aug 28 - 8 ip/115 p's... 4-0 lead when brought out for 7th and 8th...


Quiet a few of these situations there was no reason to run him back out for that last inning... I understand arguing for building his confidence, but quite a few of these situations were just logging extra innings/pitches when the game was already effectively in the Reds hands.

See, now this is what I find troubling. I had forgotten about this...but this solidifies things for me and makes it even worse.

Sea Ray
02-17-2010, 10:43 AM
Quite a few of these situations there was no reason to run him back out for that last inning... I understand arguing for building his confidence, but quite a few of these situations were just logging extra innings/pitches when the game was already effectively in the Reds hands.

That's only a bad thing if you subscribe to the theory that innings are a bad thing and not everyone does. Some folks such as Leo Mazzone, Nolan Ryan and Mike Marshall think innings build arm strength and as was mentioned earlier by someone else, confidence. Innings on young arms = injury is not settled science

REDblooded
02-17-2010, 01:02 PM
That's only a bad thing if you subscribe to the theory that innings are a bad thing and not everyone does. Some folks such as Leo Mazzone, Nolan Ryan and Mike Marshall think innings build arm strength and as was mentioned earlier by someone else, confidence. Innings on young arms = injury is not settled science

Dusty? Is that you?

Sea Ray
02-17-2010, 02:02 PM
Dusty? Is that you?

I honestly haven't heard Dusty's philosophy on this. Does he have any comments on the record about workloads?

Always Red
02-17-2010, 02:42 PM
That's only a bad thing if you subscribe to the theory that innings are a bad thing and not everyone does. Some folks such as Leo Mazzone, Nolan Ryan and Mike Marshall think innings build arm strength and as was mentioned earlier by someone else, confidence. Innings on young arms = injury is not settled science

This would fall under the category of Conventional Wisdom, which of course, is not always right.

I think you're right, if you are suggesting that young arms need to pitch in order to build up strength and endurance.

The problem is that nearly everyone is different, and only by stressing those arms can you tell which ones are built for starting, which for relieving and which ones will wash out, and can't handle any workload at all.

Or, you could go in the opposite direction and not pitch those arms very much at all, trying to avoid injury. But then, why pay them? And at what rate do you increase their load? At what age- since everyone matures differently?

I've never seen any injury reports on how Japanese pitchers compare to MLB pitchers, but I'm sure they exist somewhere. They handle pitchers totally differently over there- lots of practice pitching and bullpens, but then only starting one game a week. Matsuzaka wasn't injured while playing in Japan much at all, if any- but he was plagued last year with arm troubles, and had if anything, a lesser work load during the last 2 years than he did in Japan.

This is a very interesting topic (to me, at least), that will have more answers in the years to come, I think. Pitchers do need to throw; teams cannot pay big numbers to guys who cannot and will not pitch. Some combination of looking at Japanese v. MLB pitchers and their injuries, and the advances in useful diagnosing and predetermination with medical imaging will most likely lead to changes in how young pitchers are trained. And maybe even which young pitchers get drafted and trained.

We know that there are some more Bronson Arroyo rubber-armed types out there. We also know that there are many, many guys who will blow their arms out before even having a chance to show what they have, and while pitching very light workloads at that.

The million dollar question is how to identify these guys at risk before it happens? The flip side is how to identify as well as those who can throw 230 innings every year? I don't think there are any answers yet.

Sea Ray
02-17-2010, 03:10 PM
This would fall under the category of Conventional Wisdom, which of course, is not always right.

I think you're right, if you are suggesting that young arms need to pitch in order to build up strength and endurance.

The problem is that nearly everyone is different, and only by stressing those arms can you tell which ones are built for starting, which for relieving and which ones will wash out, and can't handle any workload at all.




I didn't give my opinion at all. My point was that it is an issue that is still very much under debate and your post illustrated that very nicely.

RANDY IN INDY
02-17-2010, 03:16 PM
I think that a lot of it depends on what type of pitcher you are. If a guy is throwing loads of sliders, curves, or splits, I can see how innings and pitch count can contribute to injury. On the other hand, if a guy has great mechanics and is a power pitcher, relying heavily on the fastball, sometimes it isn't quite so bad. Really depends on the body, the mechanics and the arm.

bucksfan2
02-17-2010, 03:30 PM
This would fall under the category of Conventional Wisdom, which of course, is not always right.

I think you're right, if you are suggesting that young arms need to pitch in order to build up strength and endurance.

The problem is that nearly everyone is different, and only by stressing those arms can you tell which ones are built for starting, which for relieving and which ones will wash out, and can't handle any workload at all.

Or, you could go in the opposite direction and not pitch those arms very much at all, trying to avoid injury. But then, why pay them? And at what rate do you increase their load? At what age- since everyone matures differently?

I've never seen any injury reports on how Japanese pitchers compare to MLB pitchers, but I'm sure they exist somewhere. They handle pitchers totally differently over there- lots of practice pitching and bullpens, but then only starting one game a week. Matsuzaka wasn't injured while playing in Japan much at all, if any- but he was plagued last year with arm troubles, and had if anything, a lesser work load during the last 2 years than he did in Japan.

This is a very interesting topic (to me, at least), that will have more answers in the years to come, I think. Pitchers do need to throw; teams cannot pay big numbers to guys who cannot and will not pitch. Some combination of looking at Japanese v. MLB pitchers and their injuries, and the advances in useful diagnosing and predetermination with medical imaging will most likely lead to changes in how young pitchers are trained. And maybe even which young pitchers get drafted and trained.

We know that there are some more Bronson Arroyo rubber-armed types out there. We also know that there are many, many guys who will blow their arms out before even having a chance to show what they have, and while pitching very light workloads at that.

The million dollar question is how to identify these guys at risk before it happens? The flip side is how to identify as well as those who can throw 230 innings every year? I don't think there are any answers yet.

For a large part of Baseball's history Pitchers weren't babied the way they are now. Its somewhat sad, but we probably will never see another 300 game winner. We probably will never see another 30 game winner. 20 game winners have become fewer and fewer over the years. Pitchers just don't log as many starts as they have in the past.

I know that Dice-K threw, and threw a lot. The Red Sox tried to cut down on his throwing to protect his arm, which resulted in him hurting his arm. Why is there such a discrepancy between Japanese pitchers and major league pitchers? Why is there such a discrepancy between pitchers of today's game as opposed to pitches of 15 years ago.

Homer was out of options coming into this season. He looked like he had finally turned the corner and the Reds wanted him to build upon that. If Homer is throwing the ball free and easy I see no issue with running him out there for another inning, throwing a few more pitches. Has there ever been a proven magic threshold for how many pitches a pitcher should throw a game? But going further on in Homer's career he is going to need to learn how to pitch late in games. Need to learn how to get Pujols out in the 7th inning when he may not be as fresh as he was in the 1st. As a pitcher you can't learn how to do some things unless you have done them before.

Sea Ray
02-17-2010, 04:11 PM
The good thing is that I do see Homer as being a guy who can give you complete games. This is a quality often overlooked in evaluating whether a guy can be an ace. I'm not sure if Cueto or Volquez will ever be 9 inning pitchers

Hoosier Red
02-17-2010, 04:21 PM
While I think the "Verducci Effect" is a good effort, there are some problems I see with it;
1) Every pitcher is going to get hurt at some point in his or her career. Given that he's looking at a specified sample of guys who weren't hurt in the previous year(thus they had 30 IP more than their other highest season) you are self selecting a group of pitchers who have an increased chance of getting hurt simply because they weren't hurt last year.

2) There's no control group to study the effects of an extra 30 IP against. How often did pitchers who did not have an extra 30 IP's get hurt and/or have a less effective year?

Sea Ray
02-17-2010, 04:37 PM
2) There's no control group to study the effects of an extra 30 IP against. How often did pitchers who did not have an extra 30 IP's get hurt and/or have a less effective year?

:thumbup:

westofyou
02-17-2010, 04:48 PM
For a large part of Baseball's history Pitchers weren't babied the way they are now. Its somewhat sad, but we probably will never see another 300 game winner. We probably will never see another 30 game winner. 20 game winners have become fewer and fewer over the years. Pitchers just don't log as many starts as they have in the past.

I know that Dice-K threw, and threw a lot. The Red Sox tried to cut down on his throwing to protect his arm, which resulted in him hurting his arm. Why is there such a discrepancy between Japanese pitchers and major league pitchers? Why is there such a discrepancy between pitchers of today's game as opposed to pitches of 15 years ago.

Homer was out of options coming into this season. He looked like he had finally turned the corner and the Reds wanted him to build upon that. If Homer is throwing the ball free and easy I see no issue with running him out there for another inning, throwing a few more pitches. Has there ever been a proven magic threshold for how many pitches a pitcher should throw a game? But going further on in Homer's career he is going to need to learn how to pitch late in games. Need to learn how to get Pujols out in the 7th inning when he may not be as fresh as he was in the 1st. As a pitcher you can't learn how to do some things unless you have done them before.


While it's true that pitchers used to throw more innings, they also threw way less pitches, walked less guys and K'd less guys, and they had less power throughout the order to face. The fact is while guys piled up the most innings basball was often alos entombed in horrible hitting eras.

Where are all the pitchers from 1920-1945? Most of them are mediocre when compared to the guys from the 60's and 70's and the deadball guys, most of that has to do with the environment they threw in.

The game won't go back to those innings soon, the cost is too prohibative, for every great 60's era hurler you could name 3 guys who were almost as good but they blew their arms out, and often no amount of throwing will fix that.

Always Red
02-17-2010, 04:50 PM
While I think the "Verducci Effect" is a good effort, there are some problems I see with it;
1) Every pitcher is going to get hurt at some point in his or her career. Given that he's looking at a specified sample of guys who weren't hurt in the previous year(thus they had 30 IP more than their other highest season) you are self selecting a group of pitchers who have an increased chance of getting hurt simply because they weren't hurt last year.

2) There's no control group to study the effects of an extra 30 IP against. How often did pitchers who did not have an extra 30 IP's get hurt and/or have a less effective year?

hey, hey now- don't go introducing scientific method into an anecdotal observation! :D

RANDY IN INDY
02-18-2010, 08:22 AM
Calling the strike zone, correctly, will do more to help pitchers arms than anything. They labor, way too much, trying to hit the umpires "6" PVC pipe" strike zones.

It carries over to the lower levels, too. My son was pitching in a middle school scrimmage last night, in 35 degree weather, and the strikezone was about as big as a saucer.

redsmetz
02-18-2010, 10:17 AM
Calling the strike zone, correctly, will do more to help pitchers arms than anything. They labor, way too much, trying to hit the umpires "6" PVC pipe" strike zones.

It carries over to the lower levels, too. My son was pitching in a middle school scrimmage last night, in 35 degree weather, and the strikezone was about as big as a saucer.

I had to work to keep my cool in a game my son played with a brand new kid umpiring. The shortest kid on the team was getting strikes called on balls over his head or at his nose. I told the young guy umpiring that those would be strikes in five years once our batter grew into them. I told our kid that he must look taller standing at the plate.

I had another umpire whose basic philosophy was that if the batter could reach the ball, it was a strike. I asked how we were supposed to teach our kids the strike zone if it constantly changed.

Eric_the_Red
02-19-2010, 10:08 AM
Lance McAllister is now using this year's Verducci article as a discussion topic on his blog. It seems that he has just about written off Bailey for this year.

When I dared question this theory on his Facebook page, he suggested that I actually read up on it. So, I had to rip him a bit.

westofyou
02-19-2010, 10:14 AM
http://www.sabernomics.com/sabernomics/index.php/2010/02/testing-the-verducci-effect/
read this first.

Eric_the_Red
02-19-2010, 10:37 AM
http://www.sabernomics.com/sabernomics/index.php/2010/02/testing-the-verducci-effect/
read this first.


Good stuff, woy. I'm sure Lance already read this in his vast research. ;)

bucksfan2
02-19-2010, 10:46 AM
Good stuff, woy. I'm sure Lance already read this in his vast research. ;)

Lance doesn't like to be proven wrong. He gets very defensive when he is.

membengal
02-19-2010, 10:52 AM
Lance has fallen into the WLW at 6:00 pm sportstalk trap of always having to have something to complain about. I was hoping he would be a breath of fresh air on that front when he took over. My hopes have been misplaced to date. The bent to always stirring the pot as the default setting remains strong at ClearChannel.

It gets old.

westofyou
02-19-2010, 11:28 AM
Lance doesn't like to be proven wrong. He gets very defensive when he is.

Yes he does, his time on RZ was quite combative.

Nasty_Boy
02-19-2010, 12:26 PM
I have had many good email battles with him on all things from Dunn to Phillips to Ryan "Freakin" Freel... he hated when I showed him numbers or certain cases about Dunn, he always went back to "they haven't won with him!" Good Stuff!