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Hoosier Red
05-01-2010, 05:16 PM
I know this was talked about in great detail on the game thread but I didn't get to write anything until now and didn't want to go back to the game thread.

I think this game showed that Homer's just going to have to throw 100-120 pitches every game. If that's something that can be done and still have him be effective than fine. If not, they need to trade him or move him to the bullpen. He just can't be effective if he's operating under a 100 pitch ceiling we throw almost all other starters under.
The good news is we've seen that he can in fact throw 120 pitches/game.

Now it's just making sure he gets through a season doing it.

Ron Madden
05-01-2010, 05:25 PM
I could be wrong but I believe if you keep Homer out there for 110-115 pitches every game it will take a very negative toll on his arm much sooner than later.

pedro
05-01-2010, 05:30 PM
I could be wrong but I believe if you keep Homer out there for 110-115 pitches every game it will take a very negative toll on his arm much sooner than later.

If the alternative is to take him out after 5 innings then that's the way it's going to have to be. I don't think he's being abused. I'm more worried about single inning pitch counts than I am about the difference between 100 and 115 pitches over the course of a game.

kbrake
05-01-2010, 05:30 PM
I didn't have a problem with it. Homer won't be throwing 125 every start but today I thought the situation called for it. The starters were awful for 97% of April and it has really tied Dusty's hands on what all he can do. And I felt like Bailey gave us the best chance to get Pujols out. Bailey was wearing out there is no doubt but he had enough for one more hitter and I thought he looked sharp against Pujols until the 3-2 pitch. Good outing by Homer and I think the bullpen showed why Dusty was hoping to be able to not go to them for as long as possible.

mth123
05-01-2010, 05:31 PM
I could be wrong but I believe if you keep Homer out there for 110-115 pitches every game it will take a very negative toll on his arm much sooner than later.

I think Homer is the kind of guy who can do it routinely. I just don't like doing that with any pitcher until he reaches 25 years old or so. Homer should be a 200 inning guy this year, but he still should only be pushed to 110+ occassionally IMO. Next year might be the time to ride him a little longer.

mth123
05-01-2010, 05:47 PM
I didn't have a problem with it. Homer won't be throwing 125 every start but today I thought the situation called for it. The starters were awful for 97% of April and it has really tied Dusty's hands on what all he can do. And I felt like Bailey gave us the best chance to get Pujols out. Bailey was wearing out there is no doubt but he had enough for one more hitter and I thought he looked sharp against Pujols until the 3-2 pitch. Good outing by Homer and I think the bullpen showed why Dusty was hoping to be able to not go to them for as long as possible.

Put me down as in favor of letting Homer go back out there. The mistake was having Pujols at a full count with 1B open and throwing a pitch in the zone. They should have thrown one outside and hope he chases or let him walk and take your chances with Holiday.

They just won 5 in a row and were going to lose eventually. With a tired pen against a tough opponent, it really is just a bump in the road. The team needs another late inning arm and another bat that can hit both lefties and righties somewhere out there (LF). Homer is still establishing himself and his performance is what I'm most interested in as far as 2010 goes, but he is far down the list of things that may cause this team to finish below .500 IMO.

OnBaseMachine
05-01-2010, 06:22 PM
I had no problem with sending Homer back out there, however, I would've pulled him after he walked Skip Schumaker with one out. Ludwick was coming up and had smoked the ball in all three atbats against Bailey. My biggest beef of the day was when they chose to pitch to Pujols in the 7th inning with two outs and first base open. I have no idea why they continue to let Pujols beat them.

_Sir_Charles_
05-01-2010, 06:48 PM
What did major league managers do BEFORE pitch counts? Anybody?

Whatever it was...that's what I suggest we do in regards to Homer. Tossing out some arbitrary number...and that's what it is...arbitrary, is not the solution. Watching him work and knowing HOW he works on a day-to-day basis is the key to managing his work load. The whole reason pitch counts are so emphasized is because people think that high pitch counts lead to tired arms which leads to altered mechanics which leads to injuries. And that's completely and totally correct. But here's the rub...nobody knows what that pitch count number is for a specific pitcher. Heck, it's different for every pitcher on every single night. Some guys can throw 120 pitches and be perfectly fine if they're throwing with a nice relaxed delivery and doing it with non-high stress innings.

Bronson's an example of this. He throws the ball very smoothly and his mechanics alter very little regardless of his pitch count. He's a pitcher with a very average build too.

Homer doesn't have a smooth delivery (at least not compared to many) and he's not a 'soft tosser'. However he offsets that by being young, big and strong. His stamina is quite good as well. He actually does better as the game wears on. He gets more comfortable with his windup and delivery as he gets into a more consistent rhythm the further he goes into the game. But that being said, sometimes he struggles (as do many) to find that rhythm and every pitch is much more stressful. Games like that, he could be spent after 80 pitches.

It simply varies every single game for every single pitcher. This is the biggest problem I have with pitch counts. The only thing the pitch count should be used for is to alert the pitching coach & manager to keep a MUCH closer eye on the pitcher to watch for signs that he's tiring or laboring as those are the things that will cause injuries...not the number of pitches in and of themselves. Everytime I hear "he's at 100 pitches, time to yank him" it just makes me cringe. It can be a useful tool, but it should be one that is put in perspective with the player its being used on. And in general...it isn't.

Okay, I feel better now. :O) /rant

traderumor
05-01-2010, 07:36 PM
I don't care what the pitch count was, Homer was tired in the 7th, which was evident by the way he nearly walked Ryan before he bailed him out and the walk to Schumacher. His arm was lagging and he had no business pitching to Pujols. I don't care if your option is Fisher, you don't leave a tired pitcher out there to face a historically great batter in a key part of the game.

Ron Madden
05-01-2010, 07:42 PM
Back in the day pitchers were brought along with high pitch counts, those few whose arms never fell off made it to the Major Leagues.

Now days pitchers are brought along with lower pitch counts in order to protect their arms. IMHO it wouldn't be wise to over extend any young pitcher once he makes it to the Big Leagues by substantially increasing his pitch count on a regular basis.

Raisor
05-01-2010, 07:53 PM
Back in the day pitchers were brought along with high pitch counts, those few whose arms never fell off made it to the Major Leagues.

Now days pitchers are brought along with lower pitch counts in order to protect their arms. IMHO it wouldn't be wise to over extend any young pitcher once he makes it to the Big Leagues by substantially increasing his pitch count on a regular basis.

Especially considering how much money is involved.

Ron Madden
05-01-2010, 07:57 PM
I don't care what the pitch count was, Homer was tired in the 7th, which was evident by the way he nearly walked Ryan before he bailed him out and the walk to Schumacher. His arm was lagging and he had no business pitching to Pujols. I don't care if your option is Fisher, you don't leave a tired pitcher out there to face a historically great batter in a key part of the game.

Agreed.

Ron Madden
05-01-2010, 07:57 PM
Especially considering how much money is involved.


Indeed.

fearofpopvol1
05-01-2010, 07:59 PM
Why risk it? We don't know how tired Homer was or not. I couldn't watch the game. Did Price or Baker ever go out and talk to Homer? Particularly when he was at 111 pitches before he pitched to Pujols? If they did and Homer gave input, then no fault there. If they didn't go out, shame on them.

mth123
05-01-2010, 08:14 PM
What did major league managers do BEFORE pitch counts? Anybody?

Whatever it was...that's what I suggest we do in regards to Homer. Tossing out some arbitrary number...and that's what it is...arbitrary, is not the solution. Watching him work and knowing HOW he works on a day-to-day basis is the key to managing his work load. The whole reason pitch counts are so emphasized is because people think that high pitch counts lead to tired arms which leads to altered mechanics which leads to injuries. And that's completely and totally correct. But here's the rub...nobody knows what that pitch count number is for a specific pitcher. Heck, it's different for every pitcher on every single night. Some guys can throw 120 pitches and be perfectly fine if they're throwing with a nice relaxed delivery and doing it with non-high stress innings.

Bronson's an example of this. He throws the ball very smoothly and his mechanics alter very little regardless of his pitch count. He's a pitcher with a very average build too.

Homer doesn't have a smooth delivery (at least not compared to many) and he's not a 'soft tosser'. However he offsets that by being young, big and strong. His stamina is quite good as well. He actually does better as the game wears on. He gets more comfortable with his windup and delivery as he gets into a more consistent rhythm the further he goes into the game. But that being said, sometimes he struggles (as do many) to find that rhythm and every pitch is much more stressful. Games like that, he could be spent after 80 pitches.

It simply varies every single game for every single pitcher. This is the biggest problem I have with pitch counts. The only thing the pitch count should be used for is to alert the pitching coach & manager to keep a MUCH closer eye on the pitcher to watch for signs that he's tiring or laboring as those are the things that will cause injuries...not the number of pitches in and of themselves. Everytime I hear "he's at 100 pitches, time to yank him" it just makes me cringe. It can be a useful tool, but it should be one that is put in perspective with the player its being used on. And in general...it isn't.

Okay, I feel better now. :O) /rant

IMO being young is a reason to reduce the workload, not a way of offsetting other issues.

HokieRed
05-01-2010, 08:22 PM
Homer was not effective today beyond 100 pitches. So, in putting him out there for the 7th, you're trying to get some very marginal advantage--which, in fact, today was not there--over a reliever and at great risk. The reason Dusty did it is that he doesn't have confidence in his whole bullpen. That's understandable and is something Walt should get on if this team is really to contend. He ought to be scanning the AAA ranks for experienced guys with a chance to come back right now. He needs no less than two of them.

Captain Hook
05-01-2010, 09:15 PM
FWIW I believe Homer was throwing harder in the 7th today then I've seen him throw all year long.Fastball was consistently 95 mph.For those not able to watch I thought he was still looking pretty good.He was having some trouble locating his off speed stuff as he had all day long but other then that I saw no real signs of fatigue.

traderumor
05-01-2010, 09:32 PM
FWIW I believe Homer was throwing harder in the 7th today then I've seen him throw all year long.Fastball was consistently 95 mph.For those not able to watch I thought he was still looking pretty good.He was having some trouble locating his off speed stuff as he had all day long but other then that I saw no real signs of fatigue.I saw it and I disagree. He went 3-0 on Ryan, the 9th hitter on three pitches that were not even close. Then he got a call on a marginal inside corner, and Ryan bailed him out, swinging at ball 4 and chopping it to Rolen. Schumacher followed with a 5 pitch walk and Ludwig flied out in the gap on a nice play by Bruce.

[Switch to TR sitting on the sofa] Dusty, oh Dusty, come and take him out. Surely he's not going to let him face Pujols. You've got to be kidding me. He's keeping him in. :rolleyes:

He fooled Albert sitting dead red on a fastball with a sloppy slider to get strike 1, then threw his best pitch of the inning to get to two strikes. The pitch Pujols lashed to left was predictable, child's play for Albert. Poor managerial decision by Dusty.

kbrake
05-01-2010, 10:27 PM
I don't care what the pitch count was, Homer was tired in the 7th, which was evident by the way he nearly walked Ryan before he bailed him out and the walk to Schumacher. His arm was lagging and he had no business pitching to Pujols. I don't care if your option is Fisher, you don't leave a tired pitcher out there to face a historically great batter in a key part of the game.

Don't take this the wrong way I really respect your opinion on here but I couldn't disagree more in this case. Bailey looked tired for the start of the inning but he kicked it up a notch against Pujols. I think Dusty thought "who can most likely get me out of this?" And the answer was easily Homer Bailey. He got him to 3-2 and looked in control in doing it. On 3-2 he missed, it happens.

Captain Hook
05-01-2010, 10:32 PM
I saw it and I disagree. He went 3-0 on Ryan, the 9th hitter on three pitches that were not even close. Then he got a call on a marginal inside corner, and Ryan bailed him out, swinging at ball 4 and chopping it to Rolen. Schumacher followed with a 5 pitch walk and Ludwig flied out in the gap on a nice play by Bruce.

[Switch to TR sitting on the sofa] Dusty, oh Dusty, come and take him out. Surely he's not going to let him face Pujols. You've got to be kidding me. He's keeping him in. :rolleyes:

He fooled Albert sitting dead red on a fastball with a sloppy slider to get strike 1, then threw his best pitch of the inning to get to two strikes. The pitch Pujols lashed to left was predictable, child's play for Albert. Poor managerial decision by Dusty.

We'll have to agree to disagree on how Homer was looking.

In regards to doing the best possible thing to win the game who would you have liked to see in there?Aurther Rhodes was supposed to be the closer today so not him.Lincoln?Maybe but I'd rather take my chances with Homer for obvious reasons.DRH isn't going to face a righty let alone Albert?Word is Cordero and Masset were unavailable for todays game.Owens had to be saved in case the game went into extra innings(i know he ended up going in but the Reds fell behind late so he would've just pitched until the Reds loss or tied the game).So that leaves us with just the young Carlos Fisher that had recently been called up only to be forgotten about for almost a week.

I personally will take the young flame thrower that just pitched 6 innings of 1 run baseball and was still lighting up that radar gun.The pitch count was certainly getting high but not so high that it wasn't reasonable to send Homer back out for the 7th.

The only problem with how the 7th was handled is the fact that during Alberts AB on a 2-2 count Schumaker stole 2nd.Then with a 3-2 count,a runner in scoring position now and 1st base open Dusty decided to let Homer throw the best hitter in all of baseball a strike.That's when the mistake was made IMO.At that point in the game I think you have to walk Albert, bring Fisher in and take your chances.The steal changed everything.If Skip had of hit a double wouldn't you just automatically walk Puljols?Not sure what the difference is in that situation but I felt it cost the Reds the ballgame more then anything else.

Razor Shines
05-02-2010, 04:21 AM
We'll have to agree to disagree on how Homer was looking.

In regards to doing the best possible thing to win the game who would you have liked to see in there?Aurther Rhodes was supposed to be the closer today so not him.Lincoln?Maybe but I'd rather take my chances with Homer for obvious reasons.DRH isn't going to face a righty let alone Albert?Word is Cordero and Masset were unavailable for todays game.Owens had to be saved in case the game went into extra innings(i know he ended up going in but the Reds fell behind late so he would've just pitched until the Reds loss or tied the game).So that leaves us with just the young Carlos Fisher that had recently been called up only to be forgotten about for almost a week.

I personally will take the young flame thrower that just pitched 6 innings of 1 run baseball and was still lighting up that radar gun.The pitch count was certainly getting high but not so high that it wasn't reasonable to send Homer back out for the 7th.

.

traderumor is right. He was lighting up the gun still but his mechanics were sloppy and he was tired.

I was fine with him starting the inning, but I don't think he should have been allowed to try to get Pujols out. And once he threw the wild pitch there was no reason not to intentionally put Pujols on. Homer was clearly having trouble with his location, why risk it? Don't let Pujols beat you.

GAC
05-02-2010, 05:56 AM
If the alternative is to take him out after 5 innings then that's the way it's going to have to be. I don't think he's being abused. I'm more worried about single inning pitch counts than I am about the difference between 100 and 115 pitches over the course of a game.

Absolutely agree. I disagree with this position that they've come up with on a set standard, when it comes to pitch count, what then constitutes abuse, and say every pitcher then fits that mold.

GAC
05-02-2010, 05:59 AM
Put me down as in favor of letting Homer go back out there. The mistake was having Pujols at a full count with 1B open and throwing a pitch in the zone. They should have thrown one outside and hope he chases or let him walk and take your chances with Holiday.

Yeah, I agree. When they had the passed ball that opened 1B up I was screaming "Go ahead and walk Pujols!". Didn't happen though. He then grooves a pitch.

But overall, I think Homer pitched a darn good game. Really was mixing it up well IMO.

Now the bullpen was another story. 4 BBs in one inning is completely unacceptable. :rolleyes:

traderumor
05-02-2010, 09:10 AM
Don't take this the wrong way I really respect your opinion on here but I couldn't disagree more in this case. Bailey looked tired for the start of the inning but he kicked it up a notch against Pujols. I think Dusty thought "who can most likely get me out of this?" And the answer was easily Homer Bailey. He got him to 3-2 and looked in control in doing it. On 3-2 he missed, it happens.There is probably nothing more dangerous in pitching than a tired pitcher "kicking it up a notch." That is an arm injury waiting to happen.

HokieRed
05-02-2010, 09:22 AM
There is probably nothing more dangerous in pitching than a tired pitcher "kicking it up a notch." That is an arm injury waiting to happen.

Exactly. Pitch counts aren't about individual ball games; they're about cumulative wear and tear and careers. That's why you have to have absolute ones if you have mgrs. who don't seem to take them into account.

Hoosier Red
05-02-2010, 09:24 AM
traderumor is right. He was lighting up the gun still but his mechanics were sloppy and he was tired.

I was fine with him starting the inning, but I don't think he should have been allowed to try to get Pujols out. And once he threw the wild pitch there was no reason not to intentionally put Pujols on. Homer was clearly having trouble with his location, why risk it? Don't let Pujols beat you.

I agree with the idea that he shouldn't have pitched to Pujols after the wild pitch. But he was up either 0-2 or 1-2 on him. Pujols spoiled a couple of good pitches and after the wild pitch I think Homer got greedy. I'd have called for an intentional walk there and taken Homer out but hindsight's 20-20.

My overall point is a) We need to be a little more nuanced in looking at pitch counts than 100+ bad dusty! and b) If Homer's going to be a successful starting pitcher, we have to understand he's going to need about 110-120 pitches a game to do it.

HokieRed
05-02-2010, 10:21 AM
He'd thrown a very successful six innings yesterday at about 100 pitches. Of course I'd like to see him get more efficient but don't overlook that. He was in the seventh yesterday because we lack the bullpen depth of a contending team. If WJ wants to make the team better, he needs to address that, and fast.

_Sir_Charles_
05-02-2010, 11:51 AM
I agree with the idea that he shouldn't have pitched to Pujols after the wild pitch. But he was up either 0-2 or 1-2 on him. Pujols spoiled a couple of good pitches and after the wild pitch I think Homer got greedy. I'd have called for an intentional walk there and taken Homer out but hindsight's 20-20.

My overall point is a) We need to be a little more nuanced in looking at pitch counts than 100+ bad dusty! and b) If Homer's going to be a successful starting pitcher, we have to understand he's going to need about 110-120 pitches a game to do it.

Spot on IMO.

_Sir_Charles_
05-02-2010, 11:55 AM
He'd thrown a very successful six innings yesterday at about 100 pitches. Of course I'd like to see him get more efficient but don't overlook that. He was in the seventh yesterday because we lack the bullpen depth of a contending team. If WJ wants to make the team better, he needs to address that, and fast.

He was in the 7th yesterday because Dusty/Price saw that he was still looking good and not spent enough to pull.

With all the sabermetric guys here who've learned how to look at the game in a new light with new statistics, I'm still kinda surprised how they (and this isn't pointing at you Hokie...just in general) refuse to change the way they look at that 100 pitch count number as flexible. On average, that magic number for Homer is probably closer to 115 than 100. But even that will change on a day to day basis. Whoever came up with people settling on 100 being THE number...I just want to pound them sometimes. *grin*

nate
05-02-2010, 12:00 PM
He was in the 7th yesterday because Dusty/Price saw that he was still looking good and not spent enough to pull.

With all the sabermetric guys here who've learned how to look at the game in a new light with new statistics, I'm still kinda surprised how they (and this isn't pointing at you Hokie...just in general) refuse to change the way they look at that 100 pitch count number as flexible.

It's the "sabermetric guys here" who are complaining about the pitch count?


On average, that magic number for Homer is probably closer to 115 than 100. But even that will change on a day to day basis. Whoever came up with people settling on 100 being THE number...I just want to pound them sometimes. *grin*

Then go pound "them" instead of making a strawman argument.

_Sir_Charles_
05-02-2010, 12:11 PM
It's the "sabermetric guys here" who are complaining about the pitch count?

Then go pound "them" instead of making a strawman argument.

No, but the majority of people here HAVE embraced sabermetric...wouldn't you agree? My point was that even when people agree or disagree about pulling a pitcher they still point to the "100" pitch count number. Just like many of us as kids were programmed to look at BA, HR & RBI's, now many are programmed to think along the 100 pitch count lines.

And where do you see me making a strawman argument? Heck, even making an argument at all in that post? I was making a simple observation based on my opinion. Don't see a strawman there at all. But whatever.

dougdirt
05-02-2010, 12:24 PM
No, but the majority of people here HAVE embraced sabermetric...wouldn't you agree? My point was that even when people agree or disagree about pulling a pitcher they still point to the "100" pitch count number. Just like many of us as kids were programmed to look at BA, HR & RBI's, now many are programmed to think along the 100 pitch count lines.

I am not sure we are programmed to think 100 pitches means a guy should be pulled because its what we have always known. I am relatively young still and even in my lifetime the average pitch count has been much higher than 100 pitches for most of it. Guys routinely threw 120 pitch games as recently as 10 years ago. Not so much anymore.

_Sir_Charles_
05-02-2010, 12:31 PM
I am not sure we are programmed to think 100 pitches means a guy should be pulled because its what we have always known. I am relatively young still and even in my lifetime the average pitch count has been much higher than 100 pitches for most of it. Guys routinely threw 120 pitch games as recently as 10 years ago. Not so much anymore.

I'm not saying that we look at 100 pitches and think we need to pull a guy. I'm saying that we look at 100 reflexively. Period. We see that he reaches 100 and say "okay, he's at 100. Uh-oh" or along those lines instead of just looking for the signs of fatigue or watching how he pitching. And I'm guilty of it too on occasion.

And I didn't mean that it's "what we've always known", but ever since I can recall hearing about a pitchers pitch count, it's been linked to 100 by default. It seems to be an across the board generalization for all pitchers.

nate
05-02-2010, 01:14 PM
No, but the majority of people here HAVE embraced sabermetric...wouldn't you agree?

Absolutely not.


My point was that even when people agree or disagree about pulling a pitcher they still point to the "100" pitch count number.

Also untrue. I've seen a variety of opinions on when to pull a pitcher. Typically, "when he's fatigued" or "pitching poorly."

To me, proponents of the 100 pitch count are TV announcers.


Just like many of us as kids were programmed to look at BA, HR & RBI's, now many are programmed to think along the 100 pitch count lines.

And where do you see me making a strawman argument?

Right here:


With all the sabermetric guys here who've learned how to look at the game in a new light with new statistics, I'm still kinda surprised how they (and this isn't pointing at you Hokie...just in general) refuse to change the way they look at that 100 pitch count number as flexible

That's the strawman: Assuming that "sabermetric guys" are strict adherents to the 100 pitch count.


Heck, even making an argument at all in that post?

Well...


I was making a simple observation based on my opinion.

You were trying to disparage "sabermetetric guys." You even said as much when you mentioned wanting to "pound" them. Unfortunately for you, what you said isn't the position of "sabermetetric guys" and that's the strawman.

I'll put it another way, _I_ (speaking for myself here, highly recommended) don't subscribe to a strict 100 pitch count. I think there are situations where it's warranted (guys coming back from injury, young guys expanding their innings) and even then, I wouldn't put a number on it other than when the guy gets to X pitchers, he's on a short rope.


Don't see a strawman there at all. But whatever.

Unsurprising but I'll leave you with this thought and see if you can guess who said it.


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.

Razor Shines
05-02-2010, 01:31 PM
I'm with Nate, I'm not sure which Sabre guys you're arguing against here Sir Charles. Most of the opinions I've seen think it was fine to have him start the 7th, but at some point during the 7th his mechanics started to suffer. Personally, I believe the time to take him out was just before facing Pujols and I don't really know what his pitch count was at that point.

Brutus
05-02-2010, 01:38 PM
I'm not saying that we look at 100 pitches and think we need to pull a guy. I'm saying that we look at 100 reflexively. Period. We see that he reaches 100 and say "okay, he's at 100. Uh-oh" or along those lines instead of just looking for the signs of fatigue or watching how he pitching. And I'm guilty of it too on occasion.

And I didn't mean that it's "what we've always known", but ever since I can recall hearing about a pitchers pitch count, it's been linked to 100 by default. It seems to be an across the board generalization for all pitchers.

I think pitch counts are entirely overrated myself.

Too many factors that come into play for them to have a ton of meaning.

* Were they stressful pitches?
* Weather conditions
* How much rest the player had prior to the start
* Is it a player with a history of injuries?
* What type of pitches are they?
* Does the player have a history of losing velocity or effectiveness at a certain point?

To apply some arbitrary 100-pitch limit on all guys is pretty silly. I don't know that a ton of people believe in strict adherence to it, but subconsciously some people still get bothered by it when they say pitchers go over it - probably due to the saturation of the number thrown around in the mainstream.

Brutus
05-02-2010, 01:41 PM
Absolutely not.



Also untrue. I've seen a variety of opinions on when to pull a pitcher. Typically, "when he's fatigued" or "pitching poorly."

To me, proponents of the 100 pitch count are TV announcers.



Right here:



That's the strawman: Assuming that "sabermetric guys" are strict adherents to the 100 pitch count.



Well...



You were trying to disparage "sabermetetric guys." You even said as much when you mentioned wanting to "pound" them. Unfortunately for you, what you said isn't the position of "sabermetetric guys" and that's the strawman.

I'll put it another way, _I_ (speaking for myself here, highly recommended) don't subscribe to a strict 100 pitch count. I think there are situations where it's warranted (guys coming back from injury, young guys expanding their innings) and even then, I wouldn't put a number on it other than when the guy gets to X pitchers, he's on a short rope.



Unsurprising but I'll leave you with this thought and see if you can guess who said it.

I really didn't get the impression that his post was a referendum against saber guys, but just an observation that he's surprised at the sheer amount of hand-wringing over the pitch count given his observation that there would likely be a lot saber-minded people drowning out the concern.

I didn't think it was a strawman.

jojo
05-02-2010, 01:43 PM
I'm with Nate, I'm not sure which Sabre guys you're arguing against here Sir Charles. Most of the opinions I've seen think it was fine to have him start the 7th, but at some point during the 7th his mechanics started to suffer. Personally, I believe the time to take him out was just before facing Pujols and I don't really know what his pitch count was at that point.

I'm a saber guy and I don't think pitch counts are something that should be a definitive, absolute tool for making pitcher usage decisions.

TheNext44
05-02-2010, 01:44 PM
Just for the record, and this has nothing to do with the Saber guys on this board, but Baseball Prospectus' Pitcher's Abuse Points, start at 101 pitches, even though their own research shows that pitcher's fatigue starts around the 120 pitch mark. That might have been what Sir Charles was referring to.

bucksfan2
05-02-2010, 02:16 PM
The one thing I got out of yesterday's game is that Homer still has a little bit to learn. To be honest I think Homer would be probably in the top 2-3 guys on the entire Reds staff that I would want to face Pujols in that situation. He has the stuff and mindset to attach Albert. What Homer needs to learn is that even in that situation you can't let Albert drive in that go ahead run. It was a unique situation in that Homer realized that Albert as his last batter to face and he wanted to end that inning with an out.

Other than that Homer had a very good outing. He does seem to take a while to find his command but when he is on his stuff is dominant. He does need to learn that when you face the Cards you don't want to walk the #1 or #2 hitters.

dougdirt
05-02-2010, 02:22 PM
The one thing I got out of yesterday's game is that Homer still has a little bit to learn. To be honest I think Homer would be probably in the top 2-3 guys on the entire Reds staff that I would want to face Pujols in that situation. He has the stuff and mindset to attach Albert. What Homer needs to learn is that even in that situation you can't let Albert drive in that go ahead run. It was a unique situation in that Homer realized that Albert as his last batter to face and he wanted to end that inning with an out.


You say that like Homer chose to let Albert Pujols drive the run in. If you wanted the intentional walk so Pujols couldn't do it, then that isn't on Homer, its on Baker.

Ron Madden
05-02-2010, 02:29 PM
This has nothing to do with Homer's pitch count but...

Why would anyone walk Pujols with a man on second in the first inning, then pitch to him with a man on second in the seventh inning?

:confused:

_Sir_Charles_
05-02-2010, 03:50 PM
Absolutely not.

Really? I find that surprising. But okay. I was under the impression that a large majority of the ORG was pro-saberstats. It sure appears that way. And no, I'm not implying that there's anything wrong with that...before that gets read into what I type.


Also untrue. I've seen a variety of opinions on when to pull a pitcher. Typically, "when he's fatigued" or "pitching poorly."

To me, proponents of the 100 pitch count are TV announcers.

I get the distinct feeling that you want to discount everything I say just for the fun of it. I'm not saying that everybody ignores how someone's pitching or if he's fatigued. I'm saying that they still look at that pitch count at the 100 number specifically and make their opinions from that. I'm not saying it's 100% accurate or true...only MY opinion. But apparently, that's wrong and untrue too.


That's the strawman: Assuming that "sabermetric guys" are strict adherents to the 100 pitch count.

Well, you and I will differ on this one because I get the impression that the majority of posters here in the ORG do follow and adhere to sabermetrics. AND I get the impression that many of those guys look at that 100 pitch count and begin to make decisions on pulling guys at that point. I'm basing this on my viewings of the game threads. I'm also guilty of this as well and I kick myself whenever I see myself doing it. I'm not disparaging sabermetric followers, I was only pointing out that I was surprised that many take that number to heart from my observations.


You were trying to disparage "sabermetetric guys." You even said as much when you mentioned wanting to "pound" them. Unfortunately for you, what you said isn't the position of "sabermetetric guys" and that's the strawman.

No, I most certainly was NOT doing that. You read that into what I typed. Some Joe Blow somewhere started using that pitch count 100 stat somewhere. Most likely a sportswriter. I find it frustrating and that's the guy I was referring to wanting to pound. Not sabermetric guys. I was in fact COMPLIMENTING sabermetric guys, but you failed to see it. I was praising their ability to look beyond the old standard numbers and embrace new ideas. I was only puzzled that it didn't seem to apply to the pitch count "magic number".


I'll put it another way, _I_ (speaking for myself here, highly recommended) don't subscribe to a strict 100 pitch count. I think there are situations where it's warranted (guys coming back from injury, young guys expanding their innings) and even then, I wouldn't put a number on it other than when the guy gets to X pitchers, he's on a short rope.

*sigh* I don't even think you were reading my posts. I never said that people were in favor or against a STRICT 100 pitch count. Only that people look at that number instinctively and then make their decisions from that point forward. I was questioning why we look at things more in depth from the number 100 on. To say otherwise is to not observe the common occurances. "time to get someone up, Harang's just about at 100", "okay, I just don't understand why we're pushing this kid over 100 pitches regularly", etc, etc, etc. Why 100? That's my point. But please, continue to make me out to be a bad guy who hates people who follow saberstats.


Unsurprising but I'll leave you with this thought and see if you can guess who said it.

I know darned well that I typed that. What's your point? Do you see that post as contradicting something I typed? Or that I'm changing my stance? If so, you're again failing to comprehend what I typed.

_Sir_Charles_
05-02-2010, 03:52 PM
I'm with Nate, I'm not sure which Sabre guys you're arguing against here Sir Charles. Most of the opinions I've seen think it was fine to have him start the 7th, but at some point during the 7th his mechanics started to suffer. Personally, I believe the time to take him out was just before facing Pujols and I don't really know what his pitch count was at that point.

You're with Nate in not understanding/reading my posts? Okay.

I'm not arguing with Saber guys. *sheesh* This wasn't about that game only. It was general observation and comment about the fixation with the number 100 in regards to pitch counts.

fearofpopvol1
05-02-2010, 04:19 PM
You say that like Homer chose to let Albert Pujols drive the run in. If you wanted the intentional walk so Pujols couldn't do it, then that isn't on Homer, its on Baker.

Bailey could have thrown him pitches out of the zone or made an "unintentional intentional" walk, which he chose not to.

dougdirt
05-02-2010, 04:28 PM
Bailey could have thrown him pitches out of the zone or made an "unintentional intentional" walk, which he chose not to.

Homer also got ahead of him 1-2 in that same at bat with 2 swinging strikes.

_Sir_Charles_
05-02-2010, 04:29 PM
Bailey could have thrown him pitches out of the zone or made an "unintentional intentional" walk, which he chose not to.

I don't want my pitchers afraid to go after anybody. I want them going aggressively after all hitters. But the smart thing there was to walk him. That's the call Baker should've made IMO. You keep your pitchers' mindset aggressive by taking the call out of his hands.

nate
05-02-2010, 05:08 PM
Really? I find that surprising. But okay.

I get the distinct feeling that you want to discount everything I say just for the fun of it.

The "sabermetric guys" (and many non-"sabermetric guys") have the same view on pitch counts as you do. I kind of think you discount yourself by implying they don't.


I'm not saying that everybody ignores how someone's pitching or if he's fatigued. I'm saying that they still look at that pitch count at the 100 number specifically and make their opinions from that.I'm not saying it's 100% accurate or true...only MY opinion. But apparently, that's wrong and untrue too.

It's not wrong to have an opinion about pitch counts. But you should've stuck with talking about the pitch counts instead of bringing your "sabermetric guys" thing into it. That's the part that's wrong.


Well, you and I will differ on this one because I get the impression that the majority of posters here in the ORG do follow and adhere to sabermetrics.

I doubt it's more than 10% of tORG members.


AND I get the impression that many of those guys look at that 100 pitch count and begin to make decisions on pulling guys at that point. I'm basing this on my viewings of the game threads. I'm also guilty of this as well and I kick myself whenever I see myself doing it. I'm not disparaging sabermetric followers, I was only pointing out that I was surprised that many take that number to heart from my observations.

No, I most certainly was NOT doing that. You read that into what I typed.

You said:


With all the sabermetric guys here who've learned how to look at the game in a new light with new statistics, I'm still kinda surprised how they (and this isn't pointing at you Hokie...just in general) refuse to change the way they look at that 100 pitch count number as flexible.

Seems pretty obvious you're talking about "sabermetric guys" being the ones who are both proponents of the 100 pitch count and being inflexible.


Some Joe Blow somewhere started using that pitch count 100 stat somewhere. Most likely a sportswriter. I find it frustrating and that's the guy I was referring to wanting to pound. Not sabermetric guys. I was in fact COMPLIMENTING sabermetric guys, but you failed to see it. I was praising their ability to look beyond the old standard numbers and embrace new ideas. I was only puzzled that it didn't seem to apply to the pitch count "magic number".

Because "sabermetric guys" are not proponents of 100 pitch counts.

You were puzzled that none of the vast majority of the "sabermetric guys" that inhabit tORG didn't come out and say they disagreed with the 100 pitch count number when there were a dozen-ish posts prior to yours about not agreeing with the 100 pitch count?


*sigh* I don't even think you were reading my posts. I never said that people were in favor or against a STRICT 100 pitch count. Only that people look at that number instinctively and then make their decisions from that point forward. I was questioning why we look at things more in depth from the number 100 on. To say otherwise is to not observe the common occurances. "time to get someone up, Harang's just about at 100", "okay, I just don't understand why we're pushing this kid over 100 pitches regularly", etc, etc, etc. Why 100? That's my point. But please, continue to make me out to be a bad guy who hates people who follow saberstats.

I know darned well that I typed that. What's your point? Do you see that post as contradicting something I typed? Or that I'm changing my stance? If so, you're again failing to comprehend what I typed.

You typed the bit I posted?

I had no idea you were Bill James (http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2009/writers/joe_posnanski/06/15/james.pitchcounts/1.html).

fearofpopvol1
05-02-2010, 05:16 PM
Homer also got ahead of him 1-2 in that same at bat with 2 swinging strikes.

With 1B open and a runner at 2nd? I think you walk the best player in baseball in that situation.

HokieRed
05-02-2010, 05:25 PM
Just for the record, I don't believe in 100 pitch counts as an absolute rule--or any other number, for that matter--if you have a manager with the judgment to take out pitchers when there's some danger to their arms. When you do need to absolutize pitch counts is when you can't trust the manager to make good judgments. I'm not sure we're there with Baker yet but we do know his tendency is to let starters in for very high counts. Without having the numbers right at my fingers, I'll say it seems to me he's been running pretty high counts for Leake. To me the mistake yesterday was running Bailey out again for the 7th, which we would not have done--I believe--if we'd had more depth in this bullpen.

_Sir_Charles_
05-02-2010, 05:28 PM
You typed the bit I posted?

I had no idea you were Bill James (http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2009/writers/joe_posnanski/06/15/james.pitchcounts/1.html).

Obviously I was mistaken. But in a thread...sheesh, a couple years ago maybe, I typed something very similar. My mistake. It was a Nolan Ryan thread and went on about 4 man rotations vs 5 man rotations and innings pitched and more. I thoroughly agreed with Ryan. Didn't know that James did.


I doubt it's more than 10% of tORG members.

In regards to the percentage of ORG members following saberstats...I don't think that 10% is even CLOSE to correct. It certainly appears to be well over 70% I'd think. If it's not, then the percentage that do follow them are certainly the most vocal group. I haven't done the math to figure it out...and I doubt I will.


Seems pretty obvious you're talking about "sabermetric guys" being the ones who are both proponents of the 100 pitch count and being inflexible.

Nope. Totally off base. You're talking about a completely different thing here. You seem to be under the impression I was talking about implementing a 100 pitch count or some such. I wasn't talking about any such thing in regards to anybody. I was referring to people taking more notice of how a pitcher is performing once he reaches the 100 pitch count number. And how that magic number has become ingrained in our minds (somewhat subconsciously most likely) and that we start to make decisions about pitchers once that number is reached or as they're approaching said number. My comment completely stemmed from the fact that the number 100 was arbitrary and irritating. I brought "sabermetric guys" into it for only ONE REASON. To point out that they are VERY FLEXIBLE and tend to view stats with fresh eyes and new perspectives and that I was surprised that the same flexibility doesn't seem to be put into use in regards to using 100 as the "benchmark" for pitch counts. Pitch COUNTS...not pitch LIMITS.

So no...not "obvious" at all unless you've got a preconceived notion of my motives beforehand. Seems to me anytime I mention saberstats, I get pounced on like I'm denigrating them as a group.


Because "sabermetric guys" are not proponents of 100 pitch counts.

I never said they were. You're misunderstanding the initial concept in the initial post and running with it.

TheNext44
05-02-2010, 06:33 PM
I have no idea what the percentage of tORG members are fans of advanced stats, but I think it is safe to say that close to half the posts made here involve advanced stats.

This board is by far the most knowledgeable of advanced stats of any baseball board I have ever been to, and that includes Son of Sam Horn. I would also agree with Sr Charles on this one point... It's difficult to post here without decent knowledge of advanced stats. I see that as a good thing, but I think it's true.

Cyclone792
05-02-2010, 06:49 PM
I was referring to people taking more notice of how a pitcher is performing once he reaches the 100 pitch count number. And how that magic number has become ingrained in our minds (somewhat subconsciously most likely) and that we start to make decisions about pitchers once that number is reached or as they're approaching said number. My comment completely stemmed from the fact that the number 100 was arbitrary and irritating.

Ah yes. It's arbitrary. It's irritating. It's ingrained in our minds subconsciously.

Sure, whatever.

I hate to break it to you, but these pitch count limits are largely derived and determined well before a guy hits the big leagues. They're also determined well before a guy even reaches whatever professional organization they happen to be playing for (or drafted by). And given the economics of the entire picture, it's not going to change.

Little Johnny could be a dominant pitcher at the age of 14, but he's already being set on strict pitch counts to protect his health and to protect his family's bottom line. Health care costs keep rising, and Little Johnny's dad isn't so interested in hauling Little Johnny off to the orthopaedic. PCPs are expensive, specialists are even more expensive, x-rays aren't cheap, and MRIs, yea you don't want to pay for those. Surgery? We won't even go there. And let's not forget that employers, in an effort to save money themselves and push the cost on their employees, are placing more of a cost burden on the employee themselves. Some employers are even charging premiums for unhealthy habits. Not only is Little Johnny's dad not interested in Little Johnny getting hurt and heading to the orthopaedic, Little Johnny's dad's employer also isn't interested in that.

What's the best way to reduce injury to Little Johnny? Pitch counts. He isn't going out there throwing a barrel of pitches; he'll be held to a reasonable amount, an amount that people deem to be safe. And while these steps may help Little Johnny avoid the ortho, they're not going to help him build his arm up to a limit to throw a barrel of pitches. His arm develops and becomes conditioned instead to throw a lower number of pitches.

But injury isn't the end all be all. Little Johnny's dad is also sweating how to put Little Johnny through college. He's already got a daughter there, and the rising cost of education and college tuition are sucking the daylights out of Little Johnny's dad's funds. Meanwhile, Little Johnny keeps mowing guys down in high school. College baseball programs get interested, and some get interested enough that the potential for a college scholarship becomes real. Suddenly, Little Johnny's arm is an economic windfall to himself and his family. It has the potential to provide for a cheaper or even possibly free education. But, it has to stay healthy. Send Little Johnny on to the ortho, and not only are you paying medical costs, those potential college scholarship offers may not happen.

The solution? Pitch counts. Keep Little Johnny's arm healthy and on the mound, and he's given the best chance at a free education.

Now the college baseball coach may not care about Little Johnny's arm, but as time goes on, more and more college coaches are focused on protecting their pitchers. They want to win games, yes, but they also want to give their guys who have a chance at the professional level an opportunity actually make it there healthy. In addition, if a college coach starts shredding arms in a meat grinder, it can potentially choke off his future recruiting impact. Is grown up Johnny interested in playing for a coach who has a history of destroying arms? Not necessarily. He'll go to a school where they choose to try to protect pitchers.

At the end of the day, this chain of events really doesn't let up too much. And what inevitably happens is a young pitcher on the professional level has reached that point with his arm developed, conditioned and stretched enough to only throw a certain number of pitches. He's not accustomed to throwing tired either, because he has been protected from doing that his entire life.

As a result, when you have a pitcher who has been developed his entire life for a certain workload and is then given a jolt at a higher workload, things aren't necessarily pretty. This is akin to a guy who leg presses 550 pounds 12 times then being told to leg press 750 pounds 12 times without an opportunity to build up to that. How do you think that's going to turn out?

Of course, through that whole chain of events, pitchers do progress gradually. We aren't seeing big leaguers being taken out of games after throwing only 80 pitches due to workload. But at the same time we're not seeing organizations willing to take on the massive risk of trying to develop their pitchers to throw 120, 130 or 140 pitches regularly. They'll develop and condition their young guys to reach the 100, 110 or 115 mark, but they won't go much further than that. The steps required to reach those higher levels are too big and will take too long, and yes, it will burn some pitchers out.

Sure, some guys would develop to that higher level and make it without any problem, but the organization will pay the price with burning other guys out in the process. That's the risk they shouldn't take, and being a fan of a team who must rely on young talent coming up through the pipeline to be successful, it's a risk I don't want the Reds to take.

So go ahead keep griping about pitch counts all you want, but the reality of baseball today isn't going to change. The reality of the economics of life for the vast majority of young pitchers growing up isn't going to change either.

Ron Madden
05-02-2010, 06:58 PM
Ah yes. It's arbitrary. It's irritating. It's ingrained in our minds subconsciously.

Sure, whatever.

I hate to break it to you, but these pitch count limits are largely derived and determined well before a guy hits the big leagues. They're also determined well before a guy even reaches whatever professional organization they happen to be playing for (or drafted by). And given the economics of the entire picture, it's not going to change.

Little Johnny could be a dominant pitcher at the age of 14, but he's already being set on strict pitch counts to protect his health and to protect his family's bottom line. Health care costs keep rising, and Little Johnny's dad isn't so interested in hauling Little Johnny off to the orthopaedic. PCPs are expensive, specialists are even more expensive, x-rays aren't cheap, and MRIs, yea you don't want to pay for those. Surgery? We won't even go there. And let's not forget that employers, in an effort to save money themselves and push the cost on their employees, are placing more of a cost burden on the employee themselves. Some employers are even charging premiums for unhealthy habits. Not only is Little Johnny's dad not interested in Little Johnny getting hurt and heading to the orthopaedic, Little Johnny's dad's employer also isn't interested in that.

What's the best way to reduce injury to Little Johnny? Pitch counts. He isn't going out there throwing a barrel of pitches; he'll be held to a reasonable amount, an amount that people deem to be safe. And while these steps may help Little Johnny avoid the ortho, they're not going to help him build his arm up to a limit to throw a barrel of pitches. His arm develops and becomes conditioned instead to throw a lower number of pitches.

But injury isn't the end all be all. Little Johnny's dad is also sweating how to put Little Johnny through college. He's already got a daughter there, and the rising cost of education and college tuition are sucking the daylights out of Little Johnny's dad's funds. Meanwhile, Little Johnny keeps mowing guys down in high school. College baseball programs get interested, and some get interested enough that the potential for a college scholarship becomes real. Suddenly, Little Johnny's arm is an economic windfall to himself and his family. It has the potential to provide for a cheaper or even possibly free education. But, it has to stay healthy. Send Little Johnny on to the ortho, and not only are you paying medical costs, those potential college scholarship offers may not happen.

The solution? Pitch counts. Keep Little Johnny's arm healthy and on the mound, and he's given the best chance at a free education.

Now the college baseball coach may not care about Little Johnny's arm, but as time goes on, more and more college coaches are focused on protecting their pitchers. They want to win games, yes, but they also want to give their guys who have a chance at the professional level an opportunity actually make it there healthy. In addition, if a college coach starts shredding arms in a meat grinder, it can potentially choke off his future recruiting impact. Is grown up Johnny interested in playing for a coach who has a history of destroying arms? Not necessarily. He'll go to a school where they choose to try to protect pitchers.

At the end of the day, this chain of events really doesn't let up too much. And what inevitably happens is a young pitcher on the professional level has reached that point with his arm developed, conditioned and stretched enough to only throw a certain number of pitches. He's not accustomed to throwing tired either, because he has been protected from doing that his entire life.

As a result, when you have a pitcher who has been developed his entire life for a certain workload and is then given a jolt at a higher workload, things aren't necessarily pretty. This is akin to a guy who leg presses 550 pounds 12 times then being told to leg press 750 pounds 12 times without an opportunity to build up to that. How do you think that's going to turn out?

Of course, through that whole chain of events, pitchers do progress gradually. We aren't seeing big leaguers being taken out of games after throwing only 80 pitches due to workload. But at the same time we're not seeing organizations willing to take on the massive risk of trying to develop their pitchers to throw 120, 130 or 140 pitches regularly. They'll develop and condition their young guys to reach the 100, 110 or 115 mark, but they won't go much further than that. The steps required to reach those higher levels are too big and will take too long, and yes, it will burn some pitchers out.

Sure, some guys would develop to that higher level and make it without any problem, but the organization will pay the price with burning other guys out in the process. That's the risk they shouldn't take, and being a fan of a team who must rely on young talent coming up through the pipeline to be successful, it's a risk I don't want the Reds to take.

So go ahead keep griping about pitch counts all you want, but the reality of baseball today isn't going to change. The reality of the economics of life for the vast majority of young pitchers growing up isn't going to change either.

GREAT POST! :clap::clap::clap::clap:

Spring~Fields
05-02-2010, 07:15 PM
I think pitch counts are entirely overrated myself.

Too many factors that come into play for them to have a ton of meaning.

* Were they stressful pitches?
* Weather conditions
* How much rest the player had prior to the start
* Is it a player with a history of injuries?
* What type of pitches are they?
* Does the player have a history of losing velocity or effectiveness at a certain point?

To apply some arbitrary 100-pitch limit on all guys is pretty silly. I don't know that a ton of people believe in strict adherence to it, but subconsciously some people still get bothered by it when they say pitchers go over it - probably due to the saturation of the number thrown around in the mainstream.

I don't know if you are the one to ask or another on here.

I look and see this below.

Pitches-strikes -
A Harang 98-61 IP 6.0
H Bailey 121-70 IP 6.2

I see one younger guy threw more pitches, and start to wonder, does pitch count mean anything or what? Another words I get confused and start to wonder about the whole discussion on pitch counts.

Why does Harang throw 23 pitches less? more effective pitching? So why is Bailey left in to throw more pitches?

Cyclone792
05-02-2010, 07:26 PM
Of course, that whole long post only hits on one aspect of the evolution of pitching compared to what we had decades ago. That post touches on the fact that pitchers today only throw so many pitches per start because they grew up in a different era. The other aspect is that the game today has evolved such that pitchers will not throw as many innings as they once did even if they used the same number of pitches.

Innings are down across the board for a whole bunch of reasons, not just pitch counts. Pitches per plate appearance are pretty much as high now as they ever have been, and they're higher now than they were in previous decades. It just takes more pitches nowadays to retire a batter/out than it once did, and I see this continuing to just trend upward in the future.

Additionally, with the prevalence of offense, when OBP goes up, pitch counts go up. The more hitters that reach base against you, the more hitters you need to face in order to get 27 outs (or 3 outs for a full inning). Hitters working deeper into counts, drawing more walks and getting on base more frequently all drive pitch counts higher.

As a result, on average it now takes more pitches to throw seven innings today than it did 30 years ago. All of this will even further contribute to fewer innings pitched for pitchers today than yesterday.

Frankly, in the future I see bullpens continuing to expand even further. While 11 or 12 man bullpens may be common today, I see 13 or even 14 man bullpens in baseball's future. If the 25-man roster doesn't expand, we'll see different managerial strategies to accomodate for this. Positional bench players will likely have be more multi-positional (i.e. your backup OF better be able to play all three OF slots, and your backup SS better also be able to handle 2B and 3B).

I also think we'll see a bit of an influx of pitchers who are able to handle the bat at least modestly too (from a purely observation standpoint, I think we're starting to see the start of this a bit today already). Guys such as Micah Owings are pretty rare now, but I think they'll be more commonplace in another 15-20 years. Your late inning pinch hitter may not be your backup OF who puts up a .680 OPS. Instead, he could be your next reliever who handles the bat well enough to put up a .650 OPS, and then you'll start the next inning off with that guy on the mound. Or, you'll be sending up your other rotation starters to pinch hit on days when they're not pitching.

jojo
05-02-2010, 07:26 PM
Why does Harang throw 23 pitches less? more effective pitching? So why is Bailey left in to throw more pitches?

Because Harang has better command.

TheNext44
05-02-2010, 07:44 PM
I don't know if you are the one to ask or another on here.

I look and see this below.

Pitches-strikes -
A Harang 98-61 IP 6.0
H Bailey 121-70 IP 6.2

I see one younger guy threw more pitches, and start to wonder, does pitch count mean anything or what? Another words I get confused and start to wonder about the whole discussion on pitch counts.

Why does Harang throw 23 pitches less? more effective pitching? So why is Bailey left in to throw more pitches?

Harang was taken out for a pitch hitter.

If the Reds had gotten one more batter on base on Sat. in the first six innings, he would have been lifted for a pinch hitter just like Harang was in the 6th of his game. Like wise, if Harang wasn't up to bat in the sixth inning Sunday, he most likely would have stayed in the game until his turn to bat came up.

TheNext44
05-02-2010, 07:53 PM
Ah yes. It's arbitrary. It's irritating. It's ingrained in our minds subconsciously.

Sure, whatever.

I hate to break it to you, but these pitch count limits are largely derived and determined well before a guy hits the big leagues. They're also determined well before a guy even reaches whatever professional organization they happen to be playing for (or drafted by). And given the economics of the entire picture, it's not going to change.

Little Johnny could be a dominant pitcher at the age of 14, but he's already being set on strict pitch counts to protect his health and to protect his family's bottom line. Health care costs keep rising, and Little Johnny's dad isn't so interested in hauling Little Johnny off to the orthopaedic. PCPs are expensive, specialists are even more expensive, x-rays aren't cheap, and MRIs, yea you don't want to pay for those. Surgery? We won't even go there. And let's not forget that employers, in an effort to save money themselves and push the cost on their employees, are placing more of a cost burden on the employee themselves. Some employers are even charging premiums for unhealthy habits. Not only is Little Johnny's dad not interested in Little Johnny getting hurt and heading to the orthopaedic, Little Johnny's dad's employer also isn't interested in that.

What's the best way to reduce injury to Little Johnny? Pitch counts. He isn't going out there throwing a barrel of pitches; he'll be held to a reasonable amount, an amount that people deem to be safe. And while these steps may help Little Johnny avoid the ortho, they're not going to help him build his arm up to a limit to throw a barrel of pitches. His arm develops and becomes conditioned instead to throw a lower number of pitches.

But injury isn't the end all be all. Little Johnny's dad is also sweating how to put Little Johnny through college. He's already got a daughter there, and the rising cost of education and college tuition are sucking the daylights out of Little Johnny's dad's funds. Meanwhile, Little Johnny keeps mowing guys down in high school. College baseball programs get interested, and some get interested enough that the potential for a college scholarship becomes real. Suddenly, Little Johnny's arm is an economic windfall to himself and his family. It has the potential to provide for a cheaper or even possibly free education. But, it has to stay healthy. Send Little Johnny on to the ortho, and not only are you paying medical costs, those potential college scholarship offers may not happen.

The solution? Pitch counts. Keep Little Johnny's arm healthy and on the mound, and he's given the best chance at a free education.

Now the college baseball coach may not care about Little Johnny's arm, but as time goes on, more and more college coaches are focused on protecting their pitchers. They want to win games, yes, but they also want to give their guys who have a chance at the professional level an opportunity actually make it there healthy. In addition, if a college coach starts shredding arms in a meat grinder, it can potentially choke off his future recruiting impact. Is grown up Johnny interested in playing for a coach who has a history of destroying arms? Not necessarily. He'll go to a school where they choose to try to protect pitchers.

At the end of the day, this chain of events really doesn't let up too much. And what inevitably happens is a young pitcher on the professional level has reached that point with his arm developed, conditioned and stretched enough to only throw a certain number of pitches. He's not accustomed to throwing tired either, because he has been protected from doing that his entire life.

As a result, when you have a pitcher who has been developed his entire life for a certain workload and is then given a jolt at a higher workload, things aren't necessarily pretty. This is akin to a guy who leg presses 550 pounds 12 times then being told to leg press 750 pounds 12 times without an opportunity to build up to that. How do you think that's going to turn out?

Of course, through that whole chain of events, pitchers do progress gradually. We aren't seeing big leaguers being taken out of games after throwing only 80 pitches due to workload. But at the same time we're not seeing organizations willing to take on the massive risk of trying to develop their pitchers to throw 120, 130 or 140 pitches regularly. They'll develop and condition their young guys to reach the 100, 110 or 115 mark, but they won't go much further than that. The steps required to reach those higher levels are too big and will take too long, and yes, it will burn some pitchers out.

Sure, some guys would develop to that higher level and make it without any problem, but the organization will pay the price with burning other guys out in the process. That's the risk they shouldn't take, and being a fan of a team who must rely on young talent coming up through the pipeline to be successful, it's a risk I don't want the Reds to take.

So go ahead keep griping about pitch counts all you want, but the reality of baseball today isn't going to change. The reality of the economics of life for the vast majority of young pitchers growing up isn't going to change either.

Nice post, accurate and informative.

But it doesn't address the issue that is being discussed. The issue is not pitch counts vs. no pitch counts, the issue is why is 100 pitches is considered the cut off point in most people's mind. (With a side argument over whether or not Sir Charles was insulting Saber guys when he asked the question.)

Cyclone792
05-02-2010, 07:58 PM
Nice post, accurate and informative.

But it doesn't address the issue that is being discussed. The issue is not pitch counts vs. no pitch counts, the issue is why is 100 pitches is considered the cut off point in most people's mind. (With a side argument over whether or not Sir Charles was insulting Saber guys when he asked the question.)

It's largely considered the cutoff because it's rather close - on the conservative safe end - to the pitch count level that today's young pitchers are being groomed for.

TheNext44
05-02-2010, 08:23 PM
It's largely considered the cutoff because it's rather close - on the conservative safe end - to the pitch count level that today's young pitchers are being groomed for.

I got that from your post, and it could explain why it is the case, but it doesn't really explain why that should be the case. Especially when there is a lot of data that points to 120 pitches being the true line where effectiveness starts to decline for pitchers on average.

I guess I don't see that as a reason why we need to get used to the 100 pitch pitch count. If that is the reason, it's not a very good one, and should be abandoned.

kaldaniels
05-02-2010, 08:36 PM
If we lived in a binary world 100 (or whatever that is in binary) would not be the number that everyone looked at with pitch counts. It's all abut the 3rd digit.

Cyclone792
05-02-2010, 08:50 PM
I got that from your post, and it could explain why it is the case, but it doesn't really explain why that should be the case. Especially when there is a lot of data that points to 120 pitches being the true line where effectiveness starts to decline for pitchers on average.

I guess I don't see that as a reason why we need to get used to the 100 pitch pitch count. If that is the reason, it's not a very good one, and should be abandoned.

I know about the data with the 120-pitch count, and the reason people focus on 100 is because it's a nice, round number while also being the conservative safe end compared to 120.

Now personally, I don't mind pitchers eclipsing 100 pitches if they're not laboring. If a guy who is used to throwing over 100 pitches goes out and throws 109 pitches and didn't showing any signs of fatigue, so be it, that's fine. It's times when a guy is sitting at 116, pitches, for example, and the manager decides to try to squeeze one more hitter that frustrate me.

RedsManRick
05-02-2010, 08:58 PM
I apologize for not reading the whole thread first, but a few thoughts:

In a perfect world, managers would have access to a live feed of bio-mechanical data indicating a pitcher's level of fatigue and ability to maintain good mechanics. Unfortunately, they don't have that data and won't anytime soon. That leaves few ways of determining when to remove a pitcher who is pitching "effectively".

We could wait until not maintaining his mechanics, is losing command, and is clearly fatigued. At that point, he's already been losing it for a little while in ways that are difficult to perceive visually. In that time, he's been at increased risk for an injury. Or we could wait until his velocity has dropped and he maxing out effort-wise to stay effective. At that point, he's already been losing it for a while in ways that were difficult to perceive. In that time, he's been at a increased risk for an injury.

Of course, we could just ask the pitcher if he's tired. But sports are a culture in which tired = weak and weakness isn't tolerated. Most pitchers will pitch until their arms fall off, even though doing so isn't in their best long term interests.

The risk of letting a pitcher pitch too long is severe injury. You lose the pitcher for an extended period of time and have to bring up a significantly less capable pitcher. The risk of taking him out early? You replace a weakened pitcher who is not at his most effective with a guy who is fresh. Maybe that reliever at 100% is worse than your starter at 70%, but how much? The difference is marginal. This is massive asymmetric risk.

Could pitchers routinely throw 120, 130, or 140 pitches. Sure, some of them could. But some of them can't. And sadly, we can't tell the difference simply by watching them pitch. So given this and the risk described above, it's best to play it safe. A lot of experience has told us that the point at which pitchers tend to lose effectiveness is around 90-100 pitches. They lose effectiveness at this point because they are getting tired and because hitters are adjusting. So while we shouldn't strictly adhere to some abstract number, we should recognize that the number wasn't just pulled from the sky. It's a sign that says, caution, significantly increased risk for injury ahead.

If we knew a better location for that warning sign, we'd move it. But we don't. And given the asymmetric risk we face as we move beyond it, it's best to play it safe. That doesn't mean you pull a guy who is rolling along at 100 pitches -- or at 110 pitches. It does mean that you have a lot more to lose by pushing the guy too far than you have to gain by pulling him to early. So if he's starting to look tired and particularly if his mechanics are breaking down, get him out of there.

I'd venture to say that teams are much more negatively affected by injuries to starting pitchers than by the marginal innings they allow relievers to pitch when the pull a starter earlier than he might have been able to go. To say nothing about the ability to have a 35 year old SP who might have burned out at 25 or merely suffered a more accelerated decline and been out of the game by 30 in a different era.

I would note that the other side of this conversation matters too. A recent study has shown that not only are pitchers not going over 100 as much, but they getting up to or near 100 much more often. I wonder how many pitchers who might have been pulled from the game at 85 pitches because they looked fatigued are now asked to give another one because they have yet to reach 100?

If in doubt, pull him out.

Spring~Fields
05-02-2010, 09:28 PM
Because Harang has better command.


Harang was taken out for a pitch hitter.

If the Reds had gotten one more batter on base on Sat. in the first six innings, he would have been lifted for a pinch hitter just like Harang was in the 6th of his game. Like wise, if Harang wasn't up to bat in the sixth inning Sunday, he most likely would have stayed in the game until his turn to bat came up.

Ok, thanks guys. I wasn’t sure.

I am trying to learn some things by reading this thread.

Always Red
05-02-2010, 09:31 PM
Modern day roster size doesn't account for the change in philosophy (no matter if right or wrong) in pitch counts. This leaves managers frustrated, and bullpens overworked.

Something has to give. Either go back to a 4man rotation, with pitch counts between 100-120 and probably 2 long men, or increase roster size.

Another option that MLB teams could try is to emulate the Japanese and go to a 6 man rotation, where each SP starts one game a week. I would love to see how Japan and MLB pitchers compare in injury rates and types, but I have never seen this information. It certainly would be instructive as to how to get the most out of a talented pitcher without abusing or hurting him.

Because it's really all an educated guess- no true science involved. I understand the desire to be conservative with pitch counts until the "science is settled" but also know that there are guys pitching right now who could easily throw 120 pitches every single time out in a 4 man rotation. We know this from history- it's been done before, many, many times.

It's just difficult to identify them without hurting the others!

_Sir_Charles_
05-03-2010, 12:24 PM
It's largely considered the cutoff because it's rather close - on the conservative safe end - to the pitch count level that today's young pitchers are being groomed for.

Btw, nice posts earlier (the 2 longs one...I won't quote them here though). This post I quoted from you here though comes closest to answering my original question. How was this number determined? I get it that young pitchers are being groomed for a specific number (or range)...but how did THAT range get determined is my point. My other point is that while pitchers are groomed for specific pitch count ranges...all pitchers tend to get grouped together into one lump sum and they all get looked at for that same pitch count range. I just don't understand why the saber community isn't putting up more of a stink in regards to not having one pitch count range for nearly all pitchers. 100 for one pitcher doesn't come close to equalling the same amount of stress 100 does for another. The saber community has done a great job of blowing the W, RBI, AVG stats out of the water. My original querry was why the same emphasis wasn't out there somewhere in regards to this situation.

And to clarify...nowhere was I attempting to knock the saber community. Anywhere. Several of my long posts were attempting to clarify that one misunderstanding. I'm not versed in saber stats myself, but I've got nothing against them or the people who swear by them. I just can't stand getting labled as someone who does.

_Sir_Charles_
05-03-2010, 12:27 PM
I apologize for not reading the whole thread first, but a few thoughts:

In a perfect world, managers would have access to a live feed of bio-mechanical data indicating a pitcher's level of fatigue and ability to maintain good mechanics. Unfortunately, they don't have that data and won't anytime soon. That leaves few ways of determining when to remove a pitcher who is pitching "effectively".

We could wait until not maintaining his mechanics, is losing command, and is clearly fatigued. At that point, he's already been losing it for a little while in ways that are difficult to perceive visually. In that time, he's been at increased risk for an injury. Or we could wait until his velocity has dropped and he maxing out effort-wise to stay effective. At that point, he's already been losing it for a while in ways that were difficult to perceive. In that time, he's been at a increased risk for an injury.

Of course, we could just ask the pitcher if he's tired. But sports are a culture in which tired = weak and weakness isn't tolerated. Most pitchers will pitch until their arms fall off, even though doing so isn't in their best long term interests.

The risk of letting a pitcher pitch too long is severe injury. You lose the pitcher for an extended period of time and have to bring up a significantly less capable pitcher. The risk of taking him out early? You replace a weakened pitcher who is not at his most effective with a guy who is fresh. Maybe that reliever at 100% is worse than your starter at 70%, but how much? The difference is marginal. This is massive asymmetric risk.

Could pitchers routinely throw 120, 130, or 140 pitches. Sure, some of them could. But some of them can't. And sadly, we can't tell the difference simply by watching them pitch. So given this and the risk described above, it's best to play it safe. A lot of experience has told us that the point at which pitchers tend to lose effectiveness is around 90-100 pitches. They lose effectiveness at this point because they are getting tired and because hitters are adjusting. So while we shouldn't strictly adhere to some abstract number, we should recognize that the number wasn't just pulled from the sky. It's a sign that says, caution, significantly increased risk for injury ahead.

If we knew a better location for that warning sign, we'd move it. But we don't. And given the asymmetric risk we face as we move beyond it, it's best to play it safe. That doesn't mean you pull a guy who is rolling along at 100 pitches -- or at 110 pitches. It does mean that you have a lot more to lose by pushing the guy too far than you have to gain by pulling him to early. So if he's starting to look tired and particularly if his mechanics are breaking down, get him out of there.

I'd venture to say that teams are much more negatively affected by injuries to starting pitchers than by the marginal innings they allow relievers to pitch when the pull a starter earlier than he might have been able to go. To say nothing about the ability to have a 35 year old SP who might have burned out at 25 or merely suffered a more accelerated decline and been out of the game by 30 in a different era.

I would note that the other side of this conversation matters too. A recent study has shown that not only are pitchers not going over 100 as much, but they getting up to or near 100 much more often. I wonder how many pitchers who might have been pulled from the game at 85 pitches because they looked fatigued are now asked to give another one because they have yet to reach 100?

If in doubt, pull him out.

Great post. This one answered my question. Thank you.

The highlighted part...are there actually studies done on this, when pitchers lose effectiveness...or is it just casual observation.

westofyou
05-03-2010, 12:51 PM
Pitch count aside, Homer sure was in a groove Saturday, he was pitching fast, no lingering, get the ball, stand on the hill throw, repeat.

I loved that pace.

HokieRed
05-03-2010, 12:52 PM
Is there any data on the variability in the number of pitches thrown pre-game by starters? This seems to me a significant variable in our assessing the number of pitches any pitcher X might be able (allowed) to throw in the game itself. Anecdotally, I have on many occasions seen some starters throw another whole game (=100 pitches) in the bullpen. But I've no idea about the ranges in the data. Does anybody?

Hoosier Red
05-03-2010, 12:55 PM
Getting back to the original argument over pitch counts, I've found two themes if you will.

1) Better to protect your pitchers, especially young ones, 100 pitches is a pretty good proxy for this.

2) Back in my day we didn't worry about pitch counts. Whoever made it to the majors was someone who could throw 115-130 pitches per night and not have their arm fall off.

This second line is often dismissed(perhaps rightfully so) by the sheer number of pitchers who were injured before teams started evaluating pitch counts.

But wouldn't there be some value to finding a pitcher who can routinely go 120 pitches and not breakdown? I know it's perhaps an extreme outlier, and chances are that if he's thrown 120 pitches and not been taken out he's probably pretty good so he's probably being scouted anyway.

If you have two pitchers who you are looking to call up;

Pitcher A-likely to have a 4.50 ERA but is likely to be able to go to 120 pitches regularly with no ill effects.
Pitcher B- Likely to have a 3.50 ERA but needs to be monitored once he gets to 90 pitches.

Which pitcher is more valuable?

_Sir_Charles_
05-03-2010, 12:59 PM
Is there any data on the variability in the number of pitches thrown pre-game by starters? This seems to me a significant variable in our assessing the number of pitches any pitcher X might be able (allowed) to throw in the game itself. Anecdotally, I have on many occasions seen some starters throw another whole game (=100 pitches) in the bullpen. But I've no idea about the ranges in the data. Does anybody?

Good point on pitches thrown in the bull pen. That rarely, if ever, gets factored into this from what I've seen.

bucksfan2
05-03-2010, 01:38 PM
Of course, we could just ask the pitcher if he's tired. But sports are a culture in which tired = weak and weakness isn't tolerated. Most pitchers will pitch until their arms fall off, even though doing so isn't in their best long term interests.

Right now here. For the most part pitchers are competitors and they want to win. It really is up to the pitching coach and manager to understand certain tells when a pitcher gets tired. Its fairly simple in other sports, when a player isn't running as hard, has his hands on his knees, does have the explosive burst, is short on jump shots, etc. In baseball, especially pitching, it is very difficult to tell because it just isn't as aerobically taxing as other sports. And the tells aren't as clearly evident.


The risk of letting a pitcher pitch too long is severe injury. You lose the pitcher for an extended period of time and have to bring up a significantly less capable pitcher. The risk of taking him out early? You replace a weakened pitcher who is not at his most effective with a guy who is fresh. Maybe that reliever at 100% is worse than your starter at 70%, but how much? The difference is marginal. This is massive asymmetric risk.

Is the risk serious injury? I don't really know I wonder if there has been a study done. Is it fatigue or players who are predisposed to elbow or shoulder injury that effects severe injuries?


Could pitchers routinely throw 120, 130, or 140 pitches. Sure, some of them could. But some of them can't. And sadly, we can't tell the difference simply by watching them pitch. So given this and the risk described above, it's best to play it safe. A lot of experience has told us that the point at which pitchers tend to lose effectiveness is around 90-100 pitches. They lose effectiveness at this point because they are getting tired and because hitters are adjusting. So while we shouldn't strictly adhere to some abstract number, we should recognize that the number wasn't just pulled from the sky. It's a sign that says, caution, significantly increased risk for injury ahead.


Some pitchers can throw pitch after pitch inning after inning while others are limited. Why is this? I think what really is happening is some pitchers are predisposed to injury while others aren't. It could have a lot to do with genetics but when dealing with baseball players there are such a select few that make the majors that it is difficult to place any value or time and effort on genetic makeup. You can't really say well this pitcher's father had a rubber arm because there just aren't enough cases.


I would note that the other side of this conversation matters too. A recent study has shown that not only are pitchers not going over 100 as much, but they getting up to or near 100 much more often. I wonder how many pitchers who might have been pulled from the game at 85 pitches because they looked fatigued are now asked to give another one because they have yet to reach 100?

If in doubt, pull him out.

But why 100? It is just an arbitrary number that is a nice round number. Why not base it on 97 pitches? Why not base it upon the league average number of pitches/game? I am not disputing anything you said but just curious as to why 100 is used as a baseline when there is little evidence to support it to being used as a baseline with the exception of being 100.

What I do find odd is the amount of scrutiny placed upon young pitchers. If you ask me the younger your are the better you are able to take a physical pounding on your body. It would make sense to me that a guy line Homer Bailey would be able to recover much quicker than Aaron Harang would because of age. I am 28 and I can tell you for a fact that my body was much better at recovering from physical exertion and lack of sleep at 25 than it is now. Why does that not apply to baseball players? I do agree that you need to work up to a workload as a young pitcher but I also think that most studies that trace abuse on young pitchers really don't have enough valid information to be correct.

Always Red
05-03-2010, 01:46 PM
Good point on pitches thrown in the bull pen. That rarely, if ever, gets factored into this from what I've seen.

Not factored in by the casual fan, but someone is keeping track:


The pitch count is an old school versus new school battleground on which crusty traditionalists such as Morris have lost out to New Age risk-management thinkers such as Oakland As pitching coach Rick Peterson, whose motto is, In God we trust; all others must show data. Peterson keeps a little black book in which he logs with a four-color pen every pitch thrown by his starters, even in bullpen sessions. He gauges pitches in 11-day increments. So if a pitcher has a high-pitch-count game, his side session and next start will be curtailed.

This is an old article (7 years old) by Tom Verducci, but Jack Morris, who threw 175 complete games in his career, and is (as you might guess) a bit old school about pitch counts, said something interesting here, which goes hand in hand with something that Cyclone alluded to in his first well thought out post above:


"This whole issue is about managers not having the balls to give whoever is out there the benefit of the doubt," says former pitcher Jack Morris (page 70), who retired in 1994 after 18 seasons and 175 complete games, not including ones he threw in spring training. "The negative effect is that pitchers have been conditioned not to do it anymore, so they don't know how to do it anymore. Kids today are bigger, faster, stronger. There's no doubt they could pitch 250 innings, 300 innings if they had to. Twenty complete games wouldn't be out of the question. But they're never, ever conditioned to do that."

Pitchers today, from the time of high school, for right or wrong (because it is just a guess and there is no real science behind it) have been conditioned to pitch less than 120 pitches.

There is simply no use in asking or expecting more, because it's something they have never done. Expecting more is how injuries happen.

Morris threw complete games in spring training?? How did his arm not fall off? ;)

Another interesting piece of baseball history in this article:


The mere counting of pitches is not new; teams have done it for generations. It's the idolatry of fixed numbers as a training and strategic device that has changed. Forty years ago Warren Spahn, then 42, and Juan Marichal, then 25, threw 201 and 227 pitches, respectively, in their famous 16-inning duel. Nolan Ryan was to pitch counts what Tolstoy was to word counts. In an 11-week span in 1974 Ryan threw 150 pitches (a two-hitter with eight walks and 11 strikeouts), 172 pitches (19 strikeouts), 184 pitches (an 11-inning, 1-0 loss to Mickey Lolich in which both pitchers threw complete games) and—hang on to your clickers—235 pitches (a 13-inning effort against Luis Tiant, who took a complete game loss in the 15th inning). Ryan pitched for 27 seasons and started more games than any other pitcher except Cy Young.

Why did pitch counts become more strictly enforced? Were there so many injuries that it compelled baseball men to try to protect the pitchers?

Not really, it was the dollars they began spending on pitchers that led them to try to protect their investment:


The shortening of the pitch-count leash began as signing bonuses hit seven figures for high school pitchers—the Yankees gave Brien Taylor an industry-rattling $1.55 million bonus in 1991—and the computer age sparked an explosion of statistical information. Heightened awareness of numbers created heightened concern. When USA Today started putting pitch counts in its box scores in 1997, every fan with two quarters became an expert on when to remove a pitcher. Last year the online magazine Salon.com questioned why the Diamondbacks had allowed Randy Johnson to throw 107 pitches in a game, hardly enough to raise a bead of sweat on the brow of the game's premier workhorse.

It could be that limiting pitchers to strict pitch counts has caused less injury. But it has never been shown to do so, scientifically. As much as RZ'ers like statistical proof, it explains to me why this is always a hot button, well-discussed topic here.

Until the proof comes in, I certainly agree with proceeding cautiously, mainly because as Jack Morris said, pitchers today are not trained to throw more than 120 pitches, though there is a certain subset of them whom could easily do so, again, with the proper training.


http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/vault/article/magazine/MAG1028351/2/index.htm

dougdirt
05-03-2010, 01:55 PM
It could be that limiting pitchers to strict pitch counts has caused less injury. But it has never been shown to do so, scientifically. As much as RZ'ers like statistical proof, it explains to me why this is always a hot button, well-discussed topic here.

Until the proof comes in, I certainly agree with proceeding cautiously, mainly because as Jack Morris said, pitchers today are not trained to throw more than 120 pitches, though there is a certain subset of them whom could easily do so, again, with the proper training.


http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/vault/article/magazine/MAG1028351/2/index.htm

I think one of the big reasons we see pitch counts start at young ages now is pretty simple.... kids start throwing breaking balls at 11-13 these days because of how competitive youth baseball has gotten. That didn't used to be the case, so kids throwing FB/CH at 12 for 120 pitches didn't really lead to as many issues as kids throwing FB/CV for 120 pitches. The result has been guys not being conditioned to throwing as much as they grow up, lacking the arm strength of the past generations because of it and of course there is the simple fact that some guys who couldn't do it were weeded out in the past who are conditioned for 100 pitches, but never would have made it through the 140 pitch gauntlet guys would see from time to time 20-30 years ago.

Always Red
05-03-2010, 02:21 PM
I think one of the big reasons we see pitch counts start at young ages now is pretty simple.... kids start throwing breaking balls at 11-13 these days because of how competitive youth baseball has gotten. That didn't used to be the case, so kids throwing FB/CH at 12 for 120 pitches didn't really lead to as many issues as kids throwing FB/CV for 120 pitches. The result has been guys not being conditioned to throwing as much as they grow up, lacking the arm strength of the past generations because of it and of course there is the simple fact that some guys who couldn't do it were weeded out in the past who are conditioned for 100 pitches, but never would have made it through the 140 pitch gauntlet guys would see from time to time 20-30 years ago.

Oh I agree with the lack of arm strength and conditioning.

But I don't think it's pretty simple- I played Knothole ball in Cincinnati 40 years ago- it was extremely competitive and there were PLENTY of curve balls being thrown by 10 year old kids, all the way up through high school, Babe Ruth and American Legion. Not a single coach back then told us NOT to throw a curveball. Not a single pitch count, either in high school or Legion ball, where I played for a guy who coached a MAC college team for many years.

I think our arms were stronger for throwing more back then, but that's just my guess and not very scientific, either.

TheNext44
05-03-2010, 02:28 PM
Could pitchers routinely throw 120, 130, or 140 pitches. Sure, some of them could. But some of them can't. And sadly, we can't tell the difference simply by watching them pitch. So given this and the risk described above, it's best to play it safe. A lot of experience has told us that the point at which pitchers tend to lose effectiveness is around 90-100 pitches. They lose effectiveness at this point because they are getting tired and because hitters are adjusting. So while we shouldn't strictly adhere to some abstract number, we should recognize that the number wasn't just pulled from the sky. It's a sign that says, caution, significantly increased risk for injury ahead.




While the rest of your post is excellent, this bold part just is not backed up by the facts.

Here is the graph that Baseball Perspectus used to demonstrate when pitchers lose their effectiveness. Basically on the bottom is the numbers of pitches a pitcher threw in an outing, and the the left side is the change in RA they experienced 21 days after that outing.

This clearly shows that only after throwing 120 pitches in a game does a pitcher on average start to lose effectiveness in future games.

http://www.baseballprospectus.com/news/images/20020521_01_woolner.gif

Always Red
05-03-2010, 02:30 PM
There's something else very instructive in this:


Forty years ago Warren Spahn, then 42, and Juan Marichal, then 25, threw 201 and 227 pitches, respectively, in their famous 16-inning duel.

Spahn averaged 12.6 pitches per inning; high effort, flamethrower Marichal averaged 14.1 pitches per inning.

It's been said here before when talking about pitch counts and innings pitched, but the game has changed. OBP is a highly sought after skill these days, and batters take more pitches than they ever have, and of course, the strike zone is smaller than back then, too.

RedsManRick
05-03-2010, 02:57 PM
While the rest of your post is excellent, this bold part just is not backed up by the facts.


If you read the rest of the article, Woolner goes on to discuss the selection bias inherent in that first chart. He then goes on to focus on those starters who regularly accrue high pitch counts.

http://www.baseballprospectus.com/news/images/20020521_03_woolner.gif

Different story. Bottom line, there is no arbitrary threshold. All of these are averages and trends. There are some players who can pitch deep and some who can't without losing effectiveness short term. But that's only one consideration, injury risk is a big part of it too.

The data are hardly conclusive, so we're left with best guesses. Given the value of a pitcher's health and the relatively small performance decline from a starters 110th pitch to a reliever's 1st, it just doesn't make sense to regularly push starters.

At the end of the day, 100 pitches is a baseline. It's always going to be a judgement call based on the pitcher's history, his current effectiveness, and how well he appears to be holding up (mechanics, velocity, etc.). For a given pitcher, we do not know exactly where the drop off point is and how big of a drop it is. We don't know if he's just losing effectiveness or beginning to do real damage. But we do know that pitching is an unnatural activity that, with rare exception, leads to injury and that the drop off point for pitcher effectiveness is usually somewhere after the 100 pitch mark. After that, we're in the dark.

So we're smart to play it safe. I'd much, much rather err on the side of caution and be left wondering if we could have gotten another 20 good pitches out of him than push him to 110 or 120 and find out the wrong way. It's never a fixed rule; circumstance matters. But the manager should ask himself, is that extra inning's worth of production, which may or may not be any better than what a reliever will give us worth an increased risk of losing dozens in the form a DL stint?

Obviously the answer to that questions comes down to your assessment of the odds. But I'd make darn sure that inning was really necessary and that my starter was the clear best option.

TheNext44
05-03-2010, 05:08 PM
If you read the rest of the article, Woolner goes on to discuss the selection bias inherent in that first chart. He then goes on to focus on those starters who regularly accrue high pitch counts.

http://www.baseballprospectus.com/news/images/20020521_03_woolner.gif

Different story. Bottom line, there is no arbitrary threshold. All of these are averages and trends. There are some players who can pitch deep and some who can't without losing effectiveness short term. But that's only one consideration, injury risk is a big part of it too.

The data are hardly conclusive, so we're left with best guesses. Given the value of a pitcher's health and the relatively small performance decline from a starters 110th pitch to a reliever's 1st, it just doesn't make sense to regularly push starters.

At the end of the day, 100 pitches is a baseline. It's always going to be a judgement call based on the pitcher's history, his current effectiveness, and how well he appears to be holding up (mechanics, velocity, etc.). For a given pitcher, we do not know exactly where the drop off point is and how big of a drop it is. We don't know if he's just losing effectiveness or beginning to do real damage. But we do know that pitching is an unnatural activity that, with rare exception, leads to injury and that the drop off point for pitcher effectiveness is usually somewhere after the 100 pitch mark. After that, we're in the dark.

So we're smart to play it safe. I'd much, much rather err on the side of caution and be left wondering if we could have gotten another 20 good pitches out of him than push him to 110 or 120 and find out the wrong way. It's never a fixed rule; circumstance matters. But the manager should ask himself, is that extra inning's worth of production, which may or may not be any better than what a reliever will give us worth an increased risk of losing dozens in the form a DL stint?

Obviously the answer to that questions comes down to your assessment of the odds. But I'd make darn sure that inning was really necessary and that my starter was the clear best option.


To be honest, both charts to me say that the threshold is 120 pitches. Yeah, there is a slight bump for high endurance pitchers after 100 pitches, but both charts take a severe left turn at 120 pitches and continue up. Before 120 pitches, it's mostly a straight line with a few small waves, which usually means that the cause of the waves is just as likely to be randomness as it is something significant. But it's been awhile since my last statistic class, so maybe I'm reading it wrong.

And as for the argument that it's better to be safe than sorry, that's great when dealing with 5 year olds or even 15 year olds. But these are grown men playing a grown up sport where the object is to win.

It make sense to be better safe than sorry all the way up to and including the minors. But once these guys put on a major league uniform, they are soldiers whose sole purpose is to help the team win. Obviously, a team shouldn't put them in harms way foolishly, but there is no need to coddle them anymore either. If they can't handle the strain of pitching 100+ innings a start, then there is someone who can replace them.

(Sidenote: Inherit in this philosophy is a trust in the organization to do a reasonable job of developing talent. So I can understand why some Reds fans might not be able to adopt it yet.)

If a manager is constantly having to ask himself in every start, "should I let this guy pitch the 7th or should I use a reliever?" than that starter is not a good starter. Period. A good major league starter needs to be able to pitch deep into games in order for his team to win on a consistent basis, and that is what is most important, winning. If he can't do that, get someone who can, or at least, don't worry about him getting injured, he's not that valuable.

I think Homer Bailey and Johnny Cueto are fine young young men and I wish them well. But I want the team to win more than I want them individually to succeed. If they can't pitch more than 100 pitches a game by the end of this season, both at age 24 and past their injury nexus, then I don't want them pitching for the Reds.

The time is now for them to get over that hump and learn how to pitch deep into games. If they don't, it will be impossible for them to win on a consistent basis in the majors.