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View Full Version : The Re-Emergence of the 3 Inning Closer



savafan
10-14-2011, 09:10 PM
Not currently, but I think we'll see it again very soon. Granted, this is just my opinion, but the game of baseball is cyclical, and we see a team attempt something that works, then every other team follows suit until one team out there decides to try something else to be different from the others, and when that works other teams adopt that method.

I think that as new general managers enter the game, there will be that one guy who will eventually say, why am I paying $4 million to a middle relief pitcher who only pitches 70 innings a year? I could use an extra bat on my bench, and we have a glut of good starting pitchers and prospects, I could put this one guy at the back of my bullpen for 2-3 innings a few times a week and we could cut down on needing that extra pitcher while providing an extra bench spot for someone.

Like I said, I don't see it happening in the next couple seasons, but I can see this type of thinking creep back into the game, and it's something that personally, I'm looking forward to.

Tony Cloninger
10-15-2011, 10:56 AM
I wish they would develop pitchers who could go 2-3 innings.....closer, middle man....whatever.

Save money on bad middle relief by having guys, effective guys who can go 2-3 innings about every other day or 2. Basically a bullpen that had a Stan Belinda, Scott Sullivan, Danny Graves (when he was good in middle relief).....could save you almost 2 roster spots to use for the bench.

I know in Dayton they have used about 2-3 of their guys about 2 innings almost every time. Maybe they are hoping to develop more than just 1 inning guys. Hate that concept.....but Dusty loves it to begin with as a way to use his bullpen.

reds1869
10-15-2011, 11:54 AM
I know he is moving to the rotation, but I've always thought Chapman would be perfect for that role.

PuffyPig
10-15-2011, 02:42 PM
Save money on bad middle relief by having guys, effective guys who can go 2-3 innings about every other day or 2. Basically a bullpen that had a Stan Belinda, Scott Sullivan, Danny Graves (when he was good in middle relief).....could save you almost 2 roster spots to use for the bench.



You are talking about a reliever logging 160 plus innings.

The history has not been kind on relievers who have been used that much.

westofyou
10-15-2011, 02:49 PM
You are talking about a reliever logging 160 plus innings.

The history has not been kind on relievers who have been used that much.

True, and there have not been many of them at all, here's the guys who did it with 150 IP




INNINGS PITCHED >= 150
GAMES STARTED <= 0


1 Mike Marshall 2
T2 Dick Radatz 1
T2 Eddie Fisher 1
T2 Jim Konstanty 1
T2 Bill Campbell 1
T2 Hoyt Wilhelm 1
T2 Bob Stanley 1
T2 John Hiller 1
T2 Mark Eichhorn 1


And the guys who did it with between 1 and 5 games started




INNINGS PITCHED >= 150
GAMES STARTED BETWEEN 1 AND 5


T1 Andy Karl 1
T1 Jack Lamabe 1
T1 Allan Russell 1
T1 Lindy McDaniel 1
T1 Wilbur Wood 1
T1 Clay Carroll 1
T1 Garland Braxton 1

Chip R
10-15-2011, 06:20 PM
Not currently, but I think we'll see it again very soon. Granted, this is just my opinion, but the game of baseball is cyclical, and we see a team attempt something that works, then every other team follows suit until one team out there decides to try something else to be different from the others, and when that works other teams adopt that method.

I think that as new general managers enter the game, there will be that one guy who will eventually say, why am I paying $4 million to a middle relief pitcher who only pitches 70 innings a year? I could use an extra bat on my bench, and we have a glut of good starting pitchers and prospects, I could put this one guy at the back of my bullpen for 2-3 innings a few times a week and we could cut down on needing that extra pitcher while providing an extra bench spot for someone.

Like I said, I don't see it happening in the next couple seasons, but I can see this type of thinking creep back into the game, and it's something that personally, I'm looking forward to.

It would probably only happen in the AL where you don't have to pinch hit for the pitcher. But I don't see it happening in either league. The game - as most sports - has always evolved more towards specialization not less.

traderumor
10-15-2011, 10:12 PM
If anything, you will see managers staying with a reliever for 2 innings, and not going to his closer automatically. Starting to see some of that in the postseason. Leyland stuck with Coke the other night instead of bringing in Valverde, who had been roughed up the night before.

savafan
10-16-2011, 11:23 AM
It would probably only happen in the AL where you don't have to pinch hit for the pitcher. But I don't see it happening in either league. The game - as most sports - has always evolved more towards specialization not less.

I'll agree that it's been this way over the last 20 years or so, but I feel that eventually, we'll have a young hotshot GM come into this game and look at this model and feel that it doesn't make sense. Why pay a guy $400,00 to $1,000,000 whose job it is to come in to a game every few days to pitch to one guy? Are the percentages that much greater that a specialist gets that guy out as opposed to the middle reliever who's already in the game? Chances are, the percentage doesn't compare to the additional payroll for a guy with such a minimal number of innings pitched over a complete season, and that hotshot GM will try a different method.

Chip R
10-16-2011, 03:01 PM
I'll agree that it's been this way over the last 20 years or so, but I feel that eventually, we'll have a young hotshot GM come into this game and look at this model and feel that it doesn't make sense. Why pay a guy $400,00 to $1,000,000 whose job it is to come in to a game every few days to pitch to one guy? Are the percentages that much greater that a specialist gets that guy out as opposed to the middle reliever who's already in the game? Chances are, the percentage doesn't compare to the additional payroll for a guy with such a minimal number of innings pitched over a complete season, and that hotshot GM will try a different method.

Tony LaRussa is going to slap you in the face. ;)

You have a point but teams are willing to pay these guys that because they get the job done. Perhaps a Sam LeCure can get lefties out as often as Bill Bray can at a fraction of the cost. But when he doesn't, the manager and general manager is going to hear about it. The manager is an idiot because he put LeCure in the game to get a lefty out and the GM is an idiot because he hired the manager who wouldn't have a lefty facing a lefty.

Now, I don't think that you need to have lefty on lefty and vice versa at every opportunity in the late innings but it does work. Now what a smart front office does is to get pitchers to fill those spots at a bargain. Teams like Tampa Bay pretty much rolls over their whole bullpen every year rather than pay these players a premium.

Spitball
10-16-2011, 04:25 PM
I like the idea, but doubt it will really happen.

First, as WOY said, relief pitchers who pitch 100 plus innings have had a history of not lasting as long. Who wants to sign a pitcher to a multi-year contract and burn him out?

Second, a three inning relief stint would require more time between appearances. Closers are often needed on back to back days.

Also, I think it would require a sidearm slinger like Scott Sullivan or a knuckleballer to pitch that many innings. Typically, teams prefer a hard thrower in the closer role.


I think that as new general managers enter the game, there will be that one guy who will eventually say, why am I paying $4 million to a middle relief pitcher who only pitches 70 innings a year? I could use an extra bat on my bench, and we have a glut of good starting pitchers and prospects, I could put this one guy at the back of my bullpen for 2-3 innings a few times a week and we could cut down on needing that extra pitcher while providing an extra bench spot for someone.

See Theo Epstein when he first took over the Red Sox in 2002. This is close to his initial philosophy. It didn't last long.

I like the thinking outside the box, though. Personally, I'd rather see a return to the "fireman" who came into the game with runners on base to "put out the fire" at a crucial time. The best reliever used strategically at the most opportune time.

Tony Cloninger
10-16-2011, 04:40 PM
You cannot tell me that you cannot have at least 3 guys who can go close to 2 innings ......OK not every game or every other game....but at least have 3 guys who can do that once out of every 3 games?

I never said that it would be someone that would end up throwing 160 innings either. More like 70-75 games and close to 90-110 innings.

Some guys, just like starters.....can or are more effective throwing more than others. You need 2 long guys out of the bullpen and I do not mean guys that come in around the 3rd or 4th innings. I mean someone who can close down a game going 2 innings when your closer needs a rest. When a starter can only go 5-6, which is not happening as much around baseball as it was earlier last decade...but can with a weak starting staff like this, blow your bullpen out when you only pitch the relievers 1 inning or 0.2....or are just basically trained to not do much more to begin with.

You cannot do what TB did every other year either..... I used to take the Reds ability to build a bullpen for years. Seems like that is what they were good at...right through the 80's and into the beginning of the 2000's. Not the case anymore.

westofyou
10-16-2011, 05:27 PM
It's not the innings that kill the arm it's the appearances, getting up to be ready, not going in, going in for a batter, 100 games plus for a pitcher and 100 IP would be what would be better than a 160 IP guy, what would be great is a staff with two work horses like that

RFS62
10-16-2011, 05:32 PM
It's not the innings that kill the arm it's the appearances, getting up to be ready, not going in, going in for a batter, 100 games plus for a pitcher and 100 IP would be what would be better than a 160 IP guy, what would be great is a staff with two work horses like that


True. And a veteran manager can save many innings by not getting guys up too much, whether he uses them or not.

westofyou
10-16-2011, 07:35 PM
True. And a veteran manager can save many innings by not getting guys up too much, whether he uses them or not.

Ahh the human element comes in, yeah rubber arm guy like that needs a manager that doesn't fret and lets it evolve naturally that is an issue with so much money in the game. In my strat league last year I had a loogie that I had in 101 games, for 70 odd innings, problem is he still sucked

PuffyPig
10-16-2011, 10:33 PM
I never said that it would be someone that would end up throwing 160 innings either. More like 70-75 games and close to 90-110 innings.



70-75 games and 90-110 innings isn't the same as going 2-3 inning every second day or so (which is what you said).

70-75 games and 100 innings is what guys like Sullivan were doing. And it's still 1 inning more often than not.

traderumor
10-16-2011, 10:45 PM
The more I think about it, the more that I realize the current bullpen usage is more a result of starters not going deep into games, so until that dynamic changes, the 11 or 12 man bullpen made up of short relievers and specialists is necessary. The "shorter" bullpens of days gone by was possible because there was less likelihood of them being needed every day.

dfs
10-17-2011, 11:20 AM
The more I think about it, the more that I realize the current bullpen usage is more a result of starters not going deep into games, so until that dynamic changes, the 11 or 12 man bullpen made up of short relievers and specialists is necessary. The "shorter" bullpens of days gone by was possible because there was less likelihood of them being needed every day.

Current bullpen usage is driven by managers' obsession with having the platoon advantage as often as possible, even when the numbers don't dictate that the specific reliever/hitter matchup is worth the change. You don't HAVE to use Bill Bray for one batter every third day.

I don't think you'll see starters going further in the game till you reduce the tendency of so many players to take so many pitches and work counts. I don't see that trend changing any time soon.

Tony Cloninger
10-17-2011, 11:56 AM
70-75 games and 90-110 innings isn't the same as going 2-3 inning every second day or so (which is what you said).

70-75 games and 100 innings is what guys like Sullivan were doing. And it's still 1 inning more often than not.


OKay.....cannot be precise as to how it averages out to. But at least they went more than 1 inning more than a few times....how many times did anyone other than in a long EI game or LeClure...go more than an inning? Not many at all really.

Maybe in this staff starters are not going longer....but starters are going into the 7th way more than in the early to mid 2000's.

But since this one has about 3 guys who seem to be only capable of 5-6 innings...you need at least a few guys who can go more than 1.

I again just think it's Dusty's handling of his relievers in regards to usage for barely 1 inning many times.

savafan
10-17-2011, 06:45 PM
The more I think about it, the more that I realize the current bullpen usage is more a result of starters not going deep into games, so until that dynamic changes, the 11 or 12 man bullpen made up of short relievers and specialists is necessary. The "shorter" bullpens of days gone by was possible because there was less likelihood of them being needed every day.

This could be a valid point.

http://www.baseball-reference.com/leagues/AL/2011-standard-pitching.shtml

Tampa Bay's staff led the AL with 15 complete games. The Angels, Mariners and Texas were the only other AL teams in double digit CG.

http://www.baseball-reference.com/leagues/NL/2011-standard-pitching.shtml

Philadelphia led the NL with 18 complete games. No other NL team had more than 7.


http://www.baseball-reference.com/leagues/NL/1991-standard-pitching.shtml

To compare, in 1991, 20 years ago, every NL team except for Houston, Cincinnati and St. Louis were in double digit CG. Houston and Cincy were tied for last in the league with 7 each for their staff.

http://www.baseball-reference.com/leagues/AL/1991-standard-pitching.shtml

In the AL in 1991, you had Chicago lead the league with 28 CG. Milwaukee, Minnesota and Cleveland's staffs were all also over 20 CG. The only three teams with less than 10 were the Rangers, the Orioles and the Yankees.

Now, let's look back 30 years to 1981.

http://www.baseball-reference.com/leagues/AL/1981-standard-pitching.shtml

Oakland led the AL with 60 CG. Cleveland and Detroit each had 33. No team had less than Seattle who had 10.

http://www.baseball-reference.com/leagues/NL/1981-standard-pitching.shtml

The National League side of things was a little different, but remember you had pitchers hitting and double switches. Still, the staffs of LA, Cincinnati, Houston and Montreal all had 20 or more CG.

http://www.baseball-reference.com/leagues/NL/1971-standard-pitching.shtml

Going back 40 years to 1971, you had the Cubs leading the NL with 75 CG. 8 teams had 40 or more CG. Cincinnati was last in the league with 27.

http://www.baseball-reference.com/leagues/AL/1971-standard-pitching.shtml

In the AL, Baltimore led the way with 71 CG. Cleveland was last in the league with 21. 7 other teams had 43 or more CG on their staff.

PuffyPig
10-17-2011, 07:04 PM
But since this one has about 3 guys who seem to be only capable of 5-6 innings...you need at least a few guys who can go more than 1.

I again just think it's Dusty's handling of his relievers in regards to usage for barely 1 inning many times.

Pretty much any reliever could go more than 1 inning if that is how they were being used.

But managers eem to want to have every one available pretty much every game, so limits most reliever's usage to one inning at a time.