Originally Posted by Superdude
Have you watched the last month? The lockdown back end of our bullpen has been a trio of fringy or downright failed starters.
I don't see us aligning our views on how to assemble a bullpen anytime soon, but I don't understand your point about making the decision to groom prospects as relievers earlier. What's the benefit of that? You can take a bunch of starters and put them in the pen at the drop of a hat. It doesn't work the other way. By allocating a certain number of high upside arms to the pen at twenty or twenty one years old, haven't you just dwindled your supply of starting prospects for no reason?
The major advantage of assigning a reliever's role early is that the pitcher can be fast tracked to the big leagues. A pitcher like Lorenzen, as a reliever, can be in the big leagues in a year as a reliever. It helps you get young, controllable, relatively cheap talent in the big leagues sooner.
As a starter, the pitcher needs to learn multiple pitches, it takes a longer time, more coaching in the minors. A guy like Leake is an exception, a very polished college starting pitcher, but a pitcher like Lorenzen, a relatively raw pitcher who throws very hard, can often be in the bigs much more quickly in the pen.
In terms of dwindling the supply of starting pitchers, keep in mind that there are only five starting spots. Yes, you need depth, but the late inning relief spots are important too.
In terms of the Reds, neither Broxton nor Chapman has ever started a game in the major leagues. In both cases the decision was made relatively early to move them to the pen. These decisions today are being made even earlier.
Not saying every prospect should be made a reliever, not saying you can't have guys that switch from starting to relief, or vice versa. Just once in awhile it makes sense to take a very good arm and devote it to relief.