The closest you get is some arbitrary pitch count or innings increase. We are told numerous things about usage that can be disputed and are really just ignored. Like how Prior was never nearly as effective after 2003 (false), how no pitchers "today" would ever have innings increased like Prior did (false) or how guys like Webb, Johan and Peavy were treated properly and Arroyo was abused (maybe "true", but didn't really work out as anticipated).
I think it is pretty much common sense that more usage equals more wear and tear. But to try and assign specific blame to usage, mechanics or something else is pretty reckless. For every guy who was "abused" and eventually broke down we can likely find several who were "abused" and didn't break down, were babied and eventually broke down or broke down before ever getting the opportunity to get "abused".
I agree, it is prudent to be careful with pitching. Without a doubt. But to make claims about numbers of innings, pitches, etc is a stretch.
"No matter how good you are, you're going to lose one-third of your games. No matter how bad you are you're going to win one-third of your games. It's the other third that makes the difference." ~Tommy Lasorda
For an introductory explanation of why pitch counts and innings limits have become common practice I would recommend Baseball Between the Numbers by Baseball Prospectus. There are many, many more studies on the subject available on FanGraphs, Baseball Prospectus' website and pretty much any other sabermetric resource on the market.
Teams have been using innings limits in baseball for 30+ years, so this is nothing new. For a century it was standard practice for pitchers to throw 300 or even 400 innings per year. Here is a list of the league leaders in innings pitched per season. Eventually teams realized that pitchers performed much, much better when they were not worked so hard. In baseball history there have been 826 times where a pitcher threw 300+ innings in a single season. Know when the last time a pitcher hurled 300+ innings was? Steve Carlton way back in 1980, 33 years ago. It has been 25 years since a pitcher threw even 275 innings. Even before sabermetrics, people began to realize that a pitcher was much less effective as his pitch counts rose during a game. They also saw that players tended to get injured or have their performance suffer after a long game with a lot of pitches thrown.
Mark Prior had a 179 ERA+ in 2003 (one of the top 100 pitching performances in baseball history). His ERA+ in 2004 was only 110, which is a HUGE dropoff. His ERA+ in 2005 was only 120. He was still an above-average pitcher, but he was nowhere near the elite superstar he was in 2003. In 2006 his ERA+ was 65 and he only lasted 43 innings and then his career was over. So it is very clear that Mark Prior was never nearly as effective after 2003 despite your assertions to the contrary.
Pitchers today are not worked as hard as Mark Prior was in 2003. It is extremely rare for a pitcher to exceed 120 pitches in a game on a regular basis. It is also very uncommon to see pitchers get drastic increases in innings, especially when they are young. Once in a while it happens, but not nearly as often or to the same degree that used to be commonplace. This is one major reason why pitching is better across the board in today's game. Pitchers are more effective and throw harder than they ever have, largely because their arms are healthier and stronger because they are taken care of much better.
We can debate over exactly what the limits should be, but it isn't really debatable that limits are necessary and effective.
Last edited by AtomicDumpling; 03-04-2013 at 05:41 AM.
Uhhh Baker is the reason why he is where he is. Probably not the best idea lol.That just tells me that Mark Prior doesn't understand what happened to him all of these years later.
Again...my argument isn't that pitch counts and usage limits are dumb. Quite the contrary It's more about how trying to link a specific 10 start stretch or even one season to an injury while ignoring everything else. Including human nature.
Sports Illustrated published a short story about Prior signing to play with the Reds HERE. It sounds like his main issue has been control in the minors in recent seasons.
“A healthy Reds team is a strong Reds team"
Anyone have any idea when he will get to throw this spring?
Assuming 5-7 starts lost to the change in rotation size would reduce inning load from 30 to 50 innings per season without even getting into pitch counts.
For every Koufax there was a Willie Davis, for every Marichal a Hal Lanier, in the span of 1963-1968 there were 36 regulars in MLB who had over 150 games played and a slugging percentage less than .400 and a on base percentage less than .300. in the years of 1953-1958 there were 4. The game had swung drastically to the other end of the spectrum in the years between 1953 and 1968, glove men with little on base skills or pop were all over the place, among them was perhaps the most wonderful outmaker of all, Hal Lanier.
Lanier came to the dish 1075 times in the 67-68 seasons and made an astonishing 871 outs, that’s an out 76% of the time he batted. Of the 212 hits that he had 16% were extra bases, none home runs.
Lanier’s 1968 season produced the worst secondary average (The formula is (TB-H+BB+SB)/AB) in the history of the modern game, with his 1969 and 1967 season taking slots 3 and 4.
Meanwhile his teammate Juan Marichal was starting 64 games, piling up 528 innings pitched going 40-19 with a 2.56 era.
Ying and Yang I guess…
If Ray Oyler had been just a little bit better, he could have qualified as being far worse than even Hal Lanier. If that makes any sense.
Any word from the Reds on whether they'll start him or put him in the pen?
League-wide innings reductions were not a by-product of switching to a five-man rotation, the opposite is true. Five man rotations were a by-product of teams wanting to reduce the workload of their pitchers.