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Thread: ORG Weekly Discussion #2 - The Starting Rotation

  1. #16
    TyrannoSuarez Wrecks WrongVerb's Avatar
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    Re: ORG Weekly Discussion #2 - The Starting Rotation

    Quote Originally Posted by puca View Post
    As M2 pointed out, it is more an issue with not being able to get any of the young starters to stick. When thrown against the wall, too many of the Reds young pitchers bounced. The Rockies led the league in starts by rookie pitchers in 2017, they are way down that list in 2018 and hovering around .500. The Reds rebuild has been a disaster especially from a pitching perspective, and it has less to do with not adding veteran pitchers than it has to do with not developing the arms they had. Perhaps adding veterans would have allowed them to be more patient with the young pitchers, but I'm not convinced that any amount of time would have been sufficient. I just think they don't have a clue how to develop a young starting pitcher.
    That's a fair point, given the evidence up to now. I still would like to have seen that approach, rather than the "see what sticks" method the Reds have employed to this point. I've been saying for 3 seasons now that the Reds needed two reliable starters, meaning guys who were established and who weren't coming off injuries, in part because they have such a tough time developing starters. The Reds, not having obtained pitchers like that, have gotten this team into a bad mess. The only solution at this point is scrap heap (Harvey is the latest) or trading players doing well like Gennett or prospects like Senzel and Trammell to obtain the starting pitching that can stabiliize this staff.
    The world is a messy place. People are inconsistent and complicated. Maybe we should see how different things could be if we gave grace and forgiveness to our fellow human beings when they fail to be perfect in our eyes. -- me

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    Moderator cumberlandreds's Avatar
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    Re: ORG Weekly Discussion #2 - The Starting Rotation

    Of this list from the OP with last years starters only one you could make an argument for has improved from last year, That is Mahle and you could easily argue the other way too. All the others either aren't a part of this organization,have had an injury or have regressed. IMO that is pretty damning of this organization and its abilities to develop starting pitching.

    Starters last season:

    Scott Feldman
    Tim Adleman
    Homer Bailey
    Sal Romano
    Luis Castillo
    Bronson Arroyo
    Amir Garrett
    Robert Stephenson
    Asher Wojehowski
    Rookie Davis
    Lisalverto Bonilla
    Jackson Stephens
    Tyler Mahle
    Brandon Finnegan
    Deck McGuire
    Cody Reed
    Reds Fan Since 1971

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    Middle Class Rut TRF's Avatar
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    Re: ORG Weekly Discussion #2 - The Starting Rotation

    Not sure why Romano still has a rotation spot. He should be in Louisville working on a third pitch or beginning his transition to the bullpen. Lorenzen or Stephenson should be taking his spot.

    The sad part of this is Homer Bailey. I honestly believe that a guy throwing upwards of 96 and being so close to the plate is a valuable asset. It really does seem to be an inability or unwillingness to throw pitches that might stress his elbow in any way. I understand, at a rudimentary level, spin rates. While nothing is absolute, his changeup has one of the lowest spin rates in baseball, and his FB isn't much better relative to other pitchers.

    Simply put, he throws hard but straight. The hitter has a bit better idea of what is coming.

    Homer Bailey used to have a HAMMER curve. According to Statcast, he has not thrown a curveball this year. Now while that seems unlikely, his own statements bare that out which lends a little credence to my theory. He's still unsure.

    More spin, more movement. More success?
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    Re: ORG Weekly Discussion #2 - The Starting Rotation

    Quote Originally Posted by WrongVerb View Post
    That's a fair point, given the evidence up to now. I still would like to have seen that approach, rather than the "see what sticks" method the Reds have employed to this point. I've been saying for 3 seasons now that the Reds needed two reliable starters, meaning guys who were established and who weren't coming off injuries, in part because they have such a tough time developing starters. The Reds, not having obtained pitchers like that, have gotten this team into a bad mess. The only solution at this point is scrap heap (Harvey is the latest) or trading players doing well like Gennett or prospects like Senzel and Trammell to obtain the starting pitching that can stabiliize this staff.
    I disagree. The failure to produce starting pitching in-house is what has put this team into the mess they are in and they will remain helpless until they figure out how to do that. The Reds will never have the resources to build a starting rotation through free-agency or trades. They could augment it, but the still need a majority of the starters and the necessary back-fill to come from their farm system.

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    Re: ORG Weekly Discussion #2 - The Starting Rotation

    Quote Originally Posted by puca View Post
    I disagree. The failure to produce starting pitching in-house is what has put this team into the mess they are in and they will remain helpless until they figure out how to do that. The Reds will never have the resources to build a starting rotation through free-agency or trades. They could augment it, but the still need a majority of the starters and the necessary back-fill to come from their farm system.
    I agree the starting pitching development is the biggest problem and fixing it is really the only way back to respectability, but what's the theory behind the idea that a rotation for a small market team couldn't be built through trades?
    I dont care, Votto said of passing his friend and former teammate. Hes in the past. Bye-bye, Jay.

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    Re: ORG Weekly Discussion #2 - The Starting Rotation

    Quote Originally Posted by TRF View Post
    Not sure why Romano still has a rotation spot. He should be in Louisville working on a third pitch or beginning his transition to the bullpen. Lorenzen or Stephenson should be taking his spot.
    Romano should have never been promoted (as a starter) until he had a third pitch - frankly he should not have made it past AA. That is one of the problems I have with the Reds development process, it seems to be based on numbers and not readiness. Which is all kind of counter-productive in that pitchers will not work on secondary stuff until they start failing. Sort of like the peter principle where pitchers are promoted until they fail rather than preparing them to succeed at the next level before they are promoted.

    Stephenson still has not show consistency in AAA. I don't really want him thrown back into the major league rotation until/unless he does. You think Romano is frustrating, think back to when Stephenson was in the rotation.

    No reason to believe Lorenzen would hold up as a starter, but whatever, the Titanic is already submerged.

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    Re: ORG Weekly Discussion #2 - The Starting Rotation

    Quote Originally Posted by puca View Post
    I disagree. The failure to produce starting pitching in-house is what has put this team into the mess they are in and they will remain helpless until they figure out how to do that. The Reds will never have the resources to build a starting rotation through free-agency or trades. They could augment it, but the still need a majority of the starters and the necessary back-fill to come from their farm system.
    I would speculatively argue that part of the reason for so many failed starters is that the Reds relied on them too heavily to be productive major league pitchers at the time of promotion. The only one who's done that so far is Castillo. Mahle and Finnegan percolated for a short time before seeing some success (though Finny has regressed). If the Reds had a couple bona fide major league starters after the Cueto trade, the need to rely on rookies to be immediately productive would have been mitigated. Now, they did have DeSclafani and couldn't have predicted his 2016 went as it did. But they knew in 2017 that he was coming off injury and shouldn't be reasonably counted on to carry a significant load. Also, the team knew Bailey was going to be out for an extended period of time at the end of 2015, but didn't do anything in hopes that he could return to form by mid-2016.

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    Quote Originally Posted by puca View Post
    Romano should have never been promoted (as a starter) until he had a third pitch - frankly he should not have made it past AA. That is one of the problems I have with the Reds development process, it seems to be based on numbers and not readiness. Which is all kind of counter-productive in that pitchers will not work on secondary stuff until they start failing. Sort of like the peter principle where pitchers are promoted until they fail rather than preparing them to succeed at the next level before they are promoted.

    Stephenson still has not show consistency in AAA. I don't really want him thrown back into the major league rotation until/unless he does. You think Romano is frustrating, think back to when Stephenson was in the rotation.

    No reason to believe Lorenzen would hold up as a starter, but whatever, the Titanic is already submerged.
    I can agree with all this. I might still take a flyer on Lorenzen (and Garrett) in the rotation. But I'll point out that "taking a flyer" typically means "without a plan" or "deviating from the plan" which is part of, I believe, your overall complaint about the Reds: they don't seem to be operating with any development plan or philosophy for their pitching prospects. (IIRC, Hunter Greene's camp had these same reservations prior to the 2017 draft.)
    Last edited by WrongVerb; 06-11-2018 at 03:35 PM.
    The world is a messy place. People are inconsistent and complicated. Maybe we should see how different things could be if we gave grace and forgiveness to our fellow human beings when they fail to be perfect in our eyes. -- me

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    Re: ORG Weekly Discussion #2 - The Starting Rotation

    Quote Originally Posted by Tom Servo View Post
    I agree the starting pitching development is the biggest problem and fixing it is really the only way back to respectability, but what's the theory behind the idea that a rotation for a small market team couldn't be built through trades?
    The Reds certainly could build a rotation through trades, but it takes prospects of decent quality and quantity to deal for an established major league starter. They come with a higher salary and typically fewer years of control. If the Reds were willing to trade their top prospects, they probably could build a major league average rotation for the next few years. Unfortunately they would still have a below average outfield and shortstop with fewer resources to address. That rotation would have approximately a 2 year shelf life and then the Reds would be back at square one. If injuries occur, they would still need to fill from within. If you are talking about trading for young non-established pitchers to build a rotation, then you would need to have faith that the Reds can identify pitchers that are ready to blossom. Considering that they haven't been able to do that with their own prospects, I have my doubts.

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    Re: ORG Weekly Discussion #2 - The Starting Rotation

    I have been very pessimistic about the rotation and the Reds development.

    They have spent to much time over promoting pitchers to the majors and not having enough veterans to take the pressure of the starters.

    I think I am seeing the Reds starting to do things some what differently which gives me hope.
    1. They were willing to take Homer out of the rotation.
    2. They are finally letting Finnegan pitch in AAA to get himself physically back to were he was (takes time to build the arm back up and stretch it out again) This will allow for the fine command to come back.
    3. They are also letting Stephenson get comfortable with his delivery.
    4. Disco will get the rest of the year to get back to what he was (see Finnegan)
    5. Mahle is doing OK as a first year starter
    6. Castillo has shown promise in the past. I believe with a little work he will be OK
    7. Keeping Reed in AAA to prove himself first

    If this team can get a couple of starters before next year a Chacin type ( we were predicted to sign) and maybe a Blake Snell type.
    a couple of solid vets, Disco and Finnegan pitching back into who they were, Castillo/Mahle maturing/advancing as pitchers could be 6 guys fighting for 5 spots next year. Hopefully Reed or Stephenson finishes cooking in AAA. Romano can be the replacement level depth long reliever/temporary starter.

    No more counting on injured pitchers or forcing guys to pitch in the majors before they are ready maybe a possibility next year

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    Re: ORG Weekly Discussion #2 - The Starting Rotation

    Quote Originally Posted by puca View Post
    I disagree. The failure to produce starting pitching in-house is what has put this team into the mess they are in and they will remain helpless until they figure out how to do that. The Reds will never have the resources to build a starting rotation through free-agency or trades. They could augment it, but the still need a majority of the starters and the necessary back-fill to come from their farm system.
    The issue is both, in my opinion. A lack of quality options has led to the Reds having no tangible ability to improve the starting rotation at all - the guys who are being called up are either low-quality or lack development, and are simply replacing one another. This is how they ended up with Homer Bailey as the Opening Day starter - not because of money owed (although that's part of the equation), but because Bailey's career statistics made him less of a pressing issue to address as opposed to the back end of the rotation, which is a revolving door of dreck. Until the Reds decide to find out how to improve the rotation, which is probably only going to happen through trade or free agency at this point, they will be hard pressed to find ways to do much more than the current taxi squad type players who are shuttling between Louisville and Cincinnati.
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    Re: ORG Weekly Discussion #2 - The Starting Rotation

    No need for a starting rotation. Almost every current pitcher has proven that he is a demonstrably better pitcher in his first three or so innings than in later innings. Limit all staff to that many innings per game. Not forcing them to face hitters for a third time through the lineup:
    1. Lowers their ERA.
    2. Lowers their batting-average-against.
    3. Allows some to succeed without needing a third pitch.
    4. Permits some to throw at 100% effort, not trying to coast through a longer stint at 80% effort.
    5. Frees up salary (with no high-paid designated TOR) to be spent on drafting, signing, keeping the best position players they can afford.
    Currently, Eglesias, Lorenzen, Garrett, Hughes, Hernandez, and the younger guys in the pen are succeeding that way.
    Its already working!
    Last edited by Far East; 06-12-2018 at 10:32 AM. Reason: Spelling

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    Re: ORG Weekly Discussion #2 - The Starting Rotation

    Quote Originally Posted by Far East View Post
    No need for a starting rotation. Almost every current pitcher has proven that he is a demonstrably better pitcher in his first three or so innings than in later innings. Limit all staff to that many innings per game. Not forcing them to face hitters for a third time through the lineup:
    1. Lowers their ERA.
    2. Lowers their batting-average-against.
    3. Allows some to succeed without needing a third pitch.
    4. Permits some to throw at 100% effort, not trying to coast through a longer stint at 80% effort.
    5. Frees up salary (with no high-paid designated TOR) to be spent on drafting, signing, keeping the best position players they can afford.
    Currently, Eglesias, Lorenzen, Garrett, Hughes, Hernandez, and the younger guys in the pen are succeeding that way.
    It’s already working!
    It makes me wonder if an approach similar to how bowlers are selected in Cricket could be a success in MLB. In Cricket, bowlers are selected based on specific matchups, and limits placed within the game don't allow any single bowler to bowl more than 20% of the innings in a match. This would be similar to pitchers going for 2 innings each in a MLB game. Cricket matches in league play occur 2-3 times per week, but the same bowlers are used each time, so that could be approximately equal to using pitchers every other day.

    It would never happen at MLB due to team stubbornness to experiment at the highest level in the game and due to pre-defined roles being taught to players throughout their entire careers, but it could be an interesting experiment if a team ever decided to try it. It doesn't immediately strike me as being flawed, as opposed to other ideas like the Hamilton immediate pinch-runner idea thrown about early in the season or spring.
    Quote Originally Posted by westofyou View Post
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    Re: ORG Weekly Discussion #2 - The Starting Rotation

    My overall frustration boils down to one over-arching problem:

    Rotation spots are consistently being handed to players that have not demonstrated that there is a high likelihood that they will succeed.

    This goes beyond the prospect element, but also, for veteran players. Pitchers are claiming rotation spots despite in most cases there being mounds of evidence that they will not succeed. I get that with many prospects there are no guarantees, and that patience is required when they are first stepping into the big leagues. But in the case of each of the following, these players either had poor results as a starters in the minors, or had a very short period of success in the upper minors:

    -Finnegan (consistently ultra high walk rates as a starter throughout minors)
    -Romano (K rate under 6 in AAA)
    -Stepheneson (poor command issues)
    -Garrett (pedestrian AAA numbers)
    -Castillo (17 starts above A ball)
    -Rookie Davis (pedestrian numbers at AAA)

    These stories didn't feel like they had actually done enough to lay claim to a full time MLB rotation slot, and if anything only acts to start players' time clocks earlier during developmental seasons. As far as veteran players go, rotation spots have been saved and handed for each of Bailey, Finnegan, Desclafani, and Arroyo despite there being significant injuries and/or very poor prior year performances at play.

    Overall - the method of handing these key roster spots to not just unknowns, but players that have actually demonstrated a high likelihood of failure has created the trainwreck that has been the Reds rotation the past few years. Not only that, but it has fostered an environment where the major league roster is simply an extension of the minor league system as a type of "training grounds" for prospects, and a rehabilitation community for recovering starting pitchers. Failure is not only an option, but seemingly an expectation in this scenario. I believe the Reds need to get to a point where there is a clear division between the minor leagues and the major league roster. These 5 rotation spots need to be coveted and earned with demonstrated performance where there is a reasonable likelihood and expectation of success. Failure results in loss of role, no debate about it. The bullpen can be used as a place for failed starters to earn back their roles, and work the kinks out when performance is not achieved (perhaps Bailey would have been more open to this if there was a track record of this option being pursued and created accountability and some level of success).

    Now - that is easier said than done. There aren't always 5 magical starters that are out there that can be filled in these spots at a rate affordable to the Reds. But even if its stop gaps like Feldman, or educated investments such as Mikolas that are pursued, it could go a long way to at least stabilizing parts of the rotation, letting players develop at appropriate levels, poor performing players being pushed into less important roles, fostering increased competition where rotation spots actually need to be earned with strong performance, and eliminating the "next man up" mantra of the current MLB rotation.
    Last edited by Patrick Bateman; 06-12-2018 at 11:44 AM.

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  21. #29
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    Re: ORG Weekly Discussion #2 - The Starting Rotation

    Quote Originally Posted by TRF View Post
    Not sure why Romano still has a rotation spot. He should be in Louisville working on a third pitch or beginning his transition to the bullpen. Lorenzen or Stephenson should be taking his spot.

    The sad part of this is Homer Bailey. I honestly believe that a guy throwing upwards of 96 and being so close to the plate is a valuable asset. It really does seem to be an inability or unwillingness to throw pitches that might stress his elbow in any way. I understand, at a rudimentary level, spin rates. While nothing is absolute, his changeup has one of the lowest spin rates in baseball, and his FB isn't much better relative to other pitchers.

    Simply put, he throws hard but straight. The hitter has a bit better idea of what is coming.

    Homer Bailey used to have a HAMMER curve. According to Statcast, he has not thrown a curveball this year. Now while that seems unlikely, his own statements bare that out which lends a little credence to my theory. He's still unsure.

    More spin, more movement. More success?
    If that STATCAST figure is correct, that really would lend some credence to the idea that he is sinply hesitant to pitch the way he used to and makes this all the more frustrating.

    I'll also mention that as much as I've enjoyed Garrett's impact on a greatly improved bullpen, I think it would be disastrous if he's not tried in the rotation again soon.
    (Referring to Jack Hannahan signing with a Korean team)
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    Re: ORG Weekly Discussion #2 - The Starting Rotation

    Once the franchise fully committed to the rebuild following in July of 2015, a rather sound plan for assembling the rotation was in place: Iglesias, Bailey and DeSclafani manning 3/5 of the rotation with one of the above, likely Iglesias, manning the top spot, with, among others, the three pitchers acquired from KC in the Cueto deal fighting it out for the final two spots in the rotation.

    Then, we all know what transpired after the '15 season with no discernible Plan "B" in place once Bailey never fully recovered (and that's the understatement of the year), Iglesias moved to the pen (understandable, given injury/durablility concerns), and DeSclafani sidelined for the duration of last season.

    Most everyone has already expounded (no need to elaborate) upon the reasoning(s) as to why it's basically been a disaster assembling a viable rotation post-Cueto, et all, though Straily certainly worked out -- and was subsequently, wisely flipped for Castillo -- and Mahle has been a much-needed bright spot. Moving forward, though, I cannot envision a playoff-caliber rotation assembled in time to realistically compete before 2021 without the organization resorting to a mode of operation in which they've been hesitant to deploy.....The churning of their own prospects within the time confines of the rebuild.
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