Jerry Narron is hard on starting pitchers. All of the talk about Bronson Arroyo's struggles since throwing close to 130 pitches in San Diego made me wonder exactly how hard. Maybe Pitcher Abuse Points (PAP) could help answer this. Pitcher Abuse Points was devised by Rany Jazerli (based on pioneering work done by Craig Wright). Basically it looks at a pitcher's workload (number of pitches thrown) and looks both at how it affects a pitcher's performance and their chance of future injury. Jazerli discovered that up until 100 pitches a start there is virtually no stress to a pitcher's arm. After 100 pitches the stress increases cubically. He came up with five categories.
That is a very cursory explanation of PAP, and I am sure others can do a much better job. In the 2007 edition of Baseball Prospectus there is a nice article on Pitch Counts. It reexamines PAP. There is a table in the article that seems useful. It places all the starts made since 1961 and places them in one of the five Categories. I took their chart for the years that Jerry Narron has managed and compiled a table for how he has handled pitchers and compared that to the league average table in the BP article.
CAT 1 - <100 pitches - no stress
CAT 2 - 100-109 pitches - low stress
CAT 3 - 110-121 pitches - medium stress
CAT 4 - 122-132 pitches - high stress
CAT 5 - 133+ pitches - suicide
*NOTE: I used the ML-2006 numbers for ML-2007.
CAT-1 CAT-2 CAT-3 CAT-4 CAT-5
<100 101-109 110-121 122-132 133+
ML-2001 59.5% 21.0% 15.9% 3.3% 0.3%
TX-2001 44.0% 26.2% 24.6% 5.2% 0.0%
ML-2002 59.1% 21.9% 15.7% 3.2% 0.2%
TX-2002 47.5% 28.4% 21.6% 2.5% 0.0%
ML-2005 57.9% 25.2% 15.2% 1.6% 0.1%
CN-2005 56.5% 26.1% 17.4% 0.0% 0.0%
ML-2006 60.1% 25.3% 13.2% 1.4% 0.1%
CN-2006 50.6% 25.9% 21.7% 1.2% 0.6%
ML-2007 60.1% 25.3% 13.2% 1.4% 0.1%
CN-2007 46.7% 30.0% 23.3% 0.0% 0.0%
TOT-ML 59.3% 23.7% 14.6% 2.2% 0.2%
TOT-JN 49.1% 27.3% 21.7% 1.8% 0.1%
As can be seen Jerry Narron tends to push his starters very hard. Aside from 2005, when he had next to nothing in the way of starting pitching his yearly averages are higher than the norm. His CAT-1 (stress-free) starts are well below major league average. Cat-2 and Cat-2 starts are well above the norm. At least he doesn't let his pitchers throw a ridiculous amount of pitches very often.
This does not bode well for Harang and Arroyo. To get the maximum value out the life of their contracts WK should admonish Narron to scale back a bit on their pitch counts. Or maybe Jerry needs to be replaced with a manager who is more pitch-count concious.
It also does not bode well for the development of the pitchers coming up through the farm system. Say a little prayer for Homer Bailey.
The bottom line is that it seems to me Narron has no feel for handling a pitching staff.