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Thread: Time is ripe to try the four man rotation...

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    Member Spitball's Avatar
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    Time is ripe to try the four man rotation...

    Earl Weaver believed in the four man rotation because, "It's easier to find four starting pitchers than five." The Reds can’t say for sure they have more than two. But, short of Bob Boone coming back, this won’t happen…and I’m not for Bob Boone coming back in any form.

    Going with a four-man rotation would be a big gamble, but so is going with Harang, Arroyo, and praying for three days of rain. Why try to shove a square Affeldt into a round rotation hole? If you have only two sure starters, one pretty sure starter, and two question marks, shouldn't it be worth a consideration to explore unconventional wisdom if it means putting more competent players on the field every game?

    Ray Jazayerli wrote three articles back in '02 in which he made a pretty good argument for the four man rotation.

    http://www.baseballprospectus.com/ne...octoring.shtml

    http://www.baseballprospectus.com/ne...octoring.shtml

    There is a third article but I can't find it.

    There is little evidence four man rotations lead to arm injury. In fact, Leo Mazzone felt the opposite was true, but he couldn't get the Braves to travel the less conventional path. Instead, he had his starters throw twice instead of once between starts. Also, Mazzone, Jazayerli, Weaver and others feel that the four man rotation keeps the pitchers sharper and more effective.

    Why shouldn't the Reds try it? It would improve the quality of the rotation, improve the quality of the bullpen, and improve the offense to a degree. Plus, number five starters are usually either very under-qualified and/or terribly over-paid.

    If the Reds went with Harang, Arroyo, Belisle, and Volquez as starters, they could develop Bailey and Cueto in long relief as Earl Weaver did in the 1970's. I’m not talking about today's model of middle relief in which the reliever pitches an inning and throws one or maybe two different pitches. I'm talking about three or more innings, facing the order more than once and developing secondary pitches. I'm talking about the old Earl Weaver model.

    So, you have Cordero closing, Bailey and Cueto developing/long relief, and you have Affeldt, Burton, and Weathers in the bullpen. That is an old fashioned ten man pitching staff. That leaves two additional roster spots that will either improve late inning defense and/or late inning offense.

    "...I hope, which is that if innovation was a pointless exercise, everyone would simply give up on innovation.
    But that's not the way to get ahead. The way to get ahead isn't to do what everybody else is doing, unless you've got the resources to do what everybody else is doing, but do them better."-Rob Neyer on using the four man rotation.
    Last edited by Spitball; 01-27-2008 at 01:40 AM.
    "I am your child from the future. I'm sorry I didn't tell you this earlier." - Dylan Easton

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  3. #2
    Member icehole3's Avatar
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    Re: Time is ripe to try the four man rotation...

    it'll never happen again, pitchers are QBs.

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    Re: Time is ripe to try the four man rotation...

    Quote Originally Posted by icehole3 View Post
    it'll never happen again, pitchers are QBs.

    I think it will happen again, but it will take the right people and the right circumstances. If a team goes four man and is successful, others will follow. It is just tough to break ranks with conventional wisdom because of the second guessing.
    "I am your child from the future. I'm sorry I didn't tell you this earlier." - Dylan Easton

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    nothing more than a fan Always Red's Avatar
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    Re: Time is ripe to try the four man rotation...

    Quote Originally Posted by Spitball View Post
    I think it will happen again, but it will take the right people and the right circumstances. If a team goes four man and is successful, others will follow. It is just tough to break ranks with conventional wisdom because of the second guessing.
    I don't think it will ever happen again, either. Heck, in Japan, SP's only go once a week, with a 6 man rotation and every Monday is an off day.

    I agree with your theory, though. The problem is one of risk, as I see it. The first time someone in a 4 man rotation goes down with a bad shoulder or elbow, the manager will be blamed for overuse and pitcher abuse.

    No one wants to be blamed for abusing pitchers, and we know that lots of pitchers get hurt who don't really throw all that much. But I think this is one of those situations where perception becomes reality.

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    Member icehole3's Avatar
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    Re: Time is ripe to try the four man rotation...

    a little secret, Dusty Baker likes to pitch his pitchers until their arms explode.


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    Re: Time is ripe to try the four man rotation...

    For it to work,you need 4 pitchers who can go every 4th day.

    Maybe you can convince me that Harang and Arroto could do it.

    But Belisle and Volquez?

    No chance.
    Last edited by PuffyPig; 01-27-2008 at 10:30 AM.

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    Re: Time is ripe to try the four man rotation...

    [QUOTE=icehole3;1541156]a little secret, Dusty Baker likes to pitch his pitchers until their arms explode.

    Dusty Baker was the cause of this one time...

    I've been to dinner at Jimmy Buffet's house, and I've eaten it at a homeless shelter. And there's great joy and harrowing terror to be found in both places.
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    Re: Time is ripe to try the four man rotation...

    Actually, I would go the other way around.
    Put Harang and Arroyo out there every fifth day and send up one of Belisle, Bailey, Valquez, Maloney and Cueto out there in sequence. (every eighth day)

    Now, you can't do that for roster reasons, but that would keep the innings off the young arms while allowing them to pitch where they should be.
    "Even a bad day at the ballpark beats the snot out of most other good days. I'll take my scorecard and pencil and beer and hot dog and rage at the dips and cheer at the highs, but I'm not ever going to stop loving this game and this team and nobody will ever take that away from me." Roy Tucker October 2010

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    Re: Time is ripe to try the four man rotation...

    Quote Originally Posted by dfs View Post
    Actually, I would go the other way around.
    Put Harang and Arroyo out there every fifth day and send up one of Belisle, Bailey, Valquez, Maloney and Cueto out there in sequence. (every eighth day)

    Now, you can't do that for roster reasons, but that would keep the innings off the young arms while allowing them to pitch where they should be.

    Interesting idea. Let them start day 1, rest days 2,3 throw an inning or two in relief days 4 or 5 and rest days 6,7. Gets them ML innings, one of the guys on days 4 or 5 is your long man in case of emergency, and you leave your pen at Cordero, Weathers, Burton, Affedlt, Bray with a couple of swing guys.

    I might include Belisle in the rotation and just run out the 4 kids between the two spots. But I think the concept is interesting.

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    Five Tool Fool jojo's Avatar
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    Re: Time is ripe to try the four man rotation...

    I say if we're going with tradition, how about bringing back the doubleheader first?

    I might consider a 4 man rotation experiment as long as Arroyo doesn't start both games of a doubleheader...

    P.S. And can we limit Harang to under 350 innings?
    "This isnít stats vs scouts - this is stats and scouts working together, building an organization that blends the best of both worlds. This is the blueprint for how a baseball organization should be run. And, whether the baseball men of the 20th century like it or not, this is where baseball is going."---Dave Cameron, U.S.S. Mariner

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    Re: Time is ripe to try the four man rotation...

    I think the best way for it to work would be to have pitchers begin to do this in the minors (with lesser innings). Then that way, they're ready when they get to the bigs. So, I think it would take re-tooling the farm system for this to be effective.

    As previously alluded to though, pitchers are like QB's and I don't see it happening.

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    Mon chou Choo vaticanplum's Avatar
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    Re: Time is ripe to try the four man rotation...

    We need a bullpen of about four times the quality it is now before we even consider going to a four-man rotation. If we want Harang and Arroyo to survive their contracts, anyway.
    There is no such thing as a pitching prospect.

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    Re: Time is ripe to try the four man rotation...

    Quote Originally Posted by vaticanplum View Post
    We need a bullpen of about four times the quality it is now before we even consider going to a four-man rotation.
    I'd say a bullpen of Bailey and Cueto pitching three or four innings every four days and Affeldt, Weathers, Burton, Bray, and Cordero would be a pretty good bullpen.


    Quote Originally Posted by vaticanplum
    If we want Harang and Arroyo to survive their contracts, anyway.
    Rob Neyer says he has seen absolutely no evidence that four-man rotations cause more damage than five-man rotations.

    This is only a small part of one of Jazayerli's essays on his study:

    "Bottom line: if these numbers suggest anything, it's that pitching in a four-man rotation is less damaging than pitching in a five-man rotation. Now, the difference between the two groups isn't enormous, and neither is the sample size, so I'll concede the point that these differences are not statistically significant. I'm not trying to argue that working on three days' rest is more healthy than working on four days' rest, only that it isn't less healthy. Given the obvious tactical benefits that come from taking innings away from the worst pitchers on your staff and giving them to your best, shouldn't that be enough?"

    So, if there is evidence suggesting that there really isn't greater injury risk with the four-man, then why not forge ahead. Courage and innovation have created a successful path for Billy Beane in Oakland. Courage is an attitude that leads to action. Innovation is the ability to improvize in order to maximize with available tools. As Rob Neyer said in promoting the four-man rotation, "The way to get ahead isn't to do what everybody else is doing, unless you've got the resources to do what everybody else is doing, but do them better." Apply that quote to the Reds situation and courage/innovation seem to be a more appealing choice than running Jeremy Affeldt out to the mound thirty times this summer.
    "I am your child from the future. I'm sorry I didn't tell you this earlier." - Dylan Easton

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    Mon chou Choo vaticanplum's Avatar
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    Re: Time is ripe to try the four man rotation...

    Quote Originally Posted by Spitball View Post
    I'd say a bullpen of Bailey and Cueto pitching three or four innings every four days and Affeldt, Weathers, Burton, Bray, and Cordero would be a pretty good bullpen.




    Rob Neyer says he has seen absolutely no evidence that four-man rotations cause more damage than five-man rotations.

    This is only a small part of one of Jazayerli's essays on his study:

    "Bottom line: if these numbers suggest anything, it's that pitching in a four-man rotation is less damaging than pitching in a five-man rotation. Now, the difference between the two groups isn't enormous, and neither is the sample size, so I'll concede the point that these differences are not statistically significant. I'm not trying to argue that working on three days' rest is more healthy than working on four days' rest, only that it isn't less healthy. Given the obvious tactical benefits that come from taking innings away from the worst pitchers on your staff and giving them to your best, shouldn't that be enough?"

    So, if there is evidence suggesting that there really isn't greater injury risk with the four-man, then why not forge ahead. Courage and innovation have created a successful path for Billy Beane in Oakland. Courage is an attitude that leads to action. Innovation is the ability to improvize in order to maximize with available tools. As Rob Neyer said in promoting the four-man rotation, "The way to get ahead isn't to do what everybody else is doing, unless you've got the resources to do what everybody else is doing, but do them better." Apply that quote to the Reds situation and courage/innovation seem to be a more appealing choice than running Jeremy Affeldt out to the mound thirty times this summer.
    How in the world did Neyer come about his "evidence"? The baseball world and the hitting/pitching/training elements therein have already changed drastically since the four-man rotation was in vogue. I'd see no way to make such a comparison unless you were able to do it in real time and under identical circumstances. Plus, Rob Neyer is kind of a dolt.

    I'm not saying it wouldn't work. I am saying I don't think the Reds have the foundation to make a case for it at this time.
    There is no such thing as a pitching prospect.

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    Member Spitball's Avatar
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    Re: Time is ripe to try the four man rotation...

    Quote Originally Posted by vaticanplum View Post
    How in the world did Neyer come about his "evidence"?
    Neyer says he has seen no evidence to the contrary, but he does site Jazayerli's study:

    http://www.baseballprospectus.com/ne...octoring.shtml

    http://www.baseballprospectus.com/ne...octoring.shtml



    Quote Originally Posted by vaticanplum
    The baseball world and the hitting/pitching/training elements therein have already changed drastically since the four-man rotation was in vogue.
    How?


    Quote Originally Posted by vaticanplum
    I'd see no way to make such a comparison unless you were able to do it in real time and under identical circumstances.
    That is the point of my post. There is no way to know if the concept will work unless the team has the courage and innovation to give the four-man rotation a try.



    Quote Originally Posted by vaticanplum
    Plus, Rob Neyer is kind of a dolt.
    Okay.

    Quote Originally Posted by vaticanplum
    I'm not saying it wouldn't work. I am saying I don't think the Reds have the foundation to make a case for it at this time.
    I think they do.

    1) They have two starters who have proven to be durable workhorses.

    2) They have two starters who could be limited to five innings stints and would benefit from having two designated long relief pitchers (Bailey and Cueto) taking over for the final innings.

    3) Bailey and Cueto could develop and help the team at the same time in the formula of Earl Weaver.

    4) The Reds don't really have a fifth starter.

    If conventional wisdom dictates five starters, but you don't have five starters, don't you look for viable alternatives? In house would be nice, but not when you look at Jeremy Affeldt's statistics as a starter. A free agent signing would be nice, but not when your looking at Livan Hernandez or Kyle Lohse. A trade would be nice, but that hasn't happened yet.

    So do the Reds go one fifth of their games with a less than acceptable option as their starting pitcher or do they have the courage to look at an innovative option that might work?

    It seems Jeremy Affeldt as the fifth starter is riskier than the four-man rotation idea.
    Last edited by Spitball; 01-27-2008 at 07:58 PM.
    "I am your child from the future. I'm sorry I didn't tell you this earlier." - Dylan Easton


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