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Nick Nelson
06-21-2012, 12:17 PM
With their starting pitching in shambles, the Rockies have made the decision to switch to a four-man rotation (http://content.usatoday.com/communities/fantasywindup/post/2012/06/rockies-hope-four-man-rotation-will-help-solve-pitching-woes/1#.T-NWXnC8tD0), implementing a 75-pitch limit on all of their starters with the goal of letting their bullpen (which has been much better) have a larger impact on games.

What do you think? Good idea or bad? And if this approach shows results, is it something the Twins who are in a very similar situation should consider?

Brock Beauchamp
06-21-2012, 12:22 PM
With their starting pitching in shambles, the Rockies have made the decision to switch to a four-man rotation (http://content.usatoday.com/communities/fantasywindup/post/2012/06/rockies-hope-four-man-rotation-will-help-solve-pitching-woes/1#.T-NWXnC8tD0), implementing a 75-pitch limit on all of their starters with the goal of letting their bullpen (which has been much better) have a larger impact on games.

What do you think? Good idea or bad? And if this approach shows results, is it something the Twins – who are in a very similar situation – should consider?

Ooh, bold move by Colorado. How long ago was it that the Jays tried a four-man rotation? Five, six years ago?

For the Rockies, it might not be a bad move. It's hard to pitch there... Allowing for bullpen-type concentration and pitch style from the starters might work for them, letting guys throw harder and ditch their usually subpar third and/or fourth pitch because they'll be facing fewer batters.

For the Twins? I'm not really sold on the idea. Their problem is that they have lousy pitchers, not that they have too few pitchers.

James
06-21-2012, 12:29 PM
Interesting idea. I do like when teams try something a little different from conventional baseball wisdom every once in a while. I am skeptical about this one though. Mainly because I'm skeptical about pitch counts in general. It seems to me that this type of rotation would require that you have some relievers that can go two or three innings on a very regular basis. Some pitchers just aren't built for that, so there is a chance that you just end up burning out you bullpen as well. So, the bullpen might have to be constructed a little differently (especially in the Twins' case). I'm interested in seeing how it works though.

jeffk
06-21-2012, 12:50 PM
During the draft there was some of talk - by me and others independently - about simply sending out three pitchers a day, roughly three innings each, and dissolving the distinction between "starting" and "bullpen" entirely. While traditional, when you think about it, it does seem kinda arbitrary that some pitchers throw 100 pitches, every five days, for a total of 200 innings in a season, and others throw twenty or so every few days for 50 innings a season. When it came up before, people noted a number of advantages and very few disadvantages. Nobody explained, I didn't think, in a satisfactory way why this is *never* seen, especially when "relievers" are a dime a dozen and quality starting pitchers are few and far between.

SpiritofVodkaDave
06-21-2012, 12:50 PM
If the Twins actually had a chance to compete I would be for it, but at this point you might as well keep testing out pitchers until you find a couple, also you don't want to over extended any of the young RP at this point.

jacku641
06-21-2012, 12:53 PM
Of course until the late 1960s most teams used a four man rotation.

I remember several years ago Jim Kaat proposed a unique alternative to the current pitching formula. He proposed that each team use 3 squads of 3 pitchers in a rotation for each game. Each pitcher would pitch three innings and which three innings he pitched would be rotated as well. This was to allow all the pitchers to get wins under the current rules. I don't remember if he ever discussed what you would do about extra inning games. Think about it, if you went this way and your squads did their job you might be able go with 10 or 11 pitchers instead of 12 or 13.

jorgenswest
06-21-2012, 12:56 PM
I think it is worth a try for the Rockies and the Twins should pay attention.

Before I go further, this is not something that could benefit every team. If you have an ace like Verlander or Sabathia, I don't think you want to pull him after 75 pitches.

Could it benefit the Twins?

At 75 pitches, teams will get 5-6 innings out of a pitcher in a good start. Yesterday Liriano was at 75 after 6 innings of a very good start. Over 20 games, the burden on the bullpen will be about 20 more innings. Assuming the roster has the same number of pitchers, there will be one more pitcher in the pen that will take on about 1/2 those innings. The other 10 innings will need to be picked up by the rest of the bullpen. If those 10 innings go to the better arms in the pen, then I think it can be a success.

So the questions a team will have to ask...

- Are our current starters less effective from 80-100 pitches?
- How will the innings redistribute?
- Will we get 20 better innings (over 20 games) by giving 10 to the new arm in the pen and distributing the other 10 to arms current in the pen?
- Can we utilize the arms in our pen better to get more innings out of our better relievers?
- Is there any data that points to the health risks or benefits to pitchers in the rotation and pen?

Many think that the arms in major league bullpens are not utilized well. If this change causes a team to better utilize those innings, it could be a hidden benefit that really drives the success of the 4 man/75 pitch rotation.

greengoblinrulz
06-21-2012, 01:15 PM
even with a 4man rotation/75 pitch limit....we would still have Rick Anderson & he trumps anything.

Curt
06-21-2012, 03:03 PM
"It is easier to find four starting pitchers than five."
- Earl Weaver's Seventh Law

Grabbed from here (http://www.baseballprospectus.com/article.php?articleid=1596) ("Doctoring the Numbers: The Five Man Rotation" in Baseball Prospectus by Rany Jazayerli)

hawkiconk
06-21-2012, 03:10 PM
weaver also believed a 3 run homer was more beneficial than a sacrifice bunt

Thrylos
06-21-2012, 04:09 PM
I think that the results show that it might not be a good idea: the Rockies lost 12 of their last 13 games... Plus not all MLB pitchers can pitch effectively on one less day of rest.

Boom Boom
06-21-2012, 04:11 PM
I like outside-the-box thinking. Just not when that kind of thinking decreases pitch counts by 25%.

I'd rather see a six-man rotation and stretch them out to 115 pitches each. But I don't think this is a long-term philosophical change for the Rockies, anyway - more like an on the fly adjustment.

Nick Nelson
06-21-2012, 04:59 PM
I think that the results show that it might not be a good idea: the Rockies lost 12 of their last 13 games...
This new arrangement was not implemented over the last 13 games. In fact, it is very likely a response to the last 13 games.

SpiritofVodkaDave
06-21-2012, 05:19 PM
The problem with a 75 pitch limit is a guy like Liriano (who is now our de facto "Ace") might only last 3-4 innings in a decent chunk of his starts. I don't care how good your bullpen is, any team you are asking 5+ innings out of them on something even close to a regular basis is a recipe for disaster.

Also top to bottom I'm not sure the Twins have the pen to be able to do this, Capps, Perkins, Burnett and Duesning have all been swell, but how many innings can they possibly go in a week?

Gray is terrible, Burnett is liable to get shelled at any moment now and the rest of the guys are ho hum or unproven as well.

SpiritofVodkaDave
06-21-2012, 05:20 PM
The problem with a 75 pitch limit is a guy like Liriano (who is now our de facto "Ace") might only last 3-4 innings in a decent chunk of his starts. I don't care how good your bullpen is, any team you are asking 5+ innings out of them on something even close to a regular basis is a recipe for disaster.

Also top to bottom I'm not sure the Twins have the pen to be able to do this, Capps, Perkins, Burnett and Duesning have all been swell, but how many innings can they possibly go in a week?

Gray is terrible, Burnett is liable to get shelled at any moment now and the rest of the guys are ho hum or unproven as well.

I would be more open to a 4 man rotation with a 100 pitch cap.

The Greatest Poster Alive
06-21-2012, 07:07 PM
The problem with a 75 pitch limit is a guy like Liriano (who is now our de facto "Ace") might only last 3-4 innings in a decent chunk of his starts. I don't care how good your bullpen is, any team you are asking 5+ innings out of them on something even close to a regular basis is a recipe for disaster.

Also top to bottom I'm not sure the Twins have the pen to be able to do this, Capps, Perkins, Burnett and Duesning have all been swell, but how many innings can they possibly go in a week?

Gray is terrible, Burnett is liable to get shelled at any moment now and the rest of the guys are ho hum or unproven as well.

If the Twins were to go to a 4 man rotation Gray would be out and one of Slama/Guerra/Waldrop/Oliveros would be up...

It would be an interesting way to give these kids an early tryout for next year's club.

Riverbrian
06-21-2012, 11:30 PM
The problem with a 75 pitch limit is a guy like Liriano (who is now our de facto "Ace") might only last 3-4 innings in a decent chunk of his starts. I don't care how good your bullpen is, any team you are asking 5+ innings out of them on something even close to a regular basis is a recipe for disaster.

Also top to bottom I'm not sure the Twins have the pen to be able to do this, Capps, Perkins, Burnett and Duesning have all been swell, but how many innings can they possibly go in a week?

Gray is terrible, Burnett is liable to get shelled at any moment now and the rest of the guys are ho hum or unproven as well.

I would be more open to a 4 man rotation with a 100 pitch cap.

I think you kind of made the point on why the Rockies are trying this without realizing it. "a guy like Liriano might only last 3 4 innings".

Look at it this way... If I'm a starting pitcher for the Rockies. I can't mess around. I got 15 pitches an inning to work with... just to get 5 innings in. I'd have to pound the strike zone or be done after 3 or 4 innings. The game should move along and the D will be sharper without the long innings. Less walks and less errors and you can let the percentages work in your favor with less free bases and extra outs.

I think the move is brilliant and time will tell if Tracy is right. If it blows up in his face. I'll deny typing this and blame it on auto correct.

Every once in awhile someone comes up with something that ends up being copied. This could be the next pitching evolution. It's possible.

PseudoSABR
06-22-2012, 01:23 AM
I'm not sure how this can be successful. Their four man rotation consists of: Jeff Francis, Christian Friedrich, Alex White, and Josh Outman. More than that it devalues Gutherie, who they might be able to trade for some a shot in the dark if he ever put together a string of starts. The Rockies are throwing spitballs against the wall and calling it baseball.

Nick Nelson
06-22-2012, 02:20 AM
I'm not sure how this can be successful. Their four man rotation consists of: Jeff Francis, Christian Friedrich, Alex White, and Josh Outman. More than that it devalues Gutherie, who they might be able to trade for some a shot in the dark if he ever put together a string of starts. The Rockies are throwing spitballs against the wall and calling it baseball.

Guthrie has been unbelievably bad – the worst in the Rockies rotation and that's saying something. There's no devaluing him at this point. He was never going to fetch anything of value.

You're right that the starters they have to work with are pretty awful, but I don't see the harm in lowering the pressure on them and maybe coaxing them to throw a little harder for 75 pitches. Worth a shot at this point. I dig it.

JB_Iowa
06-22-2012, 09:04 AM
Can you explain how limiting the pitcher to 75 pitches improves his first 3 innings? Just glancing through box scores it looks to me like Twins pitchers are often getting in trouble early in the game. How does this change that?

We already have Capps who seems to come in and give up a run or 2 before he "settles down" for the save. Are the starting pitchers going to be that much different knowing that they only have 75 pitches instead of 100 or so?

I'm all for trying something different and I suppose in a lost season, experimenting makes sense but I'm not really sure what this accomplishes unless you really think it is an alternative for long-term success not just a filler for the season. Unless you think it may work long-term, I think SpiritOVD has a good point above - the Twins are going to need starters next year --might as well see what they have. (Unfortunately I think the answer to that question is "not much".)

Brock Beauchamp
06-22-2012, 09:26 AM
Can you explain how limiting the pitcher to 75 pitches improves his first 3 innings? Just glancing through box scores it looks to me like Twins pitchers are often getting in trouble early in the game. How does this change that?

It's the reliever principle. If your third or fourth pitch is kinda crappy, you drop it. If you don't have to go through the lineup three times, you won't need to rely on secondary pitches as often.

Throwing fewer pitches also allows the pitcher to throw harder. It's the reason why you see guys go from the rotation to the bullpen and gain 2-3 MPH on their fastballs (Glen Perkins). They don't care about winding back and throwing at maximum effort because they're throwing far fewer pitches than if they were a starter.

Yoshii
06-22-2012, 10:01 AM
Has anyone brought up the fact that our bullpen has already been taxed for quite a few innings this year, and we want to give them more??

Riverbrian
06-22-2012, 11:03 AM
Can you explain how limiting the pitcher to 75 pitches improves his first 3 innings? Just glancing through box scores it looks to me like Twins pitchers are often getting in trouble early in the game. How does this change that?

We already have Capps who seems to come in and give up a run or 2 before he "settles down" for the save. Are the starting pitchers going to be that much different knowing that they only have 75 pitches instead of 100 or so?

I'm all for trying something different and I suppose in a lost season, experimenting makes sense but I'm not really sure what this accomplishes unless you really think it is an alternative for long-term success not just a filler for the season. Unless you think it may work long-term, I think SpiritOVD has a good point above - the Twins are going to need starters next year --might as well see what they have. (Unfortunately I think the answer to that question is "not much".)

It doesn't improve his first 3 innings IF the pitcher doesn't change the way he does things.

Who knows why Tracy came to this conclusion and is attempting this. He could be saying... My relievers are better so let's use them more or...

What I believe... Tracy is getting tired of talking to his pitchers over and over again about throwing strikes and moving the game along so he's taking an extreme measure to make them change.

With a 75 Pitch limit. You got to throw strikes... If you are constantly getting into full counts your pitch count rises. This causes multiple problems.

1. Your Pitcher tires as long innings progress. This increases the chance of cookies being thrown.
2. The More pitches a batter sees. The better the odds that one of those pitches becomes that cookie. This is why batters are taught to be selective.
3. The more pitches a pitcher throws in an inning. The less sharp your defense is behind you.
4. If you are nibbling and end up walking a batter. The bigger the price(runners on base) when that cookie is thrown.

This is Pitch to contact and what it's all about. It's about playing crisp clean baseball. Get in and get out. I'm not so much a pitch to contact guy... at least not across the board... But I am a no free passes, play defense guy. So if that makes me a pitch to contact guy... Give me a badge and I'll put it on my sleeve proudly.

In the case of the Rockies... The pitchers are getting hit... If they are going to get hit... Might as well get it over with. Throw the ball and hope your defense catches it. Don't compound the problem by walking guys and getting into long counts.

Perhaps the truest thing ever said about baseball is this: Walks and errors will kill you... That's a simplification... Walks and balls that should have been caught are what kill you... not just errors. We are not talking about the ball that the SS boots alone. It's the ball that the SS should have got to but didn't cuz he's not on his toes after the 22nd pitch of an inning.

The Texas Rangers lead the league in hits with 691... The Pirates are last with 512. That's a difference of 179 hits over the course of 70 games. A difference of a little more than 2 hits a game between the top and the bottom.

Yes it's an over simplification but take a look at that and think about it... 2 hits more on average is not the difference between wins and losses. The Pirates are last and doing alright this year.

It's all about avoiding the big inning. Not helping the other team string stuff together. If they are going to get hit after hit in an inning... So be it... The odds are against them but it happens... But, if you start blowing plays in the field and walking batters. You are helping them string stuff together and pretty soon you are down 3 runs.

Pounding the strike zone eliminates the walk and helps eliminate the lazy play on defense. If you take away the walks and errors or curtail them a bit... Then that BABIP comes into play... and batters get out more often than they don't on balls put in play.

Teams average one home run a game. That's it... One Per game. Limit the damage of that one per game on average.

That pitcher who nibbles because he's afraid of getting tagged is also dealing with a batter who is pretty good at fouling off pitches he doesn't like which compounds the problem. Pounding the strike zone and using less pitches... Saves arm stress, eliminates the need for the secondary pitch so you can throw your best stuff and challenge hitters. But... all in all... It leads to a good crisp game of baseball and gives you a leg up in those 1 or 2 run games that happen all the time.

I see this as a manager making a bold out of the box move in order to send a message to his starting staff. Pound the strike zone or you won't see the 5th inning. I like it and we will see if it works. I don't know if you do this with a Kershaw but if you don't have a Kershaw... Why not... Let's see what happens. Every once in awhile... Someone comes up with something new and if it works it gets copied... This could be one of those things or it could end up being something that doesn't work and baseball leaves it behind.

Should the Twins do this? I'd rather let the Rockies be the test project and watch the results. But... We don't have Kershaw either... So put me in the Big MAYBE camp.

RIP BYTO
06-22-2012, 01:31 PM
Gardy mismanages his bullpen with a five man rotation, I cannot image the carnage he would cause with a 4-man rotation with 75 pitch limit.

Yoshii
06-22-2012, 02:03 PM
Gardy mismanages his bullpen with a five man rotation, I cannot image the carnage he would cause with a 4-man rotation with 75 pitch limit.

+1, unless we get like some fresh relievers too. These starters can barely go 6 innings.

Cody Christie
06-22-2012, 06:37 PM
When I saw this idea, I wasn't sure what to think of it.

The thought that keeps crossing my mind is the how the starters feel about this. With a 75 pitch limit, there is less of a chance for them to reach the amount of innings needed to qualify for a victory. Then when it comes to arbitration at the end of the year, their numbers look like they decreased and they might not get as much money. But I guess if you pitch in Coors Field, your numbers are already be lower.