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Article: Would a Six-Man Rotation Make Sense?

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#1 Nick Nelson

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Posted 03 January 2013 - 11:38 PM

You can view the page at http://twinsdaily.co...tion-Make-Sense

#2 glunn

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Posted 03 January 2013 - 11:54 PM

I think that you have a very good idea for making the most of a bad situation. This seems like a good strategy for getting a look at more starters and hopefully finding some who can perform. I also like the idea of not stressing the arms that are still fragile.

#3 lightfoot789

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Posted 03 January 2013 - 11:55 PM

Couldn't say it better. GREAT IDEA !!!

#4 old nurse

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Posted 04 January 2013 - 12:09 AM

As completing 6 innings might be a task also, there would still need to be the large bullpen. That would leave the bench short. A regulars day off would be called playing DH that day.

#5 jmlease1

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Posted 04 January 2013 - 12:14 AM

Not the craziest idea I've heard this winter. It would allow Gibson to keep pitching longer into the year while still keeping his overall workload at the arbitrary innings cap he's going to be on. I wonder if that would help keep someone like Harden healthier over the course of the season as well?

Wear vs sharpness, maybe?

It would be creative. Would it create any additional strain on the bullpen? You'd essentially be dumping the long man/mop-up guy spot on the staff unless you carried 12 pitchers (a horrid idea, IMHO, but one the Twins have gone with before) If these guys are more capable of getting deeper into games, 5 guys in the 'pen should be enough, but too many bad starts in a row and you'd have to scrap the idea, I think.

It should be something worth considering, but it'll never happen. Gardenhire & Anderson are far too conservative to even bandy it about.

#6 jorgenswest

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Posted 04 January 2013 - 12:34 AM

I agree with the concern about increasing the pitching staff size.

I also agree that the Twins enter the season with some fragile arms. I would use Correia as the "6th starter" from the pen when all are healthy. Insert him as needed to replace a starter following a high pitch count start. Insert him in the rotation in the middle of a long stretch without a day off. When the day to day injuries occur, be quicker to DL a pitcher and insert Correia in the rotation.

It takes more than 5 starters to get through the season(... except for the Reds). I would prefer Correia to be the pitcher that gets bounced back and forth between the pen and rotation.

#7 glunn

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Posted 04 January 2013 - 12:40 AM

As completing 6 innings might be a task also, there would still need to be the large bullpen. That would leave the bench short. A regulars day off would be called playing DH that day.


In a pinch, maybe the guy who has had 5 days rest could come out of the bullpen, and everyone else could move up a day?

#8 jimbo92107

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Posted 04 January 2013 - 02:57 AM

Isn't that already what the Twins did last season? They had about a dozen different starting pitchers. Why fight it, just bring in a whole bunch of guys, then rotate them in and out of the bullpen.

#9 jwestbrock

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Posted 04 January 2013 - 07:46 AM

I think it is worth trying to start the year with this bunch of stuff, at least as long as the non-Tommy John/major shoulder brigade are being expected to go get 7 or 8 decently pitched innings. I think this could have a chance to keep the bullpen fresher compared to last year as well.

#10 Brock Beauchamp

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Posted 04 January 2013 - 07:53 AM

Not a bad idea. I don't know if it's needed out of Opening Day (with all the off days that usually come with April) but it should definitely be explored as an option, especially if/when Gibson is ready for the rotation.

#11 mike wants wins

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Posted 04 January 2013 - 07:57 AM

I think they should get rid of starters completely outside of Diamond and Worley. All others go 2 or 3 innings every 2 or 3 days. That way they can throw harder every outing. Some day, a team will succeed with this idea. There is no reason to ask all starters to try to be like all other starters.

#12 ThePuck

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Posted 04 January 2013 - 08:48 AM

Wouldn't it make more sense to figure out who your best five guys are and have them pitch as opposed to giving 27 starts to your 6th best pitcher?

#13 ericchri

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Posted 04 January 2013 - 08:55 AM

I'd really worry about our bench at that point. We barely have one as it is (especially with one of those spots being taken up by Butera). If we give up another of those spots to a pitcher, we essentially can't afford any injuries to any of our position players in a game, just shifting the injury concern around a little bit.

I think a 6-man rotation could work, if it was built with players you could trust more to be able to go at least 5 innings every time out so that you could drop a bullpen arm. I don't think this staff rates like that unfortunately, at least not initially (it will be interesting to see how well they pitch, it probably can't help but be better than last year's April pitching). Our bullpen looks like it could be pretty solid, though bullpens are traditionally pretty unpredictable. I think you just live with the fact that they're gonna get worked hard again this year. Burton is a healthy year removed from his surgery, so they don't have to be quite as cautious with him this time around, Duensing should be in the pen permanently with all the potential options to start they now have. If Fien can be even remotely close to what he was last year they've got 4 really good pitchers in the pen.

I'm with ThePuck on this one. Pick your best 5 and roll with it. If/when one of them falls apart try the next guy in line.

#14 Brock Beauchamp

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Posted 04 January 2013 - 09:22 AM

Wouldn't it make more sense to figure out who your best five guys are and have them pitch as opposed to giving 27 starts to your 6th best pitcher?


The point is that right now, the Twins don't look much different #2 to #6 or #7. Most teams are front-loaded with pitchers that aren't awful. The Twins have Diamond (likely due to regression), Worley (quite large question mark with the minor injury and switch to AL), and then... five or six guys who could pitch anywhere between a 4.00 and a 6.00 ERA.

#15 chaderic20

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Posted 04 January 2013 - 09:53 AM

I think they should get rid of starters completely outside of Diamond and Worley. All others go 2 or 3 innings every 2 or 3 days. That way they can throw harder every outing. Some day, a team will succeed with this idea. There is no reason to ask all starters to try to be like all other starters.


I've always thought this would be an interesting experiment for a team with a bad conventional starting rotation. A 12-man pitching staff: Nine what I'll call "primaries", instead of starters, and three "situationals", instead of relievers. The primaries are grouped into three sets of three that pitch approximately three innings each every three days. You can mix-and-match styles and righty/lefty to keep hitters off balance throughout the game since most hitters will only see each pitcher once or maybe twice. Then the situationals are brought in for specialty matchups in high-leverage situations and for extra innings.

#16 Boom Boom

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Posted 04 January 2013 - 10:07 AM

Why stop at six?

#17 ThePuck

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Posted 04 January 2013 - 10:17 AM

The point is that right now, the Twins don't look much different #2 to #6 or #7. Most teams are front-loaded with pitchers that aren't awful. The Twins have Diamond (likely due to regression), Worley (quite large question mark with the minor injury and switch to AL), and then... five or six guys who could pitch anywhere between a 4.00 and a 6.00 ERA.


I get the point, but the coaches need to figure out who their best 5 are and go with it. No need to give the 6th guy, even if it's really close between him and the others, 27 or so starts

#18 Rosterman

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Posted 04 January 2013 - 10:28 AM

Someday, a staff of three inning (let's try and get once thru the order) pitchers. Boy, would that be something!

#19 Willihammer

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Posted 04 January 2013 - 10:38 AM

I get the point, but the coaches need to figure out who their best 5 are and go with it. No need to give the 6th guy, even if it's really close between him and the others, 27 or so starts


It would be worth it if the added rest improves the output in the other 135 starts commensurately.

I ran some quick math on our likely front 5. Historically, they have all done a bit better on 5 days rest, although worse on 6+ days rest. It looks to me like there's not enough here to either support or not support the theory, just a little interesting.

[TABLE="width: 615"]
[TR]
[TD][/TD]
[TD]worley[/TD]
[TD]pelfrey[/TD]
[TD]correia[/TD]
[TD]diamond[/TD]
[TD="colspan: 2"]blackburn[/TD]
[TD]total[/TD]
[/TR]
[TR]
[TD]4 days rest GS[/TD]
[TD="align: right"]23.00[/TD]
[TD="align: right"]77.00[/TD]
[TD="align: right"]78.00[/TD]
[TD="align: right"]19.00[/TD]
[TD="align: right"]69.00[/TD]
[TD][/TD]
[TD="align: right"]266.00[/TD]
[/TR]
[TR]
[TD]4 days rest IP[/TD]
[TD="align: right"]136.33[/TD]
[TD="align: right"]459.00[/TD]
[TD="align: right"]433.66[/TD]
[TD="align: right"]114.66[/TD]
[TD="align: right"]393.33[/TD]
[TD][/TD]
[TD="align: right"]1536.98[/TD]
[/TR]
[TR]
[TD]4 days rest IP/GS[/TD]
[TD="align: right"]5.93[/TD]
[TD="align: right"]5.96[/TD]
[TD="align: right"]5.56[/TD]
[TD="align: right"]6.03[/TD]
[TD="align: right"]5.70[/TD]
[TD][/TD]
[TD="align: right"]5.78[/TD]
[/TR]
[TR]
[TD]4 days rest ERA[/TD]
[TD="align: right"]3.70[/TD]
[TD="align: right"]4.45[/TD]
[TD="align: right"]4.71[/TD]
[TD="align: right"]4.32[/TD]
[TD="align: right"]4.74[/TD]
[TD][/TD]
[TD="align: right"]4.53[/TD]
[/TR]
[TR]
[TD]5 days rest GS[/TD]
[TD="align: right"]12.00[/TD]
[TD="align: right"]44.00[/TD]
[TD="align: right"]50.00[/TD]
[TD="align: right"]7.00[/TD]
[TD="align: right"]43.00[/TD]
[TD][/TD]
[TD="align: right"]156.00[/TD]
[/TR]
[TR]
[TD]5 days rest IP[/TD]
[TD="align: right"]75.33[/TD]
[TD="align: right"]274.00[/TD]
[TD="align: right"]291.66[/TD]
[TD="align: right"]49.66[/TD]
[TD="align: right"]258.66[/TD]
[TD][/TD]
[TD="align: right"]949.31[/TD]
[/TR]
[TR]
[TD]5 days rest IP/GS[/TD]
[TD="align: right"]6.28[/TD]
[TD="align: right"]6.23[/TD]
[TD="align: right"]5.83[/TD]
[TD="align: right"]7.09[/TD]
[TD="align: right"]6.02[/TD]
[TD][/TD]
[TD="align: right"]6.09[/TD]
[/TR]
[TR]
[TD]5 days rest ERA[/TD]
[TD="align: right"]3.46[/TD]
[TD="align: right"]3.97[/TD]
[TD="align: right"]4.32[/TD]
[TD="align: right"]1.45[/TD]
[TD="align: right"]5.29[/TD]
[TD][/TD]
[TD="align: right"]4.29[/TD]
[/TR]
[TR]
[TD]6+ days rest GS[/TD]
[TD="align: right"]11.00[/TD]
[TD="align: right"]26.00[/TD]
[TD="align: right"]24.00[/TD]
[TD="align: right"]8.00[/TD]
[TD="align: right"]23.00[/TD]
[TD][/TD]
[TD="align: right"]92.00[/TD]
[/TR]
[TR]
[TD]6+ days rest IP[/TD]
[TD="align: right"]56.33[/TD]
[TD="align: right"]146.66[/TD]
[TD="align: right"]128.66[/TD]
[TD="align: right"]47.66[/TD]
[TD="align: right"]138.00[/TD]
[TD][/TD]
[TD="align: right"]517.31[/TD]
[/TR]
[TR]
[TD]6+ dyas rest IP/GS[/TD]
[TD="align: right"]5.12[/TD]
[TD="align: right"]5.64[/TD]
[TD="align: right"]5.36[/TD]
[TD="align: right"]5.96[/TD]
[TD="align: right"]6.00[/TD]
[TD][/TD]
[TD="align: right"]5.62[/TD]
[/TR]
[TR]
[TD]6+ days rest ERA[/TD]
[TD="align: right"]3.36[/TD]
[TD="align: right"]4.91[/TD]
[TD="align: right"]4.90[/TD]
[TD="align: right"]5.10[/TD]
[TD="align: right"]4.17[/TD]
[TD][/TD]
[TD="align: right"]4.55[/TD]
[/TR]
[/TABLE]

#20 ThePuck

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Posted 04 January 2013 - 10:39 AM

It would be worth it if the added rest improves the output in the other 135 starts commensurately.

I ran some quick math on our likely front 5. Historically, they have all done a bit better on 5 days rest, although worse on 6+ days rest. It looks to me like there's not enough here to either support or not support the theory, just a little interesting.



[TABLE="width: 615"]
[TR]
[TD][/TD]
[TD]worley[/TD]
[TD]pelfrey[/TD]
[TD]correia[/TD]
[TD]diamond[/TD]
[TD="colspan: 2"]blackburn[/TD]
[TD]total[/TD]
[/TR]
[TR]
[TD]4 days rest GS[/TD]
[TD="align: right"]23[/TD]
[TD="align: right"]77[/TD]
[TD="align: right"]78[/TD]
[TD="align: right"]19[/TD]
[TD="align: right"]69[/TD]
[TD][/TD]
[TD="align: right"]266[/TD]
[/TR]
[TR]
[TD]4 days rest IP[/TD]
[TD="align: right"]136.33[/TD]
[TD="align: right"]459[/TD]
[TD="align: right"]433.66[/TD]
[TD="align: right"]114.66[/TD]
[TD="align: right"]393.33[/TD]
[TD][/TD]
[TD="align: right"]1536.98[/TD]
[/TR]
[TR]
[TD]4 days rest IP/GS[/TD]
[TD="align: right"]5.927391[/TD]
[TD="align: right"]5.961039[/TD]
[TD="align: right"]5.559744[/TD]
[TD="align: right"]6.034737[/TD]
[TD="align: right"]5.700435[/TD]
[TD][/TD]
[TD="align: right"]5.77812[/TD]
[/TR]
[TR]
[TD]4 days rest ERA[/TD]
[TD="align: right"]3.7[/TD]
[TD="align: right"]4.45[/TD]
[TD="align: right"]4.71[/TD]
[TD="align: right"]4.32[/TD]
[TD="align: right"]4.74[/TD]
[TD][/TD]
[TD="align: right"]4.527331[/TD]
[/TR]
[TR]
[TD]5 days rest GS[/TD]
[TD="align: right"]12[/TD]
[TD="align: right"]44[/TD]
[TD="align: right"]50[/TD]
[TD="align: right"]7[/TD]
[TD="align: right"]43[/TD]
[TD][/TD]
[TD="align: right"]156[/TD]
[/TR]
[TR]
[TD]5 days rest IP[/TD]
[TD="align: right"]75.33[/TD]
[TD="align: right"]274[/TD]
[TD="align: right"]291.66[/TD]
[TD="align: right"]49.66[/TD]
[TD="align: right"]258.66[/TD]
[TD][/TD]
[TD="align: right"]949.31[/TD]
[/TR]
[TR]
[TD]5 days rest IP/GS[/TD]
[TD="align: right"]6.2775[/TD]
[TD="align: right"]6.227273[/TD]
[TD="align: right"]5.8332[/TD]
[TD="align: right"]7.094286[/TD]
[TD="align: right"]6.015349[/TD]
[TD][/TD]
[TD="align: right"]6.085321[/TD]
[/TR]
[TR]
[TD]5 days rest ERA[/TD]
[TD="align: right"]3.46[/TD]
[TD="align: right"]3.97[/TD]
[TD="align: right"]4.32[/TD]
[TD="align: right"]1.45[/TD]
[TD="align: right"]5.29[/TD]
[TD][/TD]
[TD="align: right"]4.293718[/TD]
[/TR]
[TR]
[TD]6+ days rest GS[/TD]
[TD="align: right"]11[/TD]
[TD="align: right"]26[/TD]
[TD="align: right"]24[/TD]
[TD="align: right"]8[/TD]
[TD="align: right"]23[/TD]
[TD][/TD]
[TD="align: right"]92[/TD]
[/TR]
[TR]
[TD]6+ days rest IP[/TD]
[TD="align: right"]56.33[/TD]
[TD="align: right"]146.66[/TD]
[TD="align: right"]128.66[/TD]
[TD="align: right"]47.66[/TD]
[TD="align: right"]138[/TD]
[TD][/TD]
[TD="align: right"]517.31[/TD]
[/TR]
[TR]
[TD]6+ dyas rest IP/GS[/TD]
[TD="align: right"]5.120909[/TD]
[TD="align: right"]5.640769[/TD]
[TD="align: right"]5.360833[/TD]
[TD="align: right"]5.9575[/TD]
[TD="align: right"]6[/TD]
[TD][/TD]
[TD="align: right"]5.622935[/TD]
[/TR]
[TR]
[TD]6+ days rest ERA[/TD]
[TD="align: right"]3.36[/TD]
[TD="align: right"]4.91[/TD]
[TD="align: right"]4.9[/TD]
[TD="align: right"]5.1[/TD]
[TD="align: right"]4.17[/TD]
[TD][/TD]
[TD="align: right"]4.553587[/TD]
[/TR]
[/TABLE]


Dig the research, thanks!

#21 70charger

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Posted 04 January 2013 - 11:07 AM

I've always thought this would be an interesting experiment for a team with a bad conventional starting rotation. A 12-man pitching staff: Nine what I'll call "primaries", instead of starters, and three "situationals", instead of relievers. The primaries are grouped into three sets of three that pitch approximately three innings each every three days. You can mix-and-match styles and righty/lefty to keep hitters off balance throughout the game since most hitters will only see each pitcher once or maybe twice. Then the situationals are brought in for specialty matchups in high-leverage situations and for extra innings.


Locking your starters into a 9-and-3 rotation just as restrictive as the 5-man rotation; it suffers from the same flaw as the five-man starter rotation - it presumes that each "starter" or "primary" is roughly equivalent. They're obviously not, hence the push toward something more rational. However, this idea isn't any better, and depending on the rotation might be quite a bit worse. If you have Verlander, are you really going to give him 3 innings at a time? Only 9 innings over the course of 9 to 10 days? I wouldn't. And on top of that, this idea would have the added handicap that no current "starter" would ever want to do it. They like being "starters."

If we can agree that the typical rotation doesn't work optimally because the idea behind it is reductive, then this sort of rotation wouldn't work because it's just as reductive. I'd prefer modifying the pitchers' roles based on the team dynamics, as I think this original article was proposing. The current Twins would consider a 6-man rotation because our crop of 6 or 7 "starters" are roughly interchangeable, and generally not very good. The current Tigers would be hobbled by this, because their crop of 5 "starters" are not interchangeable, and they're certainly better than our top 7.

One day, I'd like to see a manager unafraid to actually use his players in an individually-optimal way. I would have no problem riding a guy like a 1984 Jack Morris to 250 innings a year. On the other hand, if I had someone like a 2008 Rich Harden, I'd absolutely want to find a way to limit his innings to protect the contract investment. And if my fifth guy was interchangeable with my 8th guy, then maybe the back of the rotation would be something in between relievers and starters and should be counted on in a hybrid role. Each pitcher is different. Why not use him like he is?

#22 Winston Smith

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Posted 04 January 2013 - 11:22 AM

Get some decent pitchers so we don't need to worry about it!

Or are we still going with throw enough mud against the wall maybe some will stick plan?

#23 Andrew Bryz-Gornia

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Posted 04 January 2013 - 12:20 PM

The idea is good in theory, especially with giving fewer innings to all the pitchers coming back from injury, but as jmlease1 said above, Gardy and Anderson would never do it. They'd probably cite something like "pitchers are uncomfortable if they were asked to regularly start every 6th day."

#24 Jim Crikket

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Posted 04 January 2013 - 12:45 PM

Get some decent pitchers so we don't need to worry about it!

Or are we still going with throw enough mud against the wall maybe some will stick plan?


I believe that even those of us who held out hope a couple of months ago that there would be a genuine effort to improve the top of the rotation realize now that the "throw mud and see what sticks" approach is, indeed, the plan... again.

As for the 6 man rotation approach, if you had 6-7 #3 starters, I might buy in to it because you could shave your bullpen by one arm. But when you've got 6-7 back-end starters, you need to keep a full contingent of bullpen arms. There's really no way to go with one fewer position player, especially when you don't exactly have a roster of offensive talent that you can count on every day.

Edited by Jim Crikket, 04 January 2013 - 12:48 PM.

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#25 Chance

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Posted 04 January 2013 - 01:12 PM

I don't see what people have against the twins carrying extra pitchers. The bench players the twins carry are all versital enough to cover rest days at several positions. We don't carry a bench guy who can only play 3rd or 1st. With mastroanni covering all outfield positions, and all the guys that regularly get rotated in the MI can also give Plouffe rest, parmelee and mauer can cover first Doumit can catch. We would most likely be choosing between carrying an extra pitcher or butera.

go with a 6 man rotation and then skip the sore arms or limited pitchers on off days to keep the strain even lower. They could last a whole season then if healthy and pitching well.

#26 Chance

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Posted 04 January 2013 - 01:14 PM

We don't have a pitcher that HAS TO pitch every 5th game.

#27 sotafan

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Posted 04 January 2013 - 01:20 PM

If you were to go with this 6 man rotation idea the question is do you keep 12 or 11 pitchers? If they are willing to at least try this idea, one thing that could work and still keep 11 pitchers would be to have one or two of the starters not throw their bullpen/side session until the 7th or 8th inning of the game. So if you do needed a mopup/long man because the starter got shelled/hurt early, there would still be someone available.

This would allow the bench to be full and not down a man.

#28 ThePuck

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Posted 04 January 2013 - 01:25 PM

If you were to go with this 6 man rotation idea the question is do you keep 12 or 11 pitchers? If they are willing to at least try this idea, one thing that could work and still keep 11 pitchers would be to have one or two of the starters not throw their bullpen/side session until the 7th or 8th inning of the game. So if you do needed a mopup/long man because the starter got shelled/hurt early, there would still be someone available.


This would allow the bench to be full and not down a man.


Wouldn't the bullpen still need to be used the same amount? We've often carried 5 guys for the rotation and 8 guys in the pen (13 pitchers). Now we're talking about adding a sixth starter, but the bullpen will still be worked the same amount. We gonna drop a reliever? If so, we're still looking at 13 pitchers along with our 3 catchers.

#29 Boom Boom

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Posted 04 January 2013 - 01:48 PM

Wouldn't the bullpen still need to be used the same amount? We've often carried 5 guys for the rotation and 8 guys in the pen (13 pitchers). Now we're talking about adding a sixth starter, but the bullpen will still be worked the same amount. We gonna drop a reliever? If so, we're still looking at 13 pitchers along with our 3 catchers.


Don't forget that the Twins always carry one position player who isn't available but isn't put on the DL either.

#30 jeffk

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Posted 04 January 2013 - 02:21 PM

This came up some last year as well. I actually don't see why not break down the distinction between "starter" and "reliever". The added flexibility would keep oppoents off-balance in terms of platoons, and you would be free to quickly remove a pitcher who wasn't having a good day. Nobody would wear themselves down throwning 100 pitches. Pitchers who only have two good pitches wouldn't be as exposed, and most would only see each batter once or twice at the most. The entire distinction seems somewhat arbitrary, borne out of baseball history.

Maybe it wouldn't work. But when you have nothing to lose and terrible starting pitching (not to mention decent relief pitching) perhaps it's the next moneyball.