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Article: Twins Daily Roundtable: Romero's Innings

fernando romero jose berrios max scherzer
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#41 markos

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Posted 14 June 2018 - 11:22 AM

 

Pitchers need to be followed closely for the earliest signs of fatigue (drop in velocity, change in mechanics, even small amounts of pain in the pitching elbow/shoulder, loss of control) and shut down quickly at the earliest warning signs. 

Not to pick on you specifically, but for everyone in the "shut down at signs of fatigue" crowd, at what threshold should Romero be shut down? I mean, should he be shut down right now? If you look at his Pitch FX splits between May and June, it is pretty clear that compared to May:

- His fastball/sinker are both about 1MPH slower

- His changeup is about 1.5MPH slower

- His slider is breaking less

- His sinker is sinking less

- His changeup is flatter

None of these changes are very big, but they all point in the same direction - Romero's stuff is getting worse. Is it a sign of fatique/injury, or just normal seasonal wear-and-tear?

 

Any shutdown criteria involving abrupt changes in performance or mechanics is, in my opinion, too late; by that point the injury has already occurred. Noticeable changes to mechanics or velocity drops are trailing indicators - the arm/shoulder damage has already reached a point that the players performance is significantly effected. A lot of the early fatigue that pitchers deal with is not outwardly observable - the internal wear, tear and weakness on joints, muscles, ligaments and tendons all through the arm and shoulder.

 

This is why I prefer the idea of innings and pitch limits. While these artificial limits may be arbitrary in many ways, at least it is an objective measure. Trying to make judgments about "fatigue" is way more subjective - and often requires the honesty of a competitive athlete who has little incentive to be shut down. And additionally, at a certain level we understand that the act of pitching is a damaging to the human arm/shoulder. Putting limits along every usage axis - pitches/inning, pitches/game, innings/game, days between starts, innings/season, etc - provides a concrete and objective way to ensure there is rest/recovery time.

Edited by markos, 14 June 2018 - 11:23 AM.


#42 KirbyDaisy

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Posted 15 June 2018 - 02:12 PM

I'm confused about something.During a game it's the number of pitches thrown that matters.Why is it that for an entire season it's the number of innings thrown.What's worse on a pitcher's arm-throwing 100 pitches in 5 innings or 100 pitches in 9 innings?

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#43 Vanimal46

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Posted 15 June 2018 - 02:27 PM

I'm confused about something. During a game it's the number of pitches thrown that matters. Why is it that for an entire season it's the number of innings thrown. What's worse on a pitcher's arm-throwing 100 pitches in 5 innings or 100 pitches in 9 innings?


It's all kind of arbitrary and silly, no?

Why don't we count warm up pitches toward their pitch count between innings? Or pitches in the bullpen before the game?

#44 yarnivek1972

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Posted 15 June 2018 - 02:35 PM

It's all kind of arbitrary and silly, no?

Why don't we count warm up pitches toward their pitch count between innings? Or pitches in the bullpen before the game?


The number of pitches between innings is 8. Not sure if that is also before the first or not. Pitches thrown by the starter are going to be the same every start. Maybe not for each individual, but I would guess simillar total number depending on their repertoire and their experience. But certainly every starter will stick to pretty close to the exact same routine every time out. You can be certain those throws are dutifully monitored and logged.

#45 70charger

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Posted 15 June 2018 - 02:54 PM

I'm pretty sure that Romero has already used 2018 as an option year, meaning there's no downside, option-wise, to sending him up and down on the shuttle. So, rather than faking a DL stint, which is pretty shady, they can send him to whichever minors team is out of the running and have him rest a bit before coming back up. Maybe make two-inning start or two to stay sharp.

 

Also, I'd be interested to see something like a piggyback situation if they want to limit innings or pitches but don't want to go to a six-man rotation. Could we bring up Slegers and have him pitch a "normal" game after Romero has gone through the lineup once? Mejia could work too, and he's already got a history of short outings in the majors, so a piggyback situation could be a win-win there. Given the bullpen struggles of late, it could be a win-win-win.

 

In any case, based on what happened to Romero in the minors last year, I think fatigue is most likely coming, and it's possible that he hits a wall at some point like he did last year. If he does, you shut him down. Before that would happen, if at all possible, I think you give him minor league rest time or limit his use via piggybacking to avoid him hitting a wall at all, at least before rosters expand. 


#46 spycake

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Posted 15 June 2018 - 04:37 PM

I'm pretty sure that Romero has already used 2018 as an option year, meaning there's no downside, option-wise, to sending him up and down on the shuttle.


Correct. Romero has already burned his first 2 option years, 2017 and 2018.



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