It's possible this is the direction baseball is going. Until more than 2 teams implement this idea I still think it's a gimmick.
On paper, the opener strategy would be perfect for Jake Odorizzi. It's hard to adjust to that at the Major League level, which is likely why they haven't tried it with him. If I can look at his numbers and see that strategy would be beneficial for him, so can they. They know it's a good idea, but that it likely would be a disruption to start that at random in the middle of a season.
Eventually, there may be an era in baseball where there are no more traditional starting pitchers. Changes like that don't happen overnight. Personally, I think the response by opponents needs to be to stack the best hitters at the bottom, negating the advantage to facing the bottom of the lineup the third time instead of the top.
If more teams implement this idea there's no doubt in my mind analytics teams will propose other strategies to counteract the opener concept.
Take the wildcat formation in football as an example. The Miami Dolphins came up with this innovative idea and they were the only team doing it one season. As a result, they won 11 games. The next season, nearly every team in the NFL implemented a version of the wildcat in their offense. Teams started to realize all they had to do was stack people near the line of scrimmage to stop it. As a result, the wildcat fizzled out of the league.
The answer to combat the opener may not be obvious now. If more teams implement it, the answer will look obvious in the future.
Edited by Vanimal46, 18 September 2018 - 11:54 AM.