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I’m Incredibly Bored of Position Players Pitching


Vanimal46

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There was a time in baseball history where throwing in the towel and using a position player to pitch was a rare sight to see. Heck, I’m sure people tuned in to witness the comedy and see a position player actually try on the mound. 

For example, Jeff Francour pitching 2 innings in 2015, topping out at 88 MPH and mixing in 4 different pitches to boot. 

Or Ichiro Suzuki taking the craft seriously, throwing 87 MPH and mixing in 3 different pitches during his outing in 2015. 

And of course, Willians Astudillo who threw mid 70s and the infamous 40 something MPH eephus. 

Back in 2011, we only saw 8 appearances by position players on the mound. The number has exploded in recent years. 

 2017: 65

2018: 78

2019: 90

2020: 50

2021: 95

2022: 23 as of June 1. Can’t find exact number up to June 23

It’s also not just the sheer number of position players pitching that’s making this once novelty incredibly boring. The way they’re now pitching is 10 year old little league status.

If position players are now being informed not to try at all on the mound and throw 40 MPH floaters, what are we doing here? It’s no longer entertainment. 

The problem is only going to continue getting worse with the rule in place to have a max of 13 pitchers on staff. Teams will continue to throw the white flag down or up by 6 runs to save their bullpen arms for another game. Paying fans will watch professional baseball players lob pitches 40 MPH for an inning or 3. And the product will suffer. 

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MLB should implement a rule that teams must announce 7-8 pitchers available to use in that game when they announce batter lineups.

If they burn through all of those pitchers in extras, then they are allowed to just throw whatever they want on the mound. It's their game to lose at that point.

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This is boring, I agree but it will work itself out. A few position players suffer arm injuries and the practice will be reduced. I am also in favor of the batting team use their skills to score 20 runs as opposed to swinging for the fences and not taking the game seriously because the game is out of hand. 

I hate it when position players pitch because it is a lazy solution.

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17 minutes ago, tony&rodney said:

This is boring, I agree but it will work itself out. A few position players suffer arm injuries and the practice will be reduced. I am also in favor of the batting team use their skills to score 20 runs as opposed to swinging for the fences and not taking the game seriously because the game is out of hand. 

I hate it when position players pitch because it is a lazy solution.

I’m not sure position players will hurt their arms when they’re throwing 45 MPH floaters to home plate. I would love to see a team decide to bat around and score 20 runs because a position player is in there. Because the way things are trending, it’s making a mockery of the game.

We’re better off having a concede/forfeit rule in place than continue seeing position players pitch every week. 

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Expand the rosters to 30 players, 16 pitcher limit. 26 players eligible for the days game. SO make the other 4 SP inactive and that leaves 12 pitchers available on the day of the game.

 

I can't believe I said that. No team should ever need more than 3-4 pitchers in a nine inning game.

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1 hour ago, Dave The Dastardly said:

Forget the position player, bring in a pitching machine loaded with wiffle balls. But don't let it throw more than a hundred pitches... Tommy John is expensive.

I would rather see 71 year old Tom Kelly in Zubas as a stogie in his mouth feeding the pitching machine instead of position players throwing 40 MPH floaters. If I were at Target Field and saw Nick Gordon warming up on the mound, I’d walk to the car. 

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Agreed.  Add to it that teams whine about the unwritten rules when it happens and I'm ready to call for MLB to officially make forfeiting allowed.

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Just another way in which the powers that be are making the game un-watchable.  And to think, this explosion of the "need" to have position players pitch supposedly meaningless innings comes at a time when managers are complaining that their pens are being limited from 9 down to 8 pitchers.  Who's baseball universe did I wake up in?

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15 hours ago, Vanimal46 said:

I would rather see 71 year old Tom Kelly in Zubas as a stogie in his mouth feeding the pitching machine instead of position players throwing 40 MPH floaters. If I were at Target Field and saw Nick Gordon warming up on the mound, I’d walk to the car. 

Gordon was a fireball pitcher in high school and now he's an outfielder... do I smell the next Shohei Ohtani???? That way we can have the next Mike Trout (Buxton) and the next Shohei Ohtani (Gordon) on the same team!!!

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18 hours ago, lecroy24fan said:

No team should ever need more than 3-4 pitchers in a nine inning game.

Check out game 4 of the 1954 or 1955 World Series.

Al Lopez and Casey Stengel.  I tell ya.

 

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This only happens in blowouts.

Which are boring and unwatchable well before they've brought in the position player to pitch.

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4 hours ago, Shaitan said:

This only happens in blowouts.

Which are boring and unwatchable well before they've brought in the position player to pitch.

Depends on what you would consider a blowout.

https://www.cbssports.com/mlb/news/dodgers-blocked-from-pitching-position-player-after-unwittingly-violating-new-mlb-rule-vs-mets/#:~:text=Picks-,Dodgers blocked from pitching position player after unwittingly violating new,Mets&text=The Los Angeles Dodgers were,recent addition to the rulebook.

The Dodgers tried to bring in a position player when they were down by 5. That's not a blowout in a lot of people's books. The crew blocked the position player from pitching by enforcing a new rule, but the fact the rule had to be created suggests MLB disagrees position players lobbing 40mph Eephus pitches was limited to blowouts.

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1 hour ago, bean5302 said:

Depends on what you would consider a blowout.

https://www.cbssports.com/mlb/news/dodgers-blocked-from-pitching-position-player-after-unwittingly-violating-new-mlb-rule-vs-mets/#:~:text=Picks-,Dodgers blocked from pitching position player after unwittingly violating new,Mets&text=The Los Angeles Dodgers were,recent addition to the rulebook.

The Dodgers tried to bring in a position player when they were down by 5. That's not a blowout in a lot of people's books. The crew blocked the position player from pitching by enforcing a new rule, but the fact the rule had to be created suggests MLB disagrees position players lobbing 40mph Eephus pitches was limited to blowouts.

Disagree, but I think arguing semantics about the definition of a blowout is silly.

Bringing in a position player in this scenario is akin to a forfeit. The Dodgers were not trying to win at this point. That is how I would personally define a blowout.

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The possibility of this make position player pitching worth it always.

Chris Davis (BAL): May 6, 2012 -- Win, 2 IP, 0 R, 2 K
Davis didn’t just get the win in this game -- he pitched well, allowing just two hits in two innings of work and striking out Red Sox players Jarrod Saltalamacchia and Adrián González. Davis started at designated hitter in the game and was 0-for-7 at the point when he took over on the mound for Jim Johnson in the 16th. He got another at-bat, as a pitcher in the top of the 17th and grounded out, making it 0-for-8. But then he turned in his second scoreless inning of work to seal the win for the Orioles.

"I'm like, sweet," he said after the game of being asked to pitch. "I get to try something different today because hitting ain't working."

Davis is one of five position players to get a pitching win in the Expansion Era, along with John Baker (2014), Wilson Valdez (2011), Brent Mayne (2000) and Rocky Colavito (1968). Davis is the only one to record multiple strikeouts while doing so.

This game was doubly notable on the position player pitching front because Red Sox outfielder Darnell McDonald got the loss after giving up the go-ahead three-run homer to Adam Jones in the 17th. It’s the only game in the Expansion Era where position players got both decisions.

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18 hours ago, Shaitan said:

Disagree, but I think arguing semantics about the definition of a blowout is silly.

Bringing in a position player in this scenario is akin to a forfeit. The Dodgers were not trying to win at this point. That is how I would personally define a blowout.



2:46 - 3-2 game, 8th inning. Detroit brings in position player to pitch vs. Twins. By your definition = blowout.

This is the very first source I searched for. Almost all the examples used in the video are way into extra innings, but the fact I can find a perfect example in my first search attempt is enough for me.

 

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23 hours ago, bean5302 said:

Depends on what you would consider a blowout.

https://www.cbssports.com/mlb/news/dodgers-blocked-from-pitching-position-player-after-unwittingly-violating-new-mlb-rule-vs-mets/#:~:text=Picks-,Dodgers blocked from pitching position player after unwittingly violating new,Mets&text=The Los Angeles Dodgers were,recent addition to the rulebook.

The Dodgers tried to bring in a position player when they were down by 5. That's not a blowout in a lot of people's books. The crew blocked the position player from pitching by enforcing a new rule, but the fact the rule had to be created suggests MLB disagrees position players lobbing 40mph Eephus pitches was limited to blowouts.

Yep, this. Statistical analysis has led to the current use of positional players pitching. A five run deficit is a loss 97%+ of the time so why try?

And analytics aren’t wrong here for thinking that. Those are the numbers.

But this is a spectator sport driven by the money of people being interested in the product. Analytics being right about game probability doesn’t mean they should be allowed to further deteriorate the spectator experience. 

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11 minutes ago, Brock Beauchamp said:

Yep, this. Statistical analysis has led to the current use of positional players pitching. A five run deficit is a loss 97%+ of the time so why try?

And analytics aren’t wrong here for thinking that. Those are the numbers.

But this is a spectator sport driven by the money of people being interested in the product. Analytics being right about game probability doesn’t mean they should be allowed to further deteriorate the spectator experience. 

100% agree, and it won't stop at teams looking at 97% as the cutoff. They'll keep pushing and pushing.

Top of the 8th inning, chances the visitor wins the game:
1 run lead = 75%
2 run lead = 87%
3 run lead = 94%
4 run lead = 97%
5 run lead = 98%

top of the 9th visitor leading
1 run lead = 85%
2 run lead = 93%
3 run lead = 97%
4 run lead = 99%
5 run lead = 99%

It gets even worse from a likelihood things turn around if the home team is winning, and visiting teams have no significant reason to care if the home town crowd is entertained.

bottom of the 7th - home team lead
1 run lead = 82%
2 run lead = 91%
3 run lead = 96%
4 run lead = 98%
5 run lead = 99%

bottom of the 8th - home team lead
1 run lead = 89%
2 run lead = 96%
3 run lead = 98%
4 run lead = 99%
5 run lead = 100%

Statistically, if the bullpen has been significantly depleted up on the visiting team over the past few days, slapping a position player onto the mound starting with the bottom of the 7th down by 3+ runs is reasonable. Those games happen all the time and analytics will start driving the decision more and more, especially with the forced reduction in bullpens.
 

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2 hours ago, bean5302 said:

100% agree, and it won't stop at teams looking at 97% as the cutoff. They'll keep pushing and pushing.

Top of the 8th inning, chances the visitor wins the game:
1 run lead = 75%
2 run lead = 87%
3 run lead = 94%
4 run lead = 97%
5 run lead = 98%

top of the 9th visitor leading
1 run lead = 85%
2 run lead = 93%
3 run lead = 97%
4 run lead = 99%
5 run lead = 99%

It gets even worse from a likelihood things turn around if the home team is winning, and visiting teams have no significant reason to care if the home town crowd is entertained.

bottom of the 7th - home team lead
1 run lead = 82%
2 run lead = 91%
3 run lead = 96%
4 run lead = 98%
5 run lead = 99%

bottom of the 8th - home team lead
1 run lead = 89%
2 run lead = 96%
3 run lead = 98%
4 run lead = 99%
5 run lead = 100%

Statistically, if the bullpen has been significantly depleted up on the visiting team over the past few days, slapping a position player onto the mound starting with the bottom of the 7th down by 3+ runs is reasonable. Those games happen all the time and analytics will start driving the decision more and more, especially with the forced reduction in bullpens.
 

Yep. Analytics are great in a vacuum, as they’re improving the chance of a team to win in any given season. But MLB has been woefully inept in stopping analytics from deteriorating the fan experience.

And that’s what needs to change. Analytics aren’t the problem, MLB’s lack of response is the problem. 

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I remember the Twins . I think it was against the Tigers Moving a player to play every position on the Field his last 2 were Catcher and Pitcher. as i remember we won the game.

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