Comments on: First Pitch: The Common, Yet Wrong Way to Manage a Bullpen Your best source for news on the Pittsburgh Pirates and their minor league system. Sat, 15 Nov 2014 15:49:00 +0000 hourly 1 By: Kevin Anstrom Sun, 05 May 2013 18:13:28 +0000 Over the next 10-20 years I expect to see major changes in the way teams use their pitching staffs.

In today’s game we rarely see complete games and it’s not just an issue with the Pirates. Take the Colorado Rockies as an example. Thru 30 games their starters have pitched 6+ innings 16 times (53%), 5+ innings 23 times (77%), and 4+ innings 29 times (97%). No starters have pitches 8+ innings thus far.

I would propose they consider the following structure …

4 short starters
5 majority pitchers
3-4 short pitchers

The short starters would begin the game and pitch to a maximum of 9 hitters. They would start a game every 4th day.

The majority pitchers would be used in a similar fashion to today’s starters except they would enter the game in the 4th inning. They would pitch every 5th day.

The short pitchers would fill in the gaps in the 3rd inning and in the 8th/9th/extras as needed.

This structure would essentially have 9 pitchers going on a set schedule. It would be easy to keep those 9 pitchers under pitch / innings counts.

By: ianmonk Sun, 05 May 2013 15:21:55 +0000 Just more baseball nincompoopery. My girlfriend (who doesn’t really watch baseball) asked the same question recently. I answered without thinking “those are the guys the Manager trusts the most.” which then led to her restating the question like she was talking to a child. I see a movie being made about the first Manager/GM who embraces this concept, Joe Morgans voice can be heard throughout the movie saying negative things like “this just won’t work” like in Moneyball.

By: frsthypocrit Sun, 05 May 2013 15:06:57 +0000 Clint Hurdle will never, ever get this. It’s pansy thinking whereas he’d rather use macho gut management. All this sissy-stats-boy stuff doesn’t belong in a dugout. Leave it for the prissy college boy front office types.

By: Lee Young Sun, 05 May 2013 13:35:35 +0000 Personally, I wouldn’t have minded seeing what the grizzled vet, Contreras had left in his splitter.

By: Dropkickmurphys Sun, 05 May 2013 13:21:13 +0000 We are agreeing more often lately.

I’ve argued for years, that managers use their best relievers the wrong way. There are four reasons for this:
1. They truly believe the myth that some pitchers can pitch in the last inning. It doesn’t matter that 95% of all closer were pitchers who couldn’t pitch innings 1-8 and had to be relegated to the pen.

2. Managers manage by stat. Managers are managing according to the save opportunity. Its why Hurdle (and every other manager) won’t use his closer unless his team is leading by less than 4 runs. They only change this pattern in the post season.

3. Managers are managing based on “hope”. By keeping their best relievers out of the game, they are hoping they still have the lead later in the game. Hurdle’s fiat has nothing to do with rest, its all about getting Grilli saves. That thought process will has impact on and off the field. See how much Grilli costs when his deal is up.

4. Finally, managers don’t want to think or be held accountable for their thoughts. By placing even more restrictions on his 2 best closers, he’s taking in game thought out of the process. He’s managing by a code, not by analysis. He now has a book that states that he will not use his closer, when his team is behind, up by 4+ runs, and tied at home.

By: TNBucs Sun, 05 May 2013 13:04:46 +0000 In the past closers were referred to as “firemen” and while you occasionally still see that term it’s rarely appropriate anymore (the exception being when a manager brings in a closer to get out of a jam in the 8th to get the last 4-5 outs instead of just the last 3).

So I propose a new role in the bullpen–the fireman. This will be the guy you bring in the first time you face a jam after the starter is done. Of course then we need a new “common stat” so that these players are fully appreciated when it comes to arbitration and free agency. Publicizing LI would seem to be a good place to start.

By: oak1a Sun, 05 May 2013 12:56:55 +0000 While I tend to agree that using your best reliever to close is vastly over-rated and therefore closers over-rated, I wonder how realistic it is to use your best reliever or two in the highest leverage situations the majority of the time. The reality is, the guy needs to be warmed up to enter the game and managers will rarely have the luxury of having the best guy ready to go when the situation calls for it. Is a manager gonna have either Grilli or Melancon throwing in the pen every inning from the sixth on, just so they’re ready in the event the first batter or two reaches base and a high leverage situation presents itself? I don’t think this is appropriate either. Just goes to show the importance of having a deep and talented bullpen.

By: Kevin_Young Sun, 05 May 2013 07:16:01 +0000 Thank you. I feel like I got to vent vicariously through your article.