The Frailty of the Modern Pitcher

CR67dream

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A team would need to make this a multi -year project starting in the minors. But, if you take a boatload of high school starters and train them as 3 IP/3 days, you could try to run a 3 day rotation of ABC/DEF/GHI, and that still leaves 4 spots for relief work as currently understood.
Tons of logistical, training, contract issues (good luck signing FA P for this model). But I think there is roster space and physiological capacity to make this idea feasible.
The most important thing you'd need to make this feasible in a tangible rather than theoretical way is a complete and total buy-in from everyone involved, and that's never, ever, going to happen.

I also fail to see, at least at this point, a medical value in doing this. @simplicio pointed out some pretty valid info above. Some pitchers are getting a break, but more are adding innings than subtracting. Even if you try to make it the standard from high school through the minors, and have it work its way up, there's going to be a tremendous amount of overlap. There's no way it's worth all the trouble.

I'm pretty sure I would also have almost no interest in consistently watching the product that would be born out of that approach. No thanks.
 
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Archer1979

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The most important thing you'd need to make this feasible in a tangible rather than theoretical way is a complete and total buy-in from everyone involved, and that's never, ever, going to happen.

I also fail to see, at least at this point, a medical value in doing this. @simplicio pointed out some pretty valid info above. Some pitchers are getting a break, but more are adding innings than subtracting. Even if you try to make it the standard from high school through the minors, and have it work its way up, there's going to be a tremendous amount of overlap. There's no way it's worth all the trouble.

I'm pretty sure I would also have almost no interest in consistently watching the product that would be born out of that approach. No thanks.
Yeah. That and your worst pitchers are potentially on the mound for the same amount of innings as your best hurlers. Everyone would like to have quality in their bullpen from top to bottom, but there are reasons some pitchers only come in when the game is out of hand.

It simplified his delivery which allowed him to get his arm into a better position to throw more efficiently and it also had the effect on him of improving his control. It was done as a response to him having a detached elbow growth plate when he was 12. He's thrown exclusively from the stretch ever since and last year had a 1.105 ERA for his HS team (this year in progress). It's likely different for each individual but this worked for him.
Thanks.
 

simplicio

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3 IP/3 days is ~180 IP over 54 appearances. IANAD, but I don't see how you can get one guy, let alone 12, who's physiologically capable of that.

Think about the thing we've always heard about Whitlock, how he needs a day off for every inning he throws. But even he isn't capable of actually maintaining that through a full season; his awesome 2021 where he was an absolute workhorse he didn't throw the 120 IP that 2 IP/3 days would imply, he threw 73. Last year Winckowski's 84 innings were the third highest by any reliever, and he only had four 3 inning stints all season, all of them coming before June. He had a minimum of 3 days rest after all of those.

There's just no way for bodies to recover from multi-inning relief work that quickly, while throwing at modern day MLB levels, and sustain that for 6 months.
 

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I have little to add, but this is a fantastic thread. Many thanks to everyone who's contributed.

Conversations like this can't help but make me wonder about exactly how powerful early "power pitchers" were. How fast was Johnson's fastball? Feller? And how was someone like Ryan able to both hit triple digits AND throw over 5,000 innings?

The human body is weird.
 

joe dokes

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I have little to add, but this is a fantastic thread. Many thanks to everyone who's contributed.

Conversations like this can't help but make me wonder about exactly how powerful early "power pitchers" were. How fast was Johnson's fastball? Feller? And how was someone like Ryan able to both hit triple digits AND throw over 5,000 innings?

The human body is weird.
PITCHER BOB FELLER MEASURES SPEED BALL - Film & Video Stock (efootage.com)

Feller's Pitch Races Motorcycle - Film & Video Stock (efootage.com)
 

Mighty Joe Young

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The Athletic had a piece up in this topic a few days ago - very interesting read. Highly recommend.

https://theathletic.com/5325032/2024/03/08/elbow-injuries-mlb-pitchers/?source=user_shared_articleProminent MLB team physician sounds alarm on pitching injuries

More or less blamed it on two prevalent pitches.

“ The sweeper puts tremendous stress on the inner elbow, Meister said. The power “movement” changeup, as Meister calls it, also puts inordinate strain on the arm. “And to throw these pitches,” he said, “you have to squeeze the crap out of the baseball.”
 

Harry Hooper

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The Athletic had a piece up in this topic a few days ago - very interesting read. Highly recommend.

https://theathletic.com/5325032/2024/03/08/elbow-injuries-mlb-pitchers/?source=user_shared_articleProminent MLB team physician sounds alarm on pitching injuries

More or less blamed it on two prevalent pitches.

“ The sweeper puts tremendous stress on the inner elbow, Meister said. The power “movement” changeup, as Meister calls it, also puts inordinate strain on the arm. “And to throw these pitches,” he said, “you have to squeeze the crap out of the baseball.”
Pedro may have enjoyed some elbow protection in throwing the changeup via his long fingers. Of course, he ended up with shoulder issues rather than elbow ones.
 

Red(s)HawksFan

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Pedro may have enjoyed some elbow protection in throwing the changeup via his long fingers. Of course, he ended up with shoulder issues rather than elbow ones.
Pedro didn't throw the change-up that is described in that article so his elbow wasn't really in any danger. He threw a more traditional change-up. It did not require "squeezing the crap out of the ball." Quite the opposite, actually.
 

joe dokes

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Today's changeups have almost as much reverse torque as yesterday's screwballs. (you don't see too many scroogies these days).
 

Yo La Tengo

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The reason why the screwball ceased to exist is that it was so closely associated with arm injuries that everyone decided to rebrand it the "circle changeup".
Worth noting that every high school through nfl quarterback pronates as much/more than required for a killer change up.
 

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Worth noting that every high school through nfl quarterback pronates as much/more than required for a killer change up.
Among other differences, NFL QBs have around 30–40 attempts per game once a week at 55 mph, plus or minus a bit.

Yeah, there are factors in the other direction (e.g. the football's heavier), but the basic point is that there are so many differences they're not really comparable.
 

Sad Sam Jones

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This isn't particularly relevant given the drastic change in pitching over the decades, but I found it to be amusing documentation that the novel concepts to rework the pitching workload go back well over a hundred years. Also, both instances of this type of scheduled substitution I'm aware of – McGraw in 1903 and Tony LaRussa in 1993 – were immediately abandoned.*

Sam Crane explained in 1903, "Manager McGraw has originated a new plan which he will put into operation when the championship season begins, and will be an entirely new departure in base ball. He intends to work his pitchers throughout the season as he has during the Southern trip, that is, he will use two pitchers in every game, one being in the points five innings and the other four. No manager but one who has originality and nerve would attempt any such innovation, but McGraw has both, and has made up his mind to adopt the plan. There are many things, too, in its favor. The pitchers can surely do more work and go in the box oftener than under the old plan, for a half game will hardly be more pleasurable exercise for them. Then, again, most games are lost on one or two inning, and any ball player knows that any change of delivery during a game is more or less puzzling. McGraw says that the only thing to fear in adopting the plan is the 'roasting' he will get if the second pitcher should lose his game after the first pitcher had his opponents tied up. But he will take chances, just the same, and there is not a player among the Giants who does not favor the plan. It will be a radical and sensational plan" (Sporting Life, April 18, 1903).

Sporting Life editor Francis Richter commented disapprovingly: "McGraw's idea is by no means new, so far as the suggestion is concerned, although it has never yet been put into practice. no manager has yet had the nerve to try it out, and we have little doubt that McGraw will quietly weaken on it should he be bold enough to try it in championship games. It always was a poor scheme to swap horses crossing a stream, and it would be a still greater mistake to take out a pitcher who happened to be pitching winning ball just because he had completed five innings. The new pitcher would not be warmed up, and the change of style might be just what the batsmen were looking for" (Sporting Life, April 18, 1903).

As it turned out, Christy Mathewson pitched a complete game victory for the Giants on opening day, and Iron Man McGinnity followed with another the next day. McGraw essentially abandoned his scheme at that point, yet he does not appear to have entirely forgotten about it. For example, in a 5-2 loss to Chicago on May 23, 1907, he used the unheard of total of six pitchers.

A Game of Inches, Peter Morris. 2006
*I'm considering this materially different than "openers" which is really just redistributing the placement of a relief pitcher.
 

zenax

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I played with some numbers to look a little farther back:
Go way back, say to the early 1880s, and you find that pitchers were much more limited by what were called strikes or balls:

Playing Rules of the National League --1884
Class IV -Definitions
Rule 24. A High Ball is a ball legally delivered by the Pitcher, over the Home Base, higher than the belt of the Batsman. but not higher than his shoulder.
Rule 25. A Low Ball is a ball legally delivered by the Pitcher, over the Home Base, not higher than the Batsman's belt. but not lower than his knee.
Rule 26. A High or Low Ball is a ball legally delivered by the Pitcher, over the Home Base, not higher than the Batsman's shoulder, nor lower than his knee.
Rule 27. A Fair Ball is a ball delivered by the Pitcher, wholly within the lines of his position and facing the Batsman, and the ball passing over Home Base at the height called for by the Batsman.
Rule 28. An Unfair Ball is a ball delivered by the Pitcher as in Rule 27, except the that ball does not pass passing over Home Base at the height called for by the Batsman.
~~~~~~~
It took six balls for a 'walk' and three for a 'strikeout' but there were also some other things (confusing) governing those calls, such as the Catcher handling the ball and up to a certain point, the Batsman could refuse to go to first. But the main thing is that the pitcher was more like a pitching machine. They did throw pitches that curved but mainly they were there to allow the Batsman to hit. Spalding's Official Baseball Guide -- 1884 (10 cents)

When they got around to changing the ground level pitching box to a rubber on a mound 60' 5" to the back of home plate, pitching became more important and as the population increased, the availability of taller pitchers (who could release a pitch closer to home plate) was more common. What would the game of baseball be like if seven-foot+ athletes decided decoded that pitching was better that basketball?
 

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Feels like we are in for a season with a record breaking amount of pitcher injuries…
https://www.si.com/mlb/diamondbacks/news/torey-lovullo-gives-update-on-eduardo-rodriguez-injury
Left-hander Eduardo Rodriguez left today's game in the second inning after a couple warmup pitches due to left lat tightness. After throwing his last warmup pitch, Rodriguez approached second baseman Elvis Andrus complaining of back tightness. That prompted Lovullo to visit the mound, with trainer Ryan DiPanfilo and pitching coach Brent Strom, to get more information. Manager Torey Lovullo said they will get more information for tomorrow and give a more detailed update then. He said his level of concern is "minimal" and there won't be imaging, for now.
 

HfxBob

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Isn't a big part of Breslow and Bailey's pitching approach to increase velocity as much as possible?

I wonder if all the injuries are raising some concern about that approach for the Red Sox.
 

sezwho

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Isn't a big part of Breslow and Bailey's pitching approach to increase velocity as much as possible?

I wonder if all the injuries are raising some concern about that approach for the Red Sox.
I think it’s everybody’s plan, and if it’s not it soon will be. The balance has tipped towards the hitter, it seems, such that only max effort keeps the wolves at bay. I wonder if the new Moneyball will be balancing performance with arm survival. Like maybe the changeup isn’t quite as effective as the slider, but the guy keeps his effing elbow intact for an average of 30 more innings every season.

Maybe (probably?) Giolito‘s arm was going to grenade no matter what, but popping increased velocities on both slider and FB over last year in week one feels like jiggling the pin. Now he has the real pins (accidental pun still intended).
 

Max Power

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I think it’s everybody’s plan, and if it’s not it soon will be. The balance has tipped towards the hitter, it seems, such that only max effort keeps the wolves at bay. I wonder if the new Moneyball will be balancing performance with arm survival. Like maybe the changeup isn’t quite as effective as the slider, but the guy keeps his effing elbow intact for an average of 30 more innings every season.

Maybe (probably?) Giolito‘s arm was going to grenade no matter what, but popping increased velocities on both slider and FB over last year in week one feels like jiggling the pin. Now he has the real pins (accidental pun still intended).
The only thing that current hitters are better at is hitting homers. Look at these lines from 2023 and 2009, when runs per game were basically identical.

79728
79729

Singles, doubles, triples, and walks are all down. Homers and strikeouts are way up. If you do limit the number of pitchers on a roster so they have to pitch longer at less than max effort, the ball should be deadened a bit. That will keep the ball in the yard and maybe force hitters try to make contact instead of maximizing launch angle.
 

CR67dream

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I think we have to look at this on (really more than) a couple of levels. First, the injuries themselves. It seems to me that the horse is out of the barn as far as the approach of max effort, and that pitchers these days, especially the young ones, really don't know anything different. As said above, this isn't just the Sox. There are a boatload of injuries, particularly elbow injuries, for pitchers all over the map.

It's not just max effort, though, either. I absolutely love Kutter Crawford, but that sweeper he throws puts a tremendous amount of stress on his elbow. I believe I read about the effects of that type of sweeper in this very thread. I have to believe he knows this, but considers it the cost of doing business in today's game. From all I've read, it seems that pitch has been the difference maker for him. Of course he's going to throw it, and go all out in general. He has to in order to even compete in today's structure, never mind succeed. They all do. They know the deal going in. Whether that should be the deal is a whole different question. We're in the now.

That brings up a second issue, which is how the hell can teams now predict a pitcher's future health and effectiveness with any confidence? It's always been a gamble, but I've seen enough to be comfortable saying it's different now. It seems pretty clear that they have a lot of the responsibility for creating the environment in the first place, but however it got here, it's become crystal clear that pitchers are breaking, and are at risk of breaking, at an all time and unsustainable level. That doesn't change the fact that they now have to decide whether or not to throw huge dollars at guys knowing what they know, even if the demands that were made when these pitchers were on the cheap have a direct correlation to the future risk.

Seems like a pretty big mess.

There have been some interesting ideas in how to address all of this in here, and thanks to everyone who has brought their thoughts and curiosity to the conversation.
 

Philip Jeff Frye

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Seems like we should return to the pre-1968 mound to give pitchers more of an advantage versus hitters instead of having to throw every pitch at 99 mph.
 

Max Power

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Seems like we should return to the pre-1968 mound to give pitchers more of an advantage versus hitters instead of having to throw every pitch at 99 mph.
It seems more likely that pitchers would continue to throw every pitch as hard as possible and league strikeout rate would further explode. Just like every other time pitchers were given an advantage, it was used to push the envelope and create a new baseline.
 

Sin Duda

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That brings up a second issue, which is how the hell can teams now predict a pitcher's future health and effectiveness with any confidence? It's always been a gamble, but I've seen enough to be comfortable saying it's different now. It seems pretty clear that they have a lot of the responsibility for creating the environment in the first place, but however it got here, it's become crystal clear that pitchers are breaking, and are at risk of breaking, at an all time and unsustainable level. That doesn't change the fact that they now have to decide whether or not to throw huge dollars at guys knowing what they know, even if the demands that were made when these pitchers were on the cheap have a direct correlation to the future risk.

Seems like a pretty big mess.
I want to address your second issue. I work in the semiconductor industry and a wafer fab has a dozen or more major process steps that are used hundreds of times in the production process. There are hundreds of variables for each step, so there are literally hundreds of thousand variables to track. Machine learning enables us to optimize the process steps individually and collectively. In the old days, craftsmen used to do this on a micro level, e.g. if this pin needs to mate in that drilled hole, then take the pins with a larger measured diameter and match them with the holes with larger diameters to maximize performance and reliability.

MLB teams have much more data than ever before. Imagine taking Crawford's size, reach, flexibility, strength, previous injuries, parental health, ultrasound of tendons .... add in game situation, pitch count, type of pitches, pitcher fielding plays, ball stickiness, etc. I'm sure there are other datasets to add to this. Run the regression with an output of player health and, eventually, teams will be able to predict injuries with some accuracy. At a rudimentary level, they already do this with reliever days and pitches, and young starter innings year to year (Si's Tom Verducci used to highlight this one).

I'm sure the Sox have something already cooking, and I hope they team up with the world class medical practitioners and facilities in Boston.
 

macal

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I want to address your second issue. I work in the semiconductor industry and a wafer fab has a dozen or more major process steps that are used hundreds of times in the production process. There are hundreds of variables for each step, so there are literally hundreds of thousand variables to track. Machine learning enables us to optimize the process steps individually and collectively. In the old days, craftsmen used to do this on a micro level, e.g. if this pin needs to mate in that drilled hole, then take the pins with a larger measured diameter and match them with the holes with larger diameters to maximize performance and reliability.

MLB teams have much more data than ever before. Imagine taking Crawford's size, reach, flexibility, strength, previous injuries, parental health, ultrasound of tendons .... add in game situation, pitch count, type of pitches, pitcher fielding plays, ball stickiness, etc. I'm sure there are other datasets to add to this. Run the regression with an output of player health and, eventually, teams will be able to predict injuries with some accuracy. At a rudimentary level, they already do this with reliever days and pitches, and young starter innings year to year (Si's Tom Verducci used to highlight this one).

I'm sure the Sox have something already cooking, and I hope they team up with the world class medical practitioners and facilities in Boston.
Thanks for this. I was preparing a post in my head saying pretty much the same thing and wondering if AI could start predicting pitchers with possible injury red flags, before signing them. You said it all much better than I would have.

Over the length of a contract, I would think that #2 workhorse starter with an ERA of 4.00 (yes, I know, basic old school stat), would probably have more value than an injury risk Ace with an ERA of 3.00. Every time the Ace gets injured, he's being replaced by the #6 starter or a bullpen arm.
 

sezwho

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The only thing that current hitters are better at is hitting homers. Look at these lines from 2023 and 2009, when runs per game were basically identical.

View attachment 79728
View attachment 79729

Singles, doubles, triples, and walks are all down. Homers and strikeouts are way up. If you do limit the number of pitchers on a roster so they have to pitch longer at less than max effort, the ball should be deadened a bit. That will keep the ball in the yard and maybe force hitters try to make contact instead of maximizing launch angle.
Interesting seeing the breakdown like that, thanks.

The only thing I'd add is that keeping production to even this level seems to be coming at the expense of the arms. Its always a ripple effect, so I'm not necessarily advocating, but the combo of deadening the ball plus hammer the zone approach could (I say could : ) help address attrition.
 

EyeBob

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If “frailty” of pitchers is truly a thing, might we expect an uptick in PED use to occur with pitchers? Some/most PEDS can significantly help in recovery from big physical efforts. Given the increased risk of injury from the “max effort” approach to pitching, and given the increasing reward to stay healthy, using PEDs may become more widespread.
 

absintheofmalaise

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I would think that since they have hired Kyle Boddy that they are going to start implementing some of the training techniques that Driveline Baseball uses to increase velocity and improve mechanics to, hopefully, cut down on arm injuries. Driveline also works with hitters, but that's for another thread. Here's a link from their site to some research articles. I haven't had a chance to see if they are peer reviewed, so take them with a grain of salt
 

RS2004foreever

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That brings up a second issue, which is how the hell can teams now predict a pitcher's future health and effectiveness with any confidence? It's always been a gamble, but I've seen enough to be comfortable saying it's different now. It seems pretty clear that they have a lot of the responsibility for creating the environment in the first place, but however it got here, it's become crystal clear that pitchers are breaking, and are at risk of breaking, at an all time and unsustainable level. That doesn't change the fact that they now have to decide whether or not to throw huge dollars at guys knowing what they know, even if the demands that were made when these pitchers were on the cheap have a direct correlation to the future risk.

Seems like a pretty big mess.

There have been some interesting ideas in how to address all of this in here, and thanks to everyone who has brought their thoughts and curiosity to the conversation.
What is it they say in the stock market - past performance is not a guarantee of future success?
Here is a list of the top 10 pitchers from 2021 to 2023 in games started. So is this list a list of durable pitchers, or is this a list of pitchers that are highly likely to become injured because of arm stress?
I don't know the answer - but I have to believe analytics guys are all over this data to try and predict arm injuries.

[TH]Pitcher[/TH] [TH]Starts[/TH] [TH]Innings Pitched[/TH]
Dylan Cease
97​
526.2​
Gerrit Cole - currently injured
96​
591​
José Berríos
96​
553.2​
Aaron Nola
96​
579.1​
Kevin Gausman
95​
551.2​
Charlie Morton
94​
521​
Patrick Corbin
94​
504.1​
Kyle Gibson
94​
537.1​
Lucas Giolito - out for the year
94​
524.2​
Jordan Montgomery
94​
524.1​
 

zenax

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So is this list a list of durable pitchers, or is this a list of pitchers that are highly likely to become injured because of arm stress?
Isn't the problem related to more modern times? I'm old; I started playing ball more than 70 years ago in a very small town where we couldn't always get a game going so we played catch. But when we played catch we didn't try to make every throw as hard as we could. At home, I'd throw a rubber ball off the roof of the barn to practice catching fly balls or off its side to practice line drives and grounders. Today, baseball is so organized. I live now in NH's largest city and in teh 15+ years I've been here, I have seen exactly two kids playing catch, once. If you want to make a name for yourself in baseball today, you have to be the best as it all seems to be organized.
 

Sandy Leon Trotsky

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Wouldn’t softening the ball just be the most simple answer? Less HR’s, more balls in play- would encourage pitchers to lay off stuff and add to more on field action, more defense….
 

Mike473

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I think it would be great if they could figure out a way to reverse the trend for starting pitching. Ace starting pitchers that pitch deep into the games are great for MLB and those players can be great faces of the league and build the fanbase. Think about the amount of actual time you might have watched Clemens or Pedro on TV during a typical week vs even the elite every day players who have 4 at bats and a few plays in the field. It was must watch, at least for me. I don't really think watching relievers regularly take over in the 4th is good for the game at all. But, that is an old school way of looking at it.
 

8slim

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I think it would be great if they could figure out a way to reverse the trend for starting pitching. Ace starting pitchers that pitch deep into the games are great for MLB and those players can be great faces of the league and build the fanbase. Think about the amount of actual time you might have watched Clemens or Pedro on TV during a typical week vs even the elite every day players who have 4 at bats and a few plays in the field. It was must watch, at least for me. I don't really think watching relievers regularly take over in the 4th is good for the game at all. But, that is an old school way of looking at it.
I agree with you, and I don’t think it’s ever “old school” to want to see the best pitchers in the game throw as many innings as possible. That’s a big reason we follow major league baseball — to watch the best of the best play their trade.

The current approach to limiting starters innings makes the game less interesting and fun. This is supposed to be entertainment.
 

SirPsychoSquints

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Wouldn’t softening the ball just be the most simple answer? Less HR’s, more balls in play- would encourage pitchers to lay off stuff and add to more on field action, more defense….
You can’t just make pitching easier. The hitters are responding to pitchers they can’t string together hits against. The pitchers didn’t decide to strike out 1 of every 3 batters because the batters hit the ball too far.
 

Apisith

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A crazy idea would be to penalise teams if their pitchers get TJ. If the PA is concerned about this trend then negotiate a bonus for players who get TJ, maybe accelerate service time as well. If you get TJ you’re only under control for 5 years. It might incentivise teams to push back against players throwing max effort.
 

jacklamabe65

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When I pitched Division 1 in the mid-1970s, we barely kept pitch counts. Our big statistic was completed innings and how many. Even when I pitched in the American Legion growing up, the goal was always to complete seven innings of work each time I pitched. There were times I sucked and was then relieved early. No arm injuries, no TJ surgery, no pitch counts. Yes, this is maddeningly simplistic, but the micromanagement approach hasn't worked either. I can only contribute what I experienced, and because most of you didn't pitch in college, I offer it here.
 

SirPsychoSquints

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A crazy idea would be to penalise teams if their pitchers get TJ. If the PA is concerned about this trend then negotiate a bonus for players who get TJ, maybe accelerate service time as well. If you get TJ you’re only under control for 5 years. It might incentivise teams to push back against players throwing max effort.
Correct, it’s a crazy idea. There’s already a thing of people getting preemptive TJ, you want to incentivize players to get it?
 

HfxBob

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The Athletic had a piece up in this topic a few days ago - very interesting read. Highly recommend.

https://theathletic.com/5325032/2024/03/08/elbow-injuries-mlb-pitchers/?source=user_shared_articleProminent MLB team physician sounds alarm on pitching injuries

More or less blamed it on two prevalent pitches.

“ The sweeper puts tremendous stress on the inner elbow, Meister said. The power “movement” changeup, as Meister calls it, also puts inordinate strain on the arm. “And to throw these pitches,” he said, “you have to squeeze the crap out of the baseball.”
I read a comment here (looks like it was on a different thread) that the crackdown on sticky stuff may actually be part of the increasing injuries, and that would seem to tie in with this comment about "squeezing the crap out of the baseball" (a refreshingly non-technical description, I might add).
 

Philip Jeff Frye

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Oct 23, 2001
10,267
I think it would be great if they could figure out a way to reverse the trend for starting pitching. Ace starting pitchers that pitch deep into the games are great for MLB and those players can be great faces of the league and build the fanbase. Think about the amount of actual time you might have watched Clemens or Pedro on TV during a typical week vs even the elite every day players who have 4 at bats and a few plays in the field. It was must watch, at least for me. I don't really think watching relievers regularly take over in the 4th is good for the game at all. But, that is an old school way of looking at it.
It's not just more Pedro and Clemens. Modern pitcher usage is just boring no matter who's involved. There used to be drama in the 7th or 8th inning. Could the crafty veteran figure his way out of a jam? Did the manager wait too long to make a change? Could the fire balling reliever come in with runners on base and get a big strike out?

Now the crafty veteran is pulled after 4 innings, replaced by a parade of anonymous relievers, who get 3 outs and then get replaced by more anonymous relievers. Most of the manager's pitching decisions are made well in advance of the game. Fire balling relievers come in (mostly) with at the start of an inning, with the bases empty. Yawn.
 

HfxBob

New Member
Nov 13, 2005
599
It's not just more Pedro and Clemens. Modern pitcher usage is just boring no matter who's involved. There used to be drama in the 7th or 8th inning. Could the crafty veteran figure his way out of a jam? Did the manager wait too long to make a change? Could the fire balling reliever come in with runners on base and get a big strike out?

Now the crafty veteran is pulled after 4 innings, replaced by a parade of anonymous relievers, who get 3 outs and then get replaced by more anonymous relievers. Most of the manager's pitching decisions are made well in advance of the game. Fire balling relievers come in (mostly) with at the start of an inning, with the bases empty. Yawn.
As a slight counterpoint, the champion Rangers, managed by Bruce Bochy, who might be deemed more of an old school type, had Eovaldi with 5 postseason outings of 6 to 7 innings, and Montgomery with 3 such outings.
 

Montana Fan

Member
SoSH Member
Oct 18, 2000
8,905
Twin Bridges, Mt.
When I pitched Division 1 in the mid-1970s, we barely kept pitch counts. Our big statistic was completed innings and how many. Even when I pitched in the American Legion growing up, the goal was always to complete seven innings of work each time I pitched. There were times I sucked and was then relieved early. No arm injuries, no TJ surgery, no pitch counts. Yes, this is maddeningly simplistic, but the micromanagement approach hasn't worked either. I can only contribute what I experienced, and because most of you didn't pitch in college, I offer it here.
Was perusing some stats the other day, guess how many complete games the 1978 Sox threw?
57