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  1. How will you ever get starting pitchers to buy into this idea when wins are so important to them?

    I just cannot see this experiment being successful.

    Comment by Slats — June 21, 2012 @ 6:47 pm

  2. It’s a clown idea bro

    Comment by Bryce Harper — June 21, 2012 @ 6:50 pm

  3. You wouldn’t do it to highly-paid guys, who have a serious economic incentive to resist — besides, as Dave Cameron said, if you have Justin Verlander, you’re not going to cut him back to nine hitters per start.

    My guess is that do this with relatively low-paid guys, probably mostly team-controlled guys, or swingmen/longmen who typically only sign one- or two-year deals. Guys like Aceves or Owings.

    Comment by Alex Remington — June 21, 2012 @ 6:51 pm

  4. I just don’t think there are enough two way players/swingman like Owings and Aceves for this to work.

    Comment by Slats — June 21, 2012 @ 7:45 pm

  5. Swingmen are just 5th/6th starters and Quad-A pitchers. There’s plenty of them.

    Comment by Alex Remington — June 21, 2012 @ 8:42 pm

  6. Exactly. They are a dime a dozen. They just don’t fit in the current paradigm.

    Comment by Paul — June 21, 2012 @ 10:11 pm

  7. So we get a bunch of guys that aren’t very good and try to limit how many each one of these bad pitchers pitch . At the end of the day you still need to pitch 9 innings

    Comment by Ricky — June 21, 2012 @ 10:51 pm

  8. Dave also suggested that a team needs to find a new way to compensate pitchers in order to get them to buy into this.

    Comment by Bryz — June 22, 2012 @ 12:58 am

  9. If the Nats were to shut down or severely limit Strasburg’s innings in September, you could see them calling up a few additional relievers on their 40 man roster and doing this with Detwiler, Stammen, and Gorzellany, or perhaps Strasburg along with those 4. This could keep Strasburg active and perhaps give him a longer start in each playoff series should they get that far.

    Comment by JCA — June 22, 2012 @ 9:42 am

  10. I think this would work better if you went sort of half and half. Most teams have at least one or two good starters that they would like to see pitch over 200 innings. So have those guys in the rotation like normal, but fill the other three spots with long reliever types as suggested here. That way you could have your Verlander of Sabathia and still have your improved “bullpen days” over crappy starters.

    Comment by phoenix2042 — June 22, 2012 @ 11:09 am

  11. If you limit players to this type of role does that at all diminish their chances of developing into a true ace? Would teams still be giving their top pitching prospects the opportunity to throw “Verlander” innings knowing that their is potential there?

    Comment by Anthony — June 22, 2012 @ 11:25 am

  12. This is a very good idea. Some existing teams should definitely try it, especially in the NL where the team could gain from pinch-hitters instead of pitchers batting.

    Comment by Baltar — June 22, 2012 @ 12:15 pm

  13. 1) Developing aces: True, this system doesn’t. It makes good pitchers out of mediocre pitchers. Rivera, Paplebon, and other closers are mediocre or failed starting pitchers. There are few aces. They are all freaks. And they want and have earned a big part of your budget at the point where they are due to break down.

    2) Pitchers buying in: It’s an easy sell to relief pitchers, obviously, and if your starting pitching is crappy enough to risk breaking baseball tradition, who cares what they think? True, breaking tradition is like a pitcher stepping on a foul line, and is in their little heads like a tick on deer. But they will be competing with established relief pitchers for important roles, and sulking isn’t going to help them shine. When a guy with a 4.50 ERA becomes a guy with a 2.75, and his team is competing every night, he’ll get over himself. As to pitchers avoiding the organization because there is no opportunity to be a diva, let us remember that it also may be seen as the fastest path to the big leagues.

    I have never heard a professional position player contradict the assertion that pitchers are the dumbest players on the field. It is the job of the manager to outsmart them. If the manager is the second dumbest guy on the field, that might not happen.

    Comment by james wilson — June 22, 2012 @ 12:40 pm

  14. Yea, for a team like Seattle this year, where you have 1 good starter (Felix), 2 hit-or-miss innings eaters (Vargas and Millwood), 2 bad starters (whoever) and a seemingly endless supply of decent relievers, I think a split system would create significantly better results than they’re getting right now. They wouldn’t even need to rebuild the roster to fit the system.

    I can imagine Dave might’ve come up with this idea in the first place watching a Hector Noesi start, and thinking it would’ve been better to just run out the bullpen for the full nine.

    Comment by Trevor — June 22, 2012 @ 2:01 pm

  15. Alex, maybe you can get Dave to actually respond to this. He stated as a comment in the previous thread:

    “Early game performance doesn’t predict pitcher performance any better than a pitcher’s true talent level. Just because a guy gives up three runs in an inning doesn’t mean he doesn’t have it, or that he’s going to keep struggling if you leave him in.”

    To which I asked: “Please show me your research on that. I have seen this stated ad nauseum, only to be handed work with an extreme selection bias each time.”

    Not that I think the idea can’t succeed…but it is built on some rather large assumptions that require empirical evidence.

    Comment by Marver — June 22, 2012 @ 4:47 pm

  16. I haven’t seen the research but I am certainly not as up on a lot of that data as Cameron is. I think your best bet to get a direct response from Cameron is to comment on the story or ask the question in a live chat.

    Comment by Alex Remington — June 22, 2012 @ 5:27 pm

  17. I did, to no response. One would think such a crucial assumption, when made, would be sourced.

    Comment by Marver — June 22, 2012 @ 6:47 pm

  18. I don’t have the database skills to pull it off, but I imagine you could do a study with Retrosheet data, looking for pitchers who had a three-run inning in the first inning or two of the game, and seeing how they pitched in the following innings, and compare that to their averages for those innings.

    Comment by Alex Remington — June 22, 2012 @ 7:46 pm

  19. LaRussa tried this already and abandoned it in like two weeks. Stop doing vudeo game contortions to plug in players like robots or numbers in a formula. The solution for a team that needs to get more out of its pitchers is to develop better pitchers to begin with. Honestly, some organizations just need to completely overhaul their conditioning programs, instruction, scouting, free agent spending and so on, and make the hundreds of little tweaks to build a quality franchise top to bottom. This notion that you can turn chicken scratch into chicken salad simply by shuffling a couple players’ roles around is just taken to absurd extremes sometimes. It becomes the sabermetric analog to the traditionalist’s “well, just go spend on a big bat”.

    Comment by Beantown — June 22, 2012 @ 11:08 pm

  20. Sounds as if this would work for a team trying to survive a season sans strong pitching — a la the Colorado Rockies — but this is no way to win a division title.

    Comment by BaseballisCool — June 23, 2012 @ 12:12 pm

  21. Still ripe with selection bias, as it leaves in a critical assumption that those taken out and those left in had the same ‘stuff’ that day…which can be controlled with pitch f/x. It also requires proper scaling, as those that would be left in after surrendering three would likely be a different set of pitchers from those removed.

    Never seen anything like that completed, and without it completed, the theory is nothing but poorly formed conjecture.

    Comment by Marver — June 23, 2012 @ 9:35 pm

  22. I actually don’t think the selection bias — being limited to pitchers who would be good enough for their managers to leave them in after they gave up 3 runs — is that big a problem. The most important thing is to compare apples to apples. If Roy Halladay gives up 3 in the first, does that mean that he “doesn’t have it” that day? Does he have an increased likelihood of giving up more runs in the second, or not?

    This doesn’t necessarily answer the entire question, but it answers part of it.

    Comment by Alex Remington — June 24, 2012 @ 2:32 pm

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