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Shutting Down Rookie Pitchers

As the season progresses, teams will be looking to sit rookie pitchers to prevent injuries. Here is a look at the work loads of previous rookie pitchers and what to expect from the current crop of good rookie pitchers.

Teams have always worried about injuring the arms of young pitchers and this worry has expanded after the Verducci Effect was published. Some studies have shown the negative effects of over throwing young pitchers to be minimal, but that has not stopped teams from shutting down their young arms, especially rookies.

Here is a list of the top 3 rookie pitchers (removed K-Dice from 2007 data because he was not a real rookie) in IP from each of the past 4 completed seasons:

Name GS IP Year
Matusz 32 175 2010
Niese 30 173 2010
Davis 29 168 2010
Hiemann 30 180 2009
Cahill 32 178 2009
Romero 29 178 2009
Blackburn 33 193 2008
G. Smith 32 190 2008
J. Jurrjens 31 188 2008
Guthrie 26 175 2007
Chico 31 167 2007
Bannister 27 165 2007
Average 30.2 177.5

The average number of IP from these top throwing rookies is 178 IP with the top value being 193 IP (Nick Blackburn in 2008). The average number of starts is 30 with the highest number being 33 (also Nick Blackburn). Using these numbers as a general rule, I would use 180 IP and 30 GS as a top limit for projecting GS and IP for rookie pitchers this season.

Here is a look at a few of the top rookie pitchers this season and a projected number of GS for the rest of the season:

The GS (ROS) is based on using subtracting 30 GS from the number of GS they have so far this season. GS (ROS based on IP) is found by taking 180 IP subtracting the IP pitched so far and then dividing by the pitcher’s IP/GS.

Name GS (so far) GS (ROS) IP (so far) IP/GS GS (ROS based on IP)
Pineda 18 12 113 6.3 10.3
Britten 18 12 104 5.8 12.7
Ogando 17 13 104 6.1 12.0
Hellickson 16 14 103 6.4 11.6

Owners of these players may need to look at finding possible substitutes for these pitchers once they are shut down. If the league is not a keeper league, just drop the player when the team is done starting them and find a starter that will be facing expanded/water downed September rosters.

Owners of these pitchers in keeper leagues, may need to trade them off before the deadline if their team looks to have a chance of winning. This is especially true in H2H keeper leagues. One or more of these rookie pitchers may have helped the owner get to the playoffs. If the rookie is not available in the playoffs, the owner only has himself to blame for not trading him off earlier for a pitcher that may go the entire season.