Neftali Feliz, Daniel Bard, Chris Sale, Aroldis Chapman, and Aaron Crow are all bidding farewell to the bullpen this spring. Are their teams making the right move, and which convert has the best chance of success?
Five talented young pitchers are attempting to enter the rotation this spring after making their first marks in the majors in relief. Neftali Feliz, Daniel Bard, Chris Sale, Aroldis Chapman, and Aaron Crow have all excelled in the bullpen, but they don’t have a single big-league start between them. However, they do have starting experience: all but Sale, who started in college, have pitched out of the rotation in the minor leagues, and Chapman was also a starter in Cuba before signing with the Reds in 2010. Are their teams making the right move by returning them to their original roles, or will they regret messing with their young arms’ early success?
Most relief pitchers begin their baseball lives as starters before being banished to the bullpen. Relatively few pitchers ever succeed in the rotation after becoming established as relievers. If all five of this spring’s newly-minted starters—who range in age from 22 (Sale) to 26 (Bard)—stick in the rotation, their simultaneous success would be unprecedented. Since 1950, there have been six seasons in which four pitchers successfully converted—throwing at least 100 innings predominantly as starters a year after throwing at least 50 innings predominantly in relief—but five would be a first. No pitchers pulled off the feat last season. Alexi Ogando came close to qualifying (he threw only 41.2 innings the year before), and Phil Coke tried and failed, but the last two to do it were C.J. Wilson and R.A. Dickey, both in 2010.
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Our servers, like the Cardinals bullpen and the A's, crashed. Only two of those get to come back.
\nMathematically, leverage is based on the win expectancy work done by Keith Woolner in BP 2005, and is defined as the change in the probability of winning the game from scoring (or allowing) one additional run in the current game situation divided by the change in probability from scoring\n(or allowing) one run at the start of the game.';
xxxpxxxxx1161098296_18 = 'Adjusted Pitcher Wins. Thorn and Palmers method for calculating a starters value in wins. Included for comparison with SNVA. APW values here calculated using runs instead of earned runs.';
xxxpxxxxx1161098296_19 = 'Support Neutral Lineup-adjusted Value Added (SNVA adjusted for the MLVr of batters faced) per game pitched.';
xxxpxxxxx1161098296_20 = 'The number of double play opportunities (defined as less than two outs with runner(s) on first, first and second, or first second and third).';
xxxpxxxxx1161098296_21 = 'The percentage of double play opportunities turned into actual double plays by a pitcher or hitter.';
xxxpxxxxx1161098296_22 = 'Winning percentage. For teams, Win% is determined by dividing wins by games played. For pitchers, Win% is determined by dividing wins by total decisions. ';
xxxpxxxxx1161098296_23 = 'Expected winning percentage for the pitcher, based on how often\na pitcher with the same innings pitched and runs allowed in each individual\ngame earned a win or loss historically in the modern era (1972-present).';
xxxpxxxxx1161098296_24 = 'Attrition Rate is the percent chance that a hitters plate appearances or a pitchers opposing batters faced will decrease by at least 50% relative to his Baseline playing time forecast. Although it is generally a good indicator of the risk of injury, Attrition Rate will also capture seasons in which his playing time decreases due to poor performance or managerial decisions. ';
xxxpxxxxx1161098296_25 = 'Batting average (hitters) or batting average allowed (pitchers).';
xxxpxxxxx1161098296_26 = 'Average number of pitches per start.';
xxxpxxxxx1161098296_27 = 'Average Pitcher Abuse Points per game started.';
xxxpxxxxx1161098296_28 = 'Singles or singles allowed.';
xxxpxxxxx1161098296_29 = 'Batting average; hits divided by at-bats.';
xxxpxxxxx1161098296_30 = 'Percentage of pitches thrown for balls.';
xxxpxxxxx1161098296_31 = 'The Baseline forecast, although it does not appear here, is a crucial intermediate step in creating a players forecast. The Baseline developed based on the players previous three seasons of performance. Both major league and (translated) minor league performances are considered.
I don't mean to be overly dramatic here. I'm not trying to frame 'failure' in a
pejorative sense, the way we might describe Tony Muser, or airport security
pre-9/11, or Bud Selig's ceaseless efforts to acquire a human soul. I use the
term "failure" in a purely literal sense. How else to describe a
concept which has not succeeded in accomplishing the precise objective for which
it was created?