How do state pitch count limits for amateurs affect future elbow injury rates?
According to Wikipedia, Tommy John went to high school at Gerstmeyer High in Terra Haute, Indiana. I have to wonder how many pitches he racked up during those four years. Had he been pitching in high school today, he would have had to abide by Indiana’s state rules that a pitcher may not pitch more than 10 innings on three consecutive days. But had he been born in a state like Louisiana or Massachusetts, the sky would have been the limit.
If a reliever gets out of a big jam, is it safe to bring him back out?
Rainbow sprinkles alert: Ben Lindbergh saw this one on Twitter, from currently shelved reliever Peter Moylan, who was traded to the Dodgers in the middle of last year after spending several years with the Braves. Mr. Moylan is currently recovering from Tommy John surgery, like everyone else in baseball.
Another look at whether the five-man rotation makes sense.
Over the last few weeks, I’ve been trying to answer a question. Fifty years ago, it was routine for teams to carry only four starters, and for those four starters to complete a good chunk of their games. Pitching on three days’ rest was common, and pitchers regularly posted pitch counts that would get a manager fired today if he let it happen once. What happened?
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Should starting pitchers be asked to finish what they started more often?
In 2013, Adam Wainwright led Major League Baseball by pitching five complete games. In 2012, Justin Verlander was much more of an ironman and pitched six. A mere 30 years ago, in 1983, six complete games would have landed Verlander in a tie for 42nd place with such notables as Storm Davis, Bob Forsch, Jim Gott, Ken Schrom, and Bruce Hurst. Even 20 years ago, six complete games would have been good for a tie with David Cone for 15th place in MLB. What happened to finishing what you started?
Reconstructing historical pitch counts for a look at how starter usage has changed.
How many pitches did pitchers really throw “back then?” You know, during the days when men were men, a mustache was a mustache, and pitchers weren’t coddled. No one did any drugs ever, especially in baseball, and pitchers finished what they started. Just ask any lawn care professional who specializes in youth removal and was a fan of the game back then. Yes, the 1960s and 1970s were the halcyon days of high pitch counts, when all that you needed was a 10-man pitching staff. It was glorious.
Over the past few weeks, I've been taking an in-depth look at a single decision made by a manager: Tim Lincecum's 148-pitch no-hitter from a few weeks ago. Bruce Bochy left Lincecum in well past the usual 100-pitch limit to give him a chance at baseball immortality. But at what cost? We've seen that if a pitcher makes his next start on regular rest, there is a small carry-over effect of throwing a lot of pitches, but it's not all that big and it might even just be a methodological quirk anyway. We've seen some evidence that taking a pitcher out of a shutout (not necessarily a no-hitter) doesn't seem to affect him for good or for ill. But what about the obvious question. Are marathon pitching sessions penny-wise and pound-foolish?
Tom Tango returns to answer your first batch of questions from last week.
Believe it or not, most of our writers didn't enter the world sporting an @baseballprospectus.com address; with a few exceptions, they started out somewhere else. In an effort to up your reading pleasure while tipping our caps to some of the most illuminating work being done elsewhere on the internet, we'll be yielding the stage once a week to the best and brightest baseball writers, researchers and thinkers from outside of the BP umbrella. If you'd like to nominate a guest contributor (including yourself), please drop us a line.
You asked, he answered. Below are the first batch of responses to the questions BP readers submitted for sabermetrician Tom Tango. All questions are presented in their original form.
We walk through the methodology used to improve and enhance the Scoresheet value statistic SS/SIM for 2011.
We recently went to great lengths to develop the new version of SS/SIM, the Scoresheet simulation value metric here at Baseball Prospectus. As fellow Scoresheet owners, we realize that optimally these valuations would have been complete several weeks ago. Unfortunately, the original formulation of SS/SIM was not available to us this year, and our replacement took more time to develop than we had anticipated. We set out to create an all-new run-based value metric for Scoresheet team owners to use in player valuation. This time consuming effort was spearheaded by BP staffers with Scoresheet experience, and included research into the Scoresheet engine, talking with Jeff and Dave Barton, and consulting with Scoresheet experts for feedback.
Development of SS/SIM for both hitters and pitchers starts with the Scoresheet definition of replacement level, namely the awful Triple-A players that are used when you run out of playing time in the Scoresheet simulation. From there we have captured the most important aspects of the Scoresheet simulation and built them into the SS/SIM methodology to produce a single metric for Scoresheet owners. These adjustments seek to raise the effective replacement level and account for the differences between MLB and Scoresheet. [edit: BJM 2011-03-28]