A Different Look At Pitcher Management

Before I get into my ideas on how pitcher usage could be changed in the future please look over this article on pitcher effectiveness and pitcher approach going through a lineup multiple times from Beyond the Box Score. I believe everyone around here can agree that pitchers get worse the more times they go through a lineup and starters are better than relievers since they are faced with that challenge. Add to it that starters must be able to get both left handed and right handed hitters out in order to succeed. And I know everyone is talking about the frequency of pitchers blowing their arms out. Especially, considering the Braves lost Kris Medlen, Brandon Beachy and Cody Gearrin to Tommy John surgery this year. What I propose is to limit pitchers to times through the order as opposed to pitch counts or innings limits.

My even bigger proposal is the move to a four man rotation. Now hear me out before you freak out. As I said before I think we can agree starters are better than relief pitchers on average. By four man rotation I mean an 8 starter pitching staff. 2 starters would be set to go each day and get through an opposing lineup twice each on average. Start with an A starter and go to a B starter as the game progresses. If the A starter has his stuff working, then go ahead and let him go as long as he can. Let him throw his no hitter if he has got it working idea. But if he comes out and is getting hit hard you have a starter ready to go and won’t be afraid to have a quick hook in the first inning. But on average hopefully you can get 4 innings each out of two quality starting pitchers. You round out the bullpen with a few potential closer types (Craig Kimbrel, Jordan Walden, David Carpenter or Anthony Varvaro). This would be a team that can live with an 11 man pitching staff and get an extra bench spot back for a positional player.

Now how would this look. Let’s start with A starters for the Braves. I would go Teheran, Minor, and Santana as solid A’s and use Wood as the fourth. That would be a righty/lefty alternating rotation which I don’t know has much benefit or not but they are all solid starters. Now when it comes to B starters it gets harder. Aaron Harang, Gavin Floyd, David Hale and ??? (Zach Stewart, Cody Martin, Aaron Northcraft, Hector Rodriquez, Ian Thomas, Gus Schlosser). The last spots would be places to try prospects to see if they can stick in a major rotation. Use them behind a better starter like Teheran who can work deeper into games.

Now how does this hold up over a season. With a four man rotation that means each pitcher is making 40.5 starts on average a season. So asking your starter to go 6 innings each outing is pretty much impossible. But 4 to 5 innings from the A starters and 3 to 4 from the B starters gives you inning counts of 120-200 for the 8 starting pitchers. This also leaves 162 innings to get picked up by the last 3 members of the bullpen













So now there ends up being a smaller 11 man pitching staff that has opened up an extra bench spot for a third catcher *cough Fredi*, pinch hitter, pinch runner or defensive replacement. Also, now more innings each year are from starter types as opposed to middle relievers. Starters should be more effective as they are no longer needed to go through a lineup multiple times. I feel this idea has potential. There may be backlash from players against a new system. Also, the current system stats of wins and quality starts would look not look good using this pitching structure. Other drawbacks include loss of situational pitching matchups due to the smaller pen. I know this is pretty far out there. Let me know what you think.

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