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  1. #1
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    6-Man Rotation - Isn't It Time?

    Limits on innings pitched...pitch counts...Tommy John surgery...workloads...the going rate for starting pitchers...international imports...

    It's been said that pitching a baseball professionally is not a natural activity for the human arm/shoulder/elbow, & will ultimately be the cause of pain & soreness, injuries, disabilities, surgeries, rehabilitation programs, etc.

    I believe that in time, MLB should be exploring/researching the advantages and disadvantages of incorporating six-man rotations & ultimately increasing pitching rosters. They need to get creative in an effort to keep the cost of pitching down - it's gotten out of hand, hasn't it?

    I think the Yankees are in a position this year to experiment with this, considering Tanaka's acquisition, Pineda's return, Kuroda's age, and Nova's & Phelps' limited histories. I'd love to see them develop a system where C.C. pitches every 5th day as usual (unless he also wants to experiment) and everyone else pitches every 6th day. Can they go with a 6-man bullpen instead of 7? Is it fair to say the 7th man in the pen doesn't get enough work?

    I don't know the answers - but I think this would be very interesting to watch.

    Your thoughts?
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  2. #2
    Alright, alright, alright... Big_E's Avatar
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    Re: 6-Man Rotation - Isn't It Time?

    OK, but how would that work? Assume it's (1) CC, (2) Tanaka, (3) Kuroda, (4) Nova, (5) Pineda, (6) Phelps. If the Yankees played 25 games without a day off, you would get:

    1-2-3-4-5-1-6-2-3-4-1-5-6-2-3-1-4-5-6-2-1-3-4-5-6

    which keeps CC pitching every 5th day. After each pitcher's first start, they would see:

    CC every 5 days.
    Tanaka 6 days three times
    Kuroda 6 days twice, 7 days once
    Nova 7 days once, 6 days twice
    Pineda 7 days once, 6 days twice
    Phelps 6 days three times

    Once you factor in rain-outs and scheduled days off, things would get really hairy.

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  3. #3
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    Re: 6-Man Rotation - Isn't It Time?

    I honestly think we should be doing the reverse and going with 4 man rotations. 4 man rotations worked in the past the problem is teams protecting their pitchers too much with innings limits and 100 pitch count thresholds. Why 100 pitches???? Just because its triple digits?

    I mean we've seen a bunch of times starters having a lights out game and being pulled once the 100 pitch limit was reached. Its partly due to having pricey bullpen pieces meaning you gotta use those guys but I really think a 4 man rotation is the way to go.

    Instead of a 5th starter have 2 guys in the pen that can give you length longmen/spot starter types
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  4. #4
    Tends to be difficult JL25and3's Avatar
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    Re: 6-Man Rotation - Isn't It Time?

    Quote Originally Posted by BronxYanks45 View Post
    I honestly think we should be doing the reverse and going with 4 man rotations. 4 man rotations worked in the past the problem is teams protecting their pitchers too much with innings limits and 100 pitch count thresholds. Why 100 pitches???? Just because its triple digits?

    I mean we've seen a bunch of times starters having a lights out game and being pulled once the 100 pitch limit was reached. Its partly due to having pricey bullpen pieces meaning you gotta use those guys but I really think a 4 man rotation is the way to go.

    Instead of a 5th starter have 2 guys in the pen that can give you length longmen/spot starter types
    I agree with this. Years ago, Rany Jazayerli's research on pitcher abuse points found that the number of pitches thrown in a game had a significant effect - but the extra day of rest did not. He strongly advocated pitch limits, but favored a four-man rotation as well.
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  5. #5
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    Re: 6-Man Rotation - Isn't It Time?

    Quote Originally Posted by Big_E View Post
    OK, but how would that work? Assume it's (1) CC, (2) Tanaka, (3) Kuroda, (4) Nova, (5) Pineda, (6) Phelps. If the Yankees played 25 games without a day off, you would get:

    1-2-3-4-5-1-6-2-3-4-1-5-6-2-3-1-4-5-6-2-1-3-4-5-6

    which keeps CC pitching every 5th day. After each pitcher's first start, they would see:

    CC every 5 days.
    Tanaka 6 days three times
    Kuroda 6 days twice, 7 days once
    Nova 7 days once, 6 days twice
    Pineda 7 days once, 6 days twice
    Phelps 6 days three times

    Once you factor in rain-outs and scheduled days off, things would get really hairy.
    Thanks for thinking this out with me, and for the work done. Based on your rotation, it looks like over the 25 days CC would get 5 starts, and the remaining 5 would get 4 starts each. I think that's a good start. I understand your point about rainouts and off days, but I'm sure a mathematician can figure out how to spread out the work evenly. Also, based on how effortless or taxing a start is, an individual might be able to sometimes go 5 days, and sometimes need 6. The end result should be 25-30 starts for each pitcher over the course of the season, which would reduce innings pitched and overall pitches thrown. I would guess a new throwing program would need to be incorporated on off days. I guess I'm just tired of all the emphasize being placed on innings pitched, pitches thrown, the size of the contracts, etc. I'm also thinking about all the question marks regarding the Yankee rotation this year, and trying to think outside the box for possible solutions.
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  6. #6

    Re: 6-Man Rotation - Isn't It Time?

    And, relievers are taking up an increased portion of IP

    Starting pitchers are at a premium already- you add another to the rotation and you impact the relief core and the 25 man roster
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  7. #7
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    Re: 6-Man Rotation - Isn't It Time?

    Quote Originally Posted by JL25and3 View Post
    I agree with this. Years ago, Rany Jazayerli's research on pitcher abuse points found that the number of pitches thrown in a game had a significant effect - but the extra day of rest did not. He strongly advocated pitch limits, but favored a four-man rotation as well.
    I have no data to back this up, but IMO pitchers are throwing harder now than ever before. More of them are throwing split-finger fastballs, which is relatively new. Back in the day, wasn't this pitch called a "fork ball"? I don't remember many pitchers throwing it. (Lindy McDaniel comes to mind). More sliders & change-ups are beng thrown, and my guess is the torque on these pitches can really damage the arm over time. All-in-all, there's more of a variation of pitches, speeds, arm slots, etc. Couldn't this be the reason why there are more sore/dead arms, injured shoulders, elbows, etc.?

    The height of the mound was lowered around 1969, when a 4-man rotation was the norm, complete games were expected, and total innings pitched seemed to be in the high 200's with many "workhorses" exceeding 300 each year. Prior to this, pitching was dominant. ERAs were commonly below 3, runs scored were at an all-time low, and the fan base was screaming for more offense. Is it just a coincidence that "Tommy John surgery" first appeared in the 70's, a few years after this change was made? I wonder if there are any stats that show an increase in arm problems due to the lowering of the mound?
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  8. #8
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    Re: 6-Man Rotation - Isn't It Time?

    Quote Originally Posted by ieddyi View Post
    Starting pitchers are at a premium already- you add another to the rotation and you impact the relief core and the 25 man roster
    Is there something wrong with "change"? Based on the law of "supply & demand", if more starting pitchers were needed and available and had less of a workload, wouldn't that actually drive down their values a bit? Isn't there usually a concern about the guys in the bullpen getting enough work consistently? Wouldn't it also follow that the "long man" would have to be better at his craft? Couldn't the sixth starter sometimes be the long man?

    Once again, I'm just trying to think outside the box. I've obviously got too much time on my hands. :-)
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  9. #9

    Re: 6-Man Rotation - Isn't It Time?

    Quote Originally Posted by sjb23 View Post
    I have no data to back this up, but IMO pitchers are throwing harder now than ever before. More of them are throwing split-finger fastballs, which is relatively new. Back in the day, wasn't this pitch called a "fork ball"? I don't remember many pitchers throwing it. (Lindy McDaniel comes to mind). More sliders & change-ups are beng thrown, and my guess is the torque on these pitches can really damage the arm over time. All-in-all, there's more of a variation of pitches, speeds, arm slots, etc. Couldn't this be the reason why there are more sore/dead arms, injured shoulders, elbows, etc.?

    The height of the mound was lowered around 1969, when a 4-man rotation was the norm, complete games were expected, and total innings pitched seemed to be in the high 200's with many "workhorses" exceeding 300 each year. Prior to this, pitching was dominant. ERAs were commonly below 3, runs scored were at an all-time low, and the fan base was screaming for more offense. Is it just a coincidence that "Tommy John surgery" first appeared in the 70's, a few years after this change was made? I wonder if there are any stats that show an increase in arm problems due to the lowering of the mound?
    Without any evidence to the contrary, I'd say yes. A coinicidence. That is a medical advancement. It's impossible to know how many torn UCLs there were prior to the development of a surgical repair but I'm quite sure that many pitchers "blew their arm out" and quit pitching due to injury long before the first TJS came along.

    I agree with those advocating a return to the four man rotation. Here's the link to Rudy Jazayerli's thoughts on it. It's an older study now but I think it's still applicable.

    http://www.baseballprospectus.com/ar...articleid=1596

  10. #10

    Re: 6-Man Rotation - Isn't It Time?

    Quote Originally Posted by sjb23 View Post
    I have no data to back this up, but IMO pitchers are throwing harder now than ever before. More of them are throwing split-finger fastballs, which is relatively new. Back in the day, wasn't this pitch called a "fork ball"? I don't remember many pitchers throwing it. (Lindy McDaniel comes to mind). More sliders & change-ups are beng thrown, and my guess is the torque on these pitches can really damage the arm over time. All-in-all, there's more of a variation of pitches, speeds, arm slots, etc. Couldn't this be the reason why there are more sore/dead arms, injured shoulders, elbows, etc.?

    The height of the mound was lowered around 1969, when a 4-man rotation was the norm, complete games were expected, and total innings pitched seemed to be in the high 200's with many "workhorses" exceeding 300 each year. Prior to this, pitching was dominant. ERAs were commonly below 3, runs scored were at an all-time low, and the fan base was screaming for more offense. Is it just a coincidence that "Tommy John surgery" first appeared in the 70's, a few years after this change was made? I wonder if there are any stats that show an increase in arm problems due to the lowering of the mound?
    The splitter or forkball has been around for a long time. I recall reading about it's use since the 20's. Bruce Sutter used it to good advantage and it got popular

    Roger ( humm baby ) Craig threw one during the late 50's/ early 60's.

    When he was manager of the Giants , he had a lot of is pitchers using it and many others around the bigs tried it also

    I think part of the perception of increased injuries is better diagnostics and imaging. Some ( mIke marshall make an argument that it's actually not of throwing enough ( and improper mechanics )that is leading to injuries

    There is such a huge amount of money invested in pitchers that anyone tyring new methods is taking on a huge amount of risk

    I remember reading that Nolan Ryan w/ the Rangers was trying to increase the workload throughout the teams farm and ML systems. Not sure of the results
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  11. #11
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    Re: 6-Man Rotation - Isn't It Time?

    A return to 4 man rotations would be nice but the problem is pitchers now have pitch and innings limits through out their minor league careers. In the past you would see complete games pitched in AA & AAA and even A sometimes. That pretty much never happens now. By the time a pitcher gets to the Major's he is conditioned to throw 100 pitches ever 5 or 6 days.

  12. #12
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    Re: 6-Man Rotation - Isn't It Time?

    Thanks for the link- very interesting. Although I agree with a lot of the points being made, I noticed the date of the article was 2002. Once again I wonder if the types of pitches being thrown have changed over the last 5-10 years. I believe it's been acknowledged by most that splitters and changeups have become more common because of their ultimate effectiveness.

    I came across this:

    "Another sabermetric publication, The Book (by Tom Tango, Andrew Dolphin, and Mitchel Lichtman), also addressed the topic. Within, the trio suggests that the optimal rest period is five days, while the worst is three days—concluding that four days of rest, the amount currently employed by most teams, is a good compromise."

    http://www.baseballprospectus.com/ta...an%20Rotation/

    I like the word "optimal".
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  13. #13
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    Re: 6-Man Rotation - Isn't It Time?

    Quote Originally Posted by ieddyi View Post
    The splitter or forkball has been around for a long time. I recall reading about it's use since the 20's. Bruce Sutter used it to good advantage and it got popular. Roger ( humm baby ) Craig threw one during the late 50's/ early 60's. When he was manager of the Giants , he had a lot of is pitchers using it and many others around the bigs tried it also.
    Would you not agree that it's being thrown by more pitchers now than ever before? Believe me, I'm no expert, I'm just thinking aloud when I ask if there's any relationship between the types of pitches being thrown per start vs. a seemingly increased number of arm injuries and shortened careers.
    "Somebody once asked me if I ever went up to the plate trying to hit a home run. I said, 'Sure, every time.'" -- Mickey Mantle

  14. #14

    Re: 6-Man Rotation - Isn't It Time?

    The aforementioned Rany Jazayerli also wrote a very good article recently that addresses some of the questions about pitch counts and injury risk.

    http://grantland.com/features/histor...burg-too-soon/

  15. #15
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    Re: 6-Man Rotation - Isn't It Time?

    Quote Originally Posted by Texsahara View Post
    The aforementioned Rany Jazayerli also wrote a very good article recently that addresses some of the questions about pitch counts and injury risk.

    http://grantland.com/features/histor...burg-too-soon/
    Once again thanks for the link, and I enjoyed reading the article. From this point-of-view, one should conclude that pitch counts per start should be monitored closely, which I totally agree with. The time between starts, however, is not really addressed.

    Regardless, I'm just trying to figure out a way to get the most out of Kuroda, Nova, Pineda, and Phelps, and also not alter Tanaka's comfort level too much, considering how successful he's been pitching once a week.
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  16. #16
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    Re: 6-Man Rotation - Isn't It Time?

    I think this would happen (a 6 man rotation) only if the ML roster was expanded to 26 or higher.
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  17. #17
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    Re: 6-Man Rotation - Isn't It Time?

    Quote Originally Posted by effdamets View Post
    I think this would happen (a 6 man rotation) only if the ML roster was expanded to 26 or higher.

    If a 6-man rotation results (over time) in a reduced AAV per starter, the savings could offset the cost of expanding the roster to 26.
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  18. #18
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    Re: 6-Man Rotation - Isn't It Time?

    Quote Originally Posted by sjb23 View Post
    If a 6-man rotation results (over time) in a reduced AAV per starter, the savings could offset the cost of expanding the roster to 26.
    Good point.
    I wonder if adding a player to the ML roster would cause the 40 man roster to expand to 41... Which in turn would bump the luxury tax threshold.
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  19. #19
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    Re: 6-Man Rotation - Isn't It Time?

    Quote Originally Posted by JL25and3 View Post
    I agree with this. Years ago, Rany Jazayerli's research on pitcher abuse points found that the number of pitches thrown in a game had a significant effect - but the extra day of rest did not. He strongly advocated pitch limits, but favored a four-man rotation as well.
    I think the problem with that is trying to tell the odd men out that their value is now diminished by being long guys in the pen. As valuable as it may be to the team I'm not sure it will fly. And I think these types of politics actually matter. I could be wrong. I've been known to be.
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  20. #20

    Re: 6-Man Rotation - Isn't It Time?

    Quote Originally Posted by Hitman23 View Post
    I think the problem with that is trying to tell the odd men out that their value is now diminished by being long guys in the pen. As valuable as it may be to the team I'm not sure it will fly. And I think these types of politics actually matter. I could be wrong. I've been known to be.
    It absolutely matters and MLBPA would go apesh!t if it ever happened. Which is one of the reasons it won't. It would also take a very strong manager/gm combo to ever even try to implement it. If a star player gets injured it wouldn't matter if it was caused by the rotation change or not. It would be blamed and heads would roll.

  21. #21
    Tends to be difficult JL25and3's Avatar
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    Re: 6-Man Rotation - Isn't It Time?

    Quote Originally Posted by Hitman23 View Post
    I think the problem with that is trying to tell the odd men out that their value is now diminished by being long guys in the pen. As valuable as it may be to the team I'm not sure it will fly. And I think these types of politics actually matter. I could be wrong. I've been known to be.
    You're not demoting anyone, you're just not using a fifth starter. Right now the Yankees have candidates for the fifth spot, but nobody's got it. I'm willing to bet that's the case with most teams.

    It also provides a better way to develop young pitchers in the majors. Another of Earl Weaver's rules was, "The best place for a rookie pitcher is long relief." He was talking specifically in the context of a four-man rotation, where you'd need a "swing man" in the bullpen - long relief and spot starts. Young pitchers could get major-league experience with a mix of low-leverage, multi-inning relief appearances and starts before moving into the rotation, and it worked pretty well.

    Mike Flanagan, 1976: 20G, 10 GS, 85 IP
    Dennis Martinez, 1977: 42 G, 13 GS, 166.2 IP
    Scott McGregor, 1977: 29 G, 5 GS, 114.0 IP
    Storm Davis, 1982: 29 G, 8 GS, 100.2

    Those guys weren't "the odd men out."
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  22. #22
    Bazinga Hitman23's Avatar
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    Re: 6-Man Rotation - Isn't It Time?

    You truly believe that the guys that will go to the pen will not see it as a demotion? Come on, you can't be that difficult.
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  23. #23
    Tends to be difficult JL25and3's Avatar
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    Re: 6-Man Rotation - Isn't It Time?

    Quote Originally Posted by Hitman23 View Post
    You truly believe that the guys that will go to the pen will not see it as a demotion? Come on, you can't be that difficult.
    No, because you're not taking anyone out of the rotation. The Yankees have a four-man rotation right now. If they went into the season with a four-man rotation, they wouldn't be demoting anyone. They'd still be giving Phelps or Pineda or Nuno a spot on the ML roster, and I don't think any of them would be unhappy about that.
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  24. #24

    Re: 6-Man Rotation - Isn't It Time?

    I think this only works if you schedule ahead of time. I feel like there would be a period of time where it remains a 5-man rotation then at some point in the season, maybe without off days, you can make it a 6-man rotation giving someone an extra day. Idk sounds difficult to do but the statiscians can figure it out.

  25. #25
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    Re: 6-Man Rotation - Isn't It Time?

    Quote Originally Posted by TrueYankee01 View Post
    I think this only works if you schedule ahead of time. I feel like there would be a period of time where it remains a 5-man rotation then at some point in the season, maybe without off days, you can make it a 6-man rotation giving someone an extra day. Idk sounds difficult to do but the statiscians can figure it out.
    Once again, the main reason I originated this thread was to discuss a way to limit the changes Tanaka is going to have to make. If he has to adjust from pitching once a week to once every six days perhaps it won't be as taxing on his arm as once every 5th day.

    I'm also concerned about Kuroda (age), Nova (no history), Pineda (inactivity) or Phelps (no history) pitching any more than 150-175 innings, and would hate to see this staff being tired and ineffective in September, when the team should be fighting for a post season spot.
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