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OC Register: Angels' Huston Street says bullpen usage revolution is neither imminent nor sustainable


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This is the guy who basically took a couple years off, right?

http://www.latimes.com/sports/angels/la-sp-angels-20170216-story.html

“I literally couldn’t give a … about baseball at that point,” Street said. “My dad just died. And we were getting sued by nine different people. I was running 180 employees across businesses that make $40 million a year in revenue. Every day we weren’t making that revenue was costing my mom $110,000.”

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it's not like he's wrong. all pitchers will tell you the same thing, and so will all the managers. players work better with established roles, simply because they know what to expect and how to prepare for that role. the mlb season is an extremely long season, and the postseason is very few games, so roles and preparation are different.

honestly, pretty much everything he said isn't really debatable. his last comment about a starter going seven being the best option is definitely debatable though.

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3 minutes ago, ukyah said:

it's not like he's wrong. all pitchers will tell you the same thing, and so will all the managers. players work better with established roles, simply because they know what to expect and how to prepare for that role. the mlb season is an extremely long season, and the postseason is very few games, so roles and preparation are different.

honestly, pretty much everything he said isn't really debatable. his last comment about a starter going seven being the best option is definitely debatable though.

I think it's very debatable. It's based on anecdotal evidence from a bunch of people who have done something a certain way for years. They are pretty vested in that way being better or else they have to admit they've been doing it wrong for years. And the pitchers themselves have a lot of money on the line in sustaining those roles. 

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2 hours ago, eaterfan said:

I think it's very debatable. It's based on anecdotal evidence from a bunch of people who have done something a certain way for years. They are pretty vested in that way being better or else they have to admit they've been doing it wrong for years. And the pitchers themselves have a lot of money on the line in sustaining those roles. 

you can debate usage, if you like, but the main point which is, players are better able to prepare for defined roles, is beyond debate. that's my point.

i'll have to agree with street on the articles main statement. i don't believe there is a bullpen revolution coming. there is no way relievers could hold up to the amount of usage we saw from the bullpens in the world series. in fact, we started to see miller and chapman become more hittable by the later stages of the series.

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26 minutes ago, ukyah said:

you can debate usage, if you like, but the main point which is, players are better able to prepare for defined roles, is beyond debate. that's my point.

i'll have to agree with street on the articles main statement. i don't believe there is a bullpen revolution coming. there is no way relievers could hold up to the amount of usage we saw from the bullpens in the world series. in fact, we started to see miller and chapman become more hittable by the later stages of the series.

I think it is debatable. I think Chapman could come in and pitch the 6th one night and the 8th the next and be just as effective. Maybe he'd be a little pissy about having to do it and self sabotage because pitching the 9th is seen as being the top dog. But I think he can prepare just as easily. Closers don't seem to have a problem going in during the top of the 12th to nail down a save, why shouldn't they be able to go in during the 7th to hold a lead? It's just as different from their routine.

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14 hours ago, eaterfan said:

I think it is debatable. I think Chapman could come in and pitch the 6th one night and the 8th the next and be just as effective. Maybe he'd be a little pissy about having to do it and self sabotage because pitching the 9th is seen as being the top dog. But I think he can prepare just as easily. Closers don't seem to have a problem going in during the top of the 12th to nail down a save, why shouldn't they be able to go in during the 7th to hold a lead? It's just as different from their routine.

Street's point is that if you don't know when you're going in, you have to spend a lot more time getting ready and that uses a lot of energy. He said each time a pitcher warms up, it takes something out of him. 

If you want to tell a pitcher before the game "you're the seventh tonight," sure. But if you do that you defeat the whole idea of letting the game dictate it. 

You just can't be ready from the seventh to the ninth all the time. You'll get worn out. 

He is more ok with expanding the roles occasionally, when you know in advance. More 4-6 out saves. That's predictable and at least you're firing your extra bullets to win a game, not just to warm up 3 extra times in the bullpen. 

(And there are never saves in the top of the 12th. Street said those extra inning games on the road are hard and they burn out closers. You have to know how to manage your warm ups since it's unavoidable in those situations to need multiple "dry humps," as they call them.)

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1 hour ago, Blarg said:

Street is making perfect sense. 

Yes I believe every player should just meet with their Manager on gameday and tell him where and when they would like to play. We already have pitchers on pitch counts and another player that chooses to play 1B or DH based on if there's a batting cage nearby. Oh and he likes to rest his feet on Sundays. NHL, NFL players, Ryan and Ripken are all laughing

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8 minutes ago, Blarg said:

Scioscia not only agrees with him but employs a role management for the bullpen to avoid what Street is saying about unecessary fatigue. 

The Angels should just post a sign like this in front of the entry gates letting fans know who's unavailable to play today.

 

IMG_5703.JPG

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It's all just too much bull.........pen. I dont like that the supposed hero for 40-60 games per year are guys who comes in and throw 10-15 pitches.

I just looked at the top 100 on the career save leaderboard. By my perusal, it looked like there are only 5-7 relievers in the top 100 who started their careers before 1975. Looks like Ted Abernathy, Lindy McDaniel, Roy Face, Clay Carroll, Jim Brewer, Stu Miller, Don McMahon and Perranowski. The highest ranked player in that group is Face. He's at 51st place over 16 seasons. By contrast, Kenley Jansen is already in 53rd place over SEVEN SEASONS! 

Man, has the game changed. Probably less than 20 CGs in both leagues total now. 

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1 hour ago, CALZONE said:

Yes I believe every player should just meet with their Manager on gameday and tell him where and when they would like to play. We already have pitchers on pitch counts and another player that chooses to play 1B or DH based on if there's a batting cage nearby. Oh and he likes to rest his feet on Sundays. NHL, NFL players, Ryan and Ripken are all laughing

Ryan and Ripken? Really? One was a starting pitcher who could have a detailed routine because he knew 3 days in advance when he was going to work. The other played every day so he could manage his workload exactly.

And you can't even compare the other sports. Football players play once a week.

Hockey players play in 40-second shifts. Why isn't there some hockey sabermetric theory that the best players should play 3 minute shifts? Because that's not how you maximize their performance. Same thing here. 

Sure, you could say "I'm the manager and you'll do whatever I want you to do," but this is a player saying "You can't maximize the talent that way."

Street said to me "this isn't like preparing to jog a mile. We are going 100 percent." There's probably a pretty big drop off in effectiveness if you go from 100 percent to 90 percent as a major league pitcher, and if you're going to have these guys throwing another 1,500 pitches a season warming up in the bullpen, you don't think that has an impact?

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10 minutes ago, Jeff Fletcher said:

Ryan and Ripken? Really? One was a starting pitcher who could have a detailed routine because he knew 3 days in advance when he was going to work. The other played every day so he could manage his workload exactly.

And you can't even compare the other sports. Football players play once a week.

Hockey players play in 40-second shifts. Why isn't there some hockey sabermetric theory that the best players should play 3 minute shifts? Because that's not how you maximize their performance. Same thing here. 

Sure, you could say "I'm the manager and you'll do whatever I want you to do," but this is a player saying "You can't maximize the talent that way."

Street said to me "this isn't like preparing to jog a mile. We are going 100 percent." There's probably a pretty big drop off in effectiveness if you go from 100 percent to 90 percent as a major league pitcher, and if you're going to have these guys throwing another 1,500 pitches a season warming up in the bullpen, you don't think that has an impact?

I agree with Huston's premise.  Nice article Jeff.  

A reliever probably needs about the same number of pitches as a starter to get warmed up.  But when they get in the game they might only throw an avg of about 15 pitches per appearance.  In 2015, Street threw about 1000 pitches in 62 innings.  He probably threw at least that many warming up in the pen.  If 1/3rd of the time he warms up, he doesn't actually go in and has to warm up again, you are increasing his fatigue factor by what amounts to about 20 innings.  

And here's the thing.  The whole purpose of bringing in your best guy in the most critical game situation is that they have the best chance to provide a good outcome.  But if the process of getting them in there affects their ability to be the most effective reliever you have, then you've defeated the purpose.  

I have preached this for a long time, but Scioscia teams do well when he has a deep bullpen to work with.  If your 2nd, 3rd, and 4th best pen arms are essentially interchangeable, then you can bring in any one of them to get the job done.  Will there be scenarios where one of those guys just doesn't have it on that night?  Sure.  It's a long season.  So feel free to do a little mixing and matching as Street mentioned.  

But the better your pen is, the easier it is to give them defined roles which makes them even better.  

The Angels, however are going to have to mix and match some this year.  It's the nature of the way they are set up.  Their starters aren't going to get deep into games.  So I really do think we're going to see pen guys 4-7 going multiple innings.  But I do think that we'll see Cam or Bailey in a little bit of a looser role where they could come in anywhere from the 6th to the 8th.  That said, I think that MS will always work to keep guys from getting up and down multiple times.  

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2 hours ago, CALZONE said:

Yes I believe every player should just meet with their Manager on gameday and tell him where and when they would like to play. We already have pitchers on pitch counts and another player that chooses to play 1B or DH based on if there's a batting cage nearby. Oh and he likes to rest his feet on Sundays. NHL, NFL players, Ryan and Ripken are all laughing

At least you are consistently moronic. 

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2 hours ago, CALZONE said:

Yes I believe every player should just meet with their Manager on gameday and tell him where and when they would like to play. We already have pitchers on pitch counts and another player that chooses to play 1B or DH based on if there's a batting cage nearby. Oh and he likes to rest his feet on Sundays. NHL, NFL players, Ryan and Ripken are all laughing

don't you just love when people drop lame ass straw man arguments in the middle of a decent conversation? the least you could do is be funny.

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Habits are hard to break but they can be broken. I see no reason why different approaches to pitching staves aren't possible. That said, while things change, I think the more something exists - like baseball - the less they change, or change only in increments. Pitchers used to start 60+ games a year in the 1870s and 1880s (the record is 75), which quickly got whittled down to the four-man rotation with pitchers maxing out in the 40-50 range. The last pitcher to start 50 games was, as far as I can tell, was Jack Chesbro in 1904, when he started 51 games, although Wilbur Wood started 49 games in 1972.

Then the rotation stabilized as a four-man outfit for decades, really until the 1970s. The last pitcher to start 40+ games was Charlie Hough, who started 40 in 1987. So that's thirty years. During that time, it dropped a bit bit has been overall pretty stable, with league leaders usually starting 34-36 games. Greg Maddux in 1991 was the last pitcher to start 37 games.

You also see a similar pattern with innings pitched and complete games. David Price was the major league leader in 2016, starting 230 innings. Verlander was the last to pitch 250+, with 251 in 2011. Randy Johnson pitched 271.2 in 1999, and the last guy to throw 300+ was Steve Carlton in 1980 with 304. To get to 350 you go back just a few more years to 1973, Wilber Wood with 359.1. To get to 400+ you have to go way back to 1908: Ed Walsh, who threw 464 innings! The major league record is Will White, who threw 680 innings in 1880! That's almost three times what David Price threw.

Or we can look at saves: no one saved more than 9 games until 1911, when Mordecai Brown saved 13. The first 20+ save reliever was Firpo Marberry with 22 in 1926, and then you have to go all the way to 1965 to get to 30, with Ted Abernathy saving 31 games. Dan Quisenberry was the first guy to surpass 40 in 1983, with 45, and then Bobby Thigpen saved 57 in 1990. And of course Francisco Rodriguez holds the record with 62 in 2008.

Anyhow, the point is: change happens, but is slowing down. The game was really just figuring itself out for the first 20-30 years, which is why some don't even look at records before 1901 when the two leagues were form. From the early 20th century to the present, the game has been relatively consistent, although I think you can look at the early 70s as another big--if somewhat smaller--shift, as free agency took hold, the DH started, and pitching rotations went from four to five-man. We also see the rise of saves and relief pitching in general.

I see it as similar to Zeno's arrow, in which you have the distance to the target but never get there. Around 1900 was the first "halving" as the game radically changed over the first 30ish years. Then around 1970 was the second halving, but it took another 70 years. I wouldn't say that we're seeing another halving now, but who knows.

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Mike Marshall of the Dodgers threw 208 innings in one season. He was a closer and never gave a hoot about defined roles. He just went out and pitched. This game is getting incredibly soft. Can't bowl the catcher, no longer necessary to throw 4 pitches for intentional walks, the takeout play at second is gone for good and now all of the pitch counts....

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