June 26, 2007

What Ails Bronson Arroyo?: An interesting look the effect of previous workload on starting pitchers. Contrasts Arroyo with Aaron Harang to show how pitcher workload isn't a simple rule ("No moire than 100 pitches per start") but a player-specific guideline.

posted by yerfatma to baseball at 11:05 AM - 8 comments

Very interesting, through I would like to see a larger historical window and a larger number of pitchers (which are limitations the author himself acknowledges). From a purely observational standpoint, it seems that there is a type of pitcher -- largely the "big body" types like Livan Hernandez and Carlos Zambrano -- that seems to defy what you might expect in terms of high workloads resulting in decreased effectiveness or higher likelihood of injury. Of course, maybe those 200-plus inning campaigns are catching up with Livan and Big Z, as Livan is at almost 1:1 K/BB and having a pretty crummy year and Zambrano is rumored to be pitching hurt (explaining his less-than-stellar results thus far). On Arroyo, it may have been posted around here before, but this is great.

posted by holden at 01:10 PM on June 26

They are much more sophisticated today than even 20 years ago,but the results are still uneven. Kerry Woods keeps popping up. I remember how the Tigers burned up the most exciting pitcher of the era,Mark "the bird" Fidriche.Yet flamethrowers like Nolan Ryan the Rocket kept throwing heat well into their 40s. Its an art,both pitching and coaching.

posted by sickleguy at 02:08 PM on June 26

Totally unrelated, but not worthy of a post: how to expand a roster without expanding the bench.

posted by yerfatma at 02:23 PM on June 26

I like the points Will Carroll makes, but am not sure about the reader's suggestion that players at corner infield positions swap places when a lefty pull hitter is at the plate. Being an injury guy, I'm surprised Carroll didn't address it, but I've always thought the received wisdom (although I'll allow that it possibly has no basis in fact) was that players playing out of position are more likely to be injured. Also, would such a necessitate the players swapping gloves?

posted by holden at 02:49 PM on June 26

I don't understand why one guy being paid nothing can do the basic statistical analysis to come up with further proof that a specific multi-million dollar pitcher has these trends, but the team itself... seems oblivious. Is it just a case of the manager being an old-school "I don't need no fancy book-larnin' mathumagics to manage mah ballplayers!" manager who runs out some skinny 21-year-old for 130 pitches in each start while fantasy leaguers around the country vomit on their keyboards? The interesting part as noted is the fact that this correlation, pitch-counts, doesn't hold true for all players. The large-body players- Clemens, Ryan, Tom Seaver as legendary examples- seem to do fine, likely because they have smoother mechanics and are experts at drawing power from the legs and trunk. I should think the legs & trunk a) tire less easily and b) when tired do less to affect control, since the control issues seem to come from weakened arms. Anyone who's tried to throw with a tired arm knows how your control suffers. Weakened legs likely affects velocity, but a smart, experienced pitcher can work with 5mph less on their fastball if they still have the control for their breaking ball and hitting the corners. You'd think with the money, and careers, at stake that the teams and the players would adopt a conservative pitch count early in their career, so as not to damage their arm early like the phenoms we've seen over the past few years (like Cubs Woods and Prior, among others), but also to try running them out a little longer every now and then to determine how their own personal trend lines hold up.

posted by hincandenza at 05:32 PM on June 26

What's wrong with Bronson Arroyo? The White Guy Cornrows Curse, that's what.

posted by The_Black_Hand at 10:31 AM on June 27

If a pitcher has the right or correct mechanics while pitching it shouldn't have any effect on the pitch count...Ryan had the best mechanics of any of the present day pitchers and proved that pitching well even into his 40's and still striking out players with his fastball and curve.The bird arm was ruined because of his mechanics and the way he pitched. You pitch with only your arm and it will not last. According to Ryan his legs were always strong and his mechanics second to none. Large body, small framed body type still boils down to mechanics. Roy Face was a great pitcher with the Pirates but hasn't a monster on the mound. Ryan Duran a yankee/angel reliever in the 60's was small but had a fastball that was almost impossible to pick up due to its "rising" effect because he pitched so close to the ground and drove with his legs for his power and speed. His mechanics weren't great and he didn't last long. Dick Raditz aka the original Monster had terrible mechanics and didn't last as long as he could have if during that period he had worked on them, but then again who is to say he woudl have been as effective a reliever if he use the proper mechanics. He was huge on the mound and when he came at you with all his great bulk moving this way and that way before he delivered the pitch. Different teams have different ideas about this concept of pitchers' mechanics. But it would seem that the underlying factor to it all is ability plain and simple with mechanics factoring in to help lengthen careers and maybe save some pitchers' arms...

posted by The Old Man at 01:52 PM on June 27

What's wrong with Bronson Arroyo? The White Guy Cornrows Curse, that's what. What he said.

posted by lil_brown_bat at 02:06 PM on June 27

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