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As pitchers break down, it is time to rethink the modern bullpen


TradeAngelos

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What a great article, just goes to show the babying of these pitchers has been an utter failure.

http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2012/writers/tom_verducci/04/17/closers/index.html#ixzz1ssXjrAXg

The casualties keep mounting. Brian Wilson: done and headed for his second Tommy John surgery. Joakim Soria: done after his second Tommy John surgery. Ryan Madson: done after his first Tommy John surgery. The list of closers on the disabled list also includes Andrew Bailey, Kyle Farnsworth and Drew Storen.

No one wants to admit it, but the modern bullpen is a failure and the modern conventional wisdom of training pitchers is a failure. The modern specialized bullpen does no better job protecting leads than the pitching usage that preceded it. And though closers, like pitchers of all types, work less often, they break down more often. What industry would accept these failure rates -- the way baseball does?

So many gems in this article here is just one.....

The role is devolving, not evolving. The past two seasons mark the first time since the save statistic became official in 1969 that nobody saved 25 games with 81 innings in back-to-back full seasons. Bailey, with the 2009 Athletics, is the only closer to do so in the past four years.

Managers are motivated by the save statistic, throwing three-out save chances to their closer like bones to a dog. The game universally has embraced this idea that a closer can't come in to a tie game on the road -- better to lose the game with a lesser pitcher than run your closer out there without a save in hand.

What makes this groupthink so crazy is that the system isn't working. Closers are breaking down or losing effectiveness faster than you can say Joel Zumaya. (Quick, look around baseball: show me the high velocity, high energy closer with the obligatory, goofy closer-hair starter kit who has a long career. The job has a bit of planned obsolescence to it.)

Maybe one day these teams will wake up like the Rangers have and realize that they guys who lasted the longest back in the day threw a ton of pitches, and the ones who are breaking down now have been limited since they were 12 years old. It is almost unbelievable how the guys from previous eras who had no clue how to train, what to train to train AT ALL were out there throwing with no issues, and no ridiculous pitch counts.

Every other athlete in the world has gotten better, more efficient and in better shape over the years yet we have one "protected" group who has gone backwards in that regard. They get hurt more, produce less and what has changed? How they are "handled". It is a disgrace how the agents and money have ruined a position and created this myth that not throwing somehow helps an arm.

Maybe as they keep dropping like flies baseball will wake up and smell the coffee, but I am not holding my breath.

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I'm not really arguing about modern bullpens vs old school (I guess that's a way of labeling it), but I don't think we can simply point to more injuries/surgeries etc as a reason that they aren't working. How do we know that there weren't just as many arm problems that went undetected back in the 60s, 70s, and 80s? Maybe since we have better medical knowledge and doctors, we are able to diagnose more arm issues and prescribe surgery, instead of pitchers just "walking it off", "rubbing some dirt on it" and going out and throwing until their arms fall off.

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What a great article, just goes to show the babying of these pitchers has been an utter failure.

http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2012/writers/tom_verducci/04/17/closers/index.html#ixzz1ssXjrAXg

So many gems in this article here is just one.....

Maybe one day these teams will wake up like the Rangers have and realize that they guys who lasted the longest back in the day threw a ton of pitches, and the ones who are breaking down now have been limited since they were 12 years old. It is almost unbelievable how the guys from previous eras who had no clue how to train, what to train to train AT ALL were out there throwing with no issues, and no ridiculous pitch counts.

Every other athlete in the world has gotten better, more efficient and in better shape over the years yet we have one "protected" group who has gone backwards in that regard. They get hurt more, produce less and what has changed? How they are "handled". It is a disgrace how the agents and money have ruined a position and created this myth that not throwing somehow helps an arm.

Maybe as they keep dropping like flies baseball will wake up and smell the coffee, but I am not holding my breath.

This really getting overblown by everyone due to some quote by Nolan Ryan. In this years tiny sample, the Rangers starters this year are pitching 6.4 innings per start and 104 pitches per start. The league average is 6.0 and 97. In 2011, the Rangers were at 6.1 innings per start and 99 pitches. The league average was 6.1 and 98 pitches.

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