How was your week

Posted: August 17, 2019 by Sports Time Radio in baseball, sports, Sports Time Radio, Uncategorized

Can you name a team in Major League Baseball that doesn’t need help in their bullpen. Go ahead take some time and let me know if you come up with a team. I think if you did find a bullpen you’re comfortable with it was a stretch to get there. Why is this; well I think I have an idea.

As teams began to protect young starting pitchers more and more those inning had to go somewhere. Think about it. Unless you’re a top tier veteran pitcher with a proven track record as soon as you get close to the 100 pitch mark or you’re about to face the teams you’re pitching against line up for the 3rd time the bullpen is up and going. The you add in that even the best pitcher in baseball is going to have a short start to two as the season goes on. Where do those inning go?

Think about this; if a teams starting pitcher averages just 5 innings a game that leaves 648 innings over the course of a season for the bullpen to cover. It’s insane to expect them to be able to do that.

In the American League the division leaders are currently the New York Yankees, Houston Astros and Minnesota Twins. In the National League you have the Los Angeles Dodgers, Atlanta Braves and the St. Louis Cardinals leading their respective divisions. The Yankees have 22 blown saves, the Astros have 16 blown saves while the Twins have 17 blown saves. On the other side the Dodgers have 20 blown saves, the Braves have 22 blown saves and the Cardinals have 10 blown saves this season.

Looking at this there seems to be an easy fix to it, but teams don’t seem to want to go that route. Just teach your starting pitchers in the minor leagues how to pitch deeper into games. It sounds simple doesn’t it and you have to wonder why teams don’t want to do it. Instead they’d just rather load their bullpens up with hard throwers an hope they can piece together the end of games.

I’m not sure how many people remember this, but when Nolan Ryan was President and CEO of the Texas Rangers from 2008 to 2013 one of the things he said he wanted the team to do was teach starting pitchers how to work deeper into games and he got killed for it by just about everyone.

In case you don’t know baseball history Nolan Ryan was a first ballot Hall of Famer who received 98.8% of the vote the year he was inducted. That is currently the 4th highest percentage of a player who was inducted into the Hall of Fame. Only Mariano Rivera, Ken Griffey Jr. and Tom Seaver have received more votes than Ryan when they where eligible for the Hall of Fame.

As a pitcher Ryan appeared in 827 games; 773 as a starter, He threw 5386 innings in his career. Oh; Ryan is also the leader in career strikeouts by a pitcher with 5714, but when he suggested starters try to pitch longer in games he was treated like someone who was stuck in his era and didn’t understand the way the game has changed.

I’m sure there’s some sabermetric stat or an algorithm out there to back up the way pitchers are handled in today’s game, but you have to wonder if Ryan was right. I understand that the risk of injury goes up the more innings a starter pitchers, but you could say that about anything in baseball. A manager has a better chance of getting injured with the more trips he has to make to the mound.

Now I’m not talking about a starting pitcher having to go out and pitch a complete game in every starter, but even if he could give his team an average of 6 inning a start he’d be helping to save the bullpen. in a 5-man rotation if each pitcher went one more inning in each start it would save the bullpen 810 innings in a season. you can’t tell me that wouldn’t be a big help.

Sadly there’s probably not a team out their that’s willing to step out of line and allow starting pitchers to work deeper in games. I guess there’s no sabermetric stat that figures out the wear and tear on your bullpen when your starters aren’t throwing any innings.

It looks like the NL Rookie of the Year race just lost one of it’s top contenders. San Diego Padres shortstop Fernando Tatis Jr. was placed on the IL this week with a stress reaction in his back. Padres manager Andy Green said that Tatis Jr. is “most likely done for the season”.

Tatis Jr. was in the thick of the Rookie of the Year race with Pete Alonso of the New York Mets and Mike Soroka of the Atlanta Braves.

Tatis Jr. missed some games earlier in the season with a leg injury, but he had played in 84 games for the Padres this season. Tatis Jr. was hitting .317 with 22 home runs which is 2nd among rookies. Alonso is the home run leader with 39. Tatis Jr. also had 16 stolen bases which is also 2nd among rookies. Victor Robles of the Washington Nationals leads all rookies with 19 stolen bases.  His .317 batting average was also 2nd among all rookie as Bryan Reynolds of the Pittsburgh Pirates is leading all rookies with a .334 batting average.

If he would’ve stayed healthy and played out the season it’s clear that Tatis Jr. would’ve received serious consideration for the Rookie of the Year award. Even if he does miss the rest of the season as expected he’ll still gets some votes for Rookie of the Year, but he wont be in the running to win the award.

Tatis Jr. is just 20 years old and he is definitely one of the building blocks as San Diego tries to catch up the top teams in the NL West. With a 56-64 record it’s probably a better choice for the Padres to just shut Tatis Jr. down for the rest of the season even if there is a chance he could come back. At this point in their rebuild there’s just no reason for them to take a chance with what is clearly a future superstar.

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Don’t forget that I’m on Twitter @Burketime

  1. Too bad about that Tatis injury. I didn’t realize that even the good teams have a lot of blown saves this season. Talking about blown saves; well, never mind!!


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