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SI: It's time to rethink modern bullpen

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  • SI: It's time to rethink modern bullpen

    Found this today and found it interesting. How would you fix the problem?

    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?

  • #2
    Dirtberry to the courtesy phone, Dirtberry to the white courtesy phone please.


    • #3
      First of all we need real research on this.

      traditionalists keep saying that old time pitchers pitched more and had fewer injuries and stated exeptions like walter johnson and nolan ryan and the "proof".
      what we really need to have is comprehensive data about ALL pitchers not just a few aces. if we look at the hundreds of pitchers back then compared to the 100s of pitchers today are the old timers really having longer careers?

      we would also need the effect of velocity. there have always been guys who threw 95+ but the AVERAGE velocity is much higher. I have read an article on fangraphs (don't have the link) the in the short time span from 00 to 2010 the average velocity raised by 1.1 MPH from 89.9 to 91 MPH.

      has there even been a subgroup analysis performed which compares the injury rates of soft tossers (say 87-90) with hard throwers (91+)? this analysis could easily prove whether higher velocity is the reason or not.

      until those questions are answered I think conclusions are quite pointless.
      I now have my own non commercial blog about training for batspeed and power using my training experience in baseball and track and field.


      • #4
        Originally posted by BamaYankee View Post
        How would you fix the problem?
        I'd emphasize conditioning--particularly core conditioning--as well as diet and rest. Was listening to Nolan Ryan talk about how when he was 24-25 years old he took it upon himself to start maintaining himself in top physical condition, particular core strengthening. He believes only this allowed him to pitch so many years. From what I've heard, he was an absolute fiend about his exercise regimen, both during the season and off season.

        Not that Nolan Ryan is the last word in pitching, but it definitely jives with my experience and what I've learned about bodies and injury.

        Would this eliminate pitching injuries? Of course not, but I'd wager it would go along way to reducing them and making them less severe. Certainly if I was running an MLB team I would insist that all the players, but especially pitchers, have an A-1 conditioning and wellness program. Astounding to me the lack of conditioning I see among pitchers.

        I also sometimes wonder if velocity wasn't worshipped so much, but rather the craft of pitching smart (i.e. Greg Maddux), there'd be less injury.

        Just my two cents.
        Last edited by Megunticook; 04-17-2012, 05:31 PM.


        • #5
          We don't even know what causes pitching injuries. (think of an injured pitcher, and tell me the exact date and exact cause of the injury)

          We are still in the stone age here. There is so much ignorance in this area, it's unbelievable.
          Last edited by songtitle; 04-17-2012, 06:33 PM.
 - hitting and pitching fact checker


          • #6
            What problem? You pitch a guy to death until he hurts his arm. Then you find somebody else. That's the way they look at a lot of relievers.
            Major Figure/Internet Influencer


            • #7
              Originally posted by songtitle View Post
              We don't even know what causes pitching injuries. (think of an injured pitcher, and tell me the exact date and exact cause of the injury)

              We are still in the stone age here. There is so much ignorance in this area, it's unbelievable.
              I can tell you on the guys I follow, the date and can only speculate as to the cause unless it was a Draveky type incident. Verducci has a very solid piece of work there, pitching in the bigs is a messianic methodology (Following the precepts of X or Y), in my life I can name some of them...Roger Craig's era when he brought out the splitter, Dave Duncans, as Verducci mentioned Larussa, The Express is, I believe attempting to begin a new era with Mike Maddux.
              I think Farnsworth an outlier in the group he mentioned, that guy has been around a while and if we remember him as a Cub (The dude looked like Stretch Armstrong he was Sooooo juiced looking) he had a totally different piching profile.
              So Song..speculate for us a bit..what makes them stay the "ignorant course"? I mean I am old enough to remember managers actually being afraid to pull the starter...even guys like Leo Durocher (Leo the Lip) would blanch at getting the ugly eye from a Fergie he went 11 innings of 1-1 or 0-0 ball against a Bob Gibson..who in turn would melt his HOF manager (Red Schoendienst..who also had the hardest last name to spell..ever on earth) with his lazer 20 games a year for like 8 years in a row...that was my era...the era where the bull pen guy was some broken down starter or a rookie getting his MLB legs, as it were and the starter..well they had epic names...Seaver, Gibson, Jenkins...Ryan was a mere baby....guys like Gaylord Perry and Juan Marischal, Drysdale and Palmer..I can't remember a single "closer"...until Rollie Fingers...before that the only "relief pitcher" I remember of note was one Hoyt Wilhelm and it was only because he was so old that folks commented on it. Iron Mike Marshall, I thought was going to be the proto-typical "reliever" in his time..he and Bruce Sutter would pitch 3-4 innings to end a game..but when they hit the bump, it was over, there just wasn't many with the demeanor and abilities of those two in their prime.
              To your comment in parenthisis, I'm trying to think of any sport where this info is as starkly understood as your hoops knees go over a period...same in football...and heck they have this problem with fellas making it to 30-35-40 and dropping flat dead, are you talking Olympic's? I'm trying to think of just where it is that they "know" what you asked.


              • #8
       - hitting and pitching fact checker


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