Houses revolutionary new approach at the major league level

This is the same approach we saw out of Mississippi St. leading to the college World Series this year, unfortunately they ran headlong into two excellent UCLA starters and got the shine taken off of the idea…


I had to edit it, way too long for comments to accumulate smoothly…

Interesting stuff

Definitely an interesting write up there JD. Personally the only thing I can really think of from that whole article is that the mentality he is leaning towards is depressing.

Mapping out some future of a pitcher once he gets drafted until the day he is finished. Limiting pitchers to 3 innings. I see the benefit of it, but I think that you are also going to take a lot of spunk out of these pitchers. No one has to fight, no one has to keep their strength for 5,7,9 innings. This approach could have guys throwing even faster knowing they only have to do it for 3 innings and then they get to recoup.

I was never big on stats for the amount of money lost on players being on the DL and it is frightening. I can see them wanting to lower and remove that deficit as best as they can. But to try to turn baseball into a robotic setup isn’t the right approach to take. Perhaps some of their big investments need to be analyzed more, spend more time with them, see what their programs are like all around. Are they training properly in the off-season, etc. A lot of factors could be improved upon. But to go to a baseball game, and see a prized pitcher taken out after a strong 3 scoreless innings pitched…boring!!!

Just my thoughts about reading that right off.


We’ll also see 0.0X era’s imagine how that would affect HOF thinking…guys throwing thousands of innings with very low W/L and era over 20-30 yrs instead of 10-20.

As we know from Bob Gibsons 1 era season…MLB would HAVE to adjust the rest of the game (As in lowering the mound).

My biggest problem with this approach is just the reality that most teams are in need of bullpen help as it is. Teams have a hard time finding 6 or 7 guys for their pen now…not guys with pro stuff, those they can find, but, guys that are consistant enough to be effective a large majority of the time.
Another issue is money. Would a starting pitcher who is very good agree to go from 6-8 innings a start to 3 and if he did you know those contract numbers would go way down, they would have to. If the option is averaging 3 innings a start and making $500k a year or averaging 6 2/3 innings a start with a higher risk of injury but making $9m a year…no brainer for me.
The concept itself it flawed in this way as well. It would change how guys pitch. Which gives a higher risk of injury? A guy with a power arm going 7 innings at his cruising speed or him opening up with 100% for 2 innings? I dont know. Interesting idea for an article though.

I think the guy is just getting old.
If you look at the setup for the All-Star game, you’ll notice that one pitcher starts, goes three innings, then another one comes into the game and goes two, maybe three innings, then another one goes one inning, another one goes one inning—not one of them gets a chance to really show his stuff because he’s not going to be in the game that long. You might as well have a whole parade of pitchers, each one going one inning. And what, I ask you, is the point? Maybe this would work for the All-Star game, but not for regular games during the season—unless you run into a whole string of games in which the starting pitcher gets bombed in the first inning or two and has to be taken out!
I’ve seen too many games in which a pitcher starts, goes great guns for five innings and then gets pulled. And for what? I’ve also seen a lot of games in which a pitcher goes eight strong innings and then is pulled for a reliever just because his pitch count is over 100 and never mind that he could go for a complete game, his pitch count is high and so out he goes—and then the reliever, perhaps the closer, comes in and proceeds to blow the save and maybe lose the game. And for what? Fearsome Four, you are so right—it makes no sense whatever. I would rather see a starting pitcher go as long as he feels he can, and he should be the one to tell the manager or the pitching coach if he feels he’s losing his edge. I remember when Whitey Ford would pitch; he knew that he was going all the way and that the bullpen would not be needed, so he used to set up a table with a checkered tablecloth and a lighted candle in a Chianti bottle and order a whole bunch of hero sandwiches for every one of the relievers so they could eat and relax and be comfortable while he pitched and won his game.
Now that makes more sense. :baseballpitcher:

And let us not forget one Steven Norman Carlton (Lefty), who used to tell his guys that every day that he pitched was “winday”…and his record and HOF status proved it :wink: check out how many times Lefty went 300 or almost 300 innings in his career…

No Zita, in my opinion this is Tom House succumbing to the politics of arm injury…I mentioned once and it bears repeating…arm injury now has a media threshold…you have to be “against it”…and have “better ways” or you will be considered…“bad” (Whatever the h e double hockey sticks that means). This and Dr. Marshalls prescient…“don’t pitch until you are past puberty”…along with all the “other” fixes (Pitch counts, inning counts, appearance counts…count chocula…:shock:) all meant to show “concern” and “caring” and enlightened “we’re gonna fix it” thinking…

I’ll go with the Count Chocula.
I remember when I met and worked with Eddie Lopat. His whole approach was straightforward and commonsensical; he would check out a pitcher in any of a dozen different ways, all of them from the mound, and he would formulate a jumping-off point from which he would determine what might work for the individual. He started out with me by teaching me how to throw a good slider, and while I was familiarizing myself with it and with the easier wrist action he watched me—one of the few times he would stand beside the mound and watch me and make mental notes—and he would formulate such a jumping-off point. No ifs, ands, buts or bases on balls; no abstruse explanations or technical gobbledegook; he saw what I was doing and took it from there. And he noted that I had picked up and was working with what I called “The Secret”—and he reinforced and encouraged it. No wonder he was known throughout the league, maybe both leagues, as one of the finest pitching coaches anyone could ever hope to work with.
As I put it, “How not to get a sore arm.” Or a sore shoulder, or a sore elbow, or a sore anything else. Oh yeah, most of the time he would pull on a catcher’s mitt and get behind the plate and catch for me, because he felt he could find out more from that angle.
So, as I said—Tom House is probably just getting old, and he’s also getting locked into a bunch of misconceptions and mistaken ideas. I’ll go with Count Chocula—and with my crossfire. l 8) :slight_smile:

Here’s the problem with that. As much as I love pitchers, for whatever the reasons, between the lot of them they don’t have the good sense to pour piss out of a boot when it comes to knowing if they’ve lost whatever “edge” they have. Call it competitiveness, desire to win, refusal to face failure, or anything else. The fact is, no pitcher I’ve ever heard of at that level would admit to his fellow players, coaches, employer, and the millions of fans all over the world that he can’t get the next guy out. Heck, even little kids who are so tired their chest is heaving, they’re sweating bullets, and their arm is sore or dead will seldom say it, because its quitting, and no one wants to be known as a quitter.

I suspect that somewhere in the back of their mind, they realize the truth that the odds are a pitcher, literally any pitcher at any level, has a much better than even chance of getting a batter out. And depending on the hitter, the odds may improve greatly.

So what it boils down to is, is the guy on the mound giving his team the BEST chance of getting the batter out with no more damage, than every other available pitcher? If all pitchers were equal, of course the answer would be no, so what has to be done is, the manager has to go through all the pitchers available, including the one on the mound, and taking in as many factors as possible, make a decision as how to best proceed.

Tom House is just now coming to the same realization I did more than 50 years ago, when I was still under the mistaken belief that every ML pitcher was some kind of Superman. It simply made no sense to me why at least 3 pitchers weren’t used every game, and it still doesn’t. Of course that’s assuming the pitchers are generally equal in ability.

Very true. Maybe some pitchers are supermen, but some others are not, and for a variety of reasons. Remember Allie Reynolds? He had a medical problem—he was a diabetic, and prone to hypoglycemia at that, and so his stamina wasn’t all that “super”—he often needed help from Joe Page. And Vic Raschi, although he was considered a superman, had problems with stamina as well—there were times when he was pitching into the seventh inning and felt that he was running out of gas. One time he felt that he was running out of gas, and he looked wistfully over at third base where Bubby Brown was playing. When Brown came over to talk to him, Raschi asked plaintively “Where have you BEEN?” Brown immediately signaled to Casey Stengel to get somebody up and throwing in the bullpen. And so it goes. But to use that blanket approach and say that all pitchers should pitch three innings and no more—as I said, might as well have one pitcher go one inning and no more, followed by another and another and another…a whole parade of them, no one gets the win, someone is bound to lose. And for what?

I think House knew…shoot he was never really a starter himself so I’m certain he knows that this can be effective as a strategy but I don’t think the elite guys will ever like it…they are like Michael Jordan…who would have fleeced his mom in a card game had she dared to sit down with him…a portion of the “mentality” of pitching is an arrogant belief in ones ability to be the focal point of attention and dominate the opposition.

One thing is certain, this is the second major national introduction to that as an alternative approach (Miss St. in the college WS being the other), so you just might see another Colorado Rockie style of experiment and have it follow this model, within 5 years I’d wager something like this will surface and be praised as “the new way”…if someone gets a “lightning in a bottle” staff of 3 inning wizards and it dominates the league for any stretch you’ll see it become widespread…if on the other hand they get defeated as UCLA whooped up on Miss St. well maybe not so much. :roll:

jdfromfla ,

Well, there’s no doubt any change from the “norm” is gonna take a whoppin’ lot of proof for it to become widespread. Its not because it doesn’t make sense, but rather the fear of change and not having tremendous success is very strong indeed. :frowning:

But in the ML at least, the costs of pitching has gotten to the point where its gotten the attention of even the richest of owners, and they want their assets to give them max value for the longest period of time. IOW, its going to eventually be a business decision. Is it more cost effective to pay 3 pitchers $10M for a season, or pay 1 starter $20M and 2 relievers $5M to get 20 wins in 35 starts? I guess it would come down to how many quality innings each of the different pitchers could be counted on to give. My guess is, over a 5 year period, the 1st scenario would provide a better return on investment, but until its tried in a wide scale manner for a couple of seasons, no one will know.

Perhaps someone more familiar with ML stats than I can find out more than this, but a quick check showed me that for all the hooha about Nolan Ryan and the Texas drive to get their starters to go longer hasn’t exactly been much of a success, so is how far a starter goes more dependent on the quality of the pitchers in the organization or the philosophy of the ownership?

Then too there’s the “stats” problem to overcome. Here’s an example. Let’s say Detroit set up their staff with 3 groups of 3 pitchers, and Sherzer was the 1st pitcher on 1 of the groups. He’d get to start 54 games, but if they all went 8 or 9 innings, he would never get even 1 win under the current rules, even if every game his group pitched was a shutout win. That’s really difficult for anyone to wrap their head around. :wink:

What do you do with the guys who apparently get stronger and or have tendencies to take longer to settle in and really find their pinpoint command?

Injury prevention is great, but, these guys who pitch at higher levels condition themselves to go longer in games and throw more innings over the course of a season. Where is it written that pitchers won’t get injured in their short stints on the mound?

In my opinion, let the horses work. They have trained all their lives to do just that.

That’s really a great question, but there’s a magic word in there that really has to be investigated. The word is “apparently”, and in order to really evaluate what’s going on properly, “apparently” has to be able to be removed from the sentence with proof one way or the other.

Here’s just some of the many problems with trying to figger out things like this. Let’s begin with what “pinpoint command” means. Let’s get real here and make sure everyone understands that pinpoint command for a pitcher does not mean hitting a spot within an inch or two anything close to 90% of the time, because that just ain’t happenin’! So with the understanding that the goal is to always be that accurate and that it does happen, let’s use realistic terms.

If a pitcher can throw half of his pitches within a foot of where he was trying to throw them, he’s got pretty darn good control. Using that along with the plate and strikezone being guidelines, here’s what you have. Think about a 4 zone picture, with 1 quadrant having one side splitting the plate, the other 4” off the plate inside, the bottom about at the belt, and the top a few inches above the top of the strike zone. A 2nd zone would be its mirror image on the other side of the plate. A 3rd zone would have one side splitting the plate, the other 4” off the plate inside, the top about at the belt, and the bottom, a few inches below the bottom of the strike zone. A 4th zone would be its mirror image on the other side of the plate. That would make each zone about a foot square, and hitting the quadrant aimed at more than half the time would be pinpoint control as far as I’m concerned.

Now for the “command” part. It isn’t enough to just be able to throw the ball where you want it. You have to be able to do that with a “quality” pitch, not just a “BP lay in it in there” pitch. If a pitcher can do both, his manger is a happy camper, and the sooner he can get to that point, the better. What good is it to have a pitcher be able to mow hitters down when he’s given up a crooked number or two? What I’m saying is, a lot depends on the kind of team he’s pitching on. If he’s got an offense like the Tigers, giving up a few runs early isn’t a big deal.

So why not just find pitchers who don’t take 2 or 3 innings to get settled in? Let those guys be the #2 or 3 so they can have longer to get warm.

Sure they do, but there’s still more proof that no matter how well conditioned, the more fatigued the pitcher is, the more likely he’ll suffer injury. But while lessening the workload will definitely reduce the chances of injury, in my mind changing pitchers more often is much more about putting in a pitcher who’s less fatigued and thus more likely to be able to execute his pitches correctly.

[quote]Where is it written that pitchers won’t get injured in their short stints on the mound?

You’re trying to make it all about injury, and its not. That’s good thinking for amateurs, but it should be about effectiveness first and injury 2nd for professional pitchers.

That’s a fine opinion, and one shared by many many people in the game. But I can tell you that it isn’t nearly as popular a philosophy as it once was, and its getting less popular all the time. I don’t know if you ever watched football in its early days, but it wasn’t at all unusual to find several 2-way players on teams. Now-a-days though, its so unusual it could be considered rare. Why? The great athletes today are bigger, stronger, more athletic, and in better condition, but its been proven over and over again that fresher players perform better.


And don’t forget that there are insurance companies involved in all of this. :wink:

When you are considering how unlikely this is to happen, just remember prior to 1973…THE PITCHER…actually hit for himself in the American League.

He uses the Nats as an example. The way he sets up the rotation, Strasburg gets to pitch in every series…and this is a good thing? Except Pitchers are unpredictable. The way Strasburg is pitching right now, I really wouldn’t want him to be exposed to every team more often. And if he is, doesn’t that team get more opportunity to figure him out? I mean, his last outing, he just did horribly for a couple innings and then they took him out. Why don’t we just give batters two strikes? That would reduce pitches…cut the time of the game down. If you got up for a beer at the game, you might miss the entire three inning performance of the ace of the staff?

Now the nature of injury is not usually that it is a single acute event that results in a trip to the DL or Dr. Andrews…it is the cumulative wear and tear on the UCL or shoulder. It gradually results in loss of command and velocity and failure to get batters out. So this whole scheme seems to me to just postpone the inevitable. And once you embark on this and commit to it throughout the whole franchise from instructional league all the way up…there is no returning to longer outings. You have just bought the farm and bet the barn on thoroughbred sprinters…not one long distance runner in the bunch.

Still, if House can sell it to one owner…well then he can get his name in the press and maybe put enough away for a better retirement.

Maybe someday your grandkids will ask you what a complete game, no-hitter, or perfect game was?

Seems to me the experiment has already been done with the use of the closer. How many of those guys do you see pitching effectively year to year? Rivera doesn’t count…he arrived here in a spaceship and the government still denies he even exists.

Let us also not forget Lou and his “Nasty Boys” from the late 80’s, Randy Myers, Norm Charleton and Rob Dibble both launched the post-Big Red Machine era Reds back into the play-offs…it did quite likely give Jose Rijo a much better W/L and likely did lengthen his injury shortened career…it worked for 2-3 years before the chemistry and injury has disrupted it enough to render that version of the experiment done…

And I don’t think this is money grubbing on Houses part…I just feel like that if you are a nationally recognized player in the “teach a pitcher” marketplace…you had better have a happy and good position on arm health/injury…or you are “BAD”…a ruin-er of arms, a child abuser…can’t be havin any of that smack thrown at you now can ya? :wink:

It may not be under the current norm, but no one knows what would happen under a different one.

Personally I wouldn’t mind that at all, but I don’t think the reason for making the change will revolve completely around reducing injuries. In the end it will be a change because it makes the pitchers more efficient plus reduces injuries.


Trust me. Unless he’s into drugs, gambling, or worse, he’s got more than enough to retire. :wink:

And I’ll tell them, the same way my grandparents told me what it was like not to have indoor plumbing or an automobile.

I’m not gonna go through every pitcher that’s ever been a closer, but I seem to remember a couple who did petty well for much more than 1 year.

Lincecum No-Hitter

148 pitches in a 9-0 shutout. That kinda sets House’s ideas back a few years I’d say.

That Lincecum was at 138 pitches to start the ninth was of little consequence to him or manager Bruce Bochy.

[quote]“He wouldn’t have talked to me the rest of the year,” said Bochy, “if I’d have taken him out.”

Lincecum’s previous high pitch count this season was 114, on May 7 against the Phillies. Eve so, the thin right-hander is no stranger to running up his counts.

In 2008, he threw a then career-high 138 pitches, in a September start against the Padres. That was one of seven starts that season in which he threw at least 119 pitches.[/quote]

What the heck is going on here? You mean Bochy and the Giants are not drinking the cool aid? :applause:

Nobody remembers you for your potential. You got to go out there and do something of consequence. Three innings and a shower ain’t going to cut it.

When did Lincecum even move back into the starting rotation? :reallyconfused: