Baseball Toaster was unplugged on February 4, 2009.
Will Carroll pinch-hits over at Lo-Hud. Check it out.
I also support his plan for Joba (begin as a starter then transition to the pen to reduce his workload later in the season). It's the safest, most realistic plan, although I'd prefer the more radical six man rotation (with Pettitte and Wang on regular rest) or the even more radical Hughes-for-five/Joba-for-four plan. Neither of those will ever happen, though.
We can just say 'This is all overprotective grandmothering,' and it might be, but it might also be heads-up as to the time frame we ought to be looking at before full-value from the 3 kids arrives.
Anyway, with the glaring exception of Mark Prior, there do not seem to be a whole lot of failures in that group, and only a couple I had not heard of (Pete Smith? Jose Rosado?) This is not scientific of course, but if I've heard of a guy, it probably means he amounted to something...
Could the Yankees have an amazing three players added to this list this season?
Help me Chyll!
"MLB TRUST EXPOSED"
"MLB BLEEDS PUBLIC WHITE"
"MLB TRUST SMASHED BY BANTER"
"OWNERSHIP REFUSES TO INVEST IN HOOD!!,"
"BANTER WINS HOOD FIGHT."
"WALL STREET BACKS PARK LAND SWINDLE!!"
"PARK LAND ROBBERS INDICTED!"
Is that really your idea of how to run a baseball blog??
Also, these are smart precautionary rules, but not absolutes. Doc Gooden threw 750 IPs in his first 3 year, ages 19-21, and was an absolute stud. Yes, this guy was an exception, but we are talking about 130+/- IPs for a 22 yr old.
Geez... just noticed. Jim Palmer threw 290+ IPs SIX times. Kaat must be laughing at all this.
One has to wonder what others factors are involved. Would Prior have blown his arm a year or 2 later even if he pitched less his first year or 2? It appears genetics has more to do with it then anything else, as many, many pitchers had long careers throwing HUGH numbers of pitches compared to what we are talking about.
Our Buddy Mel Stottlemyre threw 96 IPs his first MLB year, at 22. He then had 9 years throwing 250+ IPs ever year, including 290 IPs his SECOND year (the old '+200 rule').
By the way, we all know about Mel and Todd... but did you know there was a pitcher named....Mel JR.? (1990 KCR, 31 IPs career)
Palmer pitched 200 innings at age 20, and went on to pitch a whole lot for a long time. Of course, in between he lost two seasons to arm injuries.
It's always easy, in retrospect, to point to guys who pitched tons of innings at a young age and went on to have long careers. (Jim Kaat used to do that several times every game he broadcast.) But that conveniently ignores all the others who blew out their arms a year or two later. For every Jim Palmer, there are probably ten Wally Bunkers.
But I'm also with JL on this one, too ... examples of Maddux and Mel S or Jim Palmer ... will ALWAYS be with us to look up to, but so will starters who never got out of their 25th year after getting hurt. Might they have been hurt with innings caps? Yeah, sure, of course. But if Baseball Prospectus is crunching overall numbers, I lean that way rather than the game of Find the HOF Starter who is an Exception.
OYF, the 100 innings came from the article by Will Carroll at LoHud. Basically the 70 odd big league innings last year + 30. Yes, I can see that as extreme, but the formula is pretty explicit about not counting minor league innings.
My main point is simply that either the Yanks are VERY careful with innings on all 3 of these guys, and need 6+ starters and an oddly set-up rotation, or we take a chance with one or two and ... defenestrate ourselves if he breaks down?
As I said, name me a few pitchers out the thousands from MLB that followed the +30 path. Some guys are going to get injured at some time regardless of how they throw. Without seeing the data and methodology that was used to create these 'rules', we should be careful as to how much weight we give them.
"...explicit about not counting minor league innings..."
No, he said they don't know HOW to correlate MiLB innings to MLB innings and suggested maybe some sort of factor (70%).
Or else what, we start at 30 IPs in the first year of MLB?
146 (2006 MiLB IPs) x 0.7 = 102 + 30 = 132 IPs.
Maybe that's a reasonable guess.
Although Pitches thrown as well as IPs should be considered. There are a lot of factors then enter the equation.
I was quoting HOFers stats because I knew their names and looked them up. There are 1000s of SPs you could study. The majority probably followed the +100 rule. Many got injured. Was that due to increased workload? Genentics? The stress of pitching in general? Their mechanics? It is a VERY complicated formula.
"Hughes was limited by injury to just 72 innings. The 100 inning threshhold is a minimum expectation for the Yankees No. 3, making him a very high risk player for the future, especially when he starts the season at age 21. The usage of Hughes is almost impossible to avoid, so the options seem to be use him and hope he holds up or include him in a package for Johan Santana, who's proven he can handle that kind of workload."
He is calling it a threshhold, noting the Yankees are likely to go (well?) over it.
I was not endorsing (I said as much) or subscribing. I was simply noting his/their point.
If you want to challenge the whole methodology, fair enough. I wouldn't quarrel with the claim that sabermetrics overreaches, sometimes a lot. But when Carroll writes:
"Using the best translation in the business, the Davenport Translations, the ones that are at the heart of Baseball Prospectus' efforts over the last 13 years, doesn't work for translating workload." [ie minor league innings to major league formulas]
I do note 13 years of number crunching and would hate to be on Joe Morgan's side saying 'I knows what I sees!' (He's not usually that grammatical, of course.)
I also don't see them offering anything like God-given laws, only best calculations as to workload increases that add greatly to injury-risk. 30 ML innings over the previous year rings alarm bells off their data. That's not God-given at all, that's reading data.
But even giving you 130 safe for next year instead of Carroll's 100 (because Hughes had an anomalous year? Remember some saying the injury might be a blessing as it kept his innings safely down? He IS just 21.) don't you agree that since we'd also be limiting Joba AND IPK ... we're into a very strange rotation situation AND are 2-3 years, according to BP, from having these guys able to do full workloads.
As I said in my first comment, this was simply a new spin on the rotation and shifted me a bit more to wanting Santana.
My apologies that my two examples are well-known Yankee antagonists.
The first guy I thought of, Pedro Martinez, comes close:
107, 144 2/3, 194 2/3, 216 2/3
but has the 50 IP jump in the middle. Note that the first year is almost all in relief and the second was cut short by the strike.
The second guy was Josh Beckett:
107 2/3, 142, 156 2/3, 178 2/3, (204 2/3)
a little flatter than 30 IP/year. He had some DL stints in there.
I'd guess the examples are rare because once a pitcher establishes that he is a real starter over a partial season of 100-something innings, he is often a full-time (and not fifth) starter the next season - how do his innings get limited other than because of injury?
Interesting pair of examples, to say the least.
"I'd guess the examples are rare because once a pitcher establishes that he is a real starter over a partial season of 100-something innings, he is often a full-time (and not fifth) starter the next season - how do his innings get limited other than because of injury?"
I think you're right, and I'd guess that this is what the BP guys are noting and cautioning against, especially when the pitcher 'arrives' very young.
The problem, as OYF noted is that it is almost impossible to work back from a breakdown and conclude it was DUE to 'overwork' (however defined). Can be mechanics, genetics, simple bad luck. And lasting 200+ for a decade? Mechanics, genetics (Boomer Wells, anyone?) or simple good luck.
Still, I would be inclined to regard as interesting a 13 year set of numbers that notes an injury watershed of sorts between increases of >30 innings for the young starter and <30 innings of increase, on the way to 180-200+.
(I'd like to see the data for under 40 and over 40 increases too, and other such numbers.)
Also, while it makes sense that minor league aren't the same as MLB innings, they do have to count for something (as does the rehab throwing Highes did).
I think the bottom line is the rule of 30 is a very crude indicator. At most, it is a warning flag, but from a definitive one.
Factoring in the 2003 post season, Beckett's progression looks like:
107 2/3, 184, 156 2/3, 178 2/3, 204 2/3
The 80 IP jump from 2002 clearly would have been outside the safe level as defined by the rule of 30.
And of course, in that group, you will find players all over the scale of injured to consistantly productive.
Hoss - Guy.. how could you miss this?
"... but until someone can develop a working model for translation, we have to simply ignore those minor league innings. It should be noted that Verducci includes minor league innings in his formula.
So (1) by Verducci's formula, Hughes is good for 176 IPS and (2) he says that because they can't 'translate' MiLB innings (is it 20%, 40%, 70%?), he's just going to ignor them totally. Very scientific!
Have you seen Hughes or another pitcher throw a ball 95 mph in the minors? That's got to do something to his arm. But you ignor these innings? Because the stress is less? The batters aren't as good? The number of pitches per batter may be less? All true, but nontheless, his arm is working pretty hard. Hell, even MiLB pitchers get arm injuries.
How about Japanese pitchers. Do they have a translation? Do we ignor the innings Dice-K pitched before he got here?
I don't know if we have any Docs or scientists here, but from the little I know, controlled studies that involve human physiology are EXTREMELY complex, because we just don't know how much, and in what way, genetics play a role. You have 3 pack a day smokerer who lives to be 90, and 40 year non-smokers who get lung cancer. Some heavy drinkers live a long life, but Jim Fix, who was in peak physical condition, has his heart give out on him in his 40's.
My ex was a Nutritionist and reviewed dozens or more controlled studies. Does the 30+ rule study take into account national origin? Race? Health factors? Innings pitched before MiLB? Other activities that might effect their arms? Heart health? BP? People have different genetic health of cartiledge, connective tissue and many other things that directly effect 'arm throwing' health.
And these extremely well financed and controlled studies told us alcohol was bad for you. A few years later, in moderation it was OK, and a few years later, red wine was found to be good for you. Coffee bad then coffee OK. Fatty oils very bad, then Canola oil OK, then fish oils very good. Eggs. Bad. 4 a week max. Then eggs, a perfect protein, are fine. And on and on and on.
There are many, many, many factors that go into any one individuals specific health issues. I suspect that BP and crew do not have the data, time or resources to do the type of real, detailed, controlled group study that would need to be done in order to approach proving something conclusively.
And on top of all that, we have not seen this data. 13 years of what? Who did they study? How many players? Healthy ones also? And on and on and on.
I am willing to buy the concept that working up to 200 IPs over a few years may be better then doing it in one. But BP and Verducci disagree on a huge issue, MiLB innings, and they both are studying the same thing.
I am not negating this concept, just trying to add perspective to it. We have to be careful about the absolute faith we put into this type of study, especially when so much empirical data tells a different story.
The whole issue of genetics is also irrelevant to this discussion. We have no way to determine the effect of that (other than the traditional way: throw the kid out for as many IP as possible, and if his arm falls off it was the wrong thing to do.)
And the issue of food warnings is even more irrelevant. Wine in moderation is good, therefore don't worry so much about innings pitched.
I think we're getting too hung up on the number 30. I doubt anyone believes that X+29 IP is OK, X+31 leads to injury. (Also, there's zero chance Hughes will be held to 100 IP next year unless he gets hurt.)
The main point, I think, is to err on the side of caution. These are extremely valuable, extremely young arms, and something may well happen to one (or more) of them no matter how well they're treated. But the Yankees should do whatever they can to increase the odds.
Actually, my biggest fear isn't that they'll run Hughes out for 130 or even 150 IP this year. It's that they'll take that as a reason to have him pitch 200 innings next year, when he'll still be only 23.
I must have missed that.
On the one hand, you're arguing that their work is flawed because it isn't a blind, controlled lab experiment. On the other, you're countering it with purely anecdotal evidence. That's not the same as empirical data.
Genetics is a factor. If you are prone to injury, you will probably have an injury. An innings count might not help except to prolong it a year.
I'd honestly would like to know how many pitchers, at age 23, in their 2nd year of MLB, sustained arm injuries? And for the pitchers that DID get an injury, how do we know if they had pitched 170 innings (instead of 200) they they wouldn't still get injured?
All I'm saying is correlation does not prove causation.
Again I will ask, how many young pitchers of the last 20 years were brought up with the 30 rule? Is it a majority?
27 You only asked for one example - I took two shots in the dark. I'm not trying to prove the 30 rule.
I tend to agree with the conclusion in 25 that the 30 is a crude rule of thumb. I think that's partly due to the fact that "innings" is a crude measurement that can cover a wide range of number of pitches.
Is Will saying Hughes is a "very high risk player" if he pitches more then 100 innings?
People agree with that?
To me, the comforting thing is that the Yanks have handled Hughes's development very well. Every time in the minors he had any pain in his arm (or elsewhere), they shut him down. Bob Feller might call that babying him, or ruining him. I call it risk management, and entirely appropriate. I'll bet it continues.
But as much as I love the Yanks and baseball, right now I'm still trying to wrap my mind around the Giants being in the Super Bowl.
First Last Age IP
Dean Chance 21 206
Dean Chance 22 248
Dean Chance 23 278
Dave Rozema 21 218
Dave Rozema 22 209
Dave Rozema 23 97
Dave Stieb 22 129
Dave Stieb 23 242
David Clyde 18 93
David Clyde 19 117
David Clyde 23 153
Dennis Eckersley 21 186
Dennis Eckersley 22 199
Dennis Eckersley 23 247
Dennis Martinez 22 166
Dennis Martinez 23 276
Denny McLain 20 100
Denny McLain 21 220
Denny McLain 22 264
Denny McLain 23 235
Dick Ellsworth 21 186
Dick Ellsworth 22 208
Dick Ellsworth 23 290
Dick Ruthven 22 128
Dick Ruthven 23 212
Best I can tell the BP guys have no agenda to keep young pitching stars from the mound. They are not on retainer to aged innings-eaters trying to get a few last years while the kids are kept down.
I am assuming throughout this discussion that BP found a statistical jump in injury likelihood when YOUNG pitchers went up more than 30 innings in a year (once, more than once? Not sure.) The number, surely, emerges from that jump in likelihood, or they are idiots and I've seen no one suggesting they are.
If the jump came at 40 or 50 innings, that's surely where they'd peg the injury risk as appearing. No? Anyone arguing against that? So all this is turning on something fairly silly: challenging the 30 inning number (and why minor league numbers are included by one source, and argued as untranslate-able by another). If their data shows the jump, they report it. No?
Then some of us can offer plausible reasons for the data that are NOT linked to the 30 inning jump, and some of these arguments are interesting. But all I think we NEED to take away from all this is a further element to the risk-factor for VERY young Yankee starters and the need to monitor their innings ... which has a direct impact on the rotation next year. And perhaps the merits of trading for Santana.
At least that's all I was taking away from the Carroll piece.
Anecdotal evidence and/or empirical data can make it look like there is a pattern when there is really none.
Are you believing this because you have seen both the methodology and data used, did your own analysis, and reached the same conclusions? Or do you just assume that every study you read by 'respectable' people who have 'no agenda' must be correct?
Why doesn't BP or Verducci link to a page that shows the data and explains the methodology? If they did all this work and feel they have a quasi-correct theorem, why not show the data?
Look, if BP said the "20% of the time, not abiding by the +30 rule MAY lead to injury", well, that's fine. If it's a cautionary tale where the odds are 20%, that's fine. Any GM can take their chances. But they don't do this. They don't qualify their statements.
Here's staements from just 1 paragraph:
"...of Tom Verducci's near-decade long tracking"
Almost 10 years? How many of those pitchers may have been on steroids? Might that increase proneness to injury?
1) "The problem is that the Rule is based on Major League innings only". OK, MLB IPs only.
2) "leaving me with this corrolary to the Rule: Minor league innings are somehow not the same as major league innings." OK, now he acknowledges MiLB innings, but they are 'Somehow not the same' as MLB innings
3) ".. but my best efforts to find a translation for minor league innings remains just a dream". OK, he seems to admit that there should be a translation, but he doesn't know what it is.
4) "... but until someone can develop a working model for translation, we have to simply ignore those minor league innings." OK, again he repeats that there is a translation (which I guess would be somewhere between 1% and 99%), but he is not going to guess on one, nor is he going to use 50%, he is going to just TOTALLY ignor all MiLB innings.
5) "It should be noted that Verducci includes minor league innings in his formula." OK, the other guy who basically comes to the same conclusions, uses ALL MiLB innings.
You don't see how VERY flawed the logic of that paragraph is? How contradictary it is?
Now, Hughes threw 146 IPs (2006) in MiLB.
He threw 70 IPs (2007) on MLB.
So... my first question, is what is the 'threshold' for the number of 'safe' inning in your FIRST year of MLB? Was 70 IPs safe? Is he saying 100? If so, is 100 just a guess? And if 100 is just 'safe' for Hughes (146 IPs MiLB), what about Pitcher X with 80 IPs of MiLB. Is 100 safe for him too?
Bottom line: According to this 'rule', hughes safety limit for 2008 IPs is:
WCarroll: 72(MLB) + 30(rule) = 102
Verducci: 146(MiLB) + 30(rule) = 176
So... all this fantastic studying for almost 10 years tell us what? That Hughes can safely pitch somewhere between 102 and 176 innings? OK. I'm fine with that. Brilliant analysis.
There are lots of example of pitchers who have defied the 30 IP rule, and lots of others who have comformed to it. What I do think is evident is that minor league innings need to be weighed, if not fully, then pretty close. Otherwise, there would be a whole host of pitchers who'd fail the test. Guys like Peavy, Cain, Maddux, Buerhle, Zambrano, Kazmir and Sabathia are all active pitchers who either debuted with huge workloads or experience significant major league spikes early in their careers.
Outside of the common sense aspect, William, are you buying his presentation and conclusions as reasonable proven?
There's no point holding on to Hughes if you're just going to roll the dice with his arm.
Also, citing examples of guys who are the exception to the rule, is like the wishfulest of wishful thinking being passed off as analysis.
If the Triumverate needs three seasons before carrying a full time starter role, you have to err on the side of caution or sell high.
45 While Carroll has fantastic contacts in the medical and training professions, I wouldn't consider him an expert on the development process of arm injuries. In fact, I don't think any one could stake that claim. Instead of trying to empirically determine how many innings each of the triumvirate should pitch, I think the Yankees are better off monitoring each one closely and making decisions based on how they progress.
There are comparison of our Triumverate to the famous one in Oakland; Zit, Hudson and Muldar. (Note: I do not have 2007 data)
Player yr1 yr2 ys avg IPs
Mulder: 154 229 -7- 186
B.Zito: _92 214 -7- 204
Hudson: 136 210 -8- 208
Now, I UNDERSTAND that this is not from analysis, and is just some random, anecdotal evidence. However, at least we should ask some questions, such as:
Is Billy Bean stupid?
Is there something that made this group successful?
Was this just dumb luck?
Am I advocating jumping our boys by between 70-130 IPs in one year?
No! I am not!
I'm just asking for some qualifications, ESPECIALLY for the differences between Verducci and Carroll, which is a mere 100+/- innings.
IPK has 100 (2006 MiLB) and 160 (2007 MiLB) under his belt. So Carroll says hes good for 100 IPs this year, Verducci says 190
Phil has 146 (2006 MiLB) and 110 (2007 mixed) under his belt. So Carroll says hes good for 100 IPs this year, Verducci says 140 or 176.
Joba has 90 (2006 MiLB) and 110 (2007 Mixed)under his belt. So Carroll says hes good for 100 IPs this year, Verducci says 140
So I guess it depends on how you interpret these numbers.
I think your skepticism's valuable, and especially so when faced with stat packs that aren't fully laid-out. I agree with William that Carroll's just doing a guest shot and 'shooting from the hip's' a fair assessment of the tone of his piece on LoHud. I rather suspect there's a lot more raw data on BP. (Am I wrong?)
I DO think you're pushing a point too hard (straw man country) when you suggest anyone's arguing 'trade 'em all before they break' ... haven't seen anyone do that. Neither Carroll, nor, certainly, me. I simply said this was an interesting wrinkle on the 2 year status of PKH and tilted me a bit more towards dealing him for Santana. Did NOT say 'add IPK' as I wouldn't.
The 'high risk player for the future' by Carroll refers to what happens, in his view, if Hughes is slotted for 'normal' innings as a #3 starter. That's how I remember it, but I'm too lazy to go back and look.
Mulder/Zito/Hudson? I wonder about the anecdotal stuff, as someone'll just say Prior/Woods and where are we? We just did this with Mel Stottlemyre didn't we? (Hudson turned 26 his first year over 200 IP, btw.)
"The 'high risk player for the future' by Carroll refers to what happens, in his view, if Hughes is slotted for 'normal' innings as a #3 starter."
It's hard to understand exactly what he said. It looked to me like he was saying 100 innings. If by 'normal' innings you mean 200+/-, I don't think there is anyone who would give a rookie pitcher (other then Sturtz or Proctor) this kind of work load.
I thought it was a poorly written piece. The 30 rule was VERY confusing because he and Verducci are so far apart, and the Santana statements were just throw out there. However, he called the previous Poster WRONG who said Hughes should be able to go 150.
I don't like reading articles that create more questions then they answer.
And I wonder, since there are stats that go way back, and Pitchers threw so many more innings in the 60's and 70's, why the data is only for 10 years. Does he have a formula that he can use a computer program for? If so, why not more years? Is he studying medical X-rays of these players to draw conclusions?
I can't debate the validity of his conclusions because he offered very little to analyze, and there are contraditions in what he did offer.
There were many experts who thought the world was flat, the earth revolved around the sun, that Iraq had WMSs and that the Mitchell report was a 'good' document.
My motto: Show me the data!
Kerry Wood was NOT overstretched by these charts.
And take a look at Johan! Minny stretched him in an almost textbook way (through I recall arm issues that may have MADE them do it - like Yanks with Phil, in fact?)
It is all fun. Thanks.
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