Monday, September 5, 2011

Out of Innings?

At this time of year, in recent seasons, the minds of the obsessive followers of teams out of contention (and some of those fans of teams in contention) begin to muse about whether a given young pitchers is being worked to hard. This became a front burner issue for the fans after SI's Tom Verducci several years ago detailing what he called the YAE (Year After Effect). Verducci made the case that for pitchers under 25, a team should not expect them to exceed 30IP over their previous career high. to do so, he argues (not unpersuasively) invites injury in the year after they are pushed to an excessive high.

The Jays management have discussed a somewhat modified position on this, in that they try to limit an increase in workload to 20% over the previous career high, though this is not set in stone, and not necessarily limited to those under 25 (they applied the limit to Brandon Morrow last year).

So with that in mind, let's review the important pitchers in the Blue Jays system and see where they stand:

Toronto-

Romero is very safe. Morrow and Cecil both have about 30 IP left and should not exceed that by any significant amount. Luis Perez is almost 60 IP short of his previous career high. Henderson Alvarez has about 3 more starts in him before he hits his theoretical ceiling (he shouldn't exceed 150 IP) - this means someone else should take his last turn.
If we assume Kyle Drabek is a Toronto pitcher for the purpose of this exercise, he's got about 30 more IP in the tank so there's no issue there.

Las Vegas-

Their season is finished, and no one there really matters except Brad Mills anyway. He did not exceed his previous career high this year.

New Hampshire-

Begins their playoff run tomorrow, and has no less than 4 pitchers worth worrying about.
Chad Jenkins: Jenkins has about 3 IP until he gets to 120%, but he's a horse and the Jays will surely let him pitch as long as he's effective in the playoffs (which would only be two starts in any case). In theory he could exceed the "cap" by a dozen innings or so.
Deck McGuire: Thanks to a recent injury, Deck has about 10 IP in the tank. One assumes he will be handled gently in his first playoff start and any excess of the cap will be insignificant.
Nestor Molina: Is already almost 50 IP past his previous career high (81 IP). whatever damage will be done has been done.
Drew Hutchison: Has more than doubled his total from last year. i think it's safe to assume he's well beyond any he might have accumulated in high school. It's worth remembering that in his case, as well as Molina's, we are not privy to how many innings they may have pitched in unofficial settings.

Dunedin-
Only one guy in the playoff rotation to worry about here, everyone else is a fringe prospect, and that is
Asher Wojciechowski: Combining his last year of college and the 12 IP he got as a pro in 2010, he still has about 7 IP in the tank. Any exceeding of the cap will be in the single digits.

Lansing-
We're down to dealing with high schoolers here. There's no way to find out how many IP Noah Syndergaard or Aaron Sanchez had in high school. But I don't think the Verducci rule is generally applied in this context, since it's hardly practical to limit a first pros season to 75 IP or some such.

So, in summation, give someone else Alvarez's last start and there is no real issue which remains to be addressed. We'll have to watch Molina and hutch next year to see if there's some ill effect.

by the way, random thought -

  • McGowan was activated today, Huzzah! He's available to pitch tomorrow, and I, for one, would like to see Perez given the first five IP and (unless he's doing something special) give way to McGowan to start the sixth.
  • Brett Lawrie delivered the walk-off win with an 11th inning HR just now. is there nothing this young man can't do? (It's sure not defense either).
  • Speaking of today's game - kudos to Henderson Alvarez (and the bullpen) for stifling the league's best offense today. He's making a heck of a case to break camp in the rotation next year.

Upcoming plans - It is my intention to do a fairly through review of each minor league squad, starting at the lowest level (not counting the Dominican) and working my way up. This will take a bit of time and research to do right, but I hope to be able to do no less than one a week and preferably two. Stay tuned.

UPDATE
: September recalls

Shi Davidi has the scoop on what players the jays will add on the September recalls and it provokes some questions. All the conversations I've seen on this subject proceed from the assumption that such players have to be added to the 40 man roster if they are not already on it. After this morning's addition of Dustin McGowan, the Blue Jays only had one opening, yet three of the recalls were not previously on the 40 man roster. Either these assumptions were wrong (unlikely) or the Jays have other roster maneuvers afoot to open up space.

Here's the list:

Kyle Drabek
Brad Mills
Danny Farquhar
Chad Beck
David Cooper
Adam Loewen

Loewen, Farquhar, and Beck were not previously on the 40 man roster. My tentitive speculation is that PJ Walters may have been cut (a reliever already on the 40 who didn't get a recall while two others did seems vulnerable) and Travis Snider was moved to the 60-day DL (assuming that can happen this late in the season). That would create the room necessary. There doesn't seem to be another obvious candidate to be cut, unless you read a lot into the glaring fact that Darin Mastroianni isn't on that list.

1 comment:

Chill said...

With Escobar hurting I'm surprised we didn't see another middle infielder called up. I would have LOVED to see what Hech can do with the glove. I'm not convinced the bat is ready, but it would be better than seeing the ghost of Chris Woodward.