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Discussing Terry Collins’s Thoughts on Batting the Pitcher Eighth and Lagares Ninth

In Sports on March 27, 2015 at 11:32 am

By: Brian Mangan

In the news recently has been Terry Collins’s suggestion that he might bat the pitcher eighth, and Juan Lagares ninth. In order to figure out whether this is a good idea or not, two questions must be answered: 1) does it ever make sense to bat the pitcher eighth? and 2) if yes, should Lagares be the one batting last?

Batting the Pitcher Eighth In General

Luckily, there is a wealth of baseball research out there on the first question already, most of which concludes with a similar, “it doesn’t matter that much.” In fact, the total overall impact of lineup decisions that you might see is somewhere along the lines of 0.02 runs per game… or one run every 50 games. (Retrosheet). Even the worst possible order, leading off with the pitcher or batting the pitcher cleanup, is only somewhere around 0.2 runs worse than expected. (Hardball Times).

Carlos Torres Not a Sure Thing in 2015

In Sports on March 19, 2015 at 8:31 pm

The Mets got bad news for their bullpen earlier this month when it was revealed that LHP Josh Edgin was pitching with “discomfort” in his arm and would be heading to New York to see team doctors. The expected bad news came shortly after: Edgin has ligament damage that might require Tommy John surgery. (MetsBlog, March 12).

It’s unlucky that the first to be felled by injury would be the lefty specialist, given GM Sandy Alderson’s failure to acquire an established second lefty for the bullpen this offseason, but injuries are simply par for the course when it comes to pitchers. This is the primary reason why I’ve reminded Mets fans several times this offseason that they “can’t have too much pitching” heading into 2015. (MetsBlog, Sept. 19, 2014).

One player who I would keep a particularly close eye on this season is RHP Carlos Torres, who was a stalwart for the Mets last season. Torres has been flying mostly under the radar this spring, and is viewed by many as a lock to come close to replicating his 2014 campaign. Last year, Torres was ready to pitch seemingly any day Terry Collins would call on him, for as many innings as Terry needed (including one rogue starting assignment).

No Pitcher Has Thrown As Many Pitches Over as Few Innings as Zack Wheeler This Millenium

In Sports on March 18, 2015 at 11:34 am

By: Brian Mangan

(edited 3/20, 3:30pm. Please note that this is not an attempt to explain all instances of Tommy John. Just an insight into the incredible pressure put on Zack Wheeler’s arm)

Everyone has been all abuzz the last couple days since it was announced that Zack Wheeler has a torn UCL and needs Tommy John surgery. Many have criticized the organization for allowing Wheeler to throw too many pitches, in line with the conventional thinking about pitch counts. However, as I have tried to explain, simply counting pitches without counting the number of pitches per inning is meaningless. There is a huge difference between 110 pitches over 5.1 or 110 pitches in a nice relaxing complete game.

I did a little research to see how Wheeler has been used compared to other pitchers and made a somewhat shocking discovery: since 2000, no pitcher has been pushed to throw as many pitches over as few innings as Zack Wheeler was. Not one. Take a look at the following chart, which is all pitchers since 2000 with less than 190 IP, sorted by most pitches thrown:

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