2024 Rotation and Bullpen

Cassvt2023

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If there was another lefty on this roster other than Bernardino, I feel like Chris Murphy showed some flashes last season that he could possibly be helpful as a multi-inning guy, or a hybrid type.. I’m wondering what the B’s think of him?
 

Big Papi's Mango Salsa

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I agree @Rovin Romine and I'd love to see it. Who are some of the deep dive stats guys on here that could maybe show us what the LHB/RHB splits are with the guys we currently have on the 40 man? I believe there are 21 RHP and 4 LHP as of now. The two that came to mind are @Big Papi's Mango Salsa and @chawson but I know there are many others...
Admittedly, this is tough because guys are so young that it's tough to glean much from them. But here goes:

Bello has a .725OPS against RHP but .856 against LHP (they crush him pretty good.)

Crawford is .691 and .772 (he's been good against both, but I don't know how to parse out his splits as a relief pitcher vs as a started pitcher due to platoon splits). His ERA as a starter is about 3 runs higher than as a relief pitcher though.

Gio has a revers split .770 vs RHB and .691 vs LHB.

Houck is .566 vs RHP and .763 vs LHP (again, I don't know how to parse out data as a starter vs the pen)

Pivetta is pretty neutral .755 vs RHP and .782 vs LHP.



Though I honestly think the "need" to have something or not is over-stated in terms of pitching.

The 2004 team had no LHPs in the rotation and they obviously did fine. 2018 had 3 LHPs in the rotation and by the time they got to the playoffs.

Honestly, I think mixing and matching in the bullpen is more important than in the rotation. In the rotation I think you just need good pitching and handedness is mostly irrelevant. Unfortunately, I don't think the Red Sox have nearly enough good pitching in their starting rotations (nor in AAA, nor in AA nor in A+).
 

RS2004foreever

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Above-average release extension continues to be something a lot of Sox pitching acquisitions share.

League avg. release extension:
2015-19: 6’0”
2020-22: 6’3”
2023: 6’4”

Seemed like the whole league caught on in 2020 and coached their pitchers into taking longer strides. Boston’s pitching staff also appeared to take a leap forward in the Bloom era.

BOS pitchers avg. release extension MLB rank:
2015: 9th of 30
2016: 27th
2017: 21st
2018: 28th
2019: 11th
2020: 15th
2021: 6th
2022: 4th
2023: 9th

Certainly not all Sox pitchers have above average extension, but it seems like more than a coincidence, including among Breslow’s acquisitions.

Current BOS pitchers (2023)
Whitlock 7’3” (#3 in MLB)
Kelly 6’9”
Castillo, Criswell, Giolito, Jansen, Pivetta 6’8”
Schreiber 6’7”
Walter, Winckowski 6’6”
Martin 6’5”
~Campbell, Houck, Jacques, Murphy 6’4”~
Bello, Weissert 6’3”
Crawford, Llovera, Weiss 6’2”
Bernardino 5’8”
(Sox Prospects lists Fitts having “good extension,” can’t find anything on Slaten)

This could all be just an interesting data point. I don’t know if it tells us anything about their pitching targets going forward, but a lot of the guys we’re discussing as targets have well above average extensions. Gavin Williams and Logan Gilbert (7’4”), Freddy Peralta, Blake Snell and Bryan Woo (6’9”), Shane Bieber and James Paxton (6’8”), Brandon Woodruff (6’7”), Corbin Burnes, Dustin May, and Jordan Montgomery (6’6”), and Mitch Keller (6’5”).

Guys like Marcus Stroman (5’9”), Jesus Luzardo and Framber Valdez (5’8”) don’t. Does this mean they are less likely to be targets? I don’t know. Because this kind of thing also seems coachable. As a point of comparison, Sean Manaea’s release point was one of the closest to hitters last year, at 7’1” from the mound. That’s not how he threw the ball early in his career.

Sean Manaea’s avg. release extension
2017-19: 6’5”
2020-22: 7’2”
2023: 7’1”

That almost seems like a glitch in the data. Manaea added nine inches to his stride from one year to the next.
Lot of emphasis among pitching coaches at the AAU 12 and up level about this believe it or not. My son's pitching coach focused on extension and forward momentum at the release (my son played at USF), something they also stressed at USF. The model was Verlander's delivery.
 

ehaz

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Andrew Bailey was on Bradfo's podcast today.

They talked about Giolito a bit and what they like about him, how they can get him back on track, etc. Interestingly, Bailey was then asked about pitchers currently on the staff that he finds intriguing to work with and try to maximize their potential. He said "the starters" and named three guys: Brayan Bello, Kutter Crawford and Nick Pivetta. Bailey only went into specifics on Bello. He called Bello's change-up "devastating" and went on to talk about leveraging Bello's best weapon as most often as possible. Bailey then compared him to Logan Webb and said he thought they were similar pitchers.

I think the Logan Webb comparison is pretty apt. Both him and Bello are sinker guys who get a lot of groundballs with changeups as their #1 swing and miss pitch. If you look at the changes Webb made during the course of his career under Bailey, they almost entirely scrapped his 4-seam in favor of his sinker as Webb's primary fastball. They also increased Webb's change-up usage from ~20% in Webb's rookie season up to a high of over 40% this past year.

I bet you'll see something similar with Bello. Scrap the 4-seamer, which he's still throwing about 20% of the time, and almost double his changeup usage.
 

SouthernBoSox

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Andrew Bailey was on Bradfo's podcast today.

They talked about Giolito a bit and what they like about him, how they can get him back on track, etc. Interestingly, Bailey was then asked about pitchers currently on the staff that he finds intriguing to work with and try to maximize their potential. He said "the starters" and named three guys: Brayan Bello, Kutter Crawford and Nick Pivetta. Bailey only went into specifics on Bello. He called Bello's change-up "devastating" and went on to talk about leveraging Bello's best weapon as most often as possible. Bailey then compared him to Logan Webb and said he thought they were similar pitchers.

I think the Logan Webb comparison is pretty apt. Both him and Bello are sinker guys who get a lot of groundballs with changeups as their #1 swing and miss pitch. If you look at the changes Webb made during the course of his career under Bailey, they almost entirely scrapped his 4-seam in favor of his sinker as Webb's primary fastball. They also increased Webb's change-up usage from ~20% in Webb's rookie season up to a high of over 40% this past year.

I bet you'll see something similar with Bello. Scrap the 4-seamer, which he's still throwing about 20% of the time, and almost double his changeup usage.
Bello scrapping the 4 seam is the biggest no brainer of all time especially considering the velocity he generates with his sinker.
 

Big Papi's Mango Salsa

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Andrew Bailey was on Bradfo's podcast today.

They talked about Giolito a bit and what they like about him, how they can get him back on track, etc. Interestingly, Bailey was then asked about pitchers currently on the staff that he finds intriguing to work with and try to maximize their potential. He said "the starters" and named three guys: Brayan Bello, Kutter Crawford and Nick Pivetta. Bailey only went into specifics on Bello. He called Bello's change-up "devastating" and went on to talk about leveraging Bello's best weapon as most often as possible. Bailey then compared him to Logan Webb and said he thought they were similar pitchers.

I think the Logan Webb comparison is pretty apt. Both him and Bello are sinker guys who get a lot of groundballs with changeups as their #1 swing and miss pitch. If you look at the changes Webb made during the course of his career under Bailey, they almost entirely scrapped his 4-seam in favor of his sinker as Webb's primary fastball. They also increased Webb's change-up usage from ~20% in Webb's rookie season up to a high of over 40% this past year.

I bet you'll see something similar with Bello. Scrap the 4-seamer, which he's still throwing about 20% of the time, and almost double his changeup usage.
I've been at this for a while, but I'd really like to see them extend PIvetta (and if not, trade him, but no way do I go into this season with him on the roster and just one year of control). I really think something along the lines of what Lugo signed for gets them pretty close, might have to go a bit more than that, but in that neighborhood. He's easily the most dependable pitcher on the staff and absolute worst case (performance wise) is that you have a legitimate bullpen weapon. Locking him in to be SP5 and do nothing but eat around 160ip per year while being right in the neighborhood of league average would be quite valuable for this team over the next 3 seasons.
 

Sin Duda

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NESN has a good interview with new Pitching Coach Andrew Bailey:

“I think we all know what the count-leverage tree looks like in terms of expected (slugging percentage) and damage as the at-bat goes on. First pitch strikes are huge for me. Winning the first three pitches — we have certain statistics that we track and monitor. I think putting some accountability, gamifying certain things. Being as open and honest and not hiding the ball from where guys are at and where they need to be. What is league average and if you’re not league average where are we going wrong?"

This is the first time I've heard a pro sports coach speak of gamification.
 

Rovin Romine

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Breslow identified Giolito, Brayan Bello, Kutter Crawford, and Nick Pivetta as being in the rotation, with Tanner Houck, Garrett Whitlock, and Josh Winckowski competing for a spot.
https://www.bostonglobe.com/2024/01/16/sports/craig-breslow-red-sox-interview-globe/

So, this is looking as though it might be the pitching staff.

Starting Rotation as of today:

1 Lucas Giolito (lock)​
2 Bello (lock)​
3 Pivetta (lock)​
4 Crawford (lock)​
5 one of Houck, Whitlock or Winckowski.​

Depth: two of (Houck/Whitlock/Winckowski) plus Murphy, Walter. Gonzalez in AA?

Bullpen as of today: This is based off the 40 man, with * indicating options (per fangraphs). Players are listed by lack of options, and hence a requirement to be on the ML staff, not skill. There's a 13 pitcher max for the 26 man roster. 5 starters, a max of 8 relievers.

There's still pressure in the bullpen, with no left-handers apart from Bernardino. That would mean 2 of the 10 names there would have to be dropped to AAA, traded, returned, or DFA'd. But I don't see them putting any of the 5-9 spots in AAA. So they're one over.

1 Jansen​
2 Martin​
3 Justin Slaten (Rule 5)​
4 Bryan Mata​
leaving 4 spots for:​
5 Bernardino (LHP)*​
6 one of Houck*, Whitlock* or Winckowski.*​
7 one of Houck*, Whitlock* or Winckowski.*​
8 Schreiber*​
9 Isaiah Campbell* (Urias trade from SEA 11/17/23)​

Also on the 40-man:

Chris Murphy (LHP)*​
Brandon Walter (LHP)*​
Joe Jacques (LHP)*​
Zack Kelly*​
Max Castillo* (Waiver claim from KCR 1/2/24)​
Zack Weiss*​
Greg Weissert* (Verdugo trade, 12/5/23)​
Cooper Criswell* (FA signing 12/13/23)​
Wikelman Gonzalez (AA)​
Luis Perales (A+)​
Notable but not on the 40 man:

Richard Fitts (AAA), Wyatt Mills (AAA)​
ST invites: Frank German, Helcris Olivarez, Cam Booser, Eddy Alvarez, Jorge Benitez.​
 
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simplicio

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Mata really seems like the odd man out to me. Guess we'll see how he looks at spring training.
 

Chainsaw318

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Mata would have to show out in the spring and win a job, which would be a good thing, I would think.

I appreciate the summary RR. Doesn’t it seem like, if Bernardino is as decent as he seemed last year, he has a spot to start the year, and Campbell is optioned if Mata sticks?

If Mata doesn’t, then country to trade him before DFA (likely to a team interested who would want him a little more than gambling on getting him on waivers), and then that spot if Campbell or another lefty?
 

Fishy1

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Campbell is the only one of the group of Campbell, Slaten and Mata to have even appeared in the majors, nevermind had any success in them. Slaten is more interesting to me than Mata, too. Mata has had mountains of control issues. Slaten had a great campaign last year with fantastic strikeout numbers and a decently above average walk percentage. I doubt Mata makes the opening day roster over either of them. He's been terribly up and down in his career with his control and command disappearing Bardishly for very long stretches.
 

grepal

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The rotation will be leave the pen in very bad shape by August unless there is a step forward from last year by all except Bello, a repeat of 2023 from him will be fine, maybe he gets better. We can hope for more starter innings than last year as, I hope< we do not need to use an opener. At least that is my hope. I understand that not allowing an opposing lineup to see a mediocre starter a third time is statistically a good idea, but it really does strain the bullpen.
 

CR67dream

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I understand that not allowing an opposing lineup to see a mediocre starter a third time is statistically a good idea, but it really does strain the bullpen.
I hate openers, too, but unfortunately with three healthy starters there was not much choice last year. I think you're onto something here, though. I'm really curious to see how Bailey and Breslow (and by extension, Cora) address the third time through this year. The numbers are pretty convincing, and I think a lot of teams are going to try to be innovative and creative with how they deal with it.

You're right that they really need development, more innings and better results from the rotation. I think we sometimes forget that things didn't look so bleak last year until the rotation fell apart and the bullpen just couldn't handle the load. I'm not sure any bullpen could have. I have to think that a top priority has to be to avoid a repeat of that at all costs.

That said though, as epic of a collapse as it was, it seems much of it was just shitty, shitty injury luck, and if they can't get out from under that horseshoe, I'm not sure that any amount of thought and preparation can overcome it. On the other hand, it was so bad that I think it's highly unlikely to be repeated, especially with Breslow and Bailey in the fold.

I find it pretty interesting to see all the changes and innovations to pitching in today's game, and I'm very glad to have both of those guys leading the way for my team right now. I hope I feel that way for a long, long time.
 

Rovin Romine

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The rotation will be leave the pen in very bad shape by August unless there is a step forward from last year by all except Bello, a repeat of 2023 from him will be fine, maybe he gets better. We can hope for more starter innings than last year as, I hope< we do not need to use an opener. At least that is my hope. I understand that not allowing an opposing lineup to see a mediocre starter a third time is statistically a good idea, but it really does strain the bullpen.
Can you take a moment and put some actual numbers on this?

Off the top of my head, I'd be guessing that within the past 2 years Giolito, Bello, Pivetta, Winckowski, and Crawford(?) have all pitched a full season's workload. For some (I'm thinking Winckowski) you'd have to look at their MiL and ML innings pitched combined.

Of the depth, Houck and Whitlock have been bobbled between roles, and both have been injured. But even there, Houck was on track for a complete season as a starter until he took a comebacker to his face.

In terms of going deep into games - that may be a problem. Or not with the new pitching coach. We'll see.

But even on that last point we have actual numbers we can look at.
 

Rovin Romine

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Campbell is the only one of the group of Campbell, Slaten and Mata to have even appeared in the majors, nevermind had any success in them. Slaten is more interesting to me than Mata, too. Mata has had mountains of control issues. Slaten had a great campaign last year with fantastic strikeout numbers and a decently above average walk percentage. I doubt Mata makes the opening day roster over either of them. He's been terribly up and down in his career with his control and command disappearing Bardishly for very long stretches.
How would we rate a bullpen by raw talent?

Without getting hung up on the exact number for each pitcher, I think mine would look something like:

1 Jansen​
2 Martin​
3 Houck​
4 Schreiber​
5 Whitlock​
6 Bernardino (LHP)​
7 Campbell​
8 Murphy​
***​
9 Kelly​
10 Slaten​
11 Mata​
12 Jacques​
13 Walter?​

I do the ordering by options, partially because the options will be a factor in someone making or not making the club. . .which is an indication that there might be a trade involving that player, etc. But I think it's also useful to consider the optimal talent stack. And in that stack, I don't see Slaten or Mata displacing other pitchers. (Although I haven't done a deep dive on Slaten yet.)

A bunch of caveats apply: injury, development, someone developing a new pitch, etc. Mata could be a monster if he's able to get it together in spring training or shortly afterward. Murphy may be stretched out as a starter in AAA. . .who really knows at this point.
 

Fishy1

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How would we rate a bullpen by raw talent?

Without getting hung up on the exact number for each pitcher, I think mine would look something like:

1 Jansen​
2 Martin​
3 Houck​
4 Schreiber​
5 Whitlock​
6 Bernardino (LHP)​
7 Campbell​
8 Murphy​
***​
9 Kelly​
10 Slaten​
11 Mata​
12 Jacques​
13 Walter?​

I do the ordering by options, partially because the options will be a factor in someone making or not making the club. . .which is an indication that there might be a trade involving that player, etc. But I think it's also useful to consider the optimal talent stack. And in that stack, I don't see Slaten or Mata displacing other pitchers. (Although I haven't done a deep dive on Slaten yet.)

A bunch of caveats apply: injury, development, someone developing a new pitch, etc. Mata could be a monster if he's able to get it together in spring training or shortly afterward. Murphy may be stretched out as a starter in AAA. . .who really knows at this point.

Yeah, I think all of that makes sense, pretty much. I don't see any of those arms 9-13 displacing 1-8, especially given the lack of lefties in the pen. But someone always gets injured, so it's great we have those options. Much better than the poo poo platter of Ort and co from last year.

Slaten looks like he could be a real weapon if his stuff translates, though. A 13.0 K/9 versus a 3.0 BB/9, even at AAA, is pretty wild.
 

ehaz

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Can you take a moment and put some actual numbers on this?

Off the top of my head, I'd be guessing that within the past 2 years Giolito, Bello, Pivetta, Winckowski, and Crawford(?) have all pitched a full season's workload. For some (I'm thinking Winckowski) you'd have to look at their MiL and ML innings pitched combined.

Of the depth, Houck and Whitlock have been bobbled between roles, and both have been injured. But even there, Houck was on track for a complete season as a starter until he took a comebacker to his face.

In terms of going deep into games - that may be a problem. Or not with the new pitching coach. We'll see.

But even on that last point we have actual numbers we can look at.
This is pretty imprecise and doesn't really answer the question but one very rough way of looking at things:

The average 2023 playoff team's top 5 starters by number of games started combined to start on average 128 games during the regular season. Let's bump that up to 130 games started after taking the Rays out (major outlier due to injuries and whatnot).

The 2023 Red Sox were pretty unlucky with only 110. Say they get up to ~130 total starts in 2024 with better health from a Giolito / Bello / Pivetta / Kutter / Houck starting 5. I don't think that's unreasonable and it still leaves room for the odd IL stint here and there.

That would mean you're looking at ~30 games started by the swing guys in the bullpen (Whitlock and Winckowski) or your AAA depth guys (Walter/Murphy? Fitts?). I still think they're going to sign someone like Ryu or Lorenzen to add to the mix.
 

OCD SS

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Cross posting this @trs post from the rumors thread:
Given all this talk about rotations, I just wonder if we are beginning to see the end of rotations as we used to know them.

There are far fewer pitchers, as others have said, that throw more than 150 innings over the course of the year than before -- about 60 of them last year. I pick 150, as that is roughly 5 innings per start over 30 starts -- the bare minimum for an uninjured starter to earn wins over the course of a year. If, on average, each team will only have 2 "starters" capable of getting "wins" from their rotation over the course of an entire season, then perhaps a rethinking of how rotations function is in order.

We've already seen "openers," and while using your entire bullpen to get through a game is not feasible everyday, there might be ways to do that so that you don't burn the bullpen every time you don't plan on one pitcher going 5+ innings.

As many have said, currently the Red Sox have 2-3 pitchers right now that could be reasonably counted on to make 30 starts of 5+ innings without significant injury. That leaves about 1000 innings left to cover. So, perhaps, rather than paying scrounging for other pitchers that could handle the same workload effectively, which is essentially getting into a 3rd trip through a lineup, why not fill some innings with tweeners (for that lack of a better word)? We do seem to have some arms that thrive on one trip through a lineup, with maybe a few extra batters thrown in. So, keep Bello, Pivetta (maybe), and Giolito in a "rotation," pitching every 5 days as usual. Then twice a rotation you have a tweener start. Theoretically, if you're throwing only 40-60 pitches, you don't need 5 days off and could perhaps go twice a rotation. The hope would be that three tweener pitchers do the job of two starters. Throw Houck, Crawford, and Winckowski out there every 2-3 days with the idea they pitch 2-3 innings each. Without injury, you end up with each throwing about 100-150 innings, but not every 5 days, instead every 2-3 days. You could manage it such that if one throws pitches on a given tweener start, they do less the next time out. Your relief core would function the same way as always, as these "tweener" starts would have the same expectations as a normal starter, meaning, get us into the 6th or 7th and we're happy!

Again, all injury-dependent, this would give you 450 innings from your 3-man regular rotation, and about 300-400 innings from your tweeners, leaving about half of your innings to the relievers.

Of course, I'm sure Houck, Crawford, and Winckowski would all rather start, and that wish might scuttle the whole thing, but maybe you try one of them out for 5+ innings periodically and then boom, you rotate them in to the 3 man rotation or you make a 4 man rotation because you suddenly have 4 guys able to do that job and you just need 1 "tweener" start.

With 13-man pitching staffs, having 6 people in a rotation PLUS tweener duty is feasible, I would think.

This could all also be crazy talk.
If you add Whitlock to the mix of Houck, Crawford, and Winckowski you have 4 starters, all of whom are not likely to go deep in games. Is it possible to to set up tandem starters where you can plan for 7-8 innings from 2 guys every 5 days… it won’t work out like you’ve drawn it up all the time, but it allows you to develop all 4 as starters while also limiting their innings and integrating them into the schedule of a 5 man rotation.

They all can keep to their routine, the only difference being that 2 know they’re coming in later in the game. That might not be ideal, but it’s not too far off what happens in an away game, where the starter doesn’t know how long the top of the first will go.
 

NeckDownAllStar

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I may have missed it, but does anyone have any thoughts on Bello’s left-right and day-night splits?

They seem pretty extreme.
 

The Gray Eagle

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Eno Sarris had a mailbag question on the Athletic where he talked about the Red Sox and their pitching:
https://theathletic.com/5209431/2024/01/19/eno-sarris-mailbag-red-sox-juan-soto/

He points out that Fenway is basically Coors Lite in terms of being a hitter's park:

The Red Sox have a great but crazy home park, and it’s extreme in how much it increases hits (second only to Colorado by Baseball Savant). Bill Petti once looked at the impact of a park on the team’s winning percentage and found that extreme hitters’ parks produce teams that win less, on average. It’s tough to pitch in Boston, and that’s been a problem for the team, and it’s a problem for other teams with similar parks in the past.
The good news is that the team is well aware of this. When Chaim Bloom came in, he tried to make a lot of changes under the hood in the player development process to help pitching development. When that didn’t prove to be enough in the time he was given, Craig Breslow was hired, straight from a role that included “vice president of pitching” in the title. It was clear what the mandate was, and Breslow hired Giants pitching coach Andrew Bailey and Twins minor-league pitching coordinator Justin Willard to help bolster his development staff soon after he was brought on board. On Thursday, Breslow added to his pitching brain trust by signing Driveline Baseball’s Kyle Boddy as a special advisor.
He posted this chart, comparing our runs allowed to winning percentage:



He thinks the guys we have now are pretty good:
The major-league moves haven’t pointed to an obvious stockpiling of arms. They’ve added Lucas Giolito and subtracted Chris Sale. They’ve added some minor-league pitching and also subtracted some. But it’s also obvious that the team is aware of this correlation and is working to improve it. (And, for what it’s worth, I think Brayan Bello, Nick Pivetta, Cutter Crawford and Tanner Houck are all major-league starters, and Bello and Pivetta have the upside to be good No. 2 starters, even in a postseason environment.)
I was surprised to see an analytics guy talk about Pivetta having the upside of a #2. But again, Coors Lite.

The ERA+ of these 4 guys last year: Bello 107, Pivetta 113, Crawford 113, Houck 91 (career 118).
Giolito was bad last year, but here are his ERA+ since 2019: 134, 128, 124, 81, 91. (Not a promising trend, which is why he was my personal last choice among the main free agent starters, but if Breslow and company can get him back close to where he was 2 years ago, that would be great.)

I think most of these guys will pitch pretty well next year but again, even the ones who do pitch well probably won't have good ERAs, due to the home ballpark. Hopefully we will score more than we give up most times.

If they can cut the runs allowed down under 750 or so, they should be a much better team this year IMO.

The woeful defense of the past few years has to be improved for this team to do anything. But they should be clearly better if decently healthy. Story had great numbers in September, if Grissom is not great but half decent, that would be a huge boost, and Rafaela could be a big boost whenever and wherever he plays.
Adequate defense would help the pitching so much.

Runs allowed per season, along with Fielding Bible Defensive Runs Saved rank in MLB:
2018: 647, 12th
2019: 828, 16th
2020: shortened season, horrendous pitching, 19th
2021: 749, 18th
2022: 787, 23rd
2023: 776, 24th (Story coming back was a huge boost at SS for September, or it would have been even worse)

Another possible boost would be improving back end of the staff, who pitched over 300 terrible innings last season. Reduce the number of innings the worst pitchers have to throw, and use pitchers who are just bad instead of godawful, and they will cut down on the runs allowed a lot.

One more useful starting pitcher and decent overall health luck, and I think they could get to around 750 or so runs allowed (the 2021 level).

What we have now isn't that bad, even though it looks like it.
 

chawson

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Eno Sarris had a mailbag question on the Athletic where he talked about the Red Sox and their pitching:
https://theathletic.com/5209431/2024/01/19/eno-sarris-mailbag-red-sox-juan-soto/

He points out that Fenway is basically Coors Lite in terms of being a hitter's park:



He posted this chart, comparing our runs allowed to winning percentage:



He thinks the guys we have now are pretty good:


I was surprised to see an analytics guy talk about Pivetta having the upside of a #2. But again, Coors Lite.

The ERA+ of these 4 guys last year: Bello 107, Pivetta 113, Crawford 113, Houck 91 (career 118).
Giolito was bad last year, but here are his ERA+ since 2019: 134, 128, 124, 81, 91. (Not a promising trend, which is why he was my personal last choice among the main free agent starters, but if Breslow and company can get him back close to where he was 2 years ago, that would be great.)

I think most of these guys will pitch pretty well next year but again, even the ones who do pitch well probably won't have good ERAs, due to the home ballpark. Hopefully we will score more than we give up most times.

If they can cut the runs allowed down under 750 or so, they should be a much better team this year IMO.

The woeful defense of the past few years has to be improved for this team to do anything. But they should be clearly better if decently healthy. Story had great numbers in September, if Grissom is not great but half decent, that would be a huge boost, and Rafaela could be a big boost whenever and wherever he plays.
Adequate defense would help the pitching so much.

Runs allowed per season, along with Fielding Bible Defensive Runs Saved rank in MLB:
2018: 647, 12th
2019: 828, 16th
2020: shortened season, horrendous pitching, 19th
2021: 749, 18th
2022: 787, 23rd
2023: 776, 24th (Story coming back was a huge boost at SS for September, or it would have been even worse)

Another possible boost would be improving back end of the staff, who pitched over 300 terrible innings last season. Reduce the number of innings the worst pitchers have to throw, and use pitchers who are just bad instead of godawful, and they will cut down on the runs allowed a lot.

One more useful starting pitcher and decent overall health luck, and I think they could get to around 750 or so runs allowed (the 2021 level).

What we have now isn't that bad, even though it looks like it.
Thanks for posting this, hadn’t seen it.

I think the extreme hitters park thing is another reason why Breslow aims to trade more than rely on free agency to acquire pitching. Pitchers don’t typically sign with the Rockies except for as a last resort. (Mostly because they suck, but also because it’s a tough place to pitch and doesn’t help future prospects.)

Breslow has already made some sharp trades, and will probably do more once things start moving again.
 

Petagine in a Bottle

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It’s interesting, of course the flip side of that is wondering if the teams offense stinks (or at least is not nearly as good as it appears). They had a 700 OPS on the road last year; and have lost a few guys in Turner and (probably) Duvall who were better than that average.
 

The Gray Eagle

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It’s interesting, of course the flip side of that is wondering if the teams offense stinks (or at least is not nearly as good as it appears). They had a 700 OPS on the road last year; and have lost a few guys in Turner and (probably) Duvall who were better than that average.
Definitely. We need at least one more bat. But this is the pitching thread, so we can talk about that in a different thread.
 

Yo La Tengo

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What we have now isn't that bad, even though it looks like it.
It would be fascinating to hear what Breslow/Bailey think about Pivetta, Bello, Crawford, Houck along with Montgomery/Snell and the other FAs. I'm wondering if they don't see those top free agents as worthy targets for the money/years it would cost to get them. Obviously they see Giolito as a useful part of the rotation.

And I like Eno Sarris alot, so I'll re-post this portion of the article:

"I think Brayan Bello, Nick Pivetta, Cutter Crawford and Tanner Houck are all major-league starters, and Bello and Pivetta have the upside to be good No. 2 starters, even in a postseason environment."

The praise for Pivetta continues and I do take some comfort in Sarris's assessment of the current rotation.
 

chawson

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Interesting story from Speier about Bailey's optimism about the current rotation.

https://www.bostonglobe.com/2024/01/20/sports/far-red-sox-rotation-goes-optimism-reigns-supreme-new-pitching-coach-andrew-bailey/

Don’t the Red Sox need to add another starter?

“No,” Andrew Bailey said.

Bailey is the team’s new pitching coach, hired after he’d helped guide the Giants staff to one of the best performances in the big leagues over the past three seasons. He believes changes to pitch usage — how pitchers use the pitches already in their arsenal — represent “low-hanging fruit” that can result in significant improvement.

...

Bailey didn’t blink about whether he views a rotation of Giolito and holdovers Brayan Bello, Nick Pivetta, and Kutter Crawford — rounded out through a spring training competition between Garrett Whitlock, Tanner Houck, and Josh Winckowski — as capable of collective success.

“If our industry doesn’t view our pitching staff individually at higher tiers [by the end of 2024 than entering the year], I just didn’t do my job,” Bailey said. “I think that there’s talent in our rotation, opportunity. Helping them understand who they are and giving them identities and creating some accountability is going to be our name of the game. I’m totally happy. I’m excited about this group.”
 

sezwho

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Interesting story from Speier about Bailey's optimism about the current rotation.


“If our industry doesn’t view our pitching staff individually at higher tiers [by the end of 2024 than entering the year], I just didn’t do my job,”
Now that is putting them on the table.
 

SouthernBoSox

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I love Bailey and I do love a pitching coach who takes the position that his guys are enough. I also think there is low hanging fruit with Bello in particular with pitch usage.

Having said that, if that is the starting pitching roster at the beginning of the season it’s a disaster. You are an injury away from a complete and total blow up.

They need more arms in AAA and the major league level.
 

moondog80

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Very optimistic stuff from Bailey. I hope he’s right but if he is, either the 2023 team had the worst coaching ever, or Bailey is more valuable than Shohei Ohtani.
 

RS2004foreever

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I am always skeptical coaches matter much - otherwise one who really made a difference would be paid $5 million.
But lets hope. In many ways we are back where we were at the start of '23 with the exception than Bello has proved himself. Right now we are still hoping Houck and/or Whitlock can be a dependable starter.
 

mikcou

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Can you take a moment and put some actual numbers on this?

Off the top of my head, I'd be guessing that within the past 2 years Giolito, Bello, Pivetta, Winckowski, and Crawford(?) have all pitched a full season's workload. For some (I'm thinking Winckowski) you'd have to look at their MiL and ML innings pitched combined.

Of the depth, Houck and Whitlock have been bobbled between roles, and both have been injured. But even there, Houck was on track for a complete season as a starter until he took a comebacker to his face.

In terms of going deep into games - that may be a problem. Or not with the new pitching coach. We'll see.

But even on that last point we have actual numbers we can look at.
Depends on wat you mean by full season workload. 100-120? Then yeah those guys have done that. On the other hand neither Crawford or Winckowski have ever thrown 150 innings in a year and the closest each guy came was back Dave Dombrowski was still the executive (127 for Winck back in 2019 and 143 for Crawford in 2018).

I really don’t think either of them are full time starters (Winck was bad when he tried and Crawford’s splits show his effectiveness dropping off rapidly after the first time through the order).
 

Red(s)HawksFan

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I am always skeptical coaches matter much - otherwise one who really made a difference would be paid $5 million.
But lets hope. In many ways we are back where we were at the start of '23 with the exception than Bello has proved himself. Right now we are still hoping Houck and/or Whitlock can be a dependable starter.
I don't think any coach has a magic wand that will fix any pitcher he encounters. However I do think that the right coach working with the right pitcher(s) can absolutely yield better results. Bailey clearly has some ideas that he thinks can help the pitchers the Sox already have. Chances are he's going to resonate with at least one or two of them. We can only hope that the ones with whom he resonates best are guys who can make a leap to mid-rotation+ level starters rather than it being a discard or two that elevate themselves into fringy okay bullpen arms (which seemed to be the extent of Dave Bush's magic wand...e.g. Bernardino, Schreiber, etc).
 

6-5 Sadler

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I am always skeptical coaches matter much - otherwise one who really made a difference would be paid $5 million.
But lets hope. In many ways we are back where we were at the start of '23 with the exception than Bello has proved himself. Right now we are still hoping Houck and/or Whitlock can be a dependable starter

Pitcher A: 20 innings, 18.9 k%, 9.5 bb%, 7.29 era, 4.35 fip
Pitcher B: 38.2 innings, 26.6 k%, 7.0 bb%, 0.70 era, 2.48 fip

They’re both Ryan Brasier last year. The first set of numbers is his time with the Red Sox, the second set is with the Dodgers. What changed? They immediately added a cut fastball to his pitch mix which he had never thrown in his 5 years with the Sox. Coaching and more broadly, pitching development, matter.
 

chawson

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Tomase with a “best shape of my life” piece about Whitlock.

https://www.nbcsportsboston.com/mlb/boston-red-sox/garrett-whitlock-more-like-granite-impressively-remade-red-sox-starter/581449/

Lotta interesting color in here.

“There are transformations, and then there's what the 27-year-old right-hander managed this winter…He hit the gym and basically didn't leave, solidifying his 6-foot-5, 222-pound frame into something that can best be described as granite.”

“Some of us (raises hand) have consistently advocated for Whitlock’s full-time return to the bullpen, where he was such a weapon in 2021. Teammates who have spent the offseason with him tell a different story.”
 

jbupstate

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Give me more of best shape of my life stories!!!

I want to believe Whitlock and Houck are putting the injuries in the past. I want them healthy and throwing well… SP or RP. They are good players when healthy and they are ours today.

Would really like to see Devers come in to camp in great shape. Verdugo last year clearly came to camp ready.
 

chawson

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The difference is very obviously the innings count. Houck's ERA the third time through the order goes over 12, Montgomery's stays under 4.
Moving this from the Let's Lay Off That Throttle thread to the What We Have Thread

I totally agree that this has been an issue with Houck, but I can see a bit of reason for optimism too.

Before the line drive last year, Houck's times through the order problem wasn't really an issue. Or at least, it wasn't really his issue, but rather the defense's.

Houck, April 1 - June 16 (13 starts)
1st time through order: .257 expected wOBA against | .241 actual wOBA against
2nd time through order: .344 expected wOBA against | .347 actual wOBA against
3rd time through order: .333 expected wOBA against | .371 actual wOBA against

So, yes, he's much better the first time through the order, which is the case for almost all pitchers. But those second and third times aren't bad at all. It looks like he was a little unlucky the third time through, which makes sense because he's a ground ball pitcher and we had an awful infield defense from April through June.

Here's how Houck's numbers compare to league average among all 2023 pitchers:

League average, 2023
1st: .312 expected wOBA against | .313 actual wOBA against
2nd: .329 expected wOBA against | .324 actual wOBA against
3rd: .345 expected wOBA against | .337 actual wOBA against

So, from these numbers, Houck looked roughly league average the second and third times through the order, and much better than league average the first time. There's no leaguewide wOBA vs. xwOBA penalty the third time through the order, so it looks like Houck was an outlier there.

Is it fair to look only at Houck's pre-injury numbers? Probably not. But look at this, his entire year x-stats (expected stats based on batted ball data) were arguably even better, at least in the problem area. His numbers the second and third time through improved (slightly) upon return.

Tanner Houck, all year 2023:
1st: .293 expected wOBA against | .288 actual wOBA against
2nd: .337 expected wOBA against | .328 actual wOBA against
3rd: .330 expected wOBA against | .395 actual wOBA against

When you factor back in his 8 starts in August and September, it looks like Houck's third time through the order luck was even worse than before. I can't tell how noisy this is or what to attribute it to. His command vs. LHB was much worse in those eight starts. By that time, we had Story, an excellent defensive shortstop, but we also had Urias at 2B, who graded out pretty poorly defensively in his short time here.

Let's compare to a few other guys that have been talked about around here. (Re-listing Houck's numbers for easy reference.)

Houck, pre-injury 2023
1st: .257 expected wOBA against
2nd: .344
3rd: .333

Houck, all year 2023
1st: .293
2nd: .330
3rd: .337

Cease, 2023
1st: .279
2nd: .344
3rd: .313

Luzardo, 2023
1st: .285
2nd: .305
3rd: .351

Montgomery, 2023:
1st: .272
2nd: .331
3rd: .328

Eduardo Rodriguez, 2023
1st: .274
2nd: .329
3rd: .335

Seth Lugo, 2023
1st: .298
2nd: .328
3rd: .352

Marcus Stroman, 2023
1st: .291
2nd: .332
3rd: .353

Houck's numbers look right in line with most of those guys, even favorably in some key cases.

I'm not saying that the narrative that Houck had difficulties with the third time through the order is false. It took hold for a reason. Here are his numbers by the same metric in 2021, the last year we have substantial data on him as a starter.

Houck, 2021:
1st time through the order: .274
2nd: .256
3rd: .434

So, lengthy post, thanks for reading to whoever made it this far. To me, these numbers suggest that Houck had made some considerable strides in 2023 with his past issue going deeper into ballgames, but those developments were masked by poor defense and a badly timed injury.
 

ehaz

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I'm sure luck played a significant part of it last year. In a blog post from last May, Fangraphs examined his second and third times through issues and suggested that his approach to hitters and ability to maintain his stuff deep into starts played a role too.

"Houck goes right at hitters the first time through the order, even over the middle of the plate, and his stuff is strong enough to get weak contact. But once hitters have seen it, they seem to get much more comfortable. On Houck’s first pitch of a plate appearance through the first three innings, hitters are swinging at 35.6% of pitches in the zone and 20.0% of pitches outside the zone, leading to a .089 wOBA and a -2.8 run value. After the third, they’re swinging at 49.0% of first pitches in the zone and just 4.7% outside the zone, and posting an incredible .860 wOBA (on an absurd .818 BABIP) and a +4.7 run value, despite Houck getting a few calls:"

"He starts off with really crisp and repeatable velocity for each of his pitches, doing most of the work with the sinker and four-seamer at their peak velocities and the slider a full 10 mph slower. About when the lineup turns over (indicated by the vertical line), things start to get muddled: the sinker and four-seamer lose some velocity and start blending in a bit with the cutter and looking a lot less consistent, and more cutters and splitters get added to the mix. Here’s how that slight deterioration looks from the perspective of horizontal break, with the cutter not cutting quite as much and the slider not sliding quite as much:"

"This is a pretty cursory look at his issues at the specific game level, but it suggests that instead of (or in addition to) hitters starting to recognize his arsenal, part of the issue could be that Houck’s stuff itself is deteriorating over time. Again, the effects are cascading into a sort of circular catch-22: he doesn’t have his best stuff, so he can’t go right at hitters early in counts, so he’s falling behind, and then he doesn’t have the stuff to get out of it. All the while, everything is falling in for a hit, every fly ball leaves the yard, and everyone who gets on base finds his way home — or so it must seem."
Houck's issues with lefties is the other biggie (and part of why I'm higher on Crawford's ability to stick as a starter despite having similar issues with 2nd and 3rd times through the order). Neither his 4-seam nor his sinker have ever been effective against lefties. Houck's slider is an out pitch regardless of the batters' handedness similar to how Sale can bury sliders that start over the middle of the plate and end up near a right handed hitter's back foot. But the inability to throw his fastball in the zone with confidence that they won't get crushed is a big problem in that it allows lefthanded hitters to sit on in-zone sliders he's trying to throw for strikes, which are more hittable. Last year he tried to address this by both increasing his splitter usage and adding a cutter which he used almost exclusively against left handed hitters. Purpose of the cutter was to give him a fastball with a different movement profile to use inside against lefties, giving him something to throw inside that doesn't run back out over the plate. The cutter helped, but he struggled with splitter command at times.

The splitter is nasty enough that it still got plenty of whiffs, he wasn't able to command it consistently with increase usage and it resulted in a negative run value. Ideally, you want to keep that pitch low and away against left handed hitters. But Houck's splitters far too often caught the middle of the plate. Here's a chart of Houck's splitter vs LHB in 2023 compared to a few right handed starters with heavy splitter usage and positive run values. The first chart is Houck. Then in order, Taijuan Walker, Alex Cobb, Kevin Gausman. Houck's grouping is less tight and even though he's keeping it down it's over the middle of the plate way too often. That's a pitch lefties can lefties can drive when they're not sitting fastball.


76949 76953 76956 76958

Houck's flashed the ability to pitch deeper into games and get lefties out at times. Just has never been able to do it with any consistency. Below is a breakdown of a start against the Angels last year when he was really commanding all of his pitches against the heart of the Angels' lineup second and third time through the order. He fooled Ohtani pretty badly on a handful of splitters and sliders. The first pitch in this video is actually a low splitter over the middle that probably catches some plate but in an 0-0 count with Ohtani expecting fastball based on his first AB, that's not a bad situation to throw that pitch (compare to the video linked above where Calhoun goes yard--same location but a 1-2 pitch to Calhoun). When Houck was ahead in counts in this game he was executing that splitter consistently low and away.

View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BJNVMvXQv6w
 
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Max Power

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Josh Winckowski looks like a guy who might be able to become a decent pitcher with some better coaching. Look at his pitch locations. The cutter, slider, and four seamer are usually located perfectly. The changeup is either spotted right or hung. But that sinker, which he throws more than anything else, is always right down the middle. It doesn't make much sense. I wonder what he'd look like if he dropped the sinker entirely and just used the four seamer and cutters as the fastballs.

77155
 

Rovin Romine

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Josh Winckowski looks like a guy who might be able to become a decent pitcher with some better coaching. Look at his pitch locations. The cutter, slider, and four seamer are usually located perfectly. The changeup is either spotted right or hung. But that sinker, which he throws more than anything else, is always right down the middle. It doesn't make much sense. I wonder what he'd look like if he dropped the sinker entirely and just used the four seamer and cutters as the fastballs.
It's worth mentioning that if one scrolls down past the heat maps, you'll find that his sinker is by far his most hittable pitch for two years running: https://baseballsavant.mlb.com/savant-player/josh-winckowski-670174?stats=statcast-r-pitching-mlb
 

CarolinaBeerGuy

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Rovin Romine

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Good find. Throwing your worst pitch all the time is obviously not a recipe for success. Hopefully they'll be able to either fix his sinker or get him to stop throwing it as his go-to pitch.
We should note though that overall he was very effective last year. If he can get better results from his baseline/go-to pitch. . .well, that's gonna be something.

It's also why I'm intrigued by him as a darkish horse candidate to start. Last year was his first as a reliever, and he got a lot of success out of his secondaries (which he had revamped over the winter). His revamped pitches might make him viable again as a starter, as he always had been prior to last year.

The argument against is that he got a 2mph velocity jumped from 94 to 96 on the sinker and the 4 seam. If that's a feature of him being in the pen only. . .maybe the slower Winckowski, even with the revamped pitches, won't work as a starter.
 

nvalvo

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We should note though that overall he was very effective last year. If he can get better results from his baseline/go-to pitch. . .well, that's gonna be something.

It's also why I'm intrigued by him as a darkish horse candidate to start. Last year was his first as a reliever, and he got a lot of success out of his secondaries (which he had revamped over the winter). His revamped pitches might make him viable again as a starter, as he always had been prior to last year.

The argument against is that he got a 2mph velocity jumped from 94 to 96 on the sinker and the 4 seam. If that's a feature of him being in the pen only. . .maybe the slower Winckowski, even with the revamped pitches, won't work as a starter.
I would love love love to see him start the season in the Worcester rotation, which would allow us to give Mata a two month trial as a single inning reliever in the bigs and give Winckowski 8-10 starts in AAA with his new repertoire to see how that looks. Then we reassess.
 

Rovin Romine

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I would love love love to see him start the season in the Worcester rotation, which would allow us to give Mata a two month trial as a single inning reliever in the bigs and give Winckowski 8-10 starts in AAA with his new repertoire to see how that looks. Then we reassess.
Any particular reason you wouldn't slot him as one of the SP if Bailey thinks he can hack it?
 

nvalvo

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Any particular reason you wouldn't slot him as one of the SP if Bailey thinks he can hack it?
Only that ideally we'd open the season with five more reliable options (impending FA signing, Bello, Giolito, and two of Pivetta/Whitlock/Houck/Crawford, with the other two in the 'pen). We badly need depth, and the AAA rotation will likely be something like Fitts (interesting IMO), Max Castillo, Brandon Walter, and Grant Gambrell. I like Gambrell fine, but he has swing-man upside. Walter and Castillo have both had cups of coffee in MLB, but their track records in the minors are pretty uneven and Castillo is rapidly following Walter into postprospectdom. Winckowski, meanwhile, has ~1.5 seasons of MLB service time, and if he can show he can do it, suddenly he's precisely the asset we need.

I guess I'm just saying that there's an opportunity for somebody to seize to show he can face a bunch of hitters three times in a night without getting clobbered. And I worry that Boston wouldn't be the place place to calmly pursue an experiment of that kind.
 

The Gray Eagle

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Sarris on the Athletic came out with Stuff+ projections for the top 150 starting pitchers.
https://theathletic.com/5224402/2024/01/29/eno-sarris-starting-pitcher-fantasy-baseball-ranking/

Stuff+ is the statistic that uses machine learning to evaluate pitchers based entirely on the physical characteristics of their arsenals. It is now housed on FanGraphs (and updated daily during the season) for your perusal. Generally, Stuff+ takes the movement and velocity of the fastball and then defines a pitcher’s secondaries off of that pitch. The most important inputs are velocity, release point, and movement differential. When working with small samples, Stuff+ is a very powerful predictive statistic.
ppERA and ppK%
Jordan Rosenblum’s projections using Stuff+ performed well for their first year out in the wild, particularly among rookies. What’s exciting about folding Stuff+ into a projection is that it offers the ability to regress the aspects of a pitcher’s arsenal that are less sticky year to year, to put in a park factor, and also to adjust pitchers’ projections for age. You’ll find full projections on that Google doc mentioned above, with some in-season updates.
Injury ratings
Created by Jeff Zimmerman, these ratings consider how old a pitcher is, how many days a pitcher has been on the injured list in the past two seasons and in their career, as well as their fastball velocity, as velocity is the biggest single stressor on an elbow ligament. Pitchers were given a grade from A to F, which we included in the rankings and also then influenced my hand-produced innings projection for each pitcher.

Here's how some familiar names did in his overall rankings:
Burnes 2
Yamamoto 8
Snell 14
Sale 38
Imanaga 39
Montgomery 44
Lugo 45
Pivetta 51
E-Rod 56
Eovaldi 57
Crawford 62
Bello 69
Houck 86
Giolito 95

Paxton 134


The top 70 get a blurb, all get a more complete breakdown that includes data other than just Stuff+, it's really interesting stuff.

The guys we have now:
Pivetta:
A pitcher who has long underperformed his stuff, Pivetta had a bit of a breakout in 2023. He had the fifth-best strikeout rate among starters with 100 innings or more, and put up the best ERA of his career (4.04). At this point, though, the home run problem is established. The argument that he has more in the tank mostly depends on the physical characteristics of his pitches — he has good velocity, throws a really good hard slider (that he's been altering), and has an above-average curve with big drop — but he's also had that stuff forever. He's undervalued, but he may be someone you want to be careful with in shallower leagues. Boston is a tough park.
Stuff+ 116, Location+ 102, Pitching+ 106, Health A projected innings: 170, projected ppERA: 3.95

Crawford:

Crawford is a starting pitcher and has the chance to be a good one, too. Last year, he threw five pitches more than 100 times that all registered above-average by Stuff+: a sweeper, a slider, a four-seamer, a cutter (of course) and a curve in order of quality by that model. Just having a great four-seam and the ability to spin the ball is a great place to start. The big mystery is why he had an ERA over six at home. Some of it is luck (a much larger batting average on balls in play), but some of it is just weird (his strikeout rate was six points lower at home). Boston is a tough place to pitch, or he'd be ranked higher with that arsenal.
Stuff+ 107, Location+ 102, Pitching+ 103, Health C projected innings: 148, projected ppERA: 4.45

Bello:

A plus sinker and a plus changeup and decent command mean that Bello will always be decent, but how much better he can be depends mostly on his slider. While the pitch has good sink and velocity, the Stuff+ model says it's only meh and hitters slugged .429 off it last year, which is high for that pitch type. He started throwing it harder with more sweep and less drop in August and September, and it got more whiffs and allowed less slugging. If he can continue that trend, he has real breakout potential. You need a good slider in this league.
Stuff+ 97, Location+ 101, Pitching+ 100, Health C projected innings: 169, projected ppERA: 4.40

Houck:

No blurb
Stuff+ 99, Location+ 101, Pitching+ 101, Health C projected innings: 132, projected ppERA: 4.32

Giolito:

No blurb.
Stuff+ 95, Location+ 101, Pitching+ 100, Health A projected innings: 171, projected ppERA: 4.73


So overall, they are projecting us to have a rotation that has no real top end guy but is overall pretty deep, with all 5 in the top 100.
They have the total projected innings for the rotation at 790 innings, compared to last season's 774 for all our starters, not just the top 5.
Last season's top 5 rotation of Sale, Paxton, Bello, Houck, and Crawford pitched around 591 innings. Pivetta last year pitched 87 innings as a starter and 55 as a reliever.
 

chawson

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Sarris on the Athletic came out with Stuff+ projections for the top 150 starting pitchers.
https://theathletic.com/5224402/2024/01/29/eno-sarris-starting-pitcher-fantasy-baseball-ranking/



ppERA and ppK%


Injury ratings




Here's how some familiar names did in his overall rankings:
Burnes 2
Yamamoto 8
Snell 14
Sale 38
Imanaga 39
Montgomery 44
Lugo 45
Pivetta 51
E-Rod 56
Eovaldi 57
Crawford 62
Bello 69
Houck 86
Giolito 95

Paxton 134


The top 70 get a blurb, all get a more complete breakdown that includes data other than just Stuff+, it's really interesting stuff.

The guys we have now:
Pivetta:

Stuff+ 116, Location+ 102, Pitching+ 106, Health A projected innings: 170, projected ppERA: 3.95

Crawford:

Stuff+ 107, Location+ 102, Pitching+ 103, Health C projected innings: 148, projected ppERA: 4.45

Bello:

Stuff+ 97, Location+ 101, Pitching+ 100, Health C projected innings: 169, projected ppERA: 4.40

Houck:

No blurb
Stuff+ 99, Location+ 101, Pitching+ 101, Health C projected innings: 132, projected ppERA: 4.32

Giolito:

No blurb.
Stuff+ 95, Location+ 101, Pitching+ 100, Health A projected innings: 171, projected ppERA: 4.73


So overall, they are projecting us to have a rotation that has no real top end guy but is overall pretty deep, with all 5 in the top 100.
They have the total projected innings for the rotation at 790 innings, compared to last season's 774 for all our starters, not just the top 5.
Last season's top 5 rotation of Sale, Paxton, Bello, Houck, and Crawford pitched around 591 innings. Pivetta last year pitched 87 innings as a starter and 55 as a reliever.
Thanks for posting that, I’d considered it.

Interesting to see where these metrics have got Jordan Montgomery.

Montgomery
Stuff+ 101, Location+ 101, Pitching+ 99, Health C projected innings: 181, projected ppERA: 4.44, ppK%: 20.8%


Compared with Houck, our notional #5.

Houck:
Stuff+ 99, Location+ 101, Pitching+ 101, Health C projected innings: 132, projected ppERA: 4.32, ppK%: 22.5
 
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simplicio

Member
SoSH Member
Apr 11, 2012
5,884
A version of Houck that could stick around in games long/effectively enough to do 180 innings would be a real weapon, yes.
 

nvalvo

Member
SoSH Member
Jul 16, 2005
21,862
Rogers Park
A version of Houck that could stick around in games long/effectively enough to do 180 innings would be a real weapon, yes.
So much depends on whether he was making progress on this when he got zonked in the head last season. And I have no idea.

In favor: he started the season with a rough start in an ugly 9-5 win against Baltimore (in bad weather if I remember right), but then pitched pretty well over his next dozen appearances, posting a 3.97 FIP (about a run below his ERA, but weirdly without a high BABIP) and pitching 5.16 IP/start, including one 7 IP and three 6 IP starts. 5.16 * 31 = 160 IP.

Opposed: he came back (too quickly?) and pitched terribly: his FIP caught up with his ERA around 5, and he allowed an .820 OPS in his final eight starts, a span in which he failed to average 5 IP. Now, to be fair, he'd been *hit in the head,* and came back in the same season to make starts when the team desperately needed bodies, which clearly required some pretty serious grit. So there's a mulligan to be extended in that case.

But looking forward, I just don't know how to evaluate what kind of trajectory he's actually on.