Friday, April 25, 2008

Baseball Think Factory! And More on the Sunday Starter

Forgive me for sounding like an excited little fanboy, but one of the biggest thrills of my life was going to Baseball Think Factory today and seeing my Flushing University article linked on the site’s Newsblog. With a Repoz intro, no less!!

I wrote professionally for over five years and if I had to make a conservative estimate, I’d say I’ve had over 1,000 articles published in newspapers and magazines during that time. None of it has made me as excited as this. If you’ve made it to this blog today because of what you saw at Flushing U or BTF, I hope I can keep your attention a little bit longer.

Back to the “Sunday starter” thing. The concept was used more frequently before 1950, where most teams didn’t have a set rotation in the fashion you see today. The Sunday starter was the guy who usually only started on Sundays (of course) as part of the frequent doubleheader match-ups that day hosted. He was typically someone who was nearing the end of his career and needed a little extra rest to remain effective.

This describes Pedro Martinez perfectly. I would love to see the Mets employ something like this, while taking advantage of off-days to use their best starters more and also using the fifth starter as an extra reliever on occasion. This plan would succeed where the standard six-man rotation would fail, because it’s not taking starts away from Johan Santana, John Maine and Oliver Perez.

Say Martinez is ready to return on May 17 against the Yankees. That would be the 43rd game of the season for the Mets, which means there would be exactly 120 games remaining. In a standard six-man rotation, each starter would get exactly 20 starts, barring injury, skipped starts or doubleheaders. Since Willie Randolph generally doesn’t like to skip starters after mid-April, preferring to give them the benefit of an extra day’s rest, it seems a safe bet that a six-man rotation would lead to an equal number of starts for all its members.

However, if you were willing to skip the fifth starter here and there and pitch the front three in the rotation on the regular four days’ rest, you could probably add two or three starts for your best pitchers, while keeping Martinez fresh on the 20 Sundays he would be pitching.

For now, this is merely an exercise in speculation, as there is absolutely no way the Mets would actually consider this plan. But it’s my blog and I like the idea, so I’m going to speculate on it. We’ll revisit this topic on May 16, when the rotation is presumably back together, and I’ll actually play with the schedule to see how many more times the Mets could give the ball to Santana, Maine and Perez while employing Pedro in the Sunday starter role.


Christine said...

That is freaking awesome. I see you on Baseball Think Factory all the time and now they're quoting you. AMAZING!

MP said...

Congrats on the BBTF link. I wonder if FU saw traffic go up based on that - did you see any increase here?

And if Bobby V were the manager, I think the Sunday starter thing might have a chance.

tim said...

Great, one more feather for your ego. Let's see how long you dine out on this one.

Really, good work.

Mack said...

Good hit on the Factory link!