Sunday, March 16, 2014

Experimenting With A Six Man Rotation

The New York Yankees are in a very unique situation where they have may too many major league caliber and ready pitching to fit on the team, keeping someone deserving in the bullpen and someone deserving in the minor leagues. This got me thinking, should the Yankees go to a six man rotation? My initial answer was no because it would take too many starts away from our horses, best pitchers, and highest paid pitchers in CC Sabathia, Hiroki Kuroda, and Masahiro Tanaka. Using a modified six man rotation and assuming that Vidal Nuno (for a second lefty) and Michael Pineda make the team the Yankees, if they do read my blogs as much as I think they do, can make this work for everyone involved.

Pineda has pitched somewhere around 40 IP in the last two seasons due to his shoulder capsule surgery before the 2012 season so his stamina will always be an issue and a question mark. Kuroda has had two consecutive seasons in which he has broken down and tired out in August and September so he could also benefit from a skipped start or two or some extra rest. Sabathia has the most innings on his arm of basically anyone in the world in recent memory before an injury riddled and down season from him in 2013, hinting at a decline. Tanaka is a relative unknown and while I do not worry as much about his performance I do worry about him going from starting once a week in Japan to every fifth day here, at least for the first season anyway. Then you through in Nuno, or Adam Warren, who have come out of the pen and the rotation on any amount of rest and still perform and the rotation starts to take form.

Here is my plan for experimenting with the six man rotation for the month of April only. Like? Dislike? Wanna change anything? Drop a line in the comment box.

DATE    OPPONENT            PITCHER                  DAYS REST & HOME/AWAY

4/1      Houston Astros         CC Sabathia                  n/a Away

4/2      Houston Astros        Hiroki Kuroda               n/a Away

4/3      Houston Astros        Ivan Nova                     n/a Away

4/4      Toronto Blue Jays    Masahiro Tanaka           n/a Away

4/5      Toronto Blue Jays    Michael Pineda             n/a Away

4/6      Toronto Blue Jays    Vidal Nuno                   n/a Away

4/7      Baltimore Orioles     CC Sabathia                  5 Home

4/8      Baltimore Orioles     Hiroki Kuroda                   5 Home

4/9      Baltimore Orioles     Ivan Nova                         5 Home

4/10    Boston Red Sox      Masahiro Tanaka              5 Home

4/11    Boston Red Sox      Michael Pineda                 5 Home

4/12    Boston Red Sox      CC Sabathia                    5 Home

4/13    Boston Red Sox      Hiroki Kuroda                 5 Home

4/14   OFF DAY               OFF DAY                      OFF DAY OFF DAY

4/15   Chicago Cubs          Ivan Nova                       6 Home

4/16   Chicago Cubs         Masahiro Tanaka             6 Home

4/17   Tampa Bay Rays    Michael Pineda                6 Away

4/18   Tampa Bay Rays    CC Sabathia                   5 Away

4/19   Tampa Bay Rays    Hiroku Kuroda              5 Away

4/20   Tampa Bay Rays    Ivan Nova                    5 Away

4/21   OFF DAY             OFF DAY                   OFF DAY OFF DAY

4/22   Boston Red Sox    Masahiro Tanaka           6 Away

4/23   Boston Red Sox    Michael Pineda             6 Away

4/24   Boston Red Sox   Vidal Nuno                   n/a Away

4/25   LA Angels            CC Sabathia                6 Home

4/26   LA Angels           Hiroki Kuroda              6 Home

4/27   LA Angels           Ivan Nova                    6 Home

4/28   OFF DAY          OFF DAY                    OFF DAY OFF DAY

4/29   Seattle Mariners  Masahiro Tanaka            6 Home

4/30   Seattle Mariners  Michael Pineda               6 Home


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. I think you're right Daniel. A 6 man rotation would benefit every pitcher except Nova. CC is learning to pitch instead of throw. An extra day would protect his arm for occasions when he has to reach back for extra velocity. Kuroda has broken down each year. Limiting him to 170-180 innings would help. Tanaka could ease into multiple games a week. Pineda looks good so far, but should be limited to 150 innings to protect his upside. But I believe in Nova, and think he hasn't even touched his potential. I would like to see him break out and throw 200 plus innings and establish himself. I don't see that happening with a 6 man rotation. That's my only problem.

    1. It could be modified even more so that Nova does not miss a start or get any extra rest, which would essentially give everyone else some extra time every once in a while.

  3. 6th. MAN ...Must agree with Daniel, and Jeff.
    It is so obvious, creative, and innovative......that I'm sure the Yankees have taken note.
    One can make a case for the 6-man helping..Kuroda, Tanaka, and Pineda. Pure genius !
    Wish I had posted first.

  4. March 15, 2014 at 3:32 AM

    Is there a better time to try a six man rotation than now?
    1--CC has to learn how to pitch all over again.
    2--Kuroda has to have less innings.
    3--Tank is not use to going every five days.
    4--Nova can adapt...youth is nice.
    5--Nuno is the same.
    6--Pineda would hold up better as the sixth guy.
    I understand why they won't do it, the same reasons they gave for not wanting to go to the 5 man rotation. One less man in the BP, I picked Nuno because he is a could very well be Phelps!
    Truth be told, a 5 man rotation is the way to go as of now!
    I would change the rotation to; Kuroda, CC, Tank, Nova and Nuno or Pineda.

    Foot-note; It is fine to try things in spring training, but when the games really will be a five man rotation. Pitchers are creatures of habit, after so many years in a five man rotation a six man is a hard change...also they would not have as many starts! Joe can and will, skip over some of the pitchers once in a while.

    1. If you go six man with the guys you listed plus Warren and Phelps in the pen the argument for "one less guy in the pen" is moot. That's essentially two long men in the pen, except for one can pitch in middle relief when needed.

    2. Daniel...
      That is why I said; "Truth be told, a 5 man rotation is the way to go as of now"!
      Six man rotation has been talked about for years, but it must start in the minor leagues.
      Right now each pitcher can expect to pitch about 33/34 times a year, going to a six man rotation would make it about 27/28 times...not a good thing for pitchers. The magic number is 20 wins or more!
      As John Oord wrote...rain-outs, big problem !
      I am all for a six man but, as of now; just skipping a pitcher once in a while is good enough.
      My humble opinion!

    3. And I respect and appreciate your humble opinion. I agree that it will start in the minor leagues, hell it may this season with as many pitchers the Yankees have in certain systems and affiliates. It's just funny because I am sure there was more than one poker game where guys sat around face to face having this same debate against 5 man rotations.

    4. Yup, It has been going on for years and more than one of us...has said, there are pros and cons.
      One more that made the rounds was..."Going to a six man rotation would water down the pitching talent more than it is now". I mean, let's face it, back when there were 4 man rotations every team had two and most had three very good pitchers. than along came 5 man and there were still only 3 good pitchers on a team...with a very few exceptions!
      Now days, it would avg. out at, about three good pitchers and one close behind...again, with a few exceptions! Adding another (ok) pitcher to the mix gives your opponent the advantage.
      I could give reasons for the six man rotation also but, I don't like changing the game all the time!
      I still believe, lowering the pitching mound has added to the arm trouble of more pitchers than anything they could have done. Now the strike zone is too small...the book says "Letters to the knees", not belly button to the top of the knees.
      Hell, I don't even like changing my wardrobe when the "Boss" and I go out. I think it is fine and she thinks otherwise...and we do know who wins that debate!

  5. It sounds great in theory but what happens when there is the inevitable April rainout or two (or snowout from what we've seen this winter)? That would really screw up a 6-man rotation. One or two guys would have to miss a turn.

    1. Well I did say this was experimental so I do not pretend to have all the answers. Rainouts def throw a monkey wrench into it, so does only having three off days when were used to more at the beginning of the season.

      It's modified and could be modified again if need be. That's why I asked for brainstorming ideas and criticism

    2. I guess one idea for adjusting to one rainout would be to have the 6th man (Nuno?) work as a swing guy. He would be the one to miss a turn and could work from the pen for a while - until the rotation gets back on track.

    3. Well like I said in the article both Nuno and Warren are very capable and actually good at whatever role they are in and with as much rest as we want to give them. So many times we have seen both Warren and Nuno not pitch for two weeks and come back and pitch their butts off for four or five innings.

    4. Daniel...
      With the staff we have I think it may be nice to have six pitchers, i.e., Kuroda, CC, Tank, Nova Nuno and Pineda. It would be good to have two men in between the lefties and with 4 of the six guys needing an extra day or two, why not?!?
      I just can't see them getting away with it, there would be a war with the Union and a rebellion among the pitchers...20 game winners, don't you know!

    5. Not much the union can say or do. Didn't the Rockies do this a couple years back with no success?

      Granted they did not have the talent in the staff that we do but still...

  6. I don't think that page is in Girardi's binder...nor do I think he is smart enough to figure out how to do it.

    1. That's why I laid it out for him, I know someone in the Yankees organization reads my stuff

    2. Michael Wheeler...just asking, but are you a reader of ones intelligence ?
      I'm sure Mgr. Girardi is smart enough to figure things out. You, on the otherhand
      may be overly challenged.

  7. No set schedule is required. When a pitcher is in a groove, get him out there, when he left a rainy game early or took a liner off his finger and didn't throw much, get him out there. Somebody struggles, take a nice rest, work out of the pen. Shut Kuroda down for the month of August, September he builds back up to be ready for October. If Tanaka is the real deal, push him back to avoid likely post-season opponents. I'd rather have an ace pitching in October vs. a team that has never seen him than someone they've seen so many times.

    1. Mr. Wheeler...
      Pitchers have to throw or lose the sharpness and power in their pitches. One can have a pitcher skip a turn once in a while but, shutting them down for any time at all is not a good way to go.
      As for not seeing a pitcher before is a good idea but, if the pitcher is good enough to make our rotation, it doesn't matter how many times they have seen him!
      Thanks for your input, very welcome around here! Have a good day!

    2. No offense mr wheeler but that sounds a little too unrealistic and video game to me. Pitchers need to pitch, can't screw with that too much. Also screwing struggling stars is not how you get free agents to come here or stay here.

  8. MR. WHEELER....reminds me of a Sapper. Right from the get go.
    In my world...this is a Sapper :
    In Vietnam (1960-70), a sapper was considered VC and/or NVA troops who tried to infiltrate our bases or boats with the intent of setting up explosive devices to kill American troops.

    1. Sappers have been around before the 1st world war...try the war I was in...1812! They are in our army and do one hell of a job, some of them are artist.
      Sappers set charges to blow up bunkers, tank blocks, hedge rows, you name it.
      And yes, it was used by the NVA/VC but, by us also, many, many times!
      There was a explosives expert (sapper) in my unit, almost every time we went out.

  9. One can disagree and not be a sapper... it's allowed.

  10. ELLIJAY....anyone can disagree, no big deal. He was not here to disagree.

  11. He got more responses than I get in a he did ok! LOL

    1. That's because no one wants to argue with you, you're always right :0

    2. When have I ALWAYS been right? Not that I know of, if that is the reason, I will try not to be right.

  12. Just giving you a hard time buddy

    1. No, you were right the first time, I am always right...not!


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