Monday, June 29, 2009

Hickory Rotation Notes

Assuming that TX doesn't want to increase some of their young starter's inning totals by more than 40 compared to last year, it looks like there has been and will be a few changes governing their rotation patterns for the second half. So let's take a look at their innings totals this year, then project a year-end total, and compare that to their total innings in 2008 to see how the staff might be managed from here on out.


Name

2008

Current

IP/GM

Projected

Ideal

Font

46 (07)

47

2.94

86

~86

Pimentel

65

67 (6/18)

5.2

140

~105

Perez

62

54 (6/12)

4.5

117

~105

Brigham

77 (07)

56

3.73

105

~95

Boscan

69

45

5

111

~110

Ramirez

44

11

~4.5

70

~84

Wieland

44

26

4.1

83

~84




As you can see Pimentel is on track to go over the ideal total by 35 innings. It seems as he has alredy been put on a reduced-inning schedule in fact, following NeRa out of the pen in his last appearance on 6/25 for 3.2IP. Perez is also on track to exceed his ideal total by about 15 innings and similarly, he has already been put on a reduced-inning schedule, pitching 2 innings in each of his last 2 appearances (6/16; 6/21). Perez has not pitched since 6/21, and has not appeared on the DL, so I assume they skipped his turn in the rotation. Coupled with their ASB, that gives him about 10 days off. If he doesnt make his turn in the next few days, then he probably has a minor injury that did not merit a DL stay. We'll see shortly I guess.

Wieland, Ramirez, and Boscan appear to by right on schedule to meet their ideal year-end innings totals, Boscan, only by virtue of his previous DL stay earlier in the season. Font and Brigham essentially didn't pitch last year, though Font was on a pitching program for most of the year, and Brigham was throwing from the mound since instructs. I would say that at minimum, they could safely pitch 65 innings, just like most rookie starters. I've set the bar a little higher for them to 85 as it doesn't seem overly burdensome and both are on pace to pitch about that many innings.

Right now the rotation looks something like this:

Brigham/Perez
NeRa/Pimentel
Boscan/ Font
Weiland
TBD

Whatever the arrangement is, starting or relieving, I think that you will see each pitcher in the rotation limited to 2-5 innings/game for the next 4-5 weeks or so if not the rest of the season. However, you might see their innings limitations relaxed the last 3-4 weeks of the season, maybe raised to 6 innings, in preparation for the playoffs. Only by carefully controlling their innings during mid-season would this be possible however. That is just a guess.

The fifth starter in this arrangement could be from the current roster (Tufts, Castillo, Nam) or from a short season squad (Hurley, Springston), or ideally, a draft pick like Doyle. Considering that Tufts, Nam and Castillo all merit promotions, and that Castillo is now regarded as a quality bullpen arm due to his erratic mechanics, it would likely be Hurley or Springston (if he is not injured, currently on AZL reserve). I would discount the idea Ocampo being promoted or it would've been done already but, as I have argued before, he merited an assignment there when rosters were set in April.

Due to the necessity of managing the innings of every pitcher currently in the rotation, I doubt that you will see any of them promoted to HighA until next year. In additon, given that this is everyone's first year for a full season club, it is a move that is hardly necessary, especially for the Latin American kids. For the international kids, it makes sense to let them start and finish in LowA, for reasons related to baseball and for those related to life. Whatever the case, none of their progressions through the minors will be hindered by leaving them in Hickory the full year. If they dominate HighA next year, which is doubtful unless the team is no longer in the Cal league, then they will see AA soon enough.



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