Reviving this for one day, to talk about starting pitchers. In particular, I wanted to talk about a point Jeff Bagwell made on Saturday's telecast.
The guys were talking about how the Astros seem to struggle when they face a pitcher for the first time. Obviously, they did just that last night against rookie Mike Leake. However, since the offense has been bad, can we really pin it on their unfamiliarity with Leake's style?
Bagwell made the point that all teams really struggle with this, because it's hard to know what to expect with a new guy. You don't have solid scouting reports (usually) and players don't have as much of a chance to make adjustments or time their reactions. Basically, it's a pretty universal problem and not just isolated with the Astros.
However, I don't entirely buy that theory. When players are coming up through the minors, they see different pitchers all the time. There is constant player movement, which means minor leaguers can't automatically make those adjustments. I know there will be plenty of cases where they see a pitcher three or four times, but overall, most of the guys they'll see are new to them. So what changes between the minors and the big leagues? Does anything, or is this phenomenon more about the frequency of new pitchers facing the team against the rest of the season? Since it happens so rarely, do we overexaggerate its' importance?