The bullpen fix for now and for later.

The internal bullpen fix is simply to stop counting on the bullpen to pitch 4-5 innings in every game. It does not matter how good your pen is if you constantly overuse them they will under-perform. If your pen is weak to start with the problem is likely to become untenable.

The Starters that came up in our system never had to learn to pitch efficiently. There was always a tandem pitcher waiting for a chance to finish the game. Our starters are effective for about five innings but have wasted so many pitches to get there that they are unable to get to the late innings. It is what they have done in the minors for years. There they are rewarded for the very behavior that gets them in trouble in ML ball. In the short term the solution is to use tandem starters along with our five inning starters instead of relievers. Greinke and Odorizzi did not come up in this system and should not need tandem pitchers. But McCullers, Valdez, and Urquidy will, so you wind up with a thirteen man pitching staff that looks like this.

#1 Tandem Starters

F Valdez / C Javier


R Pressly

#2 Starter

Z Greinke / Bull Pen

Set Up

R Stanek

#3 Tandem Starters

L McCullers / L Garcia


B Abreu

#4 Starter

J Odorizzi / Bull Pen

Middle RP


#5 Tandem Starters

P Solomon / J Urquidy

Middle RP

Raley* or Scrubb, Et al.

An effective use of available resources now but not easy to maintain over time, particularly if all the pitching prospects in your system learn to pitch in a tandem system.

The argument could be made to stick with the tandem system and pitch with three sets of tandem starters as a matter of course. Adding a starter from another system or from our own for that matter can throw the balance off and leave you with too few or too many relievers. Five sets of tandems and three relievers is another possibility but as long as most other teams do not use tandems the ability to bring in pitchers that will fit into your system is compromised.

The problem must be addressed at the minor league level in order to normalize pitcher usage. Tandem pitching in the upper minors is probably detrimental to the development of efficient starters. Emphasizing a reduced number of pitches per inning along with the control, strike outs, and walk rates that have been expected all along is important to our prospects eventual usefulness as major league starters. Rookie and Low A prospects can benefit from reduced innings but should be weaned of this beginning at the High A level. Those starters that can not adapt still are an important part of the organization. They will likely make the best relief pitchers in the system.