Comments on: Teams with the most players appearing in 100+ games This and that about baseball stats. Tue, 16 Jul 2013 17:01:55 +0000 hourly 1 By: abarnold2 Thu, 30 Sep 2010 04:26:20 +0000 For all the discussion about Tony LaRussa, I'm surprised nobody has mentioned that he managed the 1983 and 1984 White Sox, teams Nos. 6 and 8 in the chart above.

By: Neil L Thu, 30 Sep 2010 03:14:49 +0000 @17
Kevin B, thank you for pointing out that Tom Kelly studied at the Earl Weaver School of Roster Management.

Seriously, I had not appreciated Tom Kelly's committment to 2 players at one position until checking the data after your post.

By: Neil L Thu, 30 Sep 2010 03:09:42 +0000 @18
Hartvig, it is probably too simplistic to blame LaRussa for the death of platooning. I'm not a huge fan of it anyway.

But the increase of pitchers on the 25-man ML roster in recent times merits some discussion. And the perception that LH relievers are incredibly useful to manager needs to be explored.
JT, totally agreed with you about the follow-the-leader mentality among all pro-sports managers, not just baseball. I just posted a comment to that effect in another discussion on this site.

By: BSK Thu, 30 Sep 2010 01:57:40 +0000 JT-

Good point. The ability to find guys who can perform as great relievers in the short term may be a direct result of the reduced workload. As you say, it's nearly impossible to know. As the previous poster pointed out, we have to weight that advantage (if it is real) against the disadvantage of a more limited bench. This is probably where those super sophisticated sims comes into play. Take a team's "regulars" (8/9 position players, 5 starters, top reliever or 2) and run a sim where they have a typical modern line-up construction and one where they have fewer relievers and more bench players. Now, the question is what should be the composition of the OTHER teams in the sim. I suppose you would want them constructed as they are nowadays. That will tell you what makes sense for today's game.

That makes me think of your earlier point about the "ideal" roster construction. There probably isn't one, since it is contextual. A given construction might work in a given era but not in others. It's unlikely that there is one that would excel in all. Much like the NFL, there is a bit of a cat-and-mouse game. It just seems to work MUCH slower in baseball.

By: Johnny Twisto Wed, 29 Sep 2010 21:17:04 +0000 It's not just protecting the reliever for the future, it's maximizing his effectiveness within the current season as well. Look how dominant short relievers have become now that they often fall short of even 70 IP in a season.

Aesthetically, I think it's a more interesting game when there are more changes made on the offensive/defensive lineups rather than with pitchers, so I'd prefer smaller pens and bigger benches. There are reasons things have moved in this direction however. Part of it is an effort to protect arms, and there is a serious question as to how effective that has been. Part of it is to maximize performance, and there seems to be some evidence that the increase in quality overrides the decrease in quantity.

In some ways though it really seems like no one knows anything when it comes to pitchers. I may have more thoughts on this later....

By: BSK Wed, 29 Sep 2010 20:29:49 +0000 JT-

Your second paragraph begs a few questions, namely with regards to the number of innings we can expect from a pitcher. I know that there is a lot of data on the subject in all directions as to what is the "right" number of innings for a pitcher, but there is little that is conclusive (which I think ultimately points to how individual the "right" number is to the pitcher and how conditional it is to the development of that pitcher). So, while you are right with regards to the modern constraints put on place on pitchers, that is not necessarily the way it HAS to be (and historically, it was often quite different). As you said, how do we move away from the current methodology is the question, and requires ideological changes at all levels of an organization.

Personally, I think teams should be a lot less protective of relievers. Outside of a few exceptions, there is so much variance with relievers, that there seems little benefit to limiting the innings in one year to protect them for a future year. If a guy has been positioned to be a career reliver (as opposed to young starters breaking in that way), I see no reason to run him out there for 100+ innings if he can do it effectively. It might mean he won't be as effective, or effective at all the next year, but there was little guarantee of that in the first place. Granted, this is more hunch-driven than data-driven.

By: Johnny Twisto Wed, 29 Sep 2010 17:07:08 +0000 Hartvig, there's no question major league managers these days tend to have a herd mentality and seem afraid to take risks. At the same time, I am reluctant to assume that all managers are idiots. Since every team has gone from a 9-10 man pitching staff to 12-13 man staff over the past 30-40 years, I am inclined to think they have good reasons to do so and feel that this is a better use of personnel. The innings that the worst pitchers on the team throw are usually the lowest-leverage innings, so they save the arms of better pitchers without costing much in terms of win probability. And they seem to think more can be gained by pressing the platoon advantage with their pitchers instead of with their hitters. No one starts .550 OPS shortstops anymore, so there is less need for as many pinch hitters.

I'm not going to argue that the current roster makeups are ideal. I don't think anyone could know that for sure, and they will continue to change as they always have. But if you start with the premise that you need five starting pitchers who average 6 IP per start, you need to get ~486 more IP from your bullpen. How many guys does it take to do that? Do you think you can find 5 relievers who will each pitch nearly 100 IP without breaking down? You need to get more innings from your pitchers if you want to shrink the staff -- if you can figure out a good way to do that without causing injury, there is a job for you in MLB.

By: Kahuna Tuna Wed, 29 Sep 2010 16:55:11 +0000 FWIW, the only team (in a non-strike/-lockout season) with only one player appearing in more than 100 games was the underwhelming 1906 Cardinals.

By: Whiz Wed, 29 Sep 2010 16:23:47 +0000 I forgot to mention that the '53 Cardinals had all 8 position players with at least 135 games (Del Rice, the catcher, was the weak link). No other team 1901-1960 did that.

For a 162-game season, the corresponding feat would be to have all 8 position players with at least 142 games; 4 teams have done that.

Some great names in the starting lineup team: Repulski, Jablonski, Schoendienst, Bilko, Hemus, Slaughter, and, of course, Musial.

By: Whiz Wed, 29 Sep 2010 16:09:10 +0000 BSK: In the meantime, here are the teams with at least 6 players with 150 or more games.

Of course the 162 game schedule makes this easier; only one pre-1960 team is on the list (1904 Boston, the team Andyr mentioned @10). To be fair, 143 games out of 154 is about the same fraction as 150 out of 162, so here is the list of teams from 1901-1960 with at least 6 players with 143 or more games. One team (the '53 Cardinals) were the only team with 7.