Sunday, September 21, 2008

How to beat low durability

I wanted to add something to the discussion about pitchers with low durability. (Forgive me if this point was already made in trade chat. I didn't read everything because I'm what you might call lazy.) Surely, when a positional player has low durability, there's no way around it, he's going to have to sit out some games. But it's different with pitchers. You can have great success and get well over 200 IP out of a pitcher even if his durability is less than 20, and I'll show you how! (I feel like I'm selling a Total Gym or something, but I swear I'm not. Unless you want one. Then I can hook you up.)

The secret is in the stamina. Take season 2 Cy Young Award winner Javier Henriquez, whose durability currently resides at 19. As you'll see below I've had a good amount of success in getting the maximum amount of IP out of Henriquez, who currently has the fourth most IP in the NL.

Over 253 total IP between AAA and ML in season 1 and almost 250 IP in his Cy Young season last year. The key is to pitch him every time he is at 100% (I've even pitched him as low as 93% though I don't make a habit of it and wouldn't recommend it.), which requires a good amount of shuffling among the pitching staff, and limiting his pitch count, which requires a good bullpen since he'll rarely make it past the seventh inning. By manually adjusting the pitching rotation I've been able to get Henriquez back out there on three days rest on occasion. (His pitch count is usually set at 95 though is sometimes raised depending on who I'm playing and how well rested my bullpen is. His high pitch total for the season in one game is 100 which he's done twice.)

In 22 starts this season Henrqiuez has gone 7+ IP just seven times which surely hurts his win total since my team seems to win alot of its games in the later innings. (An anemic offense will have that effect.) But I'm not here for individual stats, as I'm sure most of us aren't. I'm here for wins and with the best bullpen in The Bigs (in my opinion of course) I'm perfectly fine with pulling Henriquez in the seventh in favor of squeezing more starts out of him.

This isn't meant to devalue high durability guys. Of course I'd love it if Henriquez's DUR was in the mid to high 20's. I'm just pointing out the fact that with high enough stamina, durability is a bit less meaningful. Come on, do you think I hedged at all when I traded for Henriquez before season 1 because he had low durability? Heck no. I've gottten a lot out of a low durability starter and you can too with the right strategy. Now about that Total Gym...

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