Felix' Durability

Good thread at Mariner Central on Felix' workload.  SI's Tom Verducci finds that all pitchers under 25, whose IP went up by >30 in the big leagues, as a group 30-of-34 either "had an injury" or their ERA's went up.


e as you're going to be able to ask for.


Dr D



I hate it when managers handle their bullpens by metering out INNINGS instead of PITCHES and HIGH LEVERAGE pitches, for example.
FACT: King Felix threw 3056, 2997, 3193 and 3618 pitches the last four years
An increase of about 12% from 2008 to 2009 in total pitch workload.  His pLI was a steady 1.09 to 1.10
We're talking about ramping up a guy's workingload by 12% here...without adding any stress to his average pitch.
I'm not worried.


went all the way from 27.9 in 2008 ... to 28.5 last year...  considering Felix had a string of 20-25* straight quality starts, wouldn't you have expected more than that, just on the basis of how few times he was knocked out of the box?
Hold up your hand if you saw Felix laboring, late in games.
Don't know if I'd want to TEST it, but my guess is that Felix would now be fine to throw 250-280 innings per year, the next fifteen years.
30 years from now, that may be the sabermetric discussion.  "The 2010-2020 Mariners, we now know, could have used Felix Hernandez for 300 innings per year, and foolishly threw away three division titles not doing so."
;- )


He's absolutely correct that IP is the dumbest possible stat to look at for pitcher usage.  Pitchers throwing 1.50 WHIPs versus 1.20 WHIPs are going to be throwing drastically different numbers of pitches.  PART of Felix' 2009 jump in innings was VERY OBVIOUSLY going from the 26th ranked defense in baseball to the 1st.  He pitched three more games.  So what?  Every SP who goes to the world series adds 4,5,6 games to their annual total.
Doc pointed out some of the flaws in the IP-increase approach to pegging future failure.  That "ERA dropped" tag guarantees a high percentage.  What he failed to mention is that, if you increase your IPs significantly in a given year, (at any age), the odds are VERY HIGH that you just had a career year.  Pick any pitcher coming of a career year (at any age), and you're likely going to see a half-run drop in ERA.  I mean -- c'mon -- your 7.23 ERA pitcher doesn't get to throw 200 innings. 
A fairer test, would be one that does not attempt to tie itself to the single most volatile pitching stat around, (ERA).  Tell me how many guys who gain 30 innings in year X, *LOSE* 60 innings in year Y.  *THAT* would be an indication of the odds of INJURY from excessive use.


Yes...PT drops the folllowing season would be good to know for diagnosed injuries...but I'd also want to see how many pitchers had their K rates fall below their established career averages after a high IP season...or their K/BB...or for that matter...their fastball velocity.

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