FanPost

Swapping 'The Closer' Role for 'The Starter' Role

Hannah Foslien

Not long now until Pitchers and Catchers Report, but while we suffer the doldrums of January, I would like to share an interesting/weird "revolutionary change" that I've heard about.

A couple months ago I was playing a friendly game of poker, and Ben, one of the regulars, said that a new strategic approach to pitching was gaining traction in some levels of the Minor Leagues and "within five years will be used in the majors." Instead of closers, teams were developing everyday starters.

I checked the calendar and it wasn't April 1, so I asked what this heresy was all about. Ben has a younger brother in class A ball, and an uncle who is involved in a different minor league operation, and he said that teams are figuring they will get the best use out of their best pitcher by using him to pitch the first inning of every (or rather most every) game.

The logic goes like this.

1. The best hitters (top of the order) would have to face him,

2. the "normal starter" (2nd inning on) could get in a groove before facing the big bats,

3. those same big bats wouldn't get their second look at the "normal starter" until, perhaps, the 6th or even 7th inning

4. The manager gets most use out of the "best" pitcher.

Ben went on to talk about how batting averages for "second looks" go up significantly, and the switching of pitchers would challenge hitters to make adjustments, and that the sabremetrics guys were agog at the potential effect this would have.

But I haven't been able to find any other mention of this in cyberspace, so I'm wondering if the baseball centric community of TwinkieTown has ever heard of this.

And whether or not you have, what do you think of the logic?

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