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Marlins planning 170-inning shut down for Jose Fernandez

Jul 19, 2013, 10:47 AM EDT

jose fernandez fish getty Getty Images

Jose Fernandez’s outstanding rookie season will come to a premature end, as Manny Navarro of the Miami Herald reports that the Marlins plan to shut the 20-year-old rookie down once he reaches around 170 innings.

Coming into the season the Marlins talked about limiting Fernandez to 150-170 innings, but he’s been so good that they’re willing to stretch that a little bit if needed. Still, he’s already thrown 105 innings and is on pace to throw about 185, so he’s going to miss some starts at some point.

Fernandez made the jump from Single-A to the majors after throwing 134 innings in the minors last season, so the Marlins are being smart by limiting his workload in a non-contending season. His future is extremely bright and Fernandez made his first All-Star team by throwing 105 innings with a 2.75 ERA and 103/40 K/BB ratio in the first half.

  1. RickyB - Jul 19, 2013 at 10:51 AM

    Why do teams continue to limit pitchers by the number of pitches in a game, then change their basis to innings for the season? Seems to me they would be better off conducting research based on pitches thrown for a season to get a better idea of a sensible limit.

    • myedayok - Jul 19, 2013 at 11:02 AM

      Couldn’t agree more. And if this is their plan to limit him I would thin his innings out over the remainder of the season so he doesn’t have such a long time shut down.

    • Joe - Jul 19, 2013 at 11:10 AM

      Why do you believe that this research hasn’t been done, and therefore isn’t informing this decision.

      There are a lot of people (see e.g. Baseball Prospectus) who have done studies on pitcher usage. It turns out that both the number of pitches thrown in a game and the number of innings pitched during a season – or more likely the increase in innings from one year to the next – are implicated in injuries. A guy can get fatigued throwing too many pitches in a game and lose his mechanics. Same goes for total workload during the season.

      Pitch counts in games are also correlated to effectiveness. A tired pitcher is less effective, so you get him out of there in a close game and bring in a fresh arm. It’s both about wins and injuries.

    • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Jul 19, 2013 at 11:11 AM

      Seems to me they would be better off conducting research based on pitches thrown for a season to get a better idea of a sensible limit.

      While this also works for innings, not all pitches are equal. Take CC, who routinely throws between 100 and 120 pitches (averages ’13 – 107, ’12 – 108, ’11 – 109). An 8 IP 110 pitch game can be far less stressful on the arm than a 5IP 120 pitch game.

      The big issue is we just don’t know enough about the arm medically to make a determination. For every pitcher who threw 300+ innings with zero arm troubles there’s a guy who could never stay healthy. For every guy who was babied throughout his career, there’s a guy like Paul Quantrill who swore he never iced his arm, ever. Survivorship bias is a huge issue here unfortunately.

      • cohnjusack - Jul 19, 2013 at 11:24 AM

        I’ve always wondered why 100 pitches basically ended up as the standard. To me, that seems less like the product of actual research and more like someone saying “100! That’s a nice round number, let’s stop ’em there”. Not to mention that warmups, throws to first etc are apparently unimportant to pitch count…

        Obviously workload has a huge effect on the likelihood of getting injured, but a one-size-fits-all approach for pitch counts probably doesn’t make much sense. There are going to be some guys like Sabathia who are going to throw a ton and be totally healthy and other guys who will be babied and still end up on the DL. Much like how there are guys like Cal Ripken who played every day and guys like Travis Hafner who are incapable of not getting hurt.

  2. chaseutley - Jul 19, 2013 at 10:56 AM

    There goes their shot at the Series. 😉

    • Old Gator - Jul 19, 2013 at 11:28 AM

      Not at all. Fernandez will take his irrevocable place in the Feesh’s continuing series of salary dumps when his time comes.

      • uwsptke - Jul 19, 2013 at 1:50 PM

        Maybe they’ll demote him first, keeping his service time frozen until next season.

  3. scotttheskeptic - Jul 19, 2013 at 11:34 AM

    This is a proactive move to maximize future trade value.

  4. missingdiz - Jul 19, 2013 at 11:52 AM

    Exactly, it’s all about the money. So you treat the guy like a racehorse instead of a human being. The difference is you can talk to a human being: “How’re you feeling, son. No, really how’re
    you feeling?” The young man is a baseball player. If there’s nothing wrong with him, let him play baseball. Good grief.

    • Old Gator - Jul 19, 2013 at 12:04 PM

      Don’t be ridiculous. You can now get a slaughterhouse licensed to produce horsemeat for human consumption (sorry about that, PETA), and guys who cleared waivers and disappeared from the scene have been processed for Soylent Green for decades now. I see only parity. What’s wrong with that?

    • Joe - Jul 19, 2013 at 12:37 PM

      Human beings don’t always answer truthfully, though. How many pitchers have ever said, “I think it’s time to take me out”?

      “How you feeling, kid?” “Great!”

  5. sportsfan18 - Jul 19, 2013 at 12:04 PM

    That’s nice of Loria to think of the kid actually.

    I would have thought Loria would have worked him into the ground and not worried about his future because his future won’t be with the Marlins…

    Loria gets rid of all his better players before he has to pay them the big bucks…

    Maybe the new commissioner can do something to get rid of Loria as this commish is good friends with him. Old Bud will be out as the commish soon so Marlins fans specifically and baseball fans in general may only hope for someone who will try and force his hand…

    • Old Gator - Jul 19, 2013 at 12:08 PM

      Every commissioner needs to have a reliable hatchet man in his back pocket. Hell, if the Buddha himself became commissioner, he’d be grateful to know Scrooge was out there somewhere. Scrooge McLoria is like Tom Hanks in Road to Perdition and Bud Light is his Paul Newman.

      Except that teenage girls don’t discover masturbation while looking at magazine photos of Bud Light.

    • icanspeel - Jul 19, 2013 at 1:43 PM

      I’d guess Loria doesn’t want to wear him down now so his trade value is maximized once he is closer to free agency.

  6. topwonk - Jul 19, 2013 at 12:34 PM

    Totally absurd… First pitchers are locked into per-game pitch counts and a lot of them hardly ever go more than 6 innings – hence the “quality start” stat – let alone pitch complete games in order to save their precious little arms. Then the Nationals pull that stunt with Strasburg where they basically blow their post season by shutting him down, like it was some sort of guarantee against injury, and they would be back in the hunt for a World Series this year and for years to come. How did all that work out? And now the pitiful Marlins, who have very little worth paying to watch as it is, are going to shut down their most exciting young pitcher so that he won’t possibly get hurt? And then they wonder why all their fans are dressed like empty seats? Baseball is becoming more of a joke every year. Why don’t they just sit the best, highest paid pitchers on the bench in games they “pitch” and have them communicate what they would throw and how they would throw it to a less talented, lower priced pitcher on the mound? That way, they would never get hurt, other than maybe a sore posterior or sore throat from talking too much….

    • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Jul 19, 2013 at 3:00 PM

      First pitchers are locked into per-game pitch counts and a lot of them hardly ever go more than 6 innings – hence the “quality start” stat – let alone pitch complete games in order to save their precious little arms.

      You mean unlike the days of yesteryear, when pitchers would routinely go the full nine innings? Well let’s check what really happened. Courtesy of JoePos via FJM:

      1956: 6.41 innings per start.
      1963: 6.50 innings per start.
      1968: 6.66 innings per start.
      1971: 6.60 innings per start.
      1977: 6.30 innings per start.
      1980: 6.33 innings per start.
      1985: 6.22 innings per start.
      1990: 6.06 innings per start.
      1995: 5.90 innings per start.
      1998: 6.06 innings per start.
      2001: 5.92 innings per start.
      2004: 5.86 innings per start.
      2008: 5.85 innings per start.

      50 years, two fewer outs a game.

  7. DelawarePhilliesFan - Jul 19, 2013 at 12:38 PM

    Danny Espinosa is not impressed

  8. chiadam - Jul 19, 2013 at 1:11 PM

    this will ruin the Marlins postseason chances.

    oh, wait…

  9. alstottwastheman - Jul 19, 2013 at 1:17 PM

    Loria always thinking ahead. If he gets hurt how is he going to trade away his best pitcher for crappy prospects as soon as his salary hits 7 figures?

  10. 13arod - Jul 19, 2013 at 1:20 PM

    Hate it when teams do this

    • Old Gator - Jul 19, 2013 at 3:16 PM

      Why? Are you in the habit of treating your multimillion dollar investments like junk?

  11. careyb44 - Jul 19, 2013 at 2:15 PM

    Probably a good idea. It may have a minimal effect on the division race, but at least it
    won’t determine who plays in the world series, like the Strasburg shutdown did last year.

    • Old Gator - Jul 19, 2013 at 3:15 PM

      Another idiot who insists the Strasburg shutdown had an impact on the Gnats’ playoff results. Do morons become mitotic when their IQs drop below some undisclosed threshold? Strasburg had no impact on the playoffs, period. The Gnats got to the playoffs anyway and won the games he would have pitched anyway and lost it on a bullpen meltdown by Storen with which Stasburg would have had nothing to do even if he had pitched all the way through the season. By continuing to insist on a red herring which has been so thoroughly discredited, you only prove what a clueless dimwit you are.

      • gmvozza - Jul 19, 2013 at 4:32 PM

        as we wont know either way ur statement is illogical– must be a FOX “news” watcher

      • Old Gator - Jul 19, 2013 at 5:47 PM

        Based on your spelling and punctuation, not to mention the idiocy of your comment (to whatever extent it’s comprehensible) I would say that, of the two of us, the likelihood that you watch Faux News is considerably higher.

  12. misterj167 - Jul 19, 2013 at 5:38 PM

    In a row?

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