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Another take on innings limits

Posted by: Peter Abraham - Posted in Misc on Feb 05, 2008 Print This Post Print This Post | Email This Post Email This Post

Tom Verducci of Sports Illustrated has an interesting piece on line about innings limits and young pitchers.

He also identifies seven pitchers could could be headed for trouble because of abuse. No. 1 on his list is Ian Kennedy.

Verducci bases this on the Kennedy having thrown 165.1 innings last season after throwing 104.1 in 2006. But I think Tom forgot to factor in the 30.1 innings Kennedy threw in the Hawaii Winter League in 2006.

So Kennedy really threw 134.2 innings in 2006. That’s why the Yankees shut him down after 165.1 innings last season. That’s right in line with the “30-inning rule.”

I think Kennedy will be limited to around 195 innings this season.

UPDATE, 3 p.m.: Tom updated his story to include Kennedy’s HWL work. Technically, the Yankees pushed him beyond the 30-inning rule. But only by a few outs.



66 Responses to “Another take on innings limits”

  1. Phil February 5th, 2008 at 2:28 pm

    It will be interesting to see how the Yankees handle the innings limits…especially come playoff time.

  2. hmmm (17-14*) February 5th, 2008 at 2:29 pm

    very good observation, Pete.

    you’d think Verducci would have picked up on that before listing Kennedy as his #1 injury candidate.

    not a bad article though, and in general, Verducci is better than most. unfortunately, that’s not saying much.

  3. Huuz February 5th, 2008 at 2:31 pm

    this overlooks the alleged “differences” between minor league innings and major league innings…i think one of your guest bloggers brought that up a few weeks ago…

    if we only consider MLB innings, we’re going to need to fill in a lot of gaps amongst the big three.

  4. Joe February 5th, 2008 at 2:32 pm

    Pete, that was a good catch by you with Kennedy’s innings. I did find it odd reading that article that the Yankees would do considering how they treat both Joba and Hughes. Thanks for clearing that up.

  5. Mauro February 5th, 2008 at 2:35 pm

    195 innings would be great… Wang threw about the same last year.

  6. Bronx Liaison February 5th, 2008 at 2:36 pm

    Definitely one of the biggest questions in the AL East remains how the Yankees will pitch their youngsters while still protecting them from injuries.

    2009 might see the biggest innings eater in MLB take up a spot in the Yankees rotation as CC Sabathia will not be traded in 2008, according to GM Mark Shapiro:


  7. Larry February 5th, 2008 at 2:38 pm

    With six potential starters at camp, i just can’t see this being that big of an issue.

    if we started the season, hypothetically, with Wang, Pettitte, Hughes, Joba, and Moose in the rotation with Kennedy in long relief, it would present the opportunity for Kennedy to fill spot starts routinely for Hughes and Joba and even Moose if he falters.

    The reason I don’t do this with Joba is because if he is in the bullpen, he is the setup man. Kennedy can be a solid long reliever spot starter in 2008.

  8. B-D-4 trains February 5th, 2008 at 2:49 pm

    The real issue is not discussed. It’s not the innings pitched per se that cause problens with elbows, shoulders, labrums, etc., it’s the amount of pitches thrown. If a pitcher throws economically for 7-8 innings or has a low pitch count, it makes all the difference opposed to throwing a high pitch count for 4-5 innings and laboring in the process.

  9. Jeff February 5th, 2008 at 2:50 pm

    Verducci is just mad YES Yankees hot stove replaces his *** with a even dumber John Heyman…

  10. Zach in Port Jeff February 5th, 2008 at 2:50 pm


    No football posts today?

  11. Old Goat February 5th, 2008 at 2:51 pm

    It seems to me that an important issue is ignored when simply looking at number of innings pitched. There is a large difference on the arm of a pitcher who has to throw 30 pitches in an inning to get the outs compared to throwing 10 pitches. I think that the difference refered to in minor league innings pitched, where it has less effect on the arm of the pitcher than the majors, is because pitchers new to the MLB level are going to be throwing more pitches as an average to get an out.

    I would think that pitch count would factor into innings pitched, where pitch count gets the higher notice, in order to set limits.

    200 pitches is the limit generally used for pitchers today. Wang frequently goes deeper into games because he throws less pitches per inning. The stress put on Wang’s arm is less because his arm isn’t being as taxed during each inning, and it allows the arm to recover more.

  12. S.o.S.27 February 5th, 2008 at 2:52 pm

    Bronx Liaison,
    Indians won’t trade Sabathia without early collapse

    Lets hope they start off slow.

  13. SJ44 February 5th, 2008 at 2:56 pm

    Good catch Pete. There is no way Verducci factored in Kennedy’s Hawaiian League innings.

    I get a kick out of everybody now wanting Sabathia. He had as bad a post-season as Wang last year. Yet, folks conveinently forget that while ripping Wang every chance they get. Can’t have it both ways, IMO.

    I like Sabathia as much as anybody but, I’d be REAL worried about paying over 100 million bucks on a long term deal for a guy who is pushing 3 bills (300 pounds).

    Its why the Indians, who have the money to sign him, haven’t gotten aggressive in doing a deal with him yet.

  14. Ben February 5th, 2008 at 2:57 pm

    I hope the Indians DON’T start off slow, SOS. If they decide to trade Sabathia, Shapiro chooses the destination, based on the package of prospects that he is offered. If the Tribe holds onto Sabathia all season, then HE chooses his destination, as a free agent, after the season. I think the Yankees stand a better chance of signing him as a FA than they do of successfully trading for him with Shapiro, if the Santana trade negotiations are an indication. With $39 million of Giambi (net his $5 million buyout), Pavano and Mussina coming off the books after this year, the Yankees should be in a much better position to sign Sabathia than they felt they were in to sign Santana.

  15. SJ44 February 5th, 2008 at 3:04 pm

    I don’t touch Sabathia unless his conditioning improves.

    It doesn’t matter how much money comes off the books. Committing 100 million bucks to ANY pitcher, let alone one who has conditioning issues, is a big risk.

    What if the young arms, both in the rotation and the bullpen, turn out to be studs? If that happens, I doubt you see the Yankees go nuts trying to sign Sabathia.

    Seems to me, their philosophy is becoming quite clear. Develop your own pitching and use free agency to fortify your everyday lineup, bullpen (with short term deals) and bench.

    Seems to me to be the more prudent strategy in today’s baseball.

  16. S.o.S.27 February 5th, 2008 at 3:06 pm

    Very good point.

    As far as innings caps. Why arent they looking at a youngster like Horne coming in and contributing in the second half of the year? Taking some innings load off the other 3.We also have Karstens and Rasner. If we lose all to injury, we can always see what Igawa has this year. He seemed to do better when he was an emergency call up last year.

  17. SJ44 February 5th, 2008 at 3:12 pm

    Tom must read this blog. lol

  18. whozat February 5th, 2008 at 3:15 pm

    “Why arent they looking at a youngster like Horne coming in and contributing in the second half of the year?”

    Who’s “they”?

    Also, that’s not the sort of thing I’d count on, really. Horne needs to show that he can keep his walks down in AAA before he earns starts in the bigs. Besides…he might turn out to be part of the 7-8 inning answer.

  19. Doreen February 5th, 2008 at 3:22 pm

    SJ44 -

    I’m with you regarding Sabathia. I don’t want to see him in pinstripes unless he, well, shapes up. I just don’t see how someone of his size can maintain stamina throughout the course of a season. I think we saw in the playoffs last year that he had pushed him limit.

    Besides which, I am not one in favor of the Yankees going after every free agent pitcher who happens to be the #1 guy on his staff. There’s too much at stake not to consider intangibles as well as simply a pitcher’s place in the starting rotation.

    Interesting that you bring up Wang, and how people are down on him for having a poor 2007 playoff. Because in the same vein, although Wang has pitched as the Yankees’ #1 starter, he is not considered by quite a few people to be a true #1, or a true ace. I simply say to use the same (tough) guidelines and standards for pitchers outside the Yankees organization as are used for the Yankees’ own pitchers. (That could be said for position players as well.)

  20. murphydog February 5th, 2008 at 3:22 pm

    Roger’s done – - 5 hours of testimony.

  21. William February 5th, 2008 at 3:25 pm

    i dont get how pitchers get weaker down the decade. pitchers like dontrille willis or mark buehlre had no problem throwing 200 innings when they were in there early 20s.

  22. Blargh February 5th, 2008 at 3:35 pm

    Remember, the grass is greener on the other side trumps consistency
    At least, that’s how it seems to be with some people

  23. Greg February 5th, 2008 at 3:36 pm

    The Girardi hire looking pretty solid….

  24. Blargh February 5th, 2008 at 3:36 pm

    Erm, logical consistency to be more clear

  25. Doreen February 5th, 2008 at 3:38 pm

    Blargh -

    That and not letting facts get in the way of a good whatever.

  26. jennifer- Hip Hip Jorge February 5th, 2008 at 3:38 pm

    5 hours wow!!

  27. Doreen February 5th, 2008 at 3:40 pm

    Greg (and anyone else) -

    Please warn that you are linking to a Mattingly story because I would have rather not followed that link.

  28. Drive 4-5 February 5th, 2008 at 3:40 pm

    With pitch count and inning restrictions on Kennedy, Hughes and Joba, exactly where are the ininngs going to come from in ’08?

    If 60% of the starting staff isn’t going to regularly pitch the 7th inning, how much stress does that put on the Yankees’ Achille’s heel ( the bullpen)?

    I know ,I know, I know there no sense talking about it now, but that’s the very reason I was in favor of the Santana trade.

  29. jennifer- Hip Hip Jorge February 5th, 2008 at 3:42 pm

    does anyone know if Roger was smiling on his way out?

  30. Yankeepelotero February 5th, 2008 at 3:45 pm

    Verducci not doing his homework? why is it that I am not surprised. I don’t understand how these guys get huge accolade when they are so lazy and don’t work hard for their columns. They over generalized and at times don’t even bother to look things up. and forget about the fact that alot of them admit alliance to a team and write biased columns. its a joke.

  31. whozat February 5th, 2008 at 3:49 pm

    “If 60% of the starting staff isn’t going to regularly pitch the 7th inning, how much stress does that put on the Yankees’ Achille’s heel ( the bullpen)?”

    It’s not like they’re going to pull them early in games. They’ll pitch around 100 pitches per start, like anyone else. They’ll be skipped over when possible, moved to the pen, put on the DL with a nebulous issue like “shoulder tiredness” for a few weeks, stuff like that.

    This is why they haven’t traded Moose, and why Karstens, Rasner, Igawa, and possibly Horne will have value this season.

  32. jennifer- Hip Hip Jorge February 5th, 2008 at 3:50 pm

    Kind of like Bob Raissman. I sent him an email on something he said about Phil. I am still waiting for a reply.

    He was commenting on a segment that aired on Yankees Hot Stove about Phil and his workout routine, Phil referred to how great it was to work with Roger. Well Bob goes on to say that the Yankees made Phil look like an idiot if it was taped before the Mitchell report, and if it was after implied that he was an idiot. Well he could have found out with an easy phone call to Yes that he was broadcast on Yankees Magazine the begining of Dec, and likely recorded the middle of Nov.

  33. SJ44 February 5th, 2008 at 3:53 pm

    First off, Joba will probably start the year in the bullpen. If he starts at all, it may not be until the second half of the season.

    Moose, Wang and Pettitte can eat plenty of innings. That gives Hughes and Kennedy the chance to grow into their slots on the staff.

    By July, you know the Yankees will add an arm (or two, if they move Joba into the rotation) to the bullpen for the second half of the year.

    They can manage the innings. Its what Nardi, Eiland and Girardi have done most of this off-season. Map out an intelligent plan for getting the most out of the younger guys without messing up their futures.

    Its not really that complicated. It just takes some creativity.

  34. Yankeepelotero February 5th, 2008 at 3:54 pm

    I agree jennifer, its ridiculous how these guys don’t do their homeworks.

  35. Steve February 5th, 2008 at 3:58 pm

    Yes but, Will Carrol posted the following statement on this very blog not too long ago:

    “Adjustments to the translations haven’t come up with consistent results either, leaving me with this corrolary to the Rule: Minor league innings are somehow not the same as major league innings.”

  36. hmmm (17-14*) February 5th, 2008 at 4:01 pm

    “With pitch count and inning restrictions on Kennedy, Hughes and Joba, exactly where are the ininngs going to come from in ‘08?”

    Mike Mussina? Rasner?

    considering that in the end, the Twins asked for TWO of the Yankees’ 6 starters, i find it odd that people are harping about the number of innings being covered.

    about 5-6 sources have reported that the Twins asked for Kennedy AND Wang. Klapish is the only one reporting the Kennedy-only package.

    if the Twins wanted Kennedy and Wang, that puts the Yankees in a much WORSE position as far as innings as concerned.

    yet everyone just wants to ignore the fact that the Twins asked for Wang because it doesn’t fit their argument.


  37. Real World February 5th, 2008 at 4:08 pm

    The Yanks won’t really need a 5th starter till May, so if Wang & the vets are healthy, that’ll be a big bonus in shortening the season for guys like Hughes, Joba, Kennedy, etc. Personally, I wouldn’t mind seeing the Yankees sign a veteran like Garcia, or Benson, who won’t be ready till mid season, as insurance. We need to remember that this isn’t just a matter of innings limits for these kids. It’s also a matter of performance. We really don’t know what these kids are going to give us. That’s why I think having a vet in the back drop would make some sense.

  38. Drive 4-5 February 5th, 2008 at 4:09 pm

    Man, I really wish I had confidence in Mussina. He’s really at a crossroads in his career. Here’s hoping he can find enough depth to his breaking pitches to compensate for his velocity being pretty much the same on everything he throws.

    I guess Jeff Karstens could eat some innings. But the Yanks need more than someone to just eat innings. They need quality.

  39. Clay Bellinger February 5th, 2008 at 4:09 pm

    I do not think that the Yankees are going to have major issues with the innings caps. We will be able to throw people in here and there for starts when needed. Look at how many starters we had to use last year. I don’t think this is an issue worth worrying too much about. I’m sure they will have a plan to deal with this way before the season starts.

  40. G-GUY February 5th, 2008 at 4:12 pm


    the yankees will need a #5 right out of the box. The day after opening day is thier only scheduled off day in the first 2 1/2 weeks.

  41. Whatevered February 5th, 2008 at 4:16 pm

    If Ian gets to pitch 190-195 innings he could be the yankees #3 guy. I’d really like to see what he’s got. I liked his september numbers. How’s his married life doing? When is he heading down to Tampa?

  42. whozat February 5th, 2008 at 4:19 pm

    “Here’s hoping he can find enough depth to his breaking pitches to compensate for his velocity being pretty much the same on everything he throws.”

    That’s just patently false. And he lost all of ST last year, which I expect that had a lot to do with his loss of velocity. If he has the full 6 weeks to get his arm strength up, I think it’d be perfectly reasonable to expect him to be back around 89, instead of around 85 like he was last season.

  43. mlb1996 February 5th, 2008 at 4:23 pm

    It appears that the “back strain” Kennedy suffered was nothing more than an excuse to shut his arm down.

  44. Real World February 5th, 2008 at 4:24 pm

    Am I confusing the Sox schedule with the Yankees’? Aren’t there usually a lot of off days earlier in the season? Doh! I guess that’s all the more reason why I’d like to see the Yanks sign a rehabing vet like Garcia.

  45. hmmm (17-14*) February 5th, 2008 at 4:25 pm

    i am cautiously optimistic on Moose.

    he has reportedly been working out harder than ever this offseason.

    also, he wasn’t as bad as everyone here thinks he was last season.

    he had a miserable 3 game run in late august/september, but before that, he’d been a pretty solid #4 starter for several months.

    what happened during that stretch? who knows.

    can he come back and be a league average starter? i think so.

  46. hmmm (17-14*) February 5th, 2008 at 4:26 pm

    “Am I confusing the Sox schedule with the Yankees’? Aren’t there usually a lot of off days earlier in the season? ”

    yes, there usually are.

  47. G-GUY February 5th, 2008 at 4:30 pm

    as the schedule is now the #5 starter will start 3x the 1st 3 weeks of the season. Of course rainouts (snowouts?) can happen, but with the schedule like that, you cant break camp without 5 starters ready to go.

  48. bottom line February 5th, 2008 at 4:32 pm

    Bob Raissman is about the nastiest sports media guy around — as best I can tell he
    is a total mediocrity who goes out of his way to beat up on people he doesn’t like. Look back on his columns to see who he’s been hammering unfairly for years. It’s safe to say the guy, in addition to his general free-floating meanness, is also a card-carrying Yankee-hater. It truly astounds me that this guy has a job.

  49. pTresse February 5th, 2008 at 4:33 pm

    Mussina is toast.

    Unless he figures out a way “reinvent” himself ie throw even more finesse which usually translates to being called a “nibbler” he’s finished IMO.

    2 problems…

    1. I’m not sure a “Nibbler” ala Glavine/Mussina can succeed in the AL.
    2. Being overly finesse often makes necessary the need for a generous ump or at the very least a fair ump neither of which can be counted on.

    I don’t care if you give him 6 weeks or 6 months to “get his arm strength up” I don’t believe at his age you regain velocity I think at best this year he will be very unreliable.

  50. pTresse February 5th, 2008 at 4:41 pm


    RE- Moose.

    National League average? Yes.

    American League average? No.

    He’s a year older coming off by far his worst year. If he can keep us in games against bad teams I’ll consider it a bonus.

  51. Drive 4-5 February 5th, 2008 at 4:41 pm


    When I saw Mike Mussina pitch last Spring at Legends Field I told my wife that he was throwing so slow, I could hit him. It was really hard to imagine we were watching Mike Mussina pitch.

    Unfortunately, those that hit against him for a living had an even easier time. They hit .310 off him. He allowed 188 hits in only 152 innings. His ERA in August was 8.87. He had a couple of decent stars in September against the O’s and Blue Jays but in his last start of the season he allow 11 hits and 6 runs in only 5 innings.His 5.15 ERA pretty much sums it up…he stunk from start to finish.

    On a happier note, there’s baseball on TV SCNY is showing Game 2 of the Carribean World Series. World order has been restored!

  52. hmmm (17-14*) February 5th, 2008 at 4:43 pm

    “Mussina is toast.

    Unless he figures out a way “reinvent” himself ie throw even more finesse which usually translates to being called a “nibbler” he’s finished IMO.”

    yet for 24 out of 27 starts last year, he was an above average starter.

    how is that?

    moose had about 15 quality starts last year (i counted 2 starts of 5.2 IP, 1 was 0 ERs, 1 was 1 ER).

  53. Florida Yank February 5th, 2008 at 4:44 pm

    Joe Girardi has always been a detail oriented baseball man and has spent numerous hours since his hire in discussions with Dave Eiland and Nardi Contreras for the best possible strategy to use with managing innings and pitch counts based on what they know the pitcher’s histories are. They’ll leave no stone unturned beginning with the first bullpen sessions of spring training.

  54. hmmm (17-14*) February 5th, 2008 at 4:46 pm

    “His ERA in August was 8.87. He had a couple of decent stars in September against the O’s and Blue Jays but in his last start of the season he allow 11 hits and 6 runs in only 5 innings.His 5.15 ERA pretty much sums it up…he stunk from start to finish.”

    if he had an 8.87 ERA in August, yet wound up with a 5.15 ERA, then he did not stink from start to finish.

  55. Drive 4-5 February 5th, 2008 at 4:48 pm

    Mike Mussina failed to pitch 6 innings in 12 of his 27 starts in ’08.

  56. Ben February 5th, 2008 at 4:49 pm

    Moose is not going to win 19 games this year, but if he can get his ERA back down to league average, he should be fine. That’s what you should hope for from your 4/5 starter.

  57. Y-Guy February 5th, 2008 at 4:52 pm

    i dont have much faith in moose for this season but i think somone like igawa will step up and give the yanks respectable bottom of the rotation starts.

  58. pTresse February 5th, 2008 at 4:58 pm



    Igawa and Pavano will come to the rescue!!

  59. hmmm (17-14*) February 5th, 2008 at 5:05 pm

    “Mike Mussina failed to pitch 6 innings in 12 of his 27 starts in ‘08.”

    i understand that.

    i am talking about Mussina filling the role of 4th/5th/6th starter.

    what do you guys think a 4th/5th starter looks like? an ERA between 4.50-5.25, 150-175 IP. some good stretches, some bad stretches…but for the most part, 6 innings, 3-4 ERs.

    that’s exactly what Moose was last year.

    no one is saying he is going to be a top of the rotation starter.

    but that doesn’t mean he is “finished”, either.

  60. michael February 5th, 2008 at 5:26 pm

    suits a little snug there rog

  61. Dink McFadden February 5th, 2008 at 5:46 pm

    I find it interesting. What are the yankees gonna do if these guys are near their innings caps come the post season? If they’re advancing in the playoffs w/ these kids they’re gonna go over their innings caps, not much the yanks could do about it.

  62. SFYanksFan February 5th, 2008 at 6:04 pm

    I agree with the idea that creative use of Joba, Phil and IPK is the key.

    Look at the 2003 Marlins rotation, they had three youngsters that were relatively on par with innings limits the Yanks are looking to apply.

    Brad Penny – 196
    D-Train – 160
    Beckett – 142

    In fact, our good friend Carl Pavano was the only pitcher on their entire staff to throw over 200 innings (201 at that.

    Even if you agree with what Verducci recommends, that’s right on par with IPK at 196, Hughes at 176, and Joba at 149. With Wang and Pettitte at or around 200 each, it seems pretty feasible to have success with the young pitchers. Throw in Moose, and it really does.

    Also, I’m not sure I buy into the minor league innings v. major league innings idea. Sure, at face value it’s easy to say that the pressure is greater and that pitchers will try and throw harder as result, thus making the innings pitched more stressful. Minor league innings pitched are instructional (i.e. developing a rhythm, refining pitches, increasing work load, learning to make adjustments, etc.). To me, the key to the transition is the mental and mechanical make up, and that is specific to the pitcher.

    It seems like it’s just easier to point to surface level facts and point out why they’ll be a problem without painting the whole picture. Drama sells I guess…

  63. SFYanksFan February 5th, 2008 at 6:07 pm

    (granted I’m using surface level facts to argue the positive, ha.)

  64. Old Ranger February 5th, 2008 at 7:22 pm

    Kei will be better out of the bull pen than a stater. It showed last year, he gets tiered and the pitches come up…and out!
    Moose will have a better year, why you ask? Many reasons;
    1-He will be in better shape this year.
    2-He will throw inside, which he never ever did before, but did do in two of his last games.
    3-He will only have to pitch well enough to keep us in the game…3/4 runs.
    4-He knows he is not counted on to be the macho guy…also, fighting for another contract.
    Also, I think some people are forgetting that the big 3 pitched in the bigs last year…a couple were big games too. So, I don’t know why people think they need to get their feet wet, before they have success.
    Don’t forget folks, this team will score a lot of runs, so the pitchers can be a little bit off and still win…if the other team doesn’t score a lot also! 27/08

  65. Matt February 5th, 2008 at 9:15 pm

    Since Kennedy only throws usually in the lower 90s he should be able to get in 190-195 innings.

  66. edgar February 6th, 2008 at 8:13 am

    don’t you read your own blog? will carroll of baseball prospectus wrote here that, for reasons unknown, minor league innings don’t factor into the 30-inning rule. this was two weeks ago, and you said you were honored.

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