Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Capitol Punishment: Tough Guy Rizzo--A Washington Nationals Blog

Capitol Punishment: Tough Guy Rizzo--A Washington Nationals Blog

As with most things sports (and life in general), there is a lot that goes on behind the scenes.

I'm sure there is more going on here too. Just like you can't convince me Elijah Dukes did something to warrant his expulsion (and subsequent blacklisting).

I'm of the opinion Lannan's hurt. Now, he's always lived on a knife's edge, he's survived with low K rates and low BABIPs for a couple of years. The worm may have just turned and he's really no different than Matt Chico.

But with the track record of this organization (and I know it started with the late, unlamented previous regime) they have continually been late to the party with pitching injuries.

Pitchers get hurt. It's a violently unnatural act. Some people are born able to do it without incident but most aren't. It seems to me the operative assumption of any baseball team should be: we need to CLOSELY monitor all our pitchers and pounce on any sign of diminished performance as an injury flag.

With pitch f/x data, this shouldn't be too hard. You can track velocity and break over time now. What was it like last year? What's it like now? Does it change during an outing?

I know all about small sample size. Maybe a guy just doesn't have it that day. Fine. But I doubt it would take a mad statistical genius to notice disturbing trends. Trends that may elude even the practiced eyes of baseball lifers at full speed.

As a lifeline of hope, check out what Ricky Nolasco did after his temporary demotion last year. Pathetic to start, demoted, came back and was a top 10 pitcher the rest of the way. (Don't look at 2010 as he's back to suck mode.)

Not saying Lannan will turn it around like that. But if he's not hurt, maybe there is something to the psychological approach.