Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Tracking Blue Jays Prospect Pitchers' IP totals


   As the minor league season is now well into the second half of its season, we thought it was time to have a look at the workload some of the top pitching prospects in the system have undergone.



Pitcher
Previous High
Total IP as of 6/24
Cap for 2014?
Marcus Stroman
122*
71.2
147
Daniel Norris
90.2
77.2
115
Aaron Sanchez
109*
75
134
Matt Boyd
156+
79.1
181
Alberto Tirado
48
47
73
Chase De Jong
56
57
81
Jairo Labourt
51
24
76
Miguel Castro
70!
10
95
Taylor Cole
137
88
172
Matt Smoral
25.2
3
50.2

 * = incl. AFL totals  + = incl. collegiate totals  ! = incl. DSL totals


   We are ever mindful of the Year After Effect, a term that has been use in major league organizations for some time, but has only recently been in the public eye, thanks to the efforts of Tom Verducci of Sports Illustrated.
   The Year After Effect suggests that a developing pitcher should not exceed his previous season's innings pitched by 25 innings, or the risk of shoulder/elbow injury increases.  This phenomenon has not been the subject of a scientific study as of yet, and number of pitches thrown per game is a more effective guideline to follow, but it's a good idea to monitor a young developing pitcher's cumulative body of work through innings pitched just the same.  
   As the chart above shows, Marcus Stroman, Aaron Sanchez, and lower level pitchers Jairo Labourt, and Alberto Tirado are pretty much on target (the latter two, of course, would have higher totals after starting the season in Lansing, but the organization wisely shut them down for a while before assigning them to Vancouver).  
    Daniel Norris has deservedly received a great deal of hype for his outstanding season to date, but he's on pace to eclipse the suggested 115 IP cap.  The club likely won't send him to Arizona in the fall if he goes much beyond that total.  Matt  Boyd's peak IP totals, of course, are skewed by Oregon State's run in last year's College World Series.  One would think that his pitch and inning counts will be closely watched in July and August, though.  He's pitched a considreable amount in the past 13 months.  Chase De Jong has already exceeded his previous IP high, but the club has stuck to a strict pitch count with him, and he shouldn't need to be shut down early.  
   Miguel Castro and Matt Smoral appear to have a lot of room for innings this summer, although Castro threw only 17 innings stateside last summer.  
   Taylor Cole appears to be the one pitcher who has lots of room left.  He did have a huge jump (almost double) in IP from 2012 to 2013, however, and we wonder if the club will let him go much beyond his previous high of 137.  After being dominant for much of April and May, Cole has been hit hard in his last two starts. It may be a bump in the road, or it may be the toll of a lot of innings.
    Only the organization, of course, knows how much these young pitchers have left in the tank.  We were surprised that Stroman was allowed to go back out for the 8th inning in his recent start against the Yankees, throwing a career-high 114 pitches in a great outing. Admittedly, Manager John Gibbons needed to protect a tired bullpen, but it will be interested to see how effective Stroman is in his next start.



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