FanPost

Begin in the Pen

Should young potential starters begin in the pen?

I have hit on this subject in past posts, however, I wanted to get everyone's opinion on this particular subject.

It seems (although I don't have a lot of evidence) that having a young pitcher come out of the pen for a year or so may be able to help him as a starter.  My reasoning is as follows.

  1. Less immediate exposure.  This method would allow the young pitcher to learn to pitch to big league hitters without being overexposed or pitching through the lineup multiple times.
  2. Situational experience.  It would allow the young pitcher to be put in tough situations, and allow him to understand how to adjust his mindset to that particular situation.
  3.  Dominate attitude.  Success (which would be a prerequisite to moving into the rotation) would allow the young pitcher to trust his stuff and mold his attitude so that when starting, he will know the situation and be able to cope with it after he inevitably gets himself into a jam.
This is just some of the reasoning that I think that has attributed to Wainwrights' success.  I think his early season struggles resulted mostly from his stamina, or lack thereof, hurting the effectiveness of his pitches.  After mid-season, he put it all together.  I really do believe that his dominant role in the bullpen, and then as closer, helped him to develop the mental fortitude necessary to the success he now enjoys.  I only have one other case study and that is Johan Santana.  He spent a significant time in the bullpen and was dominant there before his move to the rotation.   (To be fair both pitchers I have talked about have awesome "stuff", especially Santana, and I do think that one would have to show dominance in the bullpen to be considered for the move into the rotation.)

I write this mainly because I wonder, is this a good system to use with young pitchers?  Would it work to get Reyes his confidence and dominant form back?  Would a year in the bullpen benefit him?  What do you guys think?

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