2014 Piggyback rotation

The Cardinals could be in a position in 2014 to maximize the young pitching depth they have accumulated by employing the piggyback rotation that they have experimented with in the minor leagues. What might this look like?

Roster makeup


8 Starters

Wainwright/ Wacha

Lynn/ Maness

Garcia/ Martinez

Miller/ Rosenthal

5 Relievers

Kelly/Rzep – Swingman/Longman/Setup

Boggs/Salas – Swingman/Longman/Setup

Mujica - Setup

Motte – Closer

Choate – LOOGY

Let’s assume the average team needs to account for 1460 total Innings in a season.

Under the current 5 man rotation:

The average starter goes six innings, 32 times a year. That is 192 Innings per starter and 960 total innings. That leaves 500 innings for the bullpen.

If we were to convert to an 8-man tandem rotation:

Your A starters go four to five innings and your B starters go three to four innings, 40 times a year. That is 160 – 200 Innings per starter and 1120 – 1440 total innings. That leaves 20 – 340 innings for the bullpen.

Here are some of the pros and cons of each system off of the top of my head.


Better preparation. More pitchers would know exactly which days they will be pitching. Can better plan exactly how each hitter will be pitched to based on two different arsenals.

Less stress on individual pitchers arms. No pitcher could accumulate more than 200 innings in a season, which would hopefully reduce the risks of injury and fatigue.

A reduced workload in the regular season would mean that pitchers would be fresher in the playoffs.

A better suited rotation for playoff baseball. The fifth starter is usually sent to the pen or left off of the roster.

Opposing hitters would only see the same pitcher one or two times in a game.

More opportunities would arise to use a pinch hitter in place of a pitcher.


It is risky to try a brand new approach. Injuries could really cause some havoc and force you to rely on pitchers you were not expecting to.

Diminished situational flexibility. Pitchers will have much more defined roles and there won’t be as many backup options in the pen to turn to should someone falter.

Pitchers will have to come out of games when they are pitching well, to keep everyone on schedule.

Individual stats will suffer. Starters would not be eligible for wins or quality starts. The B starter will most likely get credit for the A starter’s work.

Not a viable option every season. Some teams can barely find 5 viable starters.

One less bench player. This may not be much of a problem considering the positional flexibility of the positional players.


8 Position players

C – Molina / 1B

1B – Craig / LF, RF

2B – Wong /

3B – Freese / 1B

SS – Kozma / 2B

LF – Holliday / RF

CF – Jay / LF, RF

RF – Taveras / LF, CF

4 Bench players

Cruz / C

Descalso / 3B, 2B, SS

Carpenter / 2B, 3B, 1B, LF, RF

Adams / 1B

What are some other pros and cons you can think of if we were to employ an 8-man piggyback rotation?

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