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May 14, 2008



Can you ask the Wizard's pitching coach why they tried this ... and then why they have decided to stop doing this?

I would imagine that part of the reason is that developing major league pitchers is best done in the context of minor league pitchers being "starters" ... and the piggy-back system allows for twice as many pitchers to get "starter"-like experience and number of innings pitched.

Which makes me wonder why they have changed their mind ...


Yeah, I'm a little confused by this trend, too. Something lower-level teams do until they figure out whether the new guys would be best at starter or reliever? An exercise in team building? Something they do at AA and AAA, too?


Thanks for the comments.
I talked to manager Doug Dascenzo after Sunday's game for a story that will run next week. He said the decision to switch wasn't planned, but they wanted to give the starters more pitches each outing (up to 75 from 60).
With that in mind, I think it would have been difficult to keep the piggyback-system in place and develop the entire staff (including those already in the bullpen). For example, reliever Tyler Davis wouldn't have gone two innings in Sunday's game under the old system.
I know Quad Cities, the Cardinals Class A team in the Midwest League, stuck with the piggyback throughout last year. I’ll research to see if it is a strategy at higher levels in the Padres organization and for other teams.


Thanks for the feedback! Interesting pitch count limits ... I'm a fan of pitch count limits ... but 60 sure seems low ... even 75 seems low ... a discussion of the trade-offs (stamina/armstrengh vs injury risk) would be interesting ...


I talked to Allen Harrington, one of the starters, about that subject on Sunday as well. He prefers the five-man rotation, but did acknowledge the risk of wear and tear. He also pointed out – as you did – that there comes a point where the pitchers are going to have to get used to extended outings and said that’s what the minors are for. I’m hoping to get a couple of minutes with Grady Fuson for the story, which should run Friday.

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