The Six-Man Rotation: Coming Soon, Maybe to a Team Near You

The solution, for the Angels, could be a six-man rotation, a device which teams have tried periodically, though rarely for long. within the Angels’ case, the idea could help them smooth Shohei Ohtani’s heralded entry to the major leagues.

Ohtani, the pitching in addition to slugging phenom, chose the Angels last week after leaving the Nippon Ham Fighters in Japan. He has been dominant on the mound, with 10.3 strikeouts per nine innings in his career, in addition to a 2.52 earned run average. nevertheless he has never made more than 24 starts in a season in Japan, where teams use six-man rotations.

Scioscia has said only which he will be considering a six-man arrangement, without committing to the item. nevertheless General Manager Billy Eppler sees the way baseball will be heading. The Houston Astros won the earth Series last season in addition to used no pitcher for more than 153⅓ innings. The team they beat, the Dodgers, had just one pitcher who crossed which threshold.


Under Manager Tommy Lasorda, left, the 1982 Los Angeles Dodgers used three pitchers for at least 36 starts each, including Fernando Valenzuela.

Ray Stubblebine/Associated Press

Neither team used a six-man rotation, nevertheless as pitchers throw harder in addition to injuries rise, more teams are spreading around their innings. Six-man rotations could be a more structured way to do the item.

“which’s been the way the game’s been trending, historically, if you look back,” Eppler said. “I’ve spoken with some some other clubs about which concept, in addition to there’s some some other clubs which are considering the item. If the item can help keep guys healthy in addition to you’re able to get a little bit more reliability out of your pitchers because of the item, I’m all for the item.”

Ohtani received a platelet-rich plasma injection in his elbow in October, in addition to Yahoo! Sports reported This specific week which a medical report in Japan last month had revealed a first-degree sprain of his ulnar collateral ligament. Teams knew This specific information during the recruiting process for Ohtani, in addition to his ligament injury will be said to be the least severe of its type.

Eppler said Ohtani’s injection was preventive, in addition to which doctors had assured him Ohtani’s elbow showed normal wear for a 23-year-old pitcher. Ohtani will be currently playing catch at 180 to 0 feet, in addition to the Angels do not sound worried about arm problems.

“I think which’s past him, in addition to our understanding will be there are no restrictions at all going into spring training,” Scioscia said. “He’ll get down there in plenty of time in addition to be ready to go.”

Nearly every major league team pursued Ohtani, many with elaborate recruiting pitches. The San Diego general manager, A.J. Preller, spoke in Japanese for three minutes during the Padres’ presentation. They told Ohtani they were contemplating a six-man rotation with or without him.

“Most of our young guys which we’re going to rely on to be big-time starters for us within the future, they’re coming up in a six-man rotation system,” Padres Manager Andy Green said. “We introduced the item in September last year, which will be probably common for a lot of clubs which aren’t in contention to do which. If there’s not a disparity between your 1 in addition to 6 at the level there will be with most teams, there’s reason to do the item, because the rest will be probably genuinely not bad for guys.”

Another rebuilding team, the Cincinnati Reds, also made a slick presentation for Ohtani, whom they had hoped would likely become their first Japanese player. (The Reds are the only team which has never had a player by Japan.) If the Reds had signed Ohtani, said Manager Bryan cost, they likely would likely have a six-man rotation at the beginning, nevertheless not for not bad.

“We looked at like a Friday, Saturday, Sunday, once-a-week scenario, in addition to felt which with the pitchers we have coming off injury in addition to the youth in our system — in addition to the desire to maybe limit innings for some of our young pitching prospects — which the item would likely work in our particular scenario,” cost said.

“To me, the item’s not ideal, because the item’s going to affect everybody’s ability to pitch on turn or in a more traditional setting. nevertheless we were willing to take which shot. I would likely think long term the desire would likely be to get Ohtani eventually to which position where he was pitching every fifth day, so not everyone in your rotation will be affected.”

Ohtani’s unusual status as a hybrid player, Green said, could ease the roster crunch which a six-man rotation would likely create. Teams are still limited to 25-man rosters until September, in addition to for teams which carry 13 pitchers, managers have little flexibility to substitute position players.

Even the Angels, Eppler said, are emphasizing flexibility as they try to bolster an offense which ranked last within the American League in slugging percentage. They have re-signed outfielder Justin Upton — acquired in a trade with Detroit last August — in addition to traded prospects to the Tigers on Wednesday for Ian Kinsler, a veteran second baseman with power.

“There’s some more boxes to check, if possible, perhaps within the outfield,” Eppler said. “the item just depends. We’re trying to stay so open-minded with the position players we add to the roster right currently in addition to genuinely put a premium on flexibility. If we were able to acquire a guy which could play infield in addition to outfield, which would likely be nice.”

Ohtani offers a different kind of flexibility, in addition to the Angels are open to adjusting their rotation to get the best by him. some other teams will be similarly creative as pitching continues to evolve. Every team wants an edge, in addition to one size no longer fits all.

“What I think we are going to see will be the specific way a team uses pitchers will be going to be geared a lot more to their personnel,” said Chaim Bloom, the Tampa Bay Rays’ senior vice president for baseball operations. “As opposed to trying to squeeze your players into a set mold which everybody’s using, you might see some teams currently start to take a look at their players in addition to say, ‘Given these individual players, what’s the best way which we can use them?’ The six-man will be one example of which.”

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