The Legend

The Legend

Monday, August 24, 2015

September Baseball is Annoying

I always try not to take this time of year for granted. Watching 20+ years of shitty baseball makes you appreciate things a little more. So with the Pirates in thick of the pennant race I try to watch as much baseball as humanly possible. When I'm not watching Pirates, I tend to channel all my energy into wishing a ten game losing streak on the Cardinals. For the most part pennant race baseball is awesome.

One thing for the life of me that I will never understand is expanded rosters in September. Baseball has a lot of silly traditions that people gush over, but you will be hard pressed to find someone that really enjoys September call ups. I get the fact that you might get to see the debut of a top prospect, but have you tried watching a game between two teams that are out of the race.  It is unbearable. Between multiple pitching changes and double switches you are likely to see a marathon 9 inning game.

Pretty much every year an article comes out asking why the hell baseball continues with roster expansion. For the most part managers hate it, especially those in contention. Clint Hurdle likened it to a Spring Training game. Even when the Pirates were terrible, September call ups usually meant AAAA type of players rather than top tier prospects.  It was not fun watching multiple pitching changes in one inning just so management could get a look at fringe prospects.

The obvious fix would be to lower the overall number of players allowed to be on the active roster. You could still call up all the players, but the manager would have to come up with "active list" before each game. This seems to be the consensus favorite fix.

The funny thing is when you 'Google' "why do rosters expand in September in MLB" it gives more reasons on why this shouldn't happen than explaining the actual rule. Supposedly it was put in place to reward minor leagues who had good seasons, but rarely is the case. The Pirates will call up guys who have lots of experience rather than guys who had good years in AAA.  You will see the likes of Brett Morel and Travis Snider before seeing prospects like Tyler Glasnow and Alen Hanson.

Overall it is a minor annoyance in an otherwise awesome time of year. It just seems like something that would be an easy fix. Maybe now with pace of play being so important this can finally be looked at

In the meantime lets all enjoy crowded dugouts that look like this.....








16 comments:

  1. As a prospect but I love September call-ups. Like you said, it's not always the top guys who come up, but during this time of the year teams need new fresh arms, especially in the bullpen.
    Also, the Yankees have been shuffling relievers back & worth between the MLB & triple-A this year. It'd be nice for them if they could stay in one spot for once this year.

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    1. I get that it will be a nice perk for some of the contending teams to have the extra arms in case of extra innings or a blowout game. Just find it odd you play the exact same way for 5 months and then you change everything at the most important time of year. I think it was Jim Leyland who said it is impossible to take platoon advantages in September because a team might have 5 left handed bats on the bench.

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  2. I like the idea of a an active roster and a taxi squad. Good call.

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    1. That seems to be every managers wish. They don't mind the extra help, but it essentially throws many strategies out the window when a team has 35-40 guys active.

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  3. I like it in certain cases. Atlanta probably won't be calling up many top prospects, but it does allow them an opportunity to give playing time to a former top-5 prospect (Christian Bethancourt) to see if he is going to be their catcher of the future- or if they need to address that need in the off-season.

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    1. That being said, he got called up today- but you get the gist of what I'm saying...

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    2. Should've been called up weeks ago he's been hitting 350 in aaa.. just be glad the cubs are in the race though JoeMa will still find a way to make 8 double switches in a game.

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    3. Hopefully Bethancourt appreciates his time better. I can't remember if it was Baseball America or Fangraphs, but he got blasted for his work ethic.

      I guess the devils advocate in me is wondering how much you can really tell from a guy in one month, especially when he is facing many AAA guys in the big leagues.

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  4. Of course, the reason we don't have taxi squads is because, well, owners are cheap. In Jim Brosnan's book "The Long Season" mention is made of the fact that the final roster cut down in the 1950s took place at the end of April -- about 2 or 3 weeks into the season.

    I'd prefer having roster limits which would limit the number of pitchers that a team can carry on the active roster to, say, 11. Teams could then choose to add up to three extra spots for pitchers who would be on the taxi squad -- but they get full major league pay. Not sure if this would work at all, but I'd like something that gets rid of all of the pitching changes.

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    1. I think that is the consensus alternative. This seems like something that should be changed soon since pace of play is such an issue.

      In regards to the book, Bobby Cox was in favor of bringing something like that back. He said it would be much more beneficial to have a few extra guys at the beginning of the year to help manage injuries to the starting staff.

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  5. I feel like it used to be a reward for a good minor league season, but now some top prospects don't even get called up so as to not accrue big league time.

    It's a weird rule, for sure. I like some aspects of it and dislike others.

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    1. Definitely some benefit, I just think it is not being used for its intended purpose. Most of the negativity around the rule is centered around pace of play and that it takes away from the strategy of the game.

      The Pirates will probably only be adding role pieces, so the benefits will be more in terms of helping workload and having a little more speed for pinch running on the bench.

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  6. I'd like to have it both ways, I guess. Seeing the young kids play is better for bad teams (which the Twins have been for the last four years), and to be honest in a lot of cases the prospects are as good or better than the journeyman roster filler guys at the end of the bench.
    That being said, I don't want to watch over-managed baseball - so lots of pitching changes, or late inning defensive subs, or pinch hitting several spots in the lineup... painful to watch.
    If the Twins want to call up Kennys Vargas, Oswaldo Arcia, Jose Berrios and a couple other kids, I'd be totally fine with that. Let Arcia platoon and crush some righty pitching, Let Berrios take a couple spot starts or come out of the pen... I can get behind that.

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    1. I always enjoyed the expanded rosters when the Pirates had their long stretch of suckitude, but nothing ever came from it. It would just make more sense to lower the number of guys and make it a universal amount. At least that will put everyone on the same playing field.

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    2. I haven't watched enough baseball for that rule to really bug me.A team like the Mets could definitely benefit from the additional arms,though,with the innings limit on Harvey and kids.

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    3. It will help the Pirates some as well. The nature and timing of the rule makes no sense.

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