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Postby PresHabib » Thu Aug 28, 2003 2:48 pm

Yes, it is circular logic. Of course, I think we posted several very good reasons that support the watered down theory. I mean, if you're looking for a mathematical equation to definitively answer the question, i dont think me, you, madison, or stephen hawking can provide that. The ideas we've bounced around in this thread though do all point to watered down pitching though, they all make sense.
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Postby Guest » Thu Aug 28, 2003 3:43 pm

I think you guys have made some great points here. I've often wondered why the "expansion" argument was only used to explain why there were so many more inferior pitchers, but it was assumed that expansion didn't affect the quality of the available hitters at all.

I do however, feel that major league pitching is "watered down

There was a time when teams did not use a 5-man starting rotation. A team would occasionally use a 5th man as a spot starter, but just about everybody stayed with a 4 man rotation. A team's 4 best pitchers were generally the starters, and since pitch counts were unheard of, they pitched deeper into games.

I don't think that major league pitching is "watered down" because there are more bad pitchers, I think it's because the bad pitchers pitch a lot more innings than they used to.
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Postby Lofunzo » Thu Aug 28, 2003 3:49 pm

Anonymous wrote:I don't think that major league pitching is "watered down" because there are more bad pitchers, I think it's because the bad pitchers pitch a lot more innings than they used to.


That is a valid point but I will add to that by saying that more teams with expansion equals more pitchers in the league equals more bad pitchers that pitch more innings.

You seem to have some good thoughts. Why not remove the "guest" tag and stay a while? ;-D
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Postby great gretzky » Thu Aug 28, 2003 4:28 pm

one thing with the watered down pitching. I am not a religious baseball phanatic, I used this, my rookie year of fantasy abseball as a hook to get more itnerested in the game. That said, yes people claim it is watered down, and it probably is. They also try and claim that with the other sports due to expansion. But one key factor in my opinion gets forgotten. Let's jsut say for the purposes of this dicsussion that the only people who can make the Major Leagues are from the United States. If this is the case, I don't think baseball expansion has kept up with the population increases seen since the days of sandy et al. I think back then, they had a much smaller pool of population in which to hope to cultivate big league talent. And as Madison said, less money as a lure. so the base of people who could potentially be big league ball players was less. And of the people who were so inclined to pursue it, AND haev the talent in which to do so may have been discouraged as there wasn't that much money in it.

Now today, I don't think MLB expansion has kept up with population expansion. So in a relative way there are fewer teams drawing people froma bigger potential pool of players. Also, as a society we ar emore inclined to pursue athletic glory as there is a ton of money in it. So many are inclined to pursue it, and the ones that have the requesite talent are identified earlier and given more training and prodding to become big league ballplayers.

These factors are in tandem with another cultural shift. In the olden days, MLB did not take players from other countries for the most part, and it wasn't for a while that they had african americans. So the potential talent pool was incredibly small. Today, basically anyone who has the right stuff can maeka roster. I think the potential people worldwide coupled with there being a realtively small number of teams looking for talent would create a situation where only the cream of the crop make the cut.

This possibly being the case, I think both pitching pospects and hitting prospects would rise in quality from the olden days. The total number of teams has increased by about 50%, but the population has increased by even more. So basically I think in terms of talent, the balance of pitchign talent and hitting talent should be somewhat comp, as both sides of the ball would be drawing from an unprecidented talent pool in terms of size and focus on the sport. I think the difference has to do with something MLB is doing in terms of officiating, rewarding hitting over pitching, smaller strike zones and plates. After all in litle league no one laments that "pitching is watered down" after all usually it seems until high school, the best pitchers are frequently the best hitters on the team. And in the papers, you read about gaudy batting stats as well as guady pitching. Well, these are the same kids who grow up to be the big leaguers. something is going wrong along the way...
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Postby blankman » Thu Aug 28, 2003 4:51 pm

PresHabib wrote:To follow up, since expansion has increased the number of pitching jobs available, there is a smaller ratio of STAR pitchers. There is a higher percentage of mediocre (not bad, just average) pitchers out there. Thus, since mediocre guys are pitching more often, slugjests are more common, which leads to people saying that pitching is watered down.


I think this is the key reason why it can be said that pitching is watered down.

As for the 1960's when pitching was dominant, weren't the pitching mounds higher off the ground? Maybe a raise of the mound, and a text book strike zone would give the pitchers a better chance in a day when, players get bigger and stronger while the fences are moved in, along with the "juiced" ball and better bats.
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Postby Lofunzo » Thu Aug 28, 2003 5:00 pm

blankman wrote:As for the 1960's when pitching was dominant, weren't the pitching mounds higher off the ground? Maybe a raise of the mound, and a text book strike zone would give the pitchers a better chance in a day when, players get bigger and stronger while the fences are moved in, along with the "juiced" ball and better bats.


Yup. They lowered the mounds. Everyone used to look like Randy Johnson out there. I forgot about that.
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Postby LCBOY » Thu Aug 28, 2003 5:34 pm

PresHabib wrote:Yes, it is circular logic. Of course, I think we posted several very good reasons that support the watered down theory. I mean, if you're looking for a mathematical equation to definitively answer the question, i dont think me, you, madison, or stephen hawking can provide that. The ideas we've bounced around in this thread though do all point to watered down pitching though, they all make sense.


Several of you have suggested plausible theories. Now the question is, does the data or stats confirm the theories. Now everyone assumes that expansion brings in more bad pitchers. I am not sure this is true. I made a statement earlier that there are many good pitchers out there who are currently not playing in the majors (minor leagues, Cuban and Japanese players). In theory expansion can bring in inferior players but if only if the following is true (assuming there are 330 major league pitching spots):

1) There are ONLY 330 pitchers with major league caliber talent and skill
2) The 330 pitchers already in the majors are the BEST 330 available pitchers in the world.

It is obvious that both are false. Expansion opens up spots for pitchers that have the talent to succeed but have not been given the chance for whatever reason.
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Postby willieroe » Thu Aug 28, 2003 6:13 pm

I'll approach the question from another angle. Earlier this year, I considered how we (as fans) haven't been hearing the usual complaints about the pathetic state of pitching. It seems like we've had an unusual number of fine young pitchers come into the majors lately:

Halladay (26), Prior (23 next week), Wood (26), Mulder (26), Pineiro (24), Santana (24), Carlos Zambrano (22), Sheets (25), Buehrle (24), Sabathia (23), Webb (24), and many more.
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Postby blankman » Thu Aug 28, 2003 6:17 pm

LCBOY- that makes sense, but I think you are missing the point. Disclaimer- this is not meant to be arguementative, just my opinion:

Having more pitchers results in the "watering down" of the ratio of STAR pitchers to average pitchers, not the talent of the average pitcher. I don't think it would be a reach at all to say that today the ratio of star pitchers to the number of average major league quality pitchers is more heavily in favor of the average pitchers than during other eras.

With less teams, a 4 man rotation and less of a use of the bullpen more roster spots would be taken up by the few Star pitchers in the league and thus the overall quality of the pitchers is better, since there are more Star pitchers and less average (but still major league quality) pitchers. So, today with the average pitchers pitching more innings than before, especially in comparison to how many the Stars pitch, the result is a "watered down" group of pitchers overall. That combined with inumerable other factors (better bats, shorter fences etc.) results in more offense.

Does that make sense?
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Postby PresHabib » Thu Aug 28, 2003 6:24 pm

LCBOY I just don't buy your logic here. First the assumption isn't necessarily that expansion brings in more bad pitchers. As I posted earlier, it brings in a higher level of mediocrity then a lower team total would. I mean...imagine 2 teams get contracted...that means we lose, assuming 12 pitchers per major league roster, 24 pitching jobs, which obviously puts the guys on rungs 330-306 of the pitcher ladder out of a job. Thus, we reduce the level of mediocrity. It works the other way, add pitching jobs, you get the best available guys, but that still means guiys 331-whatever. None of the guys that come in are bad pitchers...however, as their talent level is lower than the talent already in the bigs and the caliber of hitters they are facing, they get wiped. Thus...the pitching is watered down.
Also...I don't see the point in where you're talking about cuban and japanese players. Sure, i bet there are plenty of guys in those countries who are better than the worst pitcher in the majors. But thats not the point...their existence doesnt change the fact the guys pitching in major league baseball are the best in the league, which, again, is the justification that the pitching in the majors is watered down. I really don't understand this point...if you could explain it a little more clearly that would be great.
I also think that the lowest-caliber guys in the majors who you say haven't been given a chance to succeed really aren't good enough to keep up with all of the other raesons we've stated above, i.e. all the technology references I made. Plus, they HAVE been given a chance to succeed, its called the minor leagues. I mean, no matter how many spots are availbable, they go to the best guys out there. The more spots you have, the more guys you have pitching, thus the more guys who are NOT pedro martinez pitching in the majors. Nobody is saying that these other pitchers are bad at what they do. But you can only have so many top tier guys. Somebody has to be the worst of the best. Take the tigers...they arent bad baseball players, but look what they are up against. Relatively, they suck, because everyone around them is so much better. None of them are bad, just everybody else better.
There are other things I think I want to say about that 330 pitching job thing, but im not sure I understand it enough to make a logical argument. Could you explain how that number of jobs being available effects what the deal is with pitchers in the major leagues? I really dont get it. Does it really matter that there are better pitchers elsewhere in the world?
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