FanPost

Melvin's Swan Song

When Doug Melvin took over GM duties in October of 2002, he inherited a Brewers team that had suffered 10 consecutive losing seasons including a franchise worst 52-106 record that same year. About the only attraction to Miller Park other than a young Ben Sheets was the opening and closing of the stadium roof.

Melvin also inherited Jack Zduriencik who played a pivotal role in drafting Ben Sheets (1999), Corey Hart (2000), JJ Hardy (2001). Prince Fielder (2002), Rickie Weeks (2003), and Ryan Braun (2005).

Now that Fielder and Melvin may be nearing the end of their Milwaukee stays, it is very much a "win now" situation; maybe a last chance to reap the rewards of Zduriencik's impressive insights before all his crops cash in. The Brewers will be compensated with draft picks and the process will begin all over again, but Melvin's legacy seems far from finished.

He finally realized this off-season that replacing Ben Sheets and CC Sabathia required more than mediocre free agent signings. He took an intelligent risk. He sacrificed two potentially excellent middle-of-the diamond defenders for some serious pitching hardware. This all or nothing, "win now" approach could use one more major tweak; the four-man rotation.

The obvious benefit will be having the Brewer's four best pitchers on the mound every four games. In this scenario, each member of the bullpen would hopefully have a clearly defined role. By carrying no more than 11 and preferably 10 members on the staff, Roenicke would gain a pinch hitter/runner and a corresponding defensive replacement or three to enhance his situational strategies.

Using a four man rotation is by no means a desperate ploy by a team and a general manager with nothing to lose. The Brewers simply have four great pitchers that should be on the mound as much as possible.

Detractors warn of inevitable fatigue, ineffectiveness and season ending injury. I've yet to find any compelling evidence proving that five days rest minimizes the risk of injury any more than four days. Statistically, the difference is not great enough to warrant a fifth starter. With the exception of Wolf, every Brewer pitcher has experienced an upgrade in one of the three categorties listed below when pitching on four days rest. 

Rogers and Narveson would become extremely valuable as set-up pitchers for the set-up men and in a pinch, they could both serve as a platoon starting tando much like Jeffress and Rogers did in early September last year.

The risk in a five-man rotation is sending a mediocre pitcher out to the mound every fifth day. In a pennant race, three or four games make the difference between 1st and 2nd place.  

Gallardo

IP

BaBip

SO/BB

 

Wolf

IP

BaBip

SO/BB

4 days

286

304

2.35

4 days

1097

292

2.19

5 days

141.1

310

3.1

5 days

574

276

2.23

6 days

68.1

305

1.79

6 days

213

305

2.21

 

 

 

Marcum

 

 

 

Greinke

 

 

 

4 days

302.2

259

2.35

4 days

567

315

3.94

5 days

173

282

3.16

5 days

378

301

2.8

6 days

70.2

297

3.14

6 days

100

317

2.67

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