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I made a Data Table. I intend to share.


Well, they wrapped up the Abu Dhabi  Grand Prix this morning so I was just messing around on BB-ref and I noticed that Alek Manoah threw 2,949 pitches this past season. Is that a lot, I wondered? Who threw the most pitches in the majors this year anyway? Who led the majors in years past, and how many pitches did it take Back In The Day?

Hey, the Grand Prix season is over. A fellow needs to keep busy.

SO here's my Data Table. We have the league leader, of course. We also have how many MLB pitchers threw more than 3,000 (or 4,000!) pitches that season. And I tossed in the Blue Jays leader. Just because.

        Team    Over  Over
Year  Avg    3000  4000   Leader    Pitches        TOR    Leader    Pitches    Also over 3,000   
                                  
1988   21,891   53     4    Dave Stewart     4,260     -   22,996    Mike Flanagan    3,317    Stieb
1989   21,617   44     2    Roger Clemens    4,226     -   21,767    Jimmy Key    3,080   
1990    20,551   26     0    Erik Hanson    3,745     -   21,030    Dave Stieb    3,036   
1991    22,274   52     1    Roger Clemens     4,068     -   23,000    Todd Stottlemyre 3,339    Key
1992   22,582   58     2    David Cone    4,114     -   22,836    Jack Morris    3,563    Key
                                       
1993    22,057   49     4    Randy Johnson    4,220     -   22,437    Juan Guzman    3,701    Hentgen
1994    15,755    0     0    Randy Johnson    2,882     -   16,772    Pat Hentgen    2,694   
1995    19,372   11     0    Randy Johnson     3,594     -   19,582    Al Leiter    2,922   
1996   21,104   35     1    Roger Clemens     4,134     -   21,086    Pat Hentgen    3,688    Hanson
1997    21,693   34     0    Darryl Kile    3,701     -   20,175    Pat Hentgen    3,547    Clemens
                                       
1998    23,271   65     2    Curt Schilling     4,209     -   24,392    Roger Clemens    3,804    Williams
1999    23,670   65     1    Randy Johnson    4,202     -   23,700    David Wells    3,494    Hentgen
2000    23,849   63     1    Randy Johnson    4,019     -   23,575    David Wells    3,268   
2001    23,220   58     1    Randy Johnson    4,076     -   23,179    Chris Carpenter  3,291    Loaiza
2002    23,274   57     0    Randy Johnson     3,988     -   23,515    Roy Halladay    3,511   
                                       
2003    23,390   62     0    Barry Zito     3,748     -   22,766    Roy Halladay    3,627   
2004    23,669   62     0    Livan Hernandez     3,918     -   23,435    Ted Lilly    3,306    Batista
2005    23,205   60     1    Livan Hernandez     4,007     -   22,676    Gustavo Chacin   3,245   
2006    23,582   63     0    Bronson Arroyo     3,848     -   23,303    Ted Lilly    3,186    Halladay
2007    23,732   57     0    Carlos Zambrano    3,668     -   23,023    Roy Halladay    3,330   
                                       
2008    23,801   60     0    C.C. Sabathia    3,813     -   22,950    A.J. Burnett    3,650    Halladay
2009    23,900   55     0    Justin Verlander    3,937     -   23,753    Roy Halladay    3,392   
2010    23,679   65     0    Dan Haren     3,749     -   23,688    Ricky Romero    3,241    Marcum
2011    23,584   63     0    Justin Verlander    3,941     -   24,038    Ricky Romero    3,374    Morrow
2012    23,510   55     0    Justin Verlander    3,768     -   23,728    Ricky Romero    3,084   
                                         
2013    23,664   49     0    Justin Verlander    3,692     -   23,788    R.A. Dickey    3,505    Buehrle
2014    23,500   54     0    David Price    3,730     -   23,726    R.A. Dickey    3,513    Buehrle, Hutchison
2015    23,411   41     0    Dallas Keuchel     3,492     -   22,643    R.A. Dickey    3,264   
2016    23,862   39     0    Justin Verlander    3,668     -   23,573    Marcus Stroman   3,103    Happ
2017    24,043   13     0    Justin Verlander    3,531     -   24,441    Marco Estrada    3,246    Stroman
                                         
2018   24,040   30     0    Max Scherzer    3,493     -   24,500    Marco Estrada    2,498   
2019    24,417   29     0    Trevor Bauer    3,687     -   24,931    Trent Thornton   2,761   
2020     8,757    0   0    Lance Lynn                   1,408     -    9,485    Hyun-Jin Ryu    1,132   
2021    23,661   10    0    Zack Wheeler                 3,203     -   23,547    Robbie Ray    3,141   
2022    23,618   13   0    Corbin Burnes, Gerrit Cole   3,274     -   23,075    Alek Manoah    2,949   

There are some items of interest, I think.

As you can see, the big jump in the number of pitches teams need to get out of their pitching staffs happens at the end of the 1990s, and the number of starters asked to throw a lot of pitches increases at the exact same time. By the new millennium, every team has two starters throwing at least 3,000 pitches. And all these things remain stable for the next decade and a half - and then the workload of a team's best starters begins to be cut back around 2015.

And someone else has to throw those pitches instead. Someone who isn't your best pitcher.


Counting Pitches Yet Again | 19 comments | Create New Account
The following comments are owned by whomever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.
Kasi - Sunday, November 20 2022 @ 03:35 PM EST (#424416) #
Interesting that Dickey, Hentgen and Ray got much closer to the league lead than Halliday ever did. Surprised Roy didnít win at least once. Always had this reputation as a workhorse.
Magpie - Sunday, November 20 2022 @ 03:37 PM EST (#424417) #
Doc was efficient. He led the AL in IP three times, and in Batters Faced twice. But he didn't waste a lot of pitches, and he didn't walk a lot of guys either.
Kasi - Sunday, November 20 2022 @ 03:40 PM EST (#424418) #
I guess there was the one year he was second to Zito was close just Rickey and Hentgen were just as close in their best year and much closer in others.
Kasi - Sunday, November 20 2022 @ 03:43 PM EST (#424420) #
Yeah thatís true with him being more efficient. Iím curious if you went back 8 more years if Steib would have won any years for pitches thrown. Iím guessing he would as he was not the most efficient and pitched a ton.
Magpie - Sunday, November 20 2022 @ 04:09 PM EST (#424421) #
Complete pitch data only begins in 1988, but Stieb (like Halladay) probably never walked enough batters to throw that many, even when he led the league in IP. In the 1980s it probably would have been guys like Langston and Hough who ended up throwing the most pitches.
Magpie - Sunday, November 20 2022 @ 04:30 PM EST (#424423) #
It's a shame we don't have older data, because I think Nolan Ryan might have thrown 6,000 pitches in a season a couple times. When you pitch 300 innings, strike out 350 and walk 200... anything's possible.
Gerry - Sunday, November 20 2022 @ 04:33 PM EST (#424424) #
You can see the Moneyball effect starting in 2013, fewer pitchers throwing a lot of pitches with more bullpen use.
lexomatic - Sunday, November 20 2022 @ 04:42 PM EST (#424425) #
I have the minimum for the 300 IP 350K 200BB at 2400. Would look for early Randy Johnson or better  Bobby Witt  for numbers and take an educated guess by extrapolating. Or even.later Ryan with thr better control.
Magpie - Sunday, November 20 2022 @ 04:47 PM EST (#424426) #
Let's see - in 1974 Ryan faced 1,392 batters (that was the year with 367 Ks and 202 BB in 332 IP). Even at the end, when he was walking far fewer hitters, he was still averaging an ungodly 4.0 pitches per Plate Appearance. So 1974 has to be 5,600 pitches guaranteed, and probably quite a few more.

The anti-Maddux. Maddux could pitch 240 IP and not even come within shouting distance of 3,000 pitches in a season.
Magpie - Sunday, November 20 2022 @ 04:53 PM EST (#424427) #
It's all those Swings and Misses. We've only got data for old Ryan (after age 41) but even in his old age he was getting swings-and-misses on 21.9% of his pitches. Juan Guzman was 19.9, Halladay 14.5, Maddux 13.5 - the Express had a lot of long at bats.
Magpie - Sunday, November 20 2022 @ 05:01 PM EST (#424428) #
Would look for early Randy Johnson or better Bobby Witt

The Unit tops out at 4,220 in 1993 - that was the first season he got his control under control. In his early seasons, when he was walking everybody, he didn't get to work enough innings. When he was throwing a lot of innings, in Arizona, he was throwing a lot more strikes.

Bobby Witt only cleared 200 IP three times and after the 1991 arm injury he stopped getting swings-and-misses the way he did earlier.
Magpie - Sunday, November 20 2022 @ 05:29 PM EST (#424429) #
Iím curious if you went back 8 more years if Steib would have won any years for pitches thrown.

We may never know! One thinks he should have led the AL in pitches thrown in 1982 - he faced 80 more batters than anyone else (Morris was second.) We only have pitch data for the tail end of their careers, but Morris was slightly more efficient than Stieb -Stieb would have required an extra 90 pitches over 1,000 batters.

Except in 1982, Stieb's K and BB rate hit a career low. Shorter at bats! So who knows?
bpoz - Sunday, November 20 2022 @ 05:54 PM EST (#424432) #
Stieb was very good in 1988,89 and 90. I also checked other great Jays pitchers.

I wanted to see how dominating a pitcher was so I checked CGs and SHs. We had a few in our history.

C Carpenter had fantastic 2005 & 2006 for St Louis.

Also checked Scherzer and Verlander. Both considered future HOF. Another something beside CG and SHs is needed because pitching is different now.

Mike Green - Sunday, November 20 2022 @ 06:40 PM EST (#424434) #
6000 pitches for Ryan in 1974 sounds about right. He faced 1392 batters in 1974, more than 1.5 times Johnson's 922 figure in 1992 with similar W and K rates.

Ryan may not have thrown more pitches than Cy Young, but Ryan's endurance was more impressive when you take into account the constant danger of the home run during Ryan's Era.
John Northey - Sunday, November 20 2022 @ 08:49 PM EST (#424438) #
Don't forget at the start of Cy Young's career they still threw underhand like in fastball - the game was constantly changing back in the late 1800's with dozens of rule changes all the time as they tried to figure it all out. It was Cy Young's 4th season when they moved the rubber back from 50' to 60'6" - imagine Nolan Ryan throwing from 50' or Randy Johnson...yikes! His last season at 50' he had 48 complete games out of 49 starts and had 4 relief appearances on top of that (!) just insane the 1800's version of MLB. 1847 batters faced that year, 3 straight years of 1800 batters faced. It was a VERY different time.
John Northey - Sunday, November 20 2022 @ 09:19 PM EST (#424439) #
Hmm... batters faced: Cy Young: 29565, Nolan Ryan: 22575. But it is very safe to say Ryan threw more pitches thanks to his 2795 walks and 5714 K's vs Cy's 1217 BB & 2803 K's. In one era they used a single ball for an entire game quite often, the other era they used fresh balls constantly. For scary look at Ryan's 19 year old season in the minors - 202 IP 139 BB 307 K's - can't imagine any team doing that to any pitcher at any age today, let alone a 19 year old.
Magpie - Monday, November 21 2022 @ 03:47 PM EST (#424455) #
For the years before 1988 - BB-ref used to have some random pitch counts for games in the 1960s, mostly involving the Dodgers. Those seem to have disappeared. However, they do have pitch counts for (again) random World Series games. They're not in the ordinary game summary, with the play-by-play and bos score. They're on the pitcher's page, in his Post-Season Game Log. There's a few for Koufax - he threw 132 pitches on two days rest (without his curveball, too) when he shut out the Twins to finish off the 1965 WS. Luis Tiant threw 100 pitches when he shut out the Reds in the first game in 1975; he threw 155 pitches in his CG victory in Game Four.

They're very random, but I found one for Bob Feller in 1948 - 83 pitches in a CG loss. Feller wasn't really Feller by then - he had been the nearest thing to Nolan Ryan before he went to four but by 1948 he was... well, like Syndergaard this year. Nothing like what he was before.
Magpie - Monday, November 21 2022 @ 03:49 PM EST (#424456) #
before he went to four

Before he went to war. War! Sheesh.

Told you I was old.
Mike Green - Monday, November 21 2022 @ 04:11 PM EST (#424458) #
Nah!  Autocorrect just promoting peace-mongering, rather than the usual insanity.  Metric's Monster Hospital is exempt. 
Counting Pitches Yet Again | 19 comments | Create New Account
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