Skip to main content

SI Insider: Today's MLB Is Overrun By Relief Pitching

Video Duration:

With potential expanded rosters for the shortened season, we could see even more relief pitching than usual; which is already a lot. 

Tom Verducci talks about the pitching trends of the last 40 years, and how relief pitching has taken over modern day baseball. 

Video Transcript:

Hey, I'll take baseball any way we can get it this year. But having 30 man rosters and 15 man pitching staffs will make it a little tougher to take, as baseball continues to be overrun by relief pitching. Last year, teams used 831 different pitchers. Fifteen years ago, the number was 606. That's an increase of 46%. Innings by starting pitchers have gone down five consecutive years. 

Now no one's saying we have to go all the way back to 1981, but look at that season. When players went on strike for two months, they came back after the strike in August, after just nine days of training. Innings per start by the starting pitchers went down only 8%. There was not a rash of injuries. Steve McCatty, pitching for the Oakland A's and Billy Martin, made his first start after the strike, a 10 inning complete game with 148 pitches. Now no one is saying we need to go back to 1981 and just leave guys out on the mound. But having fifteen man pitching staffs will give us a game that more and more is being overrun by relief pitching. 

Check out more MLB coverage here:

How MLB's Old Schedule Makers Would Set Up the 2020 Season

Where Should MLB Hold Its Next Showcase Games?

Bartolo Colón Eyes MLB Comeback At Age 47