A lot of debate has been generated around the supposed “shut-down” of a currently healthy Stephen Strasburg after he reaches around 160 or so innings. Bias Free Sports has taken a look at the 5 of the top 8 pitchers in the National League in Bias Free Sports’ computer rankings, each of which has pitched 24 games. When comparing these five pitchers, the first thing that jumps out first of all is the number of innings pitched by the other four pitchers. Cole Hamels has pitched 32 more innings in the same number of appearances than Strasburg; Cain 28 more and Bumgardner 24 more. Interestingly, Gio Gonzalez, prior to today’s start, had pitched only 8 innings more, indicating that manager Davey Johnson is of the mind to go to his pen earlier and more often than other managers.
The second number that stands out is the number of pitches thrown. Strasburg and Gonzalez have under 100 pitches per game. Of course, they are pitching fewer innings so they should have fewer total pitches. But if the Nationals limit Strasburg to 95 pitches per game (his current average is 16.29 pitches per inning), he would pitch right at 6 innings a start. This would net him about 5 more starts to get him to 170 innings. The Nationals have 41 games left, and with Strasburg pitching every fifth day, that would take him down with about 16 games to go in the season. The Nationals could skip him a couple of times in the rotation and try to stretch that to the last week of the season, but it doesn’t appear that there is any way that he’ll make it beyond the second week of September, based on these numbers. To get the player rankings for all the pitchers in the NL and AL, head to www.biasfreerankings.com/mlbplayerrankings.htm.