NEW STARTING-PITCHER ENDURANCE RATINGS FOR 2018 SEASON
By Glenn Guzzo
As Major League Baseball evolves, so does Strat-O-Matic Baseball, which long has been committed to remaining the most realistic simulation available. That has been true for decades and it is true this year, with pitchers used as “openers” and other short-term starters.
For the first time, starting pitchers will have Advanced-game endurance ratings below 5. “Openers,” who did not pitch more than an inning or two when they started games, will have endurance ratings of 1.
Nine pitchers, four of them with Tampa Bay – the team that innovated with the opener strategy – will have starter endurance ratings of 1.
The 100 starting pitchers with endurance ratings of 4 were spot starters and others too untested or too ineffective to be trusted to get through the opposing lineup one more time. None of these pitchers had more than 14 starts and only five had at least 10.
(For the 2018 season, no pitchers will have starter endurance ratings of 2 or 3.)
Strat-O-Matic also has adjusted the prior rule on starting-pitcher endurance:
- 27.53 If a pitcher who does not have a rating as a starter must start a game, give him a POW inning of 1. (Previously the rating would have been “4”).
- 27.54 For the year 2000 onward: The maximum number of innings a starter can pitch without fatigue is his POW inning, plus 2. For the years prior to 2000: The maximum number of innings a starter can pitch without fatigue is his POW inning, plus 3.
Major League strategy has made complete games a dying art, never more so than this year, when no pitchers will have starter endurance of 8 or 9 and only four pitches will have starter endurance of 7. They are Jacob deGrom, Corey Kluber, Max Scherzer and – you guessed it, right? – Boston knuckleballer Steven Wright. (While the others were Cy Young finalists, Wright seems destined to become the answer to a Strat-O-Matic trivia question.)
That meant almost all starting pitchers were destined to be rated 6 or 5 and Strat-O-Matic creator Hal Richman knew his game would benefit from more variety, both for statistical accuracy and realistic game strategy.
“Now the 5 starters have more value,” he said, noting that those pitchers also tended to be more effective than the men rated 4.
The new ratings will produce a fascinating variation: Tampa Bay rookie left-hander Ryan Yarbrough, used most often as the second pitcher following a right-handed “opener,” will have endurance ratings of 5 both as a starter and a reliever.
Since endurance ratings are not present in the Basic game, the pitchers with a 1 endurance rating in the Advanced game will be shown only as relief pitchers on the Basic side of their cards. So even Tampa Bay’s Ryne Stanek, who started 29 games (but never for more than two innings) will not be shown as a starting pitcher.