Fresh for the Playoffs – Pre-Playoff Fatigue Units

Fatigue units attempt to physiologically represent the workloads pitchers face. This includes velocity, days of rest, pitches per inning, and even the pace they pitch. Pitchers with extreme workloads were 2.7x more likely to have Tommy John surgery when compared to pitchers with moderate workloads. Who has worked the hardest in 2017?

Starting Pitchers

Starting Pitcher Workloads
Name Pitch Count Inning Appearances Games Fatigue Units Days Between 4+ Days Rest 1-3 Days Rest Back to Back
1 Chris Sale 3000 190 28 18.91 5.81 28 0 0
2 Carlos Martinez 2827 188 29 18.08 5.71 29 0 0
3 Justin Verlander 3222 191 30 17.57 5.55 30 0 0
4 Luis Severino 2717 170 27 17.49 5.96 27 0 0
5 Jacob deGrom 2956 183 29 17.14 5.64 29 0 0
6 Ervin Santana 2782 186 28 16.89 5.85 28 0 0
7 Gerrit Cole 2880 172 29 16.72 5.79 29 0 0
8 Trevor Bauer 2627 155 27 16.19 5.96 25 2 0
9 Patrick Corbin 2745 177 29 16.09 5.61 29 0 0
10 Jose Urena 2452 149 30 16.04 5.28 26 4 0
11 Gio Gonzalez 2959 182 28 15.98 5.89 28 0 0
12 Jeff Samardzija 2878 184 28 15.98 5.78 28 0 0
13 Mike Foltynewicz 2693 150 28 15.95 5.70 27 1 0
14 Lance Lynn 2936 176 30 15.86 5.48 30 0 0
15 Max Scherzer 2731 175 27 15.80 5.92 27 0 0
16 Rick Porcello 3123 183 30 15.79 5.52 30 0 0
17 Kevin Gausman 2836 158 29 15.57 5.61 29 0 0
18 Corey Kluber 2642 184 26 15.46 6.48 26 0 0
19 Yu Darvish 2760 170 28 15.38 5.85 28 0 0
20 Marcus Stroman 2775 174 29 15.37 5.54 29 0 0

Chris Sale is leading the way for MLB starters in 2017. His 107.14 pitches per game is second overall (behind Justin Verlander’s 107.4 ppg, amongst those who have started more than 15 games). When you’re this good at striking hitters out, you throw gas, and your body is made of some space age alien-spider hybrid material, why not burn both ends of the infinite candle?

A good example of the utility of fatigue units comes from looking at Cleveland ace Corey Kluber. Kluber sits 10th in the league in innings pitched, third in K/9, but his fatigue units sit at 18th for all starting pitchers. Currently, both Kluber and Gio Gonzalez have thrown 184.2 innings, but Gio has a higher workoad. This is because Kluber is a ruthlessly efficient strike throwing terminator. He averages 14.36 pitches per inning, compared to the 16.26 that Gio throws. Overall, Kluber has thrown 2657 pitches, compared to 3058 for Gio Gonzalez. Innings pitched definitely do not tell the entire story.

From a keeper perspective, a few interesting names show up. Luis Severino is sitting in 4th with 17.49 FUs on the season (an 94th %ile workload). This is his third straight season of high workload seasons – which is encouraging. What you’re getting out of Luis on this Yankees team looks to be fairly projectable over the next few seasons, meaning he’ll continue to be a great source of Wins and K’s for your fantasy teams. Trevor Bauer is a similar story – marred by some rough patches, he is now putting up his fourth straight 90%ile workload season. When he goes through stretches like you’re currently seeing, it’s tough to not acknowledge how good the Stuff is. Tolerant of high workloads, great stuff, and lots of strikeouts – if the ERA can stabilize, he’s a stalwart moving forward.

Relief Pitchers

Relief Pitcher Workloads
Name Pitch Count Inning Appearances Games Fatigue Units Days Between 4+ Days Rest 1-3 Days Rest Back to Back
1 Edwin Diaz 1053 67 60 19.96 2.64 11 29 20
2 Felipe Rivero 1047 78 65 19.63 2.52 5 41 19
3 Peter Moylan 796 87 70 19.42 2.35 7 37 26
4 Mychal Givens 1169 89 61 19.04 2.70 6 44 11
5 Bryan Shaw 1034 87 67 19.03 2.39 4 44 19
6 Anthony Swarzak 1083 89 59 18.93 2.64 7 35 17
7 Ryan Tepera 1168 87 65 18.13 2.45 4 46 15
8 Corey Knebel 1163 71 66 17.68 2.49 9 37 20
9 Dan Jennings 963 99 70 17.60 2.30 4 48 18
10 Michael Lorenzen 1165 80 59 17.44 2.74 6 44 9
11 Jacob Barnes 1067 70 63 17.20 2.60 7 38 18
12 Chris Devenski 1157 88 56 17.12 2.85 7 40 9
13 Juan Nicasio 1042 75 67 17.11 2.41 6 42 19
14 Dellin Betances 995 63 57 16.87 2.86 11 32 14
15 Blake Treinen 1056 81 63 16.78 2.58 7 39 17
16 Pedro Baez 1044 75 60 16.65 2.54 3 42 15
17 Luis Garcia 879 73 58 16.63 2.46 7 31 20
18 Enny Romero 916 62 47 16.58 2.84 9 26 12
19 Brad Hand 1070 78 63 16.55 2.55 9 39 15
20 Hector Neris 1112 71 66 16.47 2.49 7 40 19

Edwin Diaz and Felipe Rivero have been jostling all season for the top spot on the Fatigue Units reliever charts. They have both crossed the threshold into the 98th %ile for all time workloads – these guys have been put through the ringer this year, and with their teams not out of it yet, you can expect these elite relievers to continue to be sent to the mound to get important outs.

Interestingly, when looking at this list by days between appearances (minimum 10 appearances), the so called “fireman” role looks like it is the most likely to be used on back to back days, or have shorter times between their outings. Jose Alvarez, Bryan Shaw, Jarlin Garcia, and Peter Moylan – all pitchers with high workloads, but not a lot of saves to show for it. These are pitchers who have been successful, and are heavily relied on by their managers to get outs on consecutive days, then hand the game over to the back of the bullpen.

Team Management – Starting Rotations

Starting Rotation Workloads
Team Games Started Pitch Count Inning Appearances Games Fatigue Units 4 + Days Rest 1-3 Days of Rest Back to Back
1 Diamondbacks 142 13721 857 142 78.34 141 1 0
2 Nationals 142 14034 849 142 77.37 140 1 1
3 Rockies 144 12997 811 144 77.30 140 4 0
4 Red Sox 140 14108 845 140 77.10 139 1 0
5 Indians 143 13236 848 143 76.68 138 5 0
6 Cardinals 141 13195 826 141 76.47 141 0 0
7 Giants 144 13693 868 144 75.89 142 2 0
8 Mets 140 13063 769 140 73.89 136 4 0
9 Pirates 142 12873 795 142 73.76 141 1 0
10 Rangers 141 13105 817 141 73.20 139 2 0
11 Astros 140 12870 794 140 72.09 138 2 0
12 Twins 143 12668 812 143 71.69 141 2 0
13 Angels 141 12416 797 141 71.09 138 3 0
14 Yankees 141 12838 796 141 71.00 141 0 0
15 Cubs 144 13087 808 144 70.85 142 2 0
16 Tigers 142 13460 799 142 70.85 140 2 0
17 Orioles 143 13490 767 143 70.76 141 2 0
18 Padres 144 12612 795 144 70.76 140 4 0
19 Mariners 143 12655 799 143 70.45 142 1 0
20 White Sox 140 13114 778 140 70.27 135 5 0
21 Rays 146 13685 821 146 69.94 144 1 1
22 Braves 142 13267 797 142 69.91 141 1 0
23 Blue Jays 144 12998 776 144 69.32 141 3 0
24 Athletics 142 13003 796 142 69.01 142 0 0
25 Dodgers 141 12279 778 141 68.77 140 1 0
26 Royals 145 12802 796 145 68.38 144 1 0
27 Marlins 142 12272 728 142 67.11 138 4 0
28 Brewers 141 12600 777 141 66.46 140 1 0
29 Phillies 142 12950 774 142 66.17 142 0 0
30 Reds 141 12353 711 141 65.33 138 3 0

Examining the combined workloads of the starting rotations can give us insight into a few things – both on the ability of a manager to monitor pitcher demands, but also a sign of an elite pitching rotation. So – as a caveat to this list – if a pitcher is getting lit up in the first inning, and the manager sends out a reliever to bail him out (I’m looking at you, Francisco Liriano), I have included that as a start for the reliever. The Diamondbacks, Nationals, Rockies, Red Sox, and Indians lead this list for starting pitcher workloads. If you look at the lowest ERAs for starting pitchers, this list looks pretty similar to the fatigue unit list. The flip side of this, is with the LA Dodgers. The Dodgers have the 2nd lowest team ERA, but sit 25th in starting pitcher workloads. Kershaw, Wood, McCarthy, Hill, and even Darvish have spent time on the DL this season. The Dodgers have made use of the 10 day DL, giving extra rest to their pitchers, allowing them to continue pitching deep into the playoffs. They’re in a spin now, but their elite starting pitching is fresh for the playoffs.

Team Management – Bullpens

Bullpen Workloads
Team Games Started Pitch Count Inning Appearances Games Fatigue Units 4 + Days Rest 1-3 Days of Rest Back to Back
1 Marlins 0 9149 619 505 124.82 81 318 106
2 Royals 0 8456 619 469 123.44 87 280 102
3 White Sox 0 8331 653 447 119.09 91 265 91
4 Blue Jays 0 8651 677 497 118.74 80 332 85
5 Mets 0 8297 629 475 117.36 87 278 110
6 Brewers 0 8546 582 464 114.94 94 269 101
7 Braves 0 7530 555 457 114.40 85 280 92
8 Padres 0 7996 581 448 114.33 86 272 90
9 Orioles 0 8488 638 425 112.62 96 252 77
10 Athletics 0 8141 585 453 112.11 87 268 98
11 Pirates 0 7894 552 426 111.23 72 262 92
12 Mariners 0 7943 626 459 110.90 113 256 90
13 Phillies 0 7951 561 430 109.21 84 256 90
14 Dodgers 0 8065 596 466 109.18 94 282 90
15 Diamondbacks 0 7195 560 439 107.63 91 243 105
16 Astros 0 8072 572 441 107.00 95 273 73
17 Reds 0 8685 605 426 106.38 102 270 54
18 Red Sox 0 7561 566 429 106.03 90 259 80
19 Cardinals 0 7471 544 463 105.93 82 288 93
20 Indians 0 6785 560 419 105.84 101 226 92
21 Rockies 0 7752 586 463 105.46 86 297 80
22 Cubs 0 8101 556 455 105.20 96 289 70
23 Yankees 0 8002 574 409 105.16 106 236 67
24 Angels 0 7915 581 457 104.94 84 296 77
25 Tigers 0 7921 576 429 104.75 99 250 80
26 Rays 0 7589 586 437 104.14 88 268 81
27 Giants 0 7405 560 445 101.41 81 284 80
28 Twins 0 7771 626 435 99.36 132 222 81
29 Nationals 0 6808 511 405 96.95 92 236 77
30 Rangers 0 7625 549 395 95.13 104 227 64

A heavily taxed bullpen is representative of a lousy starting rotation – typically. The Marlins have had their bullpen absolutely maxed out this season – their have the highest combined fatigue units, while their starting rotation sits 27th in fatigue units. The Blue Jays tell a similar story – a hugely ineffective starting rotation has lead to their bullpen sitting 4th in workload. The Blue Jays Ryan Tepera, Danny Barnes, Roberto Osuna, and Dominic Leone have all seen high workloads this season, and with a ton of blown leads and 15 walk off losses this season, it appears to be wearing them down.

On the flip side, the Indians sit 20th in workload for bullpens. That’s right, their ruthlessly efficient killing machine bullpen will be fresh for the playoffs.

 

Get the full list of fatigue units for the 2017 season here.

We hoped you liked reading Fresh for the Playoffs – Pre-Playoff Fatigue Units by Mike Sonne!

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Ergonomist (CCPE) and Injury Prevention researcher. I like science and baseball - the order depends on the day. Twitter: @DrMikeSonne

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OddBall Herrera
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OddBall Herrera

How is Felipe Rivero’s team not out of it yet, or did I read that incorrectly