Truth & Rumors > MLB

Astros testing unorthodox rotation in minors


07:04 AM ET 05.01 | Jeff Luhnow has heard it, too -- that Astros minor leaguers are forbidden from swinging on 3-2 counts -- but he dismissed it with a chuckle. "That's ridiculous. That would be destroying value. We're smarter than that." OK, let's get to something that the Astros actually are doing -- using a pair of starting pitchers in each minor league game, and a total of eight per club. The first starter generally throws five innings or 75 pitches. The second then replaces him, sometimes followed by a closer. Critics of the plan say that it does not allow pitchers to build arm strength or learn how to pitch into deep games. But Luhnow said the Astros eventually will transition back to traditional five-man rotations.

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Jeff Luhnow, Icon Sports Jeff Luhnow, Icon Sports
Comment #1 has been removed
May 1, 2013  08:31 AM ET

Seems they are more interested in winning, than developing the players....

May 1, 2013  09:04 AM ET

I guess when you are bad as this organization is you're willing to try anything.

May 1, 2013  09:30 AM ET

At what level is this being used? In the A ball, this could be a really good idea and then it is removed when you get higher into AA and AAA ball. At the AAA level, I do not see this working. Is this being used on the fast rising player like a Matt Harvey or a regular player? There is not enough details given to give a good or bad response.

May 1, 2013  12:00 PM ET

Quad Cities River Bandits (Astros' class A) is doing this. Nice 4 hit, 14 strikeout effort by two pitchers on Monday (1 went 5 innings, the other went 4).

May 1, 2013  12:01 PM ET

Click into the story and you'll see it's being used at all levels in the minors. His logic is spreading the innings better than they have been in the past as well as limiting the work loads early in the season. He also thinks it will better prepare the young pitchers as MLB relievers which is the first assignment for most pitchers. All levels are to slowly shift back to the five man rotation.

Maybe it'll work for them, maybe it won't. It's probably worth a shot. I think Luhnow is a pretty smart guy.

May 1, 2013  10:46 PM ET

I think this sort of idea is excellent, and eventually will transition to the major league level.

May 2, 2013  12:29 AM ET

WOW! This is crazy!

May 2, 2013  01:12 AM ET

Doing this in A ball is okay But inAA and AAA you need to start stretching their arms out. In Majors you can't afford to have starters only working 5 inings and then go to pen to finish the game. Doing that will beat up your bullpen by All-Star game

May 2, 2013  08:40 AM ET

unless you don't need any starting pitching and training all of them to work as long relievers,this would be fine. Of course Houston's starting staff is so good!!!!!

May 5, 2013  11:18 PM ET

I like it. Injuries, promotions, poor performance, etc. will probably drop each rotation by a few starters 1-2 months into the season. By that time, the actual true MLB starting pitcher prospects will be holding down a rotation spot off their own. Luhnow has been quoted saying he doesn't see the 10-man rotation lasting all year. Plus, most MLB relievers are failed starters. Also, forcing more minor league pitchers to go through lineups multiple times will assist in their evaluation process.


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