Evan Grant has a story talking to Goose Gossage about the Nolan Ryan plan for starting pitchers. Gossage endorses Ryan, is scornful of pitch counts, and says that modern pitchers are "babied' too much.
However, as I've mentioned before, Ryan's plan isn't nearly as radical as the media (and Gossage) makes it out to be, and the idea that Ryan toughened up Ranger pitchers and had them throw deeper into games is overblown. Evan writes:
Under the Ryan plan, Rangers pitchers worked harder and lasted longer in games in 2009. Rangers starters pitched 949 innings this season – up from 869 in 2008. It was the most innings pitched by a Rangers rotation since 1998, when the club won its second AL West title.
However, if you allow fewer baserunners, you are going to work deeper into games without throwing more pitches. And that's what happened with the Rangers in 2009. Ranger starters faced 4100 batters in 162 games in 2009. They faced 3942 batters in 162 games in 2008.
So the difference in Ranger starters working deeper into games is that in 2009, they faced an average of 25.3 batters per start, and in 2008, the faced an average of 24.3 batters per start. Ranger starters in 2009 faced one batter per game more than they did the previous year, on average.
The 2009 Rangers also were in the middle of the pack in high pitch count games. The Rangers had 72 starts where a starter went at least 100 pitches, which was 9th in the A.L. -- the league average was 76 such starts.
Moving on...Gil LeBreton has a column about the Rangers' future, and while the whole thing is worth a read, this part jumped out at me, given our recent discussions:
The club still sees Nelson Cruz as capable of starting in right field. His 33 home runs are too much to trade away.
Marlon Byrd? He was fun to watch and had a career season.
But it was all about the money, and the feeling here is that he’ll take somebody else’s free agent dollars and run. Godspeed, Marlon.
And while manager Ron Washington may not have been ready to hand the center-field reins to rookie Julio Borbon this season, the club clearly plans to do so next year.