What aspect of a franchise is most important to maintain a winning record?
- Starting pitching
This question was brought up on a show I was watching, and I thought for awhile about it. What really is the key to team success in baseball? Is it position players? pitchers? Staff and managers?
Starting pitching is very crucial for obvious reasons. It’s their responsibility to strike out as many players as possible. If you figure 8 position players, 4-5 at bats per player per game, each of your 5 starting pitchers are responsible for roughly 900 at bats per season. Whether or not they make it past the 7th, they have a large portion of those at bats in which they must strike them out. That’s a HUGE factor in success. If your starting pitchers can pull through and last into the 8th, you know who got you that win. So yes, starting pitching is important, but is it the most?
Offense and defense, in line with pitching, is a top aspect in wins. Remember pitchers, for every pitch you throw, there are eight guys waiting to clean up if you fail. Starting with the infield, those guys are the immediate fix. Grounders, singles, pop ups, bunts, they are in a mind game. In a way, they are their own little team within the club. Each of these gentlemen are responsible for the out. Double plays aren’t a one man job! I feel like the job of shortstop is a little underrated. Those guys work their asses off to make up for gaps and missed grabs, they should get a lot more credit. Then we move to the outfield, no man’s land. Three guys, huge gaps, and a lot of endurance. They make or break runs, extra bases, and of course homers. When a batter rips one into deep right, it’s right fielders job to shut him down and catch that ball. Diving, sliding, crashing, or tumbling, you make that play. So is it an important aspect? You bet your sweet ass!
A good manager can make or break a team. Managers decide lineups, which in turn they need to know their players and what they can handle. They hold the team together and make sure that they don’t get injured. It’s their responsibility to know everything that is going on, and to control the situation the way a leader should. Unity is created by a solid leader. If your players get dealt a shitty hand, you get out there and you argue the hell out of it. In most part, they play for you, so don’t disappoint them! cough cough Bobby Valentine… So managers are definitely important to keep their team in check.
I mentioned earlier that starting pitchers take on about 900 at bats, that is, if they perform. As a rule, most starters get pulled between 4 and 7 innings. That leaves about 136-200 for the bullpen. Relief pitchers are a godsend to frustrated managers whose starters are having a crappy record. And closers are even more inviting, that is, if they get the save. A closers job is to come in and shut it down. If youre successful, you deserve credit for winning the game. Yes, I know it is a team, but how many members of that team struck out three position players consecutively? #sorryboutit
So what’s the most important? In my opinion, corny as it may be, all of them are equally important. You wont get SO if your pitchers suck, you wont make plays if your offense sucks, and youll lose if your manager sucks. If I had to pick one over the other, Id have to say defense because they work the hardest. They produce runs and put numbers on the board, and they prevent, if theyre good, the opposing team to from doing the same. Everyone has their opinions though, im only here to share mine. So happy pondering my friends!