Sergio Romo's 'opener' role is crazy, but here are five more innovative ways teams could use their bullpens
The BBQ's Best 5 is exactly what it sounds like: Each week, we'll pick a category around the world of baseball and talk about the five best things within that group. Today, we're taking a look at the Best 5 ways teams could utilize pitchers in unique ways.
Recently, the Rays turned the baseball world on its head by having established reliever
Kudos to the Rays, but we think there's ample room to create even more outside-the-box usage strategies for pitchers. These are the five bizarre pitching strategies that baseball teams should adopt:
5. Have the ace of the staff relieve on his bullpen day
Sure, throwing a controlled bullpen before a game doesn't compare to a high-leverage relief appearance, but imagine if an ambitious, competitive pitcher were to be open to experimentation.
Say the Astros find themselves in a late-inning, one-out situation where they really need a strikeout or two. Then boom,
4. Have the pitcher who finishes the first game of a doubleheader start the second game too
This is something you see happen from time to time in college baseball. If there isn't too much time between the first and second games of a twin bill, and the guy who just successfully closed things out feels good, teams can just let him ride.
Now, there's certainly more time between games in an MLB doubleheader than there is at the college level, but just have that pitcher toss a jacket on and do some stretching to keep the warm and you're totally fine.
3. Swap in position players to pitch against opposing teams' pitchers
By swapping a position player to throw to the other team's pitcher, NL starters could reduce their pitch counts and go deeper into games.
Wouldn't you want
2. Have 15 non-categorized pitchers who all only throw one inning at a time
What if a team built its entire pitching rotation that way: Fifteen, easily-acquirable back-end starters who are way better when they only pitch one inning at a time.
The potential benefits are endless. A team could rotate the 15 pitchers so that each one throws three out of every five days to stay fresh. Hitters would never see the same pitcher in a game twice.
1. Have extra relievers play the outfield and shuffle them in mid-at-bat, creating one combination super-reliever
Back in 2014, the Astros moved lefty reliever
We think teams should take this a step further by swapping pitchers in and out several times during an at-bat.
For instance, the Yankees take the field in the ninth with
Three pitches. One out. No chance.
These have been our Best 5 insanely bizarre pitching strategies. Have some cockamamie ideas of your own? Tweet them at us @CespedesBBQ and @Cut4.