Trueblood: Are we bullpenning or not in the postseason?

From Matthew Trueblood at Baseball Prospectus on October 11, 2017, with mention of SABR member Brian Kenny:

The unofficial hashtag of the 2017 playoffs is #Bullpenning. Brian Kenny coined the term on MLB Network and in his book on the evolution of baseball analysis, Ahead of the Curve. It’s become a part of his brand over the last year and change, but more recently than that, it’s matriculated into the mainstream, national baseball conversation. This month, with starting pitchers having their days cut shorter than some segments on MLB Now, it’s downright dominating the postseason landscape.

Is #Bullpenning happening? Should it be? Is it good or bad for baseball? Can it be done over a full season, or is this phenomenon confined permanently to this specific window? Are there ways that MLB could stop it from happening, if they so chose? Should they choose to do so?

I love playoff debates, but the number of times these questions have been asked and non-answered is getting excessive. Unwisely, perhaps, I’ve decided that the best way out of these conversations is through them. Let’s do our best to actually answer the important questions in this cluster, so that (going forward) we can talk more about the players and pitches that make up the on-field action of October.

First of all, we need to talk about what #Bullpenning (I’m going to stop using the hashtag now, I promise) really is. Kenny’s concept of it is more or less one of a post-starting rotation baseball world. He believes the evolution of the game is bending toward shorter, more frequent outings for the guys we now treat as traditional starters, and perhaps some longer ones for the hurlers who have lately been locked into hierarchical, one-inning bullpen roles. Never, under the maxims of bullpenning, would a pitcher face the opposing lineup a third time. The idea is to get everyone throwing harder (worrying less about pacing themselves), allow batters fewer chances to get a look at each pitcher’s stuff and sequences, and make decisions according to matchups and situations, instead of doing so under the constraints created by the win and save rules.

Read the full article here:

Originally published: October 11, 2017. Last Updated: October 11, 2017.