An article on Edinson Volquez today, from MLB.com:

“I want another year like that, but better,” Volquez said.

Volquez has the makeup to do that. He also has stuff that includes a mid-90s mph fastball and a deceptive changeup to back it up.

Not much new….just some of the same old stuff, but also a little on the infamous video…

But Baker makes this comment:

“If [pitch counts] are what we have to worry about — last year no one knew what we had,” Baker said. “That’s already progress. A lot of times that second year, you’re trying to get a guy to have a winning record. We’re trying to get him to keep doing what he’s doing. [Instructor] Mario [Soto] has talked to him. [Pitching coach] Dickie [Pole] has talked to him a number of times. We don’t want him throwing the ball down the middle of the plate either.

“I’ve seen Greg Maddux throw 150 pitches early in his career. Everybody remembers the 85-90 pitch Maddux, but that was the mature Maddux.”

That last quote scares the heck out of me…

18 Responses

  1. KY Chip

    That tinge I just felt in my elbow must be a sympathy pain for Volquez.

    And Cueto.

    And Harang.

    And…

  2. mhopp

    yep, he’s going to further ruin this team…so sad I can’t stand it and the season hasn’t even begun. Moreover, I just saw where Brandon Phillips is going to be batting no. 4 again this year…when is Dusty’s contract up? Oh, after 2010 so it’s 1.5 seasons to go.

  3. Jason

    Can a reporter or somebody publicly call Dusty out on this stuff, just once? I need to look it up, but I really, really, really doubt Maddux EVER threw 150 pitches in one game.

  4. GregD

    I think the editors here ran several posts last year showing the Baker’s memory is much more often right than wrong.

  5. Phill

    I’m pretty sure what he’s just talking about how the young guys will end up with high pitch counts if they can’t work on control.

  6. Mark in CC

    I understand everyone’s concern over Phillips batting clean-up. But on this team, with this roster who has the history of the most home runs in a season. Phillips has done it.

    Does Bruce have that potential – yes. Should he be there now? No.

    Votto ? I think he is a logical #3 hole hitter.

    EE – read todays articles about his attempt to have a power hitter mentality.

    If none of the latter three, then who? Dusty makes some strange decisions but on this one, what are his choices?

  7. rpa

    i get dusty’s point here. volquez will continue to throw lots of pitches until he learns to throw strikes without grooving them. that’s hard to do, and chances are he’ll either get better at it and be great, or he won’t and he’ll be a 5 inning guy his whole career or his arm will fall off. what worries me is that dusty will go ahead and let his arm fall off.

    i don’t know, i’m not 100% on the volquez bandwagon, if only because i saw him pitch in person about 5 or 6 times last year at GABP.

    the first time it took him something like 100 pitches to get through 5 and change against the phils in his 1st start, but he didn’t really give up much of anything. every other time I watched him pitch, he had one of his “bad” games – the ones that stick out in my mind was a start where the rockies jumped on him pretty good, and a bad start against milwaukee maybe a week later.

    of course, every time i saw him on tv, he looked like he should win a cy young award, so maybe i was jinxing him somehow by being in the ballpark.

  8. BenL

    I think Phill and rpa seem to have the correct interpretation of Baker’s comments. He is saying that EV’s efficiency will improve as he matures. For all Baker’s faults (and he has A LOT of them), he was pretty reasonable in how he used the young guys last year. We’ll see, but I think this comment seems innocent enough.

  9. Glenn

    Dusty got pegged as a manager that will wear out young pitchers. I’m not sure that’s entirely fair because the pitchers always used as an example of Dusty’s bad managment are Wood and Prior. Both of those guys have had injury issues no matter who has been the manager.

    I’m not agreeing or disagreeing with the critisim yet, because I’d like to see some other examples, that didn’t include Wood or Prior. If anyone can give me names and addresses on other pitchers he’s ruined, then maybe I’ll see the light and jump onboard.

  10. Travis G.

    I have no confidence whatsoever in Dusty’s management skills (which really sucks, because I think he seems like just an absolutely awesome guy to know and work for), but I’m not too concerned about him abusing the young pitchers.

    I still don’t understand the San Diego game that wrecked Harang’s season, but I have no real issues with how he used the young guys. I might feel differently if he’d had to ride them toward a playoff spot, but I think that part of his rep is unfair.

  11. Steve Price

    “Pitcher Abuse Points” leaders from baseball prospectus for 2008….

    15. Bronson Arroyo
    17. Edinson Volquez
    19. Aaron Harang
    27. Johnny Cueto

    I do say that having 3 of the 19 in all of baseball sounds high, but they don’t come anywhere close in comparison to Tim Lincecum or CC Sabathia.

    Lincecum 174,543
    Sabathia 111,844
    Halladay Verlander Cain all 70-80,000 range
    15. Arroyo 47,440
    17. Volquez 44,968
    19. Harang 41966
    27. Cueto 29994

    No Reds pitchers went to a “Category 5” game (only Lincecum did once); Arroyo and Harang reached Category 4 once each.

    Now for category 3…Volquez did reach that level 14 times, which tied for third in the league.

    There’s an entire article on Baseball Prospectus (may be for members only–Aaron Harang search will find) on Dusty’s mishandling of Harang last year, and they say it was more than the four inning relief appearance.

    In fact…the focus now seems to be on pitching while fatigued. High pitch accounts may not be so bad….if they are not bunched together in one inning, or a bad inning late in the game.

    Theoretically, pitching while tired makes it somewhat worse, and the “tired” feeling is more than late in the game. If Volquez gets one of those 35 pitch innings, chances are he should have come out. Pitching too much in one inning does as much harm as 150 pitches in a game.

    I did a Dusty Baker pitcher abuse point search on BP and 35 entries came up…they weren’t all about Dusty, but he does seem to be a poster boy for this and they specifically cited Prior and Wood….going out of their way to say that Prior had the most perfect motion they’ve seen since Tom Seaver.

  12. Glenn

    Travis and Steve, I’m embarassed to admit that I’d forgotten about the Harang deal in SD last year. That was “pitcher abuse” and I think all of us knew it at the time it way happening.

    As for Prior, he may have a great pitching motion but his durability sucks, no matter who is manager is.

  13. james

    I remember two of priors injuries in Chicago were running into some while running the bases and a come back shot that hit him in the leg or arm. And I always use to think that Kerry Woods ability to get those high strike out numbers caused pressure to keep him in.

    I always have my worries about Dusty, but I also think he got a little bit of a bad rap in Chicago for this. Though I’m not much of a fan of Dusty anyways.

  14. Steve Price

    Baseball Prospectus published the Reds’ team health report today…five Reds were placed in the “red” category….for serious injury watch.

    Alex Gonzalez (odd injury, risky surgery), Ramon Hernandez (aging catcher), Edinson Volquez (6 of last 10 starts were 110+ pitches and his legs wore down as season went on), Johnny Cueto (a reminder that Cueto’s elbow hurt last year), and Micah Owings (pitching shoulder).

  15. GregD

    “I’m not agreeing or disagreeing with the critisim yet, because I’d like to see some other examples, that didn’t include Wood or Prior. If anyone can give me names and addresses on other pitchers he’s ruined, then maybe I’ll see the light and jump onboard.”

    I posted a comment around this time last year to point out the Baker’s pitcher abuse seemed to coincide with his different GM’s. Under Quinn in SF, his young pitchers had good pitch counts, a lot of game at or under 100 pitches, few if any over 110, and none (maybe one) over 120.

    After Sabean takes over, the pitch count appears to go out the window. I’d have to look up the names again, but Russ Ortiz is a name that comes to mind. Livan Hernandez, too. Hernandez had a bad year or two following the abuse, but was able to rebound and continue pitching in the majors.

    Baker/Hendry in Chicago – no obvious pitch counts. A lot of counts over 120-130 for their big two starters.

    Baker/Krivsky/Jocketty seemed to be on a pitch count. Other than the San Diego game, the starters, esp Cueto and Volquez seemed capped at 120, and did not frequently work over 110. His pitch counts in Cincinnati seem to be pretty similar to Narron’s, which lends to the credibility of GM’s “calling the shots” on pitch counts.

    We’ll see if that changes with Jocketty taking over for Krivsky this year. If the GM really holds the strings on this matter, it appears that the Cardinals hasn’t had an issue with pitch count abuse while Jocketty was in St Louis.

  16. BenL

    I don’t remember the details, but didn’t someone post something last year showing that all managers used to abuse pitchers more than they do now, and that Baker was not exceptional in his past abuse? Maybe someone else remembers this and can fill in the details?

  17. RiverCity Redleg

    What’s the prob with what he said. He’s saying that as he matures he will be more efficient with his pitches (which was his biggest criticism last year). Comparing Volquez to Maddux is high praise.
    Everybody’s too quick to condemn Dusty, when he has shown no sign of mismanaging Volquez or Cueto.

  18. Steve Price

    When do we know that Dusty has mismanaged Volquez or Cueto?

    1) Cueto’s arm was hurt at the end of last year.

    2) Volquez’s legs were hurt at the end of last year.

    3) 6 of Volquez’s last 10 starts went over 110 pitches.

    4) Volquez started giving up more homers as the year went on.

    5) Volquez was in the top 20 for pitcher abuse points and Cueto 27th among all pitchers.

    6) Baseball Prospectus’s poster child for PAP is Baker.

    I felt last year that he wasn’t using them too much either…but, it’s often hard to live “in the moment”. Now…looking at the facts, it’s pretty obvious to me it would have been wise to use some of the other young pitchers at the end of last season and pitched these guys less.