We all know the value of closers. We pay through the nose for them on draft day and then kill ourselves all season long on waivers or in trades, often feeling like we are overpaying to attain their services. But we have to have them. Have to. This article won’t speak to the closer, even though I just led off with it. Instead, this article will speak about the undervalued asset that is the middle reliever.

STARTER USAGE

Back in the day, starting pitchers finished what they started.

In 1878 Will White made 75 starts.

He completed all 75 of them.

In 1904 we had the last of the 400-inning pitchers with Jack Chesbro leading the way with 454.2 innings pitched.

In 1953 Robin Roberts led baseball with 346.2 innings pitched.

In 1979 Phil Niekro threw 342 innings to lead baseball.

From that point on things started to change, dramatically.

Let’s look at some yearly markers.


Face it, the elite pitchers don’t throw as many innings as they once did. They also...

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