Marc Katz, who covers the Dragons for the DDN calls for OB to dump the Reds current minor league philosophy.

Stop this Dragons-choking, limited-pitch count, tandem-pitching system and this take-a-strike before you swing nonsense. Stop it now, not this winter when you have your organizational meetings and discuss what went wrong, and what went right. Stop it now, not when the Dragons come home from a road trip on Thursday. Stop it tonight, while the Dragons are in South Bend (Ind.) so they can come home and surprise their fans with a legitimate good time at Fifth Third Field.

What’s going on just doesn’t make any sense. Oh, it may make sense to you and a few of your closest Reds advisors with the Reds, but it doesn’t make sense for the Class A Midwest League Dayton Dragons.


It’s August, for goodness sake, and any strong young hurler who keeps his pitch count in order per inning should be able to make it through at least seven innings in under 90 pitches. That shouldn’t put too much of a strain on his arm, and he can be efficient, too. The first time a pitcher elongates an inning with 20-25 pitches, yank him. That will get him the message to be efficient.
And when a pitcher is getting bombed, yank him, too. Don’t make the manager wait until it’s too late to salvage the game. That’s the part a lot of fans don’t understand. Just as they didn’t like seeing Bailey taken out of game he dominated through 75 pitches in the fifth inning, they shouldn’t be subjected to watching Joe Wilson and Carlos Bohorquez surrender six runs in the third inning on consecutive nights, either.

I’m not sure how I feel about the Reds approach to their pitching staff (pitch limits, piggy-backing the starters), but I do know the folks in Dayton aren’t happy about it. Many of these same complaints can be heard around 5th 3rd Field in Dayton.

5 Responses

  1. Mike

    I can understand the frustration, but it seems that Katz is blaming the wrong things.
    How is the lower pitch count keeping the team from victory?
    Has looking at the first strike greatly hampered the offense?
    It seems it’s more a problem of talent which will hopefully be solved in the next few years.
    Of course I have no idea the stricter pitch counts or more “patient” hitters are helping either.

  2. Jim McCullough

    I don’t know enough about what they are doing to decide if what they are doing is good or bad. Whatever they do must be based on principles of player development, not whether or not the fans are entertained by it or not. I don’t think mid-August is the time to make that decision. Like it or not, that decision must wait until the season is over.

    Question: Prior to this minor league philosophy, were the arm injuries happening primarily to starters? Was there any research to back up whether the number of innings pitched was the reason?

  3. Chris

    I read this last weekend while I was at my parents’ place in Dayton. Katz has been griping about this all season. He just doesn’t like to cover a losing team. The point of the Dayton Dragons is to develop players for the Reds. I’m not sure if O’Brien’s moves are the best things to do that, but he sure shouldn’t drop them to please Marc Katz.

  4. Bill

    I think a better question is whether this philosophy is limiting arm injuries and whether the “take the first strike” is leading to more selectivity.

  5. Bill

    A couple of points…the low pitch counts are worked in tandem with the “piggy back” starter approach, which requires them to carry 10 starters (or 8, I can’t remember) who only pitch on regularly scheduled days. That doesn’t leave a lot of bullpen help.

    If your first starter only gets into the 3rd inning on his 75 pitches, and the second one only gets into the 6th (not an unusual occurance), then you need relievers. With the team carrying 8 or 10 starters who work on a schedule, this doesn’t leave much of a bullpen.

    As for taking the first strike…last time I looked, the Dragons lead the league in strikeouts, which I think you can attribute to having to take the first strike.

    Will these policies develop the players as the Reds belive? I don’t know, but the policies should be reviewed every year to see if they’re working.