Should John Ely Skip a Start This Season?

In a recent fanpost here, The Newbster raised a question regarding John Ely and his work load, specifically, should we be concerned about the number of innings John Ely pitches this season?  After all, at barely 24, Ely, while not as youthful as Clayton Kershaw, is still would most baseball observers would term a young pitcher, and theories abound as to how to manage the workload of young pitchers.

Using statistics from baseball-reference.com and thebaseballcube.com, I gathered the innings pitched numbers for Ely from his college days to the present.  I used those numbers to create the graph below. Additionally, I projected his remaining workload for 2010.  Assuming he stays in the rotation for the remainder of the season, he should make 21 more starts.  For my projection, I assumed an average of 5 2/3 IP per start, but your mileage may vary.  Fortuitously, 21 is a multiple of 3, so if you think Ely will average 6.0 IP per start, you can just add 7 to the numbers you see below.

Is this potential increase in innings pitched worth worrying about?  Tom Verducci of Sports Illustrated has used a 30 IP increase as a rule of thumb to make fairly accurate predictions about young pitchers (25 and under) who are susceptible to injury the next season.  Whether or not 30 IP is the right number, it is generally acknowledged to be in the ballpark.  My projection takes Ely very close to that 30 IP before even considering post-season play, and an average of 6.0 IP per start would take him over than threshold.

As a team that expects to contend for post-season play, it may be in the Dodgers and Ely's long-term interest to consider if a skipped start or some other innings limiting measure might be the right course of action.  It's a tough call because a team like the Dodgers also actually needs to win ball games to even make the playoffs, and skipping an Ely start for, say, Charlie Haeger might not help to serve the goal of winning.

At this point I would guess that if Ely remains effective and at a projection similar to what I show above, the Dodger won't do anything pre-planned to limit his innings, because his work load won't increase enough over the 30 IP threshold for a playoff-contending team to worry about it.

X
Log In Sign Up

forgot?
Log In Sign Up

Please choose a new SB Nation username and password

As part of the new SB Nation launch, prior users will need to choose a permanent username, along with a new password.

Your username will be used to login to SB Nation going forward.

I already have a Vox Media account!

Verify Vox Media account

Please login to your Vox Media account. This account will be linked to your previously existing Eater account.

Please choose a new SB Nation username and password

As part of the new SB Nation launch, prior MT authors will need to choose a new username and password.

Your username will be used to login to SB Nation going forward.

Forgot password?

We'll email you a reset link.

If you signed up using a 3rd party account like Facebook or Twitter, please login with it instead.

Forgot password?

Try another email?

Almost done,

By becoming a registered user, you are also agreeing to our Terms and confirming that you have read our Privacy Policy.

Join True Blue LA

You must be a member of True Blue LA to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at True Blue LA. You should read them.

Join True Blue LA

You must be a member of True Blue LA to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at True Blue LA. You should read them.

Spinner.vc97ec6e

Authenticating

Great!

Choose an available username to complete sign up.

In order to provide our users with a better overall experience, we ask for more information from Facebook when using it to login so that we can learn more about our audience and provide you with the best possible experience. We do not store specific user data and the sharing of it is not required to login with Facebook.

tracking_pixel_9351_tracker