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  • Writer's pictureSteve Potter

4/3/24 : Just Sayin 🧐 How Pitching Staffs were built

As is my norm periodically during the season I take a deep dive into roster construction to ascertain how players arrived on their present roster.  As a player development advocate I’m particularly interested in how home grown talent evolves.  Pitching staffs are always in a flux of change, especially bullpens - what may be surprising to some is that the majority of the 390 major league active pitching positions were acquired via trade or free agency.

Here’s a look 👀.  I reviewed the active pitching rosters of every major league club.

Overall Numbers :

There are 390 available major league pitching jobs -  129 (33%) are filled by pitchers acquired via trade, 128 (33%) are filled by free agent signings (both major and minor league signings), 107 (22%) are home grown talents (originally drafted or signed as amateur free agents by the team) while 26 (7%) were acquired via waivers or the Rule 5 draft).  Note that I counted a player who was originally signed by a club but then went elsewhere and later returned in the category they returned in.

Houston, San Francisco and Cleveland have the most home grown talent (8) followed by Arizona (6), then Cincinnati, Colorado, Detroit, Miami, Minnesota and the LA Angels with five each.  The Cubs, Pittsburgh, Seattle and Texas have four each. The Phillies, Baltimore, Boston, Kansas City, LA Dodgers and St Louis have three apiece.  Atlanta, the White Sox, the Yankees, San Diego and Toronto have two each.  Milwaukee, Oakland and Washington have one home grown pitcher on the current roster and surprisingly the New York Mets and Tampa Bay Rays have none - the Rays are highly regarded in player development but are also known for trading away players most frequently.

San Diego and Oakland lead the way in the trade market acquisitions with eight each while Arizona and Cincinnati have only one pitcher acquired via trade.  The Mets, Cincinnati and Washington have the most free agent signings with seven each, Baltimore and Colorado have only one pitcher acquired via free agency.  Seattle and Colorado each have three pitchers acquired via waivers while twelve teams have no waiver acquisitions presently on their pitching staff.

Starters : 54 home grown (36%), 47 traded for (32%), 44 free agents (30%), 4 via waivers or Rule 5 (3%)

Houston leads the way in home grown talent for starting pitching - all five of their current starters are home grown. Cleveland and Seattle are next with four apiece.  Arizona, Boston, Cincinnati, San Francisco and the LA Angels have three each.  Colorado, the Cubs, the Phillies, Detroit, Kansas City, the Dodgers, Miami, Minnesota, the Yankees and Pittsburgh have two each.  Atlanta, Baltimore, the White Sox, St Louis,Texas and Washington each have one - Milwaukee, the Mets, Oakland, San Diego, Tampa Bay and Toronto have no home grown players at present in their starting rotation.

San Diego has the most starters acquired by trade (5) followed by Oakland with four while Houston, Cleveland, Cincinnati, San Francisco and St. Louis have none acquired via trade in the starting rotation at present.

St. Louis has the most starters acquired via free agency (4) while San Diego, Miami, Minnesota, Baltimore, Seattle, Boston and Houston currently have no free agent acquisitions in the starting rotation.

Tampa Bay leads the way with waiver acquisition starters (2) while only two teams (Baltimore & Boston) have one starter in the rotation acquired via waivers or the Rule 5 draft.

Bullpen : 53 home grown (22%), 82 traded for (34%), 84 free agents (35%) and 22 via waivers or Rule 5 (9%)

San Francisco has the most home grown talent in the bullpen (5) followed by Cleveland (4), Texas, Detroit, Colorado, Arizona, Miami, Minnesota and Houston (3) then Baltimore, St. Louis, Toronto, the Cubs, Cincinnati, Pittsburgh, San Diego and the Angels with two each. The Phillies, Dodgers, Milwaukee, White Sox, Atlanta, Kansas City and Oakland have one each.  Tampa Bay,  Boston, the Mets, Yankees, Washington and Seattle have no home grown relievers on their current active bullpen staffs.

St. Louis and Milwaukee with five each lead the way with traded for relievers -  Arizona has none.  Tampa Bay, Cincinnati, the Angels and Washington lead in free agent relievers with five apiece, St. Louis, Colorado and San Francisco have none.

Seattle and Colorado have the most waiver or Rule 5 draft relievers with three each - fourteen teams have none in this category.

Just some numbers - it’s only data 🤓.

Happy Day, Happy Baseball ⚾️

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