Workload isn’t as easily defined as the number of games, innings, or pitches a pitcher throws. It is an interaction of all of these things – and to summarize them all, I came up with the metric “Fatigue Units”. Well, I came up with the Metric… Jenn Smith came up with the name. In the PitchFX era, we can calculate Fatigue Units by querying databases and factoring in velocity, days of rest, pitch counts, and pace between pitches. Historically, who had the highest fatigue unit workloads for the Toronto Blue Jays?
Single Season Workloads
|Rank||Fatigue Units||Season||Pitcher||Inning Apperances||Pitches||4 + Days Rest||1 – 3 Days Rest||0 Days Rest|
It should surprise no one to see Roy Halladay’s name appear twice in the top 5 on this list – even though he was only with the Jays for two years during this time period. He was the go-to guy. What is slightly surprising is not seeing him in the #1 Spot.
#1 – 2008 – AJ Burnett, #2 – 2008 – Roy Halladay
AJ Burnett and Roy Halladay had absolutely amazing 2008’s, with both pitchers in hot pursuit of 20 wins all season long. How didn’t this team do better?! Oh right…one 20 home run hitter. Joe Inglett playing in over 100 games… I’ll just leave it there. AJ appeared in 230 innings, completing 221.1 innings, and throwing a whopping 3540 pitches in 35 games (34 starts). While Doc appeared in one fewer game, he appeared in 20 more innings than Burnett that season. The difference in workload stems mostly from how AJ got hitters out – striking out 231 hitters, and walking 81 batters. Halladay only struck out 206 while walking 39. Take a look at those numbers again; those are insane.
#3 – 2011 – Ricky Romero
*** Cut to Mike clutching his Ricky Romero jersey in his basement while a single tear rolls down his cheek ***
Oh, what might have been for Ricky Romero. His knees betrayed him and his career plummeted shortly after. But in 2011, he was a workhorse – and the Jays rotation looked primed for the future. Romero appeared in 233 innings, completing a total of 225 that season, while throwing 3345 pitches.
#4 – 2016 – Roberto Osuna
This is where things start to get interesting on the workload list. Osuna didn’t appear in as many innings as the guys up above, but it was the fact he appeared on back to back days 25 times that really drove his workload up. 25 times…the next closest for the Blue Jays in this time period is 19. The trips to the post season contributed to this number, undoubtedly, but Osuna’s isolation in a bullpen that struggled to get hitters out has left him on an island in Blue Jay land. The Jays do need to get a few more reliable arms to reduce Roberto’s huge workloads, year after year.
#8 – 2016 – Aaron Sanchez
This was the year where Sanchez was the pinnacle of controversy in the Toronto market – should he move to the bullpen? Should he be shut down for the season? In the end, neither of these actions happened and Sanchez pitched his way to an ERA title and the playoffs. Now, 2017 was a different story… Sanchez missed the vast majority of the year with various finger and blister issues. Keep in mind, high FUs are tied to an increase in Tommy John Surgery in subsequent seasons – not blisters. Hopefully 2017 was a blip on the radar of a successful career.
Pitch Tracking Era Workload Leaders
|Rank||FUs||Name||Starts||Inning Appearances||Pitches||4 + Days Rest||1 – 3 Days Rest||0 Days Rest||Seasons|
#1 – Brett Cecil
The results often fluctuated between great and… not so great, but it’s tough to deny that Brett Cecil was a big part of the Blue Jays pitching staff during his eight years here. Cecil had 74 starts during this time with the Blue Jays and appeared in 770 innings. When he left the rotation for good, he seemed to find more success – including his long scoreless streak during the magical 2015 run.
#3 – Aaron Loup
Much like Squints, Loup has had his ups and down with the Blue Jays – but he has always been just on the cusp of being an excellent reliever. During his six seasons with the Blue Jays, no other pitcher has appeared on back to back days more than Loup – averaging just over 10 per year.
#5 – Casey Janssen
Janssen was the only consistently effective reliever in the Toronto ‘pen before Roberto Osuna came along and made that role cool. Janssen managed to close 90 games for the Jays – even while missing the entire 2008 season with a torn labrum. Thats not an injury that is easy for a pitcher to return from – so the fact he was able to put up these high workloads, be effective, and consistently answer the manager’s call is a true testament to Janssen’s toughness.
#10 – Marcus Stroman
A Blue Jays list just isn’t complete unless you talk about the Stro Show. Marcus is 10th in workload in the era starting in 2008 – also known as “when Stroman was a high school student who didn’t even have a clothing brand.” These numbers are slightly misleading too – sure, he appeared in 4 seasons, but one was the injury shortened ACL year. In those 4 seasons, Stro has played an important role in the Jays post season runs and done this without an injury that would raise any concerns about his durability (the ACL is a fluke). Stroman is a workhorse now and for the Blue Jays future.
Height doesn’t measure heart, but Fatigue Units do measure Workload!
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