Each pitcher’s readiness always will be judged on a case-by-case bases. But Cherington and the Red Sox are operating under the philosophy that it never hurts to give the younger guys a little extra time whether necessary or not. Also, injuries obviously to the major league starting depth could alter Boston’s plan for its young prospects. Then, certain young pitchers will be counted on like Webster was this year.
Nieves — who recorded a career 4.71 ERA in three major league seasons — made his big league debut at just 21 years old. He said he’s a perfect example of someone who was rushed to the majors.
“I didn’t have secondary pitches,” Nieves said. “So I had to learn them in the big leagues. I had never thrown over 200 innings and they expected me to throw over 200 innings. I blew out. It’s so important to get that time.”
Nieves stressed the important to build a pitcher’s innings in the minor leagues so he is prepared for the full season. He equated the wear and tear of 100-110 major league innings to 180 minor league innings.
“Just because of the stress of the lineups, the competition,” Nieves said about the big leagues. “When guys get here, you want to have them at least get 150 in the minors (in one season) to experience that — the whole season.”
Tampa’s Archer threw more than 140 innings in two different minor league seasons and also logged 157.1 last season between the minors and his brief big league experience.
“The general rule of thumb is that you would increase a workload by 20 percent (a season),” Tampa’s Hickey said. “If you threw 150 innings the year before, you’d go 30 more within our comfort zone. That’s one of the reasons David Price went back after having a very successful end to 2008. He went back to start in the minors in 2009 so we could manage his innings. And when he did come up, that we’d be able to use him as we saw fit.”