Analyzing Every Potential Starting Pitcher Innings Limit For 2016

With two months of baseball already in the books, it’s getting close to the time when managers begin looking ahead to their fantasy playoffs in August and September. With so many...

With two months of baseball already in the books, it’s getting close to the time when managers begin looking ahead to their fantasy playoffs in August and September. With so many young pitchers dominating the SP scene, it’s important to know who will still be around to provide value when you need it most.

Through the help of Pitcher List’s statistics wizard Patrick Barnhart, we’ve compiled a list of young starters and projected when they would be shutdown this season. How it works is simple: We took the total innings from the minors + majors + playoffs from last season, added a 20% boost to project a 2016 limit, then calculated how many innings they have left to throw this season. By calculating their expected Innings Per Start (based on their historical data), we can determine a rough date for when they would hit their innings limit. In the chart below you’ll see that list, followed by an overview of each pitcher involved, providing any insight and info from the organization about a possible innings limit.

There are a few things to note before we get started:

– Fantasy playoffs will have a different start day based on your league, but most begin either August 29th or September 5th and could end before the season finishes. Keep this in mind and adapt to your league settings.

– These stats and insights are through 6/17/16. If you’re checking out this article after that date, keep that in mind.

– Players highlighted in yellow have a projected innings limit that could be hit before season’s end.

– Cells highlighting in green have been altered based on outside information where the data wasn’t enough to give a proper assessment

– The “shutdown date” is projected based on a five-man rotation and not skipping a single start. Teams will have different ways of limiting innings ranging from simply not pitching anymore to moving to the bullpen, a skipped start or two in July/August, or switching to a six-man rotation. Keep this in mind through the year.

– Even better is that we will be giving you guys this tool for free that will update through the end of the season. You can adjust any cells you like, and the inning totals + projected end date will change on its own. Expect that to show up on the site in the near future as we work out all of the kinks.

Let’s get to it:

Aaron Nola

2015 Innings – 187.0

Innings Limit? – Very Unlikely

After throwing 187 innings last season, it would be a shock if the Phillies elected to hold back Nola down the stretch. He’s projected to surpass his 2015 total, but not by an egregious amount and there’s no reason for Philadelphia to disrupt Nola’s rhythm.

Aaron Sanchez

2015 Innings – 109.1

Innings Limit? – Yes

Manager John Gibbons has stated that Sanchez will be on an innings limit and shifted to the bullpen at some point during the second half. For those hoping that Sanchez could get his bullpen work done in August and return to the rotation in time for your playoffs, Gibbons said that this “didn’t seem likely.”

Adam Conley

2015 Innings – 174.0

Innings Limit? – Very Unlikely

While there isn’t any official news about Conley, there is little reason to suspect that the Marlins will be protective of Conley as he would need to pitch north of 200 innings to surpass the 20% threshold.

Alex Reyes

2015 Innings – 116.1

Innings Limit? – Very Unlikely

Reyes was suspended to start the season, giving him a huge cushion to pitch freely through the end of the season. If he does get a call up this year, don’t expect him to be shutdown before the year’s conclusion.

Blake Snell

2015 Innings – 134

Innings Limit? – Questionable

Snell is on pace to near his expected 20% leeway near the end of September, which means the Rays could be on the cautious side (they aren’t making the playoffs, after all) and pull him two starts away from the end…or they could let him fly and continue to develop. Either way, I wouldn’t expect the Rays to pull the cord before the middle of September, which means if you league’s playoffs conclude before the 20th, you should be clear to roll with Snell.

Carlos Martinez

2015 Innings – 179.2

Innings Limit? – Very Unlikely

He’s one of the pillars of the Cardinals’ staff, and they will need him down the stretch to fight for a playoff spot. Meanwhile, he threw just under 180 innings last season and there’s little reason to suspect he can’t push 200 this year.

Carlos Rodon

2015 Innings – 149.1

Innings Limit? – Questionable

The White Sox refused to stick to a hard cap for Rodon last season, in favor of “remaining flexible” instead. Given that a 20% boost would put him right near his expected innings for the season, it’s well within possibility that the White Sox let him ride it out. On the other hand, if the White Sox take advantage of an AL Central that is up for grabs, Rodon may miss a start or two to conserve his arm for the playoffs.

Cody Reed

2015 Innings – 145.2

Innings Limit? – Questionable

There hasn’t been any talk about imposing an innings limit to the 23-year-old’s season, as he won’t make his debut until Saturday June 18th. Still, with his current pace (64.2 innings thrown thus far) and a good amount of innings under his belt from last season, Reed is lined up nearly exactly to hit his expected 20% jump this season. It’s possible the Reds are very careful with their young arm and give him a rest in September, but it would only be a start or two in the final weeks.

Drew Pomeranz

2015 Innings – 88.0

Innings Limit? – Probable

Pomeranz threw under 90 innings last season since he played most of the season in the Athletics’ bullpen. Now as a starter for the Padres, it’s expected that the Friars will shut him down early given their lack of need to push him in September. Even if we expect 180 innings, he would still be shutdown before the end of September, and my estimation may be a little generous for the 27-year-old. Unless he gets struck with the injury bug, expect Pomeranz to be missing some time around mid September.

Drew Smyly

2015 Innings – 89.1

Innings Limit? – Questionable

There’s a reason to believe Smyly would be shutdown after tossing just 89.1 frames last season, though it was a product of injuries, and not an imposed limit by the Rays. He was held to 153 frames in 2014, implying that he wouldn’t have restraint moving forward. Nevertheless, the lack of innings last year may be a cause for the Rays to put on the breaks later in the season, though they have yet to comment on the possibility. My money is on the Rays letting him fly the rest of the way – health permitting – but the risk of losing a start or two is still there.

Eduardo Rodriguez

2015 Innings – 170.0

Innings Limit? – No

After starting the season on the DL and throwing 170 frames in 2015, there is zero reason for Rodriguez to be shutdown early by the Red Sox this season.

James Paxton

2015 Innings – 103.0

Innings Limit? – No

This one is pretty easy. His manager said he will not have an innings limit this season as 2016 is “his time to pitch”. Boom.

Jameson Taillon

2015 Innings – 0

Innings Limit? – Probable

After missing his last two seasons from Tommy John Surgery and a inguinal hernia, it’s tough to establish an innings limit for Taillon. There are whispers of a 180 limit, though I’d imagine 160 or so is a bit closer to the real tally. That would make for a mid September shutdown, though if he extends to 180, he could make it through the full month. Additionally, there are the playoff hopes of the Pirates to consider, which would mean Taillon would need to miss a few starts during the regular season to handle the possible workload in the playoffs. Monitor this one closely.

Joe Musgrove

2015 Innings – 100.2

Innings Limit? – Very Likely

It’s uncertain if or when we’ll see Musgrove hit the majors – he did get shelled in his last two starts – but either way, he most likely won’t be throwing much in September after tossing just over 100 innings last year. Our projection would put him at 120 innings, though a boost to 140 or 150 is possible. That would still have him skipping a few starts by the end of September.

Joe Ross

2015 Innings – 152.2

Innings Limit? – Questionable

It has been assumed that Ross will get limited in some fashion this season, but at his current rate – he already missed a start after all – he’s just about safe to finish the season without going over his 20% boost in innings. There is a problem, though, and it’s that Ross pitches for a competitive Nationals team that will most likely find themselves in the thick of October. Washington will want Ross in their rotation, and will likely push him to the bullpen or skip a start or two down the stretch. Monitor it closely, and those needing his boost for the playoffs may be in luck.

John Lamb

2015 Innings – 161.0

Innings Limit? – Very Unlikely

Given that Lamb would need to exceed 190 innings to match a regular increase in workload, and that he started the season over a month late due to injury, there’s no reason to believe that Lamb will have his season cut short due to the Cincinnati front office conserving his arm.

Jon Gray

2015 Innings – 155.0

Innings Limit? – Unlikely

Gray looks to be on pace for about 185 frames in 2016, which would line up perfectly with a 20% boost from his 155 inning total in 2015. It’s possible the Rockies get a little protective down the stretch, but chances are they will let the flamethrower loose.

Jose Berrios

2015 Innings – 166.1

Innings Limit? – Very Unlikely

After throwing 166.1 frames last year, it’s improbabble that Berrios would come close to the 200 inning mark that would necesscitate a shutdown.

Jose De Leon

2015 Innings – 114.1

Innings Limit? – Very Unlikely

While De Leon would definitely be under an innings limit in most scenarios, he has only pitched 11.0 innings this season due to both an ankle and shoulder injury. He’s back on the hill now, and while the Dodgers will not push him hard this season by not extending him games, a full on shutdown is not in the cards.

Jose Fernandez

2015 Innings – 89.1

Innings Limit? – Yes

Fernandez is already having his season limited as his latest turn in the rotation is being skipped. It’s been reported that a 180 inning limit is in place, which would mean a few more starts would need to be skipped in order for JoFer to finish out the season clean. The good news is that the Marlins have already shown they won’t flat out shut him down, meaning that you may only miss one start (or possibly none at all) during your fantasy playoffs.

Josh Hader

2015 Innings – 120.0

Innings Limit? – Questionable

Yes, Hader only threw 120 innings last year, which would make his expected jump to be under 150 innings. However, we have seen in the past pitchers push it closer to 160, which would make Hader conceivably stretch it out until the end. There hasn’t been any discussion of a limit thus far, and if he were to be shutdown, I can imagine it being one or two late starts at most given the Brewers’ lack of baseball in October.

Julio Urias

2015 Innings – 80.1

Innings Limit? – Yes

Urias is only 19-years-old and the Dodgers are being very careful with their prized southpaw. It has been mentioned multiple times that the Dodgers will shift him to the bullpen in the near futurethough his role in late August and September is unknown. A full-on shutdown may not actually occur for Urias, but he will spending plenty of time in the bullpen, while being on strict pitch counts when he starts.

Lance McCullers

2015 Innings – 164.0

Innings Limit? – Very Unlikely

The original plan was indeed for McCullers to be on an innings limit this season, but injuries got in the way, preventing McCullers from making his first start until May 13th. That means he is well underneath pace to eclipse 185 frames, making it hard to imagine the young Stro getting shutdown in September – especially if they are fighting for a playoff spot.

Marcus Stroman

2015 Innings – 46.1

Innings Limit? – Very Unlikely

Throwing just 46.1 innings last season due to injury can make it tough to see Stroman throwing a full season, but manager John Gibbons has stated that he’s “comfortable with Stroman’s past workload” to let him go the distance this year. This isn’t set it stone, though given how badly the Jays will need Stroman down the stretch, plans aren’t likely to change.

Matt Moore

2015 Innings – 114.1

Innings Limit? – Unlikely

Given that Jose Fernandez is on a 180 inning limit this season, it only made sense for Moore who also returned from TJS last season to have a similar threshold. However, Moore is older (will turn 27 within the month) and is much less valued asset to his ball club. Given that a 180 inning limit would be speculatively hit with just a start or two away from the end of the season plus the fact that Moore’s general ineffectiveness may force him back to the minors or the bullpen, it’s starting to look like Moore won’t be cutting his season short from throwing too many innings.

Michael Fulmer

2015 Innings – 124.2

Innings Limit? – Yes

The Tigers haven’t given us a flat number, but they want to be “on the cautious side” as Ausmus himself predicted just a 20-25 percent boost in innings. That would put Fulmer in the 150 range, getting shutdown a few weeks from the end of the season. They may skip starts to preserve him for a playoff run, but there will be a limitation in some respect. I wouldn’t expect a shift to the bullpen.

Nate Karns

2015 Innings – 147.0

Innings Limit? – Very Unlikely

Karns has three things going for him that in all likelihood prevent him from a shutdown. 1) He is already 28 years old. B) He’s thrown over 145 innings in two straight seasons. C) Even at his current pace, he’s right on target to hit a 20% boost in innings at the end of the season. Don’t give it a second thought.

Noah Syndergaard

2015 Innings – 198.2

Innings Limit? – Very Unlikely

Thor is the staple of the Mets rotation and nearly touched 200 innings last season including his playoff run. There is a minute chance the Mets want to conserve Noah for a deep playoff run, but given that the Mets may move to a six-man rotation once Zack Wheeler returns, there is little reason to believe they will skip one of Syndergaard’s starts.

Patrick Corbin

2015 Innings – 102.0

Innings Limit? – Probable

After coming back from Tommy John Surgery last season to pitch 102 innings, the Diamondbacks are going to be careful with their young lefty this season. It’s safe to imagine they would implement the same cut off that the Marlins are using for Jose Fernandezmaking a mid-September shutdown a likely scenario.

Sean Manaea

2015 Innings – 100.0

Innings Limit? – Questionable

Despite hitting just 100 innings last season, Manaea did pitch 121.2 frames for the Royals in 2014, meaning that the typical 20% increase is most likely not in play for the big southpaw. A 150-160 innings mark seems right on target, which could have Manaea shut down by the A’s in mid-September.  Given their lack of playoff hopes, there is no need to shift him to the pen or skip a start earlier in the season to save his innings for later time. It’s also possible they let Manaea fly through the end of the year as well, making this a tough call to make this far away from the end.

Steven Matz

2015 Innings – 155.2

Innings Limit? – Questionable

The general consensus seems to be that Matz will be shut down, but will he really? Terry Collins mentioned last November that he expects “190-plus innings” from Matz this season, which shouldn’t be a problem given his current projected innings rate. Throw into the mix Zack Wheeler coming back from the DL making a six-man-rotation a possibility and suddenly Matz could be unrestrained the rest of the way. Now, the Mets may want to skip one of his starts to help preserve him during a playoff run, but I wouldn’t make any moves not expecting to have Matz around in September. 

Taijuan Walker

2015 Innings – 169.2

Innings Limit? – No

Just like Paxton, there won’t be an innings limit for Walker. Next please!

Tyler Glasnow

2015 Innings – 109.1

Innings Limit? – Questionable

The first question is if (more like when) Glasnow will even see the light of day in a Pirates uniform this year, but since that is a very likely scenario, we need to consider if he’ll be available to pitch in September. He only accrued 109.1 innings after missing time with an ankle injury last season, which makes me believe that if a limit in place, it wouldn’t be the 20% boost, but more closer to 160 innings to stretch him out for the future. That would make him available until mid-to-late September at his current rate, though it all heavily hinges on his performance when he inevitably makes it to the grand stage. Would the Pirates want him in the rotation for the playoffs? Or will his command issues force him to an exclusive bullpen role? This one will be a nail-biter down the stretch.

Vincent Velasquez

2015 Innings – 88.2

Innings Limit? – Probable

This would have be labeled Very Likely, but with Velasquez missing his most recent start and having his previous outing cut short after just two pitches, he’s already being limited by his own accord due to injuries. In addition, the Phillies let Aaron Nola go free last season at the end of the year despite all indications that he would be shut down early in September. All that being said, GM Matt Klentak’s stated that Velasquez would “likely be on an innings limit”an his low innings count last year is a far cry from Nola’s 171 innings across college and the minors in 2014. The number most people agree on is around 140-150, which means a September shutdown is likely in order.

Yu Darvish

2015 Innings – 0

Innings Limit? – No

With Darvish’s injuries (currently on the DL with shoulder stiffness) and that his season started in May, it’s safe to say that if Darvish were limited this season, it wouldn’t be due to an innings shutdown enforced by the Rangers. 

Nick Pollack

Founder of Pitcher List. Creator of CSW, The List, and SP Roundup. Worked with MSG, FanGraphs, CBS Sports, and Washington Post. Former college pitcher, travel coach, pitching coach, and Brandeis alum. Wants every pitcher to be dope.

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