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Marlins pitchers in the Danger Zone?

Roto Authority takes a look at some of the Marlins starting pitchers and gives their assessment.

The danger zone for an increase in a pitcher's innings year-to-year is said to be 30.  Team by team, let's assess the risk of certain starters.  Next up is the Marlins.

Dontrelle Willis logged 205.1 innings this year, down from 223.1 the previous year.  He experienced forearm tightness in June but still made 35 starts.  Florida doesn't have a great track record recently, so I'll label him Risky.

Scott Olsen pitched 176.2 innings after going 187 last year.  While he experienced a sophomore slump in many ways, he's Safe for now.

Sergio Mitre snagged 158 innings in '07.  This represented a massive 116 inning increase over 2006.  His injury list since '06: sore big toe, shoulder tendinitis/inflammation, torn blister, and a hamstring cramp.  Until he puts the shoulder woes behind him and pitches through the minor stuff, he's Risky.

Rick VandenHurk tossed 147.3 innings this year, up from a mere 25 in '06.  That's a 122.3 inning bump.  His inning count was low in '06 because he was on the mend from TJ surgery (he also pitched in the Hawaiin League last winter).  Add in the fact that he had only 11 starts above A ball before jumping to the bigs, and he's clearly Risky.

Their evaluations about Olsen, Mitre and VandenHurk are probably spot on for next season's fantasy draft.  Scott Olsen did, however, exceed the injury nexus of 170 innings pitched but not by that much, so that shouldn't be a problem.  

The rule of thumb of not increasing a starting pitcher's innings more than 30 has merit.  But normally that is used when assessing a healthy pitcher year-to-year and not one coming off a surgery shorten season.  Nonetheless, the workload increase is a cause for concern and it will require the coaches to watch the pitchers closely and how they respond next season.  Some should continue to get stronger, others may not.

As for Dontrelle, a lot depend on who the new pitching coach is.  If Willis is allowed to pitch with his natural motion, he should be fine.  Should the new pitching coach pull a Kranitz and try to make changes to his motion, it could cause some problems.

The Marlins may not have the greatest track record with maintaining the health their of pitchers lately, but those who messed that up are gone.  Thus giving the team the chance to revert back to its status as an excellent developer of young pitching.