Beginning this week at Class A Brevard County, relievers will start games before turning it over to the "starters" in the third or the fourth. By starting the starter later in games, the Brewers hope their young players develop a "nine-inning mindset" by the time they reach the Majors.It strikes me that a better way to get your pitchers to go deeper into games is to teach them to be more economical with their pitches. To stay around the strike zone more. To have a plan of attack instead of trying to strike everybody out with the heat that got them drafted but that, if history holds for most prospects, will dissipate pretty quickly.
Another problem I have with this is the use of relievers to start games. If you're a reliever in low A, it's a pretty good bet that you're not one of the better pitchers on the team. Most guys who make the majors as relievers started as starters, meaning that the bullpen on an A team is likely full of cannon fodder. How will that "ninth inning mindset" develop if "starters" are brought into games that are already lost before they throw their first pitch?
It seems to me that the plan to develop that "ninth inning mindset" will come at the expense of a first, second, and third inning mindset. Unfortunately for the Brewers, all innings count.