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Thread: Joe Posnanski with more data showing that closers simply don't matter

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    Unsolicited Opinions traderumor's Avatar
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    Re: Joe Posnanski with more data showing that closers simply don't matter

    Danny Graves saved a high percentage of the games when he was in a save situation. David Weathers, same thing. Eddie Guardado, he was effective even when his arm was getting ready to fall off. Matt Capps saved games. I imagine if we threw Logan Ondrusek out there in the 9th inning, he'd get through it most nights. Most franchises could throw out a list of average relievers who got the job done well enough as the "closer." The skill is being a major league reliever, not some magic mojo talent they possess, despite the myth that there is. The current manager/management make knee jerk reactions when they try someone new and give the job back to "someone who's done it before" or "closer by committee" until someone gets on a streak where they "possess the closer mentality." Its a self-fulfilling prophecy.

    It was a lotta fun watching Chapman come in last year. If baseball games were won or lost on how much fun was had during the game, then Chapman's my man. Its fun when he saves it, its fun for the opponent when he blew it. But its holding a lead in the 9th inning, and most average major league relievers hold a lead for an inning when they come in. If they didn't, they'd have ERAs in the 9s. They don't.
    Last edited by traderumor; 03-16-2013 at 01:09 PM.
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    Re: Joe Posnanski with more data showing that closers simply don't matter

    Quote Originally Posted by 757690 View Post
    I take it none of you guys arguing against me have ever taken a logic course, lol.

    Actually, in the example you presented, the runs scored in the first inning were less important, at the time that the were scored, than the runs scored in the ninth inning, at the time that they were scored.

    Let look at the reverse of this. Preventing runs in the later innings is more important than preventing runs in earlier innings. Both are important, but in later innings, it's more important, because doing so does more to increase your chances of winning.

    Look at a non-baseball analogy.

    You're at the blackjack table. You win $5 on your first hand. Later, when you are down to your last $5, you win that hand as well. That last win was more valuable than the first one, because it kept you playing. Granted, winning the first hand an important part of you being able to keep playing as well, but not as important as winning your last hand. If you made a mistake on your first hand, you had time to change your strategy (lower you bets, be more or less agressive with doubling down, etc) to make up for that lost hand. You don't have that chance on your last hand. You have to win it it keep playing. It is more important. Period.

    Same with baseball. Same with everything in life.

    Events don't happen in a vacuum, the situations and circumstances surrounding every event alters it and makes it different from a similar event in different circumstances. I really don't understand why this is so hard to grasp.
    A logic course? What schools do you go to? "Hey guys, I am taking Calculus, American History, and logic this semester."

    Your logic is so flawed it's beyond reasonable. It doesn't matter what inning you get the runs or give them up. It's about scoring more than the other guy. You just think they are more important in your head.

    Like I said, same exact game, same ending, just the runs scored in a different inning. I honestly cannot believe you cannot fathom that. A game decided in the first inning is just as important as one decided in the 9th.

    Think of your blackjack analogy. You won your first hand. Now on your last hand you already have money to keep playing if you want. That last hand is not your last $5.

    BTW...you must not be a good gambler if your last hand is always the one where you are down to your last $5.

    It's not more important, and your logic is so horribly flawed maybe you need a refresher course from whatever school you went to that teaches "logic."

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    Re: Joe Posnanski with more data showing that closers simply don't matter

    I will try and spell this out as much as possible.

    You are only thinking of this in high leverage situations, and of course the 9th inning with have more of them. Yet you are completely ignoring the fact that if you reduce your high leverage situations (or increase your high leverage situations where you have the lead), then that leads to just as much success if not more.

    You have to take into account a "closer" used earlier and how much he would improve holds or keep the game tied.

    How many times have you seen a bullpen lose a lead and then you never see the closer the rest of the game? So you end up losing a close game and didn't even use your best bullpen pitcher. You completely ignore that. Also, how many times do you see the closer trotted out in a 3 run game in the 9th? That is not even a high leverage situation. Your best bullpen pitcher should not be used in that situation, and instead should be used more often in close games in the 7th and 8th inning.

    I have no problem with some of the ideas of high leverage (which is not always the 9th), but that does not mean runs in the 9th are more important. Runs become more important if you fail to get enough of them or prevent them earlier in the game and therefore create high leverage situations. Yet overall, runs in any other inning are just as important. Don't forget, not every game is close in the 9th, yet every game does start 0-0. A case can be made runs in the 1st inning are the most important since you can force your opponent to use lesser players as they give up on the game.
    Last edited by scott91575; 03-16-2013 at 02:06 PM.

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    Re: Joe Posnanski with more data showing that closers simply don't matter

    Quote Originally Posted by Raisor View Post
    Score ten runs in the first and who is "closing" doesn't matter 99 percent of the time.
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    Re: Joe Posnanski with more data showing that closers simply don't matter

    Quote Originally Posted by scott91575 View Post
    Wouldn't your argument go against a closer? If runs are harder to come by late, then that is where you put your worst pitcher. It's a self fulfilling prophecy. If teams put their best pitcher on the mound in the 9th, then of course it makes it harder to score runs. If they do it in the 8th, then the 8th becomes the harder inning.
    Absolutely not. Runs are harder to come by in the later innings because of the opposing teams bullpen usage. As the game goes along the opposing manager is going to make moves that he thinks gives his team the best chance to win. if there is a situation where the game is close and Joey Votto is up with 2 runners on the opposing manager is going to bring in a loggy to face him. If there is a base open he may decide to walk him.

    If you go from facing Bronson Arroyo for 7 innings to Broxton in the 8th and then Chapman in the 9th you go from facing looping curve balls to near triple didget fastballs.

    I like what Raisor just said, score 10 runs in the first then everything is moot. Well the opposing team has something to say about that. A game isn't static it is dynamic. It changes as the game goes along. What happens in the first has an impact of what happens later in the game. You can say "well score 3 runs in the first and everything is easier" well 29 other teams in baseball are trying to do that. If your watching a close game late dont you get a little more on the edge of your seat? If a team scores two runs in 8th don't you feel as if the reds chances of winning went down? A one run deficit in the 1st inning means you have roughly 27 outs to tie the score up or not. A one run deficit in the 8th means you have 3-6 outs left to score a run. What happened before hand is really moot the only thing that matters is on the score board.

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    Re: Joe Posnanski with more data showing that closers simply don't matter

    Quote Originally Posted by bucksfan2 View Post
    Absolutely not. Runs are harder to come by in the later innings because of the opposing teams bullpen usage. As the game goes along the opposing manager is going to make moves that he thinks gives his team the best chance to win. if there is a situation where the game is close and Joey Votto is up with 2 runners on the opposing manager is going to bring in a loggy to face him. If there is a base open he may decide to walk him.

    If you go from facing Bronson Arroyo for 7 innings to Broxton in the 8th and then Chapman in the 9th you go from facing looping curve balls to near triple didget fastballs.

    I like what Raisor just said, score 10 runs in the first then everything is moot. Well the opposing team has something to say about that. A game isn't static it is dynamic. It changes as the game goes along. What happens in the first has an impact of what happens later in the game. You can say "well score 3 runs in the first and everything is easier" well 29 other teams in baseball are trying to do that. If your watching a close game late dont you get a little more on the edge of your seat? If a team scores two runs in 8th don't you feel as if the reds chances of winning went down? A one run deficit in the 1st inning means you have roughly 27 outs to tie the score up or not. A one run deficit in the 8th means you have 3-6 outs left to score a run. What happened before hand is really moot the only thing that matters is on the score board.
    You are kind of just restating what you said initially. Games get tougher to score late innings because you are using better pitchers. It's a self fulfilling prophecy. I am actually not against your thoughts, but I don't really like the way you are stating it. I do believe is high leverage situations, but I think you guys don't realize the role of closer as defined today, is not using the closer in only high leverage situations.

    The key is using your best pitchers in close games be it the 6th, 7th, 8th, or 9th. I'd much rather my best pitcher only come into the games tied to 1 run games in the 7th, 8th, or 9th, than 1-3 run games only in the 9th where my team was winning. There of course will be overlap, but using your best pitcher when you are up 3 in the 9th is stupid while using your 3rd to 4th best pitcher in a tied game in the 7th.

    Like I have stated over and over again, it's better to have a lower save percentage in the 9th but have a lot more opportunities than a better save percentage with less opportunities.

    You guys keep saying the earlier innings should be ignored, but if you put in your better players earlier then those earlier innings are affected. The game changes. The game you are thinking about as close in the 9th is no longer a game that close in the 9th thanks you using your better players earlier. You improved those earlier innings by putting in better players sooner. These decisions don't happen in a vacuum. It's not like I am saying take your closer and throw him off a cliff. I am saying they should be used in more close games, and that means using them earlier in the game. That will sometimes be the 7th or 8th inning, not just the 9th.
    Last edited by scott91575; 03-16-2013 at 03:20 PM.

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    Re: Joe Posnanski with more data showing that closers simply don't matter

    Here is my idea of how the pecking order of the bullpen should go. First determine lefty/right effectiveness. Then determine how much you think each pitcher should pitch, and match that up to the percentage of high leverage situations your team would normally see.

    Say there are six relievers in your bullpen. One guy is a long man, one guy is a LOOGY, and the remaining 4 are just put into a pecking order. Ranked by order...

    1) Should see the top 25% of high leverage situations (assuming he can handle 25%, that can be adjusted depending on pitcher durability). This will be 1 run or tied ballgames, mostly in the 7th, 8th, and 9th. When a game gets near that point he should be warming, and put it when it reaches that point.
    2) Should see the next 25%.
    3) and so on, you get the idea

    This of course would be dynamic depending on workload and righty/lefty situations. Yet today you see a guy like Dusty almost always only use his closer in the 9th inning when it's a 3 run lead or less. Heck, I have seen him trot out a guy in the 9th and then put in the closer when it becomes a save situation even though it's still lower leverage. Using your best pitcher only for save opportunities is simply wasting him on games where you don't need your best pitcher.

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    Re: Joe Posnanski with more data showing that closers simply don't matter

    We have to remember that there is a practical aspect to modern bullpen roles. It makes the pen much less random and much more manageable which is important over a 162 game season. It also allows pitchers to prepare better mentally. It also reduces the number of spontaneous decisions that have to be made (I.e. a way to manage in game strategy).

    I'm obviously in the camp that tends to argue its not that hard to build a good pen, tons of money shouldn't be thrown at it, and your best high leverage arms could be used more effectively if they weren't used so rigidly.

    But there is some kind of tangible benefit associated with what the first paragraph describes.
    "This isnít stats vs scouts - this is stats and scouts working together, building an organization that blends the best of both worlds. This is the blueprint for how a baseball organization should be run. And, whether the baseball men of the 20th century like it or not, this is where baseball is going."---Dave Cameron, U.S.S. Mariner

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    Re: Joe Posnanski with more data showing that closers simply don't matter

    Quote Originally Posted by scott91575 View Post
    A logic course? What schools do you go to? "Hey guys, I am taking Calculus, American History, and logic this semester."

    Your logic is so flawed it's beyond reasonable. It doesn't matter what inning you get the runs or give them up. It's about scoring more than the other guy. You just think they are more important in your head.

    Like I said, same exact game, same ending, just the runs scored in a different inning. I honestly cannot believe you cannot fathom that. A game decided in the first inning is just as important as one decided in the 9th.

    Think of your blackjack analogy. You won your first hand. Now on your last hand you already have money to keep playing if you want. That last hand is not your last $5.

    BTW...you must not be a good gambler if your last hand is always the one where you are down to your last $5.

    It's not more important, and your logic is so horribly flawed maybe you need a refresher course from whatever school you went to that teaches "logic."
    Lol. I have actually taught logic classes in college (University of Cincinnati).

    Thanks for the condescending lecture. I presented my argument. I have presented similar arguments in my classes. If you wish to ignore it, fine, have a nice day... go Reds!
    "Man, the pitch looks fast, even in slow motion." Thom Brennaman on Chapman's fastball.

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    Re: Joe Posnanski with more data showing that closers simply don't matter

    Quote Originally Posted by 757690 View Post
    Lol. I have actually taught logic classes in college (University of Cincinnati).

    Thanks for the condescending lecture. I presented my argument. I have presented similar arguments in my classes. If you wish to ignore it, fine, have a nice day... go Reds!
    You condescended first, so get off your high horse. I am going to guess that a course in logic is one of those garbage first year courses people with a useless major like Philosophy take. How close am I? Sorry, I took a real major in college.

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    Re: Joe Posnanski with more data showing that closers simply don't matter

    Quote Originally Posted by scott91575 View Post
    You condescended first, so get off your high horse. I am going to guess that a course in logic is one of those garbage first year courses people with a useless major like Philosophy take. How close am I? Sorry, I took a real major in college.
    Dude, I'm on your side in the argument, but you're coming off as a board censored body part.
    "But I do know Joey's sister indirectly (or foster sister) and I have heard stories of Joey being into shopping, designer wear, fancy coffees, and pedicures."

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    Re: Joe Posnanski with more data showing that closers simply don't matter

    There are classes I'd drop from a University core. Logic/critical thinking is not one of them.
    "This isnít stats vs scouts - this is stats and scouts working together, building an organization that blends the best of both worlds. This is the blueprint for how a baseball organization should be run. And, whether the baseball men of the 20th century like it or not, this is where baseball is going."---Dave Cameron, U.S.S. Mariner

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    Re: Joe Posnanski with more data showing that closers simply don't matter

    Quote Originally Posted by Raisor View Post
    Dude, I'm on your side in the argument, but you're coming off as a board censored body part.
    does this mean we can't be friends?

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    Re: Joe Posnanski with more data showing that closers simply don't matter

    Quote Originally Posted by scott91575 View Post
    does this mean we can't be friends?
    I'm friends with Puffy, so anything is possible.

    Doesn't look good though.
    "But I do know Joey's sister indirectly (or foster sister) and I have heard stories of Joey being into shopping, designer wear, fancy coffees, and pedicures."

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    Re: Joe Posnanski with more data showing that closers simply don't matter

    Quote Originally Posted by scott91575 View Post
    You are so right. I never thought of it this way. I engineer in the real world. Time to throw away all those stats I use. I am sure it would have no affect on the braking systems I have designed. Don't worry, the next time you press on the brake pedal, I am sure all will work out since I will be engineering in the real world instead of using those hockey computer programs and stats. Idiots, using data to make conclusions. Pfft.
    Brakes ain't baseball.
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