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

  1. #196
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    Re: Joe Posnanski with more data showing that closers simply don't matter

    Somebody here had the Tommy Lasorda tag about "the best teams loose a third of their games, the worst win a third so it's the middle third you have to worry about".

    Games decided in the late innings are marginal. But the baseball gods are commies, they want to push everyone to .500. ergo, the marginal becomes crucial.
    The widow is gathering nettles for her children's dinner; a perfumed seigneur, delicately lounging in the Oeil de Boeuf, hath an alchemy whereby he will extract the third nettle and call it rent. ~ Carlyle

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  3. #197
    Stat Wanker Hodiernus RedsManRick's Avatar
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    Re: Joe Posnanski with more data showing that closers simply don't matter

    Quote Originally Posted by Rojo View Post
    Somebody here had the Tommy Lasorda tag about "the best teams loose a third of their games, the worst win a third so it's the middle third you have to worry about".

    Games decided in the late innings are marginal. But the baseball gods are commies, they want to push everyone to .500. ergo, the marginal becomes crucial.
    And yet, every year, the "ability" of a team to win 1 run games proves to be more or less random.

    Lasorda's characterization is fun, but really misrepresents what's actually happening. The trick is realizing that games aren't first put in to a bucket called "1 run games" and then decided based on a team's ability in those games. Games are decided by the accumulation of runs over the course of a game. A run in the 3rd counts just as much toward the final outcome as a run in the 9th. What matters is how many more of them you can accumulate than your opponent.

    And on the season level, teams improve by shifting their whole distribution of runs scored up relative to their distribution of runs allowed, essentially taking games from the definite loss bucket and pushing those in to the "margin" while taken games formally in the "margin" bucket and pushing those up in the definite win bucket.

    Thinking of game outcome possibilities from a certain late inning point on can make us forget that the bigger chunk of wins and losses occurs before the 8th and 9th innings. Go up 4 by the time the 9th rolls around and you've robbed your closer of a chance to have a game that needs saving. And that's a good thing. So is taking a game that would have been tied and turning in to a save chance. But what happens when you get to those save chances? Well, it's a relatively small number of innings among teams that are relatively closely matched. Randomness is going to dominate.

    Sure all gains are marginal. But if you want to know which teams from year N improved their W-L record in year N+1, you won't find it in their record in 1 run games. You will find it in their overall run distribution (or average run spread).
    Last edited by RedsManRick; 03-19-2013 at 09:12 PM.
    Games are won on run differential -- scoring more than your opponent. Runs are runs, scored or prevented they all count the same. Worry about scoring more and allowing fewer, not which positions contribute to which side of the equation or how "consistent" you are at your current level of performance.

  4. #198
    Fielder's Indifference fisch11's Avatar
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    Re: Joe Posnanski with more data showing that closers simply don't matter

    "Are you trying to say Jesus Christ can't hit a curveball?!"

  5. #199
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    Re: Joe Posnanski with more data showing that closers simply don't matter

    Mariano Rivera was the Yankees closer from 1997-2011 - 15 years as the main finisher.

    In those 15 years here is the Yankees distribution of wins over Pyth.

    -9 thru -5 : 0
    -4 thru 0 : 4
    1 thru 5 : 7
    6 thru 10 : 3
    Greater than 10: 1

    Over his career as the Yankees finisher they were 41 games over Pythagorean or 2.7 games/ year over Pyth.

  6. #200
    The Boss dougdirt's Avatar
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    Re: Joe Posnanski with more data showing that closers simply don't matter

    Quote Originally Posted by UCBrownsfan View Post
    Mariano Rivera was the Yankees closer from 1997-2011 - 15 years as the main finisher.

    In those 15 years here is the Yankees distribution of wins over Pyth.

    -9 thru -5 : 0
    -4 thru 0 : 4
    1 thru 5 : 7
    6 thru 10 : 3
    Greater than 10: 1

    Over his career as the Yankees finisher they were 41 games over Pythagorean or 2.7 games/ year over Pyth.
    As I posted earlier, Rivera actually was below league average in protecting a 1 run lead. So I don't think we can contribute their pythagorean record to the Rivera factor.

  7. #201
    Five Tool Fool jojo's Avatar
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    Re: Joe Posnanski with more data showing that closers simply don't matter

    Quote Originally Posted by fisch11 View Post
    Really the thesis of the article isn't that closers don't matter. The author seems to argue that the best relief arms are misused by labeling them a closer because save situations often times aren't high leverage and the closer role could be filled by many options in those circumstances.

    I think the author's true quibble is with the definition of a save.
    "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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