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

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

Coming from Behind: Patterns of Scoring and Relation to Winning
By David W. Smith

Presented July 16, 2004 at SABR34, Cincinnati, Ohio

http://www.retrosheet.org/Research/S...ingPattern.pdf

Conclusions
• Home teams score more in each of first 8 innings
• Visiting teams score more in each extra inning
• An early lead early is very valuable
• The advent of the closer has not changed late inning success
• Coming from behind and winning in last AB only moderately important
• The most successful teams get the lead and keep it
• Total scoring is by far the best predictor of overall success

2. ## Likes:

Dom Heffner (03-17-2013),TRF (03-19-2013)

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

Originally Posted by Roy Tucker
I went to college, but I'm having a real hard time with what the heck you guys are arguing about.
That's because when you went to college math hadn't been invented yet and history was still current events.

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

Originally Posted by Roy Tucker
I went to college, but I'm having a real hard time with what the heck you guys are arguing about.
Because it's gobbedly gook.

It's pointing out the obvious but misinterpreting its meaning.

Sure, I'd rather have a ten run lead with three outs remainimg than with 27 outs remaining.

To take that and then say that runs are more "valuable" when scored late is a useless observation.

Because you can't "turn up" the intensity to try and score late.

And if you could, doing it early would be just as valuable- in fact, just do it all the time and you'll score a million runs.

This is very bad analysis with zero predictive value.

Again- probablity, distribution. Stats not logic here.

It's like saying in football that scoring points later has more value.

Well, yeah- but you can't make a game plan for that. Late big leads are better than early big leads. That is obvious. We can't take that and do anything with the data. Oh- you mean I just keep the other guy from scoring and then pile on points/runs late? Gosh, why didn't you say so?

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

Originally Posted by westofyou
Coming from Behind: Patterns of Scoring and Relation to Winning
By David W. Smith

Presented July 16, 2004 at SABR34, Cincinnati, Ohio

http://www.retrosheet.org/Research/S...ingPattern.pdf

Conclusions
• Home teams score more in each of first 8 innings
• Visiting teams score more in each extra inning
• An early lead early is very valuable
• The advent of the closer has not changed late inning success
• Coming from behind and winning in last AB only moderately important
• The most successful teams get the lead and keep it
• Total scoring is by far the best predictor of overall success
Scoring more than your opponent. Yes.

Run differential.

Being skilled at taking late leads=impossible.

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

Sans for a few snarky posts, I just wanted to chime in and say that I think this is one of the more interesting threads in a long while in RZ. I'm just sorry that I'm preoccupied this time of year to be able to get my hands dirty and jump in the conversation. But in the meantime, wanted to applaud and thank folks for some interesting reading.

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

Originally Posted by Dom Heffner
Because it's gobbedly gook.

It's pointing out the obvious but misinterpreting its meaning.

Sure, I'd rather have a ten run lead with three outs remainimg than with 27 outs remaining.

To take that and then say that runs are more "valuable" when scored late is a useless observation.

Because you can't "turn up" the intensity to try and score late.

And if you could, doing it early would be just as valuable- in fact, just do it all the time and you'll score a million runs.

This is very bad analysis with zero predictive value.

Again- probablity, distribution. Stats not logic here.

It's like saying in football that scoring points later has more value.

Well, yeah- but you can't make a game plan for that. Late big leads are better than early big leads. That is obvious. We can't take that and do anything with the data. Oh- you mean I just keep the other guy from scoring and then pile on points/runs late? Gosh, why didn't you say so?
In Football, teams have two minute drills, and prevent defenses. In Basketball, teams have different strategies for the end of the game. I imagine the same is true for Hockey, but who really cares, lol?

In baseball, teams have different strategies based on what inning it is, and the score of the game, both for offense and defense. For pretty much all of baseball history, managers have managed the late innings differently, especially on defense.

They left their ace in longer, unless he was struggling. Then they would bring in a young fireballer, or guy with a trick pitch to get key outs. These relievers were very similar to today's relievers, they were failed starters who could thrive in shorter stints. Today, there are virtually no relievers who could be viable starters. They are all failed starters, who guys who never could start.

This notion that teams are only now using closers is absurd and factually wrong. There have always been guys who were used to get key, tough outs. They just were used longer and less frequently.

Teams have always understood that some outs are more valuable to get, in terms of deciding who wins the game, and have always managed the game to take this into account. The only significant difference between now and then is that there are now stats to document this.

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

Friend- a run is a run.

You are arguing circumstances from hindsight.

Your point should be that grabbing a big late lead is valuable.

Well, okay, but what would you like me to do with this?

Don't score early and wait so I score late?

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

In baseball, teams have different strategies based on what inning it is, and the score of the game, both for offense and defense. For pretty much all of baseball history, managers have managed the late innings differently, especially on defense.
Well, yes, you manage differently because 70% of the game has been played.

An unknown circumstance is now known. This shift in circumstances does not increase the value of a run scored late because if the run was scored early, these circumstances now known have shifted and aren't the same.

Is moving ahead of your opponent important late in the game important? Sure.

Is that run more valuable than others? No. It was timely, yes. Not more valuable per se.

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

Originally Posted by Dom Heffner
Well, yes, you manage differently because 70% of the game has been played.

An unknown circumstance is now known. This shift in circumstances does not increase the value of a run scored late because if the run was scored early, these circumstances now known have shifted and aren't the same.

Is moving ahead of your opponent important late in the game important? Sure.

Is that run more valuable than others? No. It was timely, yes. Not more valuable per se.
I think the bolded word is perfect. A run's value is "1" but I still don't think they are all the same. Some runs decrease the other teams morale while some don't. Some runs increase a pitcher's pucker factor more than others. Some runs send messages and some don't.

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

Originally Posted by Dom Heffner
Friend- a run is a run.

You are arguing circumstances from hindsight.

Your point should be that grabbing a big late lead is valuable.

Well, okay, but what would you like me to do with this?

Don't score early and wait so I score late?
I don't think we disagree that much, just you are misinterpreting my point, which is understood, since I doubt I explained it well, lol.

I'm not arguing that teams shouldn't score early. Just that teams need to change their strategy as the game goes on, both on offense and defense. Teams have done that for pretty much the entire history of the game. That's pretty much my only point.

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

Regarding the OP...

Ceteris paribus, wouldn't you expect the late-inning winning percentage to be lower in the 90s and 00s then in earlier decades, given the steroid-fueled offense? And given that, if we find that the winning percentages are the same across decades, it should indicate that the closers were making a difference in those decades.

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

So here is the way to frame this question I believe.

If I were to tell you that on Opening Day (or any given game) I will give the Reds a solo home run in the first or ninth inning. Everything else is an unknown. When would you choose to take it? Or do you truly not care (which is acceptable).

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

Originally Posted by kaldaniels
So here is the way to frame this question I believe.

If I were to tell you that on Opening Day (or any given game) I will give the Reds a solo home run in the first or ninth inning. Everything else is an unknown. When would you choose to take it? Or do you truly not care (which is acceptable).
First. I prefer the Reds to not bat in the 9th inning at home.

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

Originally Posted by kaldaniels
So here is the way to frame this question I believe.

If I were to tell you that on Opening Day (or any given game) I will give the Reds a solo home run in the first or ninth inning. Everything else is an unknown. When would you choose to take it? Or do you truly not care (which is acceptable).

If the Reds are the home team, than my answer may differ than if they are the away team.

If it is the ninth inning, and the Reds are at home, it implies they are tied or losing the game. If I am guarnteed one run, and I know I'm behind or tied, than ii will take that 9th inning run.

If the Reds are the visiting team, I will take that guarenteed run in the first as the team is guarenteed on taking the lead.

The importance of a run can't be measured until after a game is over.

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

This is a moot point.

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