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

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

    Because baseball is played in the real world and not on paper or in a computer program, pressure and resiliance to stress play a huge factor. Any theories on "objectivity" are a moot point. A pitchers perception is his reality. All outs are NOT created equal.
    Everything that can be counted does not necessarily count; everything that counts cannot necessarily be counted.

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

    Quote Originally Posted by bucksfan2 View Post
    What is worse, 3 runs scored against you in the top of the first or 3 runs scored in the top of the 9th in a 0-0 game?
    Exactly.

    The reason why later innings are higher leverage is because there is less time for a team to come back. All runs are not equal. Runs scored late in a game are worth more.

    If you score a run in the first inning of a tied game, it does little to change the odds of who will win the game. Score a run in the ninth of a tie game, and you've greatly changed the odds of who will win the game. Again, not all runs are equal, and not all innings are equal. Closers matter, big time.
    "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 Trajinous View Post
    Great stats, thanks for the knowledge drop! Where did you find those stats?

    .
    Just go to baseball reference. Find a players page then click on splits. It will all be broken down there on one page. You can do year or career.

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

    Quote Originally Posted by 757690 View Post
    Exactly.

    The reason why later innings are higher leverage is because there is less time for a team to come back. All runs are not equal. Runs scored late in a game are worth more.

    If you score a run in the first inning of a tied game, it does little to change the odds of who will win the game. Score a run in the ninth of a tie game, and you've greatly changed the odds of who will win the game. Again, not all runs are equal, and not all innings are equal. Closers matter, big time.
    Absolutely true and I gotta agree. My argument is Chapman should be a starter over closer. You're right that runs scored later are "bigger" since there's less time to come back. Having Chapman start could give our team a low scoring game, hence a better chance to win by going 5-7 innings.

    A closer is only useful if your team has the lead. Since every team loses 60+ games a year, there's 50 games a closer isn't useful and having a dominant closer a non-factor. Closers matter, but not big time. Closers don't lead to wins, starting pitchers do though. After living through Cordero, I thought Reds fans have learned this lesson.

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

    There may be some lessons learned this season.
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    Re: Joe Posnanski with more data showing that closers simply don't matter

    Quote Originally Posted by RadfordVA View Post
    Cueto faced 529 batters in a game within one run. Champman 124. Just depends on ones definition of high leverage.
    This is a little bit misleading, since every game starts 0-0 but no game ends 0-0.
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    Re: Joe Posnanski with more data showing that closers simply don't matter

    Quote Originally Posted by Plus Plus View Post
    This is a little bit misleading, since every game starts 0-0 but no game ends 0-0.
    Yeah wasn't leading anywhere with it. Just giving the stats he was seeking. I would lean toward the actual high leverage stat as indication of high pressure situations.

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

    Quote Originally Posted by 757690 View Post
    Exactly.

    The reason why later innings are higher leverage is because there is less time for a team to come back. All runs are not equal. Runs scored late in a game are worth more.

    If you score a run in the first inning of a tied game, it does little to change the odds of who will win the game. Score a run in the ninth of a tie game, and you've greatly changed the odds of who will win the game. Again, not all runs are equal, and not all innings are equal. Closers matter, big time.
    If you didn't give up the runs early you wouldn't have to come back at all. If you don't give up runs early then it will be the other team trying to come back.

    The only thing that matters is how many runs you give up, not when you give them up.

    I think you are leaving out a huge part of the analysis. You are focusing only on games that are tied near the end, which is a small percentage of games. You can't whittle out all the games that are not close in the late innings. If only the late inning runs counted then why do they play the first few innings? Many games are not even close in the late innings, which makes late runs worth much less in those games. If your starter gives up too many runs early then it makes the late inning runs meaningless.

    You are saying the value of a run in a game tied 3-3 in the 9th inning is worth more, yet if one of those runs had not been scored in the early innings the score wouldn't be 3-3 in the 9th inning it would be 3-2. The value of the runs that have already been scored is exactly the same as the value of a run scored in the 9th inning.

    A run saved in the first inning means you will have a bigger lead in the 9th inning.

    A run scored early has exactly the same value as a run scored late.

    The goal is to allow as few runs as possible for the entire game and for the entire season. The best way to do that is to have as many innings as possible thrown by your best pitchers and as few innings as possible thrown by your weakest pitchers. Using one of your best pitchers to throw only 60 innings per season means that a whole bunch of extra innings will have to be thrown by weaker pitchers, which means your team is going to give up more runs per game, which means that in the late innings you will have fewer leads and you will have smaller leads than if you had allocated your innings more wisely.

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  12. #129
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    Re: Joe Posnanski with more data showing that closers simply don't matter

    Quote Originally Posted by AtomicDumpling View Post
    If you didn't give up the runs early you wouldn't have to come back at all. If you don't give up runs early then it will be the other team trying to come back.

    The only thing that matters is how many runs you give up, not when you give them up.

    I think you are leaving out a huge part of the analysis. You are focusing only on games that are tied near the end, which is a small percentage of games. You can't whittle out all the games that are not close in the late innings. If only the late inning runs counted then why do they play the first few innings? Many games are not even close in the late innings, which makes late runs worth much less in those games. If your starter gives up too many runs early then it makes the late inning runs meaningless.

    You are saying the value of a run in a game tied 3-3 in the 9th inning is worth more, yet if one of those runs had not been scored in the early innings the score wouldn't be 3-3 in the 9th inning it would be 3-2. The value of the runs that have already been scored is exactly the same as the value of a run scored in the 9th inning.

    A run saved in the first inning means you will have a bigger lead in the 9th inning.

    A run scored early has exactly the same value as a run scored late.

    The goal is to allow as few runs as possible for the entire game and for the entire season. The best way to do that is to have as many innings as possible thrown by your best pitchers and as few innings as possible thrown by your weakest pitchers. Using one of your best pitchers to throw only 60 innings per season means that a whole bunch of extra innings will have to be thrown by weaker pitchers, which means your team is going to give up more runs per game, which means that in the late innings you will have fewer leads and you will have smaller leads than if you had allocated your innings more wisely.
    So your telling me in a tie game it doesn't matter when you score runs. Scoring 3 runs in the first inning of a tie game is the same as scoring 3 runs in the 8th inning of a tie game?

    It doesn't matter how you get to a tie game. It doesn't matter if you should have scored runs earlier, that is ancient history. What matters is what happens and when it happens. What you described is nice theory but it doesn't really mesh with what happens on the field.

    I would imagine if you ask any player, coach, manager, etc. which is a bigger detriment 3 runs scored early in the game as opposed to 3 runs late they without hesitation would tell you the runs scored late. Sport is played in the present. Decisions are made based upon what is happening now, not what happened in the happened in the past or what should have happened.

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

    Quote Originally Posted by AtomicDumpling View Post
    Using one of your best pitchers to throw only 60 innings per season means that a whole bunch of extra innings will have to be thrown by weaker pitchers, which means your team is going to give up more runs per game, which means that in the late innings you will have fewer leads and you will have smaller leads than if you had allocated your innings more wisely.
    Completely agree.

    What is more valuable? Chapman with 36 saves or 18 Quality Starts? Starting pitching is flat-out worth more. It's the closest role in baseball where one guy can single-handedly win a game. Chapman has that potential to hold teams to 1 run over 7 innings, he needs to start.

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

    Quote Originally Posted by bucksfan2 View Post
    So your telling me in a tie game it doesn't matter when you score runs. Scoring 3 runs in the first inning of a tie game is the same as scoring 3 runs in the 8th inning of a tie game?

    It doesn't matter how you get to a tie game. It doesn't matter if you should have scored runs earlier, that is ancient history. What matters is what happens and when it happens. What you described is nice theory but it doesn't really mesh with what happens on the field.

    I would imagine if you ask any player, coach, manager, etc. which is a bigger detriment 3 runs scored early in the game as opposed to 3 runs late they without hesitation would tell you the runs scored late. Sport is played in the present. Decisions are made based upon what is happening now, not what happened in the happened in the past or what should have happened.
    I am saying it matters how many runs you score in the game, not when you score them.

    Similarly, it only matters how many runs you allow in a game, not when you allow them.

    You want to focus only on the rare game that is tied in the 8th inning. I want to take into account all types of games.

    If you ask any player, coach, manager, etc. if they would rather have a lead in the 8th inning or be tied in the 8th inning without hesitation they would tell you the lead would be better.

    If you use your best pitchers early you are more likely to be ahead in the 8th inning instead of tied.
    If you use your stud pitcher for 5 innings instead of 1 inning you are more likely to be ahead in the 8th inning instead of tied.


    Question: You are managing the Reds tonight and are given a choice between A) scoring 5 runs in the game, all coming in the 1st inning (giving the other team the rest of the game to come back); or B) scoring 4 runs in the game all coming in the bottom of the 9th inning. Which option would you choose?
    Last edited by AtomicDumpling; 03-15-2013 at 03:19 PM.

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

    Quote Originally Posted by AtomicDumpling View Post
    I am saying it matters how many runs you score in the game, not when you score them.

    Similarly, it only matters how many runs you allow in a game, not when you allow them.

    You want to focus only on the rare game that is tied in the 8th inning. I want to take into account all types of games.

    If you ask any player, coach, manager, etc. if they would rather have a lead in the 8th inning or be tied in the 8th inning without hesitation they would tell you the lead would be better.

    If you use your best pitchers early you are more likely to be ahead in the 8th inning instead of tied.
    If you use your stud pitcher for 5 innings instead of 1 inning you are more likely to be ahead in the 8th inning instead of tied.
    If you're talking about within a particular game, I can agree. In this case though, I think we're talking about when the runs (or run prevention) are scored over the course of the season. In that case, I think it's pretty clear that it matters when and in what games guys are used.

    Going back to the OP, I wonder why they don't just do an analysis of teams that have good closers and teams that don't. Does one win more? Does one hold leads better? Do they outperform pythag more often?
    If that's too subjective, do it about the closers who get paid. Do teams that pay a closer 8+ mil a season do better in those situations? How much better?

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

    Quote Originally Posted by AtomicDumpling View Post
    If you didn't give up the runs early you wouldn't have to come back at all. If you don't give up runs early then it will be the other team trying to come back.

    The only thing that matters is how many runs you give up, not when you give them up.

    I think you are leaving out a huge part of the analysis. You are focusing only on games that are tied near the end, which is a small percentage of games. You can't whittle out all the games that are not close in the late innings. If only the late inning runs counted then why do they play the first few innings? Many games are not even close in the late innings, which makes late runs worth much less in those games. If your starter gives up too many runs early then it makes the late inning runs meaningless.

    You are saying the value of a run in a game tied 3-3 in the 9th inning is worth more, yet if one of those runs had not been scored in the early innings the score wouldn't be 3-3 in the 9th inning it would be 3-2. The value of the runs that have already been scored is exactly the same as the value of a run scored in the 9th inning.

    A run saved in the first inning means you will have a bigger lead in the 9th inning.

    A run scored early has exactly the same value as a run scored late.

    The goal is to allow as few runs as possible for the entire game and for the entire season. The best way to do that is to have as many innings as possible thrown by your best pitchers and as few innings as possible thrown by your weakest pitchers. Using one of your best pitchers to throw only 60 innings per season means that a whole bunch of extra innings will have to be thrown by weaker pitchers, which means your team is going to give up more runs per game, which means that in the late innings you will have fewer leads and you will have smaller leads than if you had allocated your innings more wisely.
    I'm not making this out of thin air. It's established, logical, statistical fact. Runs scored later in a game are worth more, because there is less time for the other team to counter them with more runs. Each new inning in progression becomes more and more important in terms of deciding the outcome of the game.

    Just look at Fangraph's win % stat that they post throughout the game. When a a team scores a run in the first inning, the % barely moves from 50%. When a team scores a run in the later innings, it swings that % much more drastically.

    And here's the most relevant part to this discussion. When a team scores a run in the bottom of the ninth of a tied game, it moves the % to 100%. Even if that only happens 5 times a season, that's a 5 win swing. Closers are important... big time.
    "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
    I'm not making this out of thin air. It's established, logical, statistical fact. Runs scored later in a game are worth more, because there is less time for the other team to counter them with more runs. Each new inning in progression becomes more and more important in terms of deciding the outcome of the game.

    Just look at Fangraph's win % stat that they post throughout the game. When a a team scores a run in the first inning, the % barely moves from 50%. When a team scores a run in the later innings, it swings that % much more drastically.

    And here's the most relevant part to this discussion. When a team scores a run in the bottom of the ninth of a tied game, it moves the % to 100%. Even if that only happens 5 times a season, that's a 5 win swing. Closers are important... big time.
    That Win % stat does not indicate runs are more valuable in the later innings. Win expectancy and run values are two different things.

    The run that swings a Win % to 100% is no more valuable than a run scored earlier. You have to have both to win the game. Take either one away and the Win % is no longer 100%.

    What percent of games are decided by a run in the bottom of the 9th inning? Not many at all. The vast majority of games are decided by runs scored earlier in the game.

    Closers are important but no more important than any other pitcher, and certainly less important than the pitchers who throw more innings.

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

    Quote Originally Posted by AtomicDumpling View Post
    That Win % stat does not indicate runs are more valuable in the later innings. Win expectancy and run values are two different things.

    The run that swings a Win % to 100% is no more valuable than a run scored earlier. You have to have both to win the game. Take either one away and the Win % is no longer 100%.

    What percent of games are decided by a run in the bottom of the 9th inning? Not many at all. The vast majority of games are decided by runs scored earlier in the game.

    Closers are important but no more important than any other pitcher, and certainly less important than the pitchers who throw more innings.
    Every event in a baseball game leads to it's outcome. Take away any event, and the outcome will be different. Take away a HBP in the 2nd inning, and then the batter who drove in the winning run in the 9th, never bats in the 9th, and the game is lost. Take away the grounds crew raking the infield, and certain groundballs become errors, and lead to runs and change the score of the game.

    Just because two events both lead to a game's outcome doesn't mean they are worth the same, or were equally important to that game's outcome. A run scored in the first inning is very important, as are all runs. However, it is not as important as one that is scored in later innings.

    I agree starters are more valuable than most relievers, because of the numbers of innings pitcher. However, Cameron at Fangraph's did a piece last season on the value of closers once you factor in the leverage of their innings. He discovered that really good closers were as valuable as #1 starters.
    "Man, the pitch looks fast, even in slow motion." Thom Brennaman on Chapman's fastball.

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