Turn Off Ads?
Page 5 of 7 FirstFirst 1234567 LastLast
Results 61 to 75 of 94

Thread: Closer for 2012

  1. #61
    Member
    Join Date
    May 2000
    Location
    The Bush Leagues
    Posts
    9,111

    Re: Closer for 2012

    Quote Originally Posted by RedsManRick View Post
    I don't understand this statement.

    And no, 1 reliever does NOT make a bullpen elite -- getting to the 9th inning with a lead matters more than being marginally better at closing the door. And we're not talking about entire bullpens. Show me a team with a great closer and 5 or 6 mediocre relievers and I'll show you a mediocre bullpen.

    Don't get me wrong, I'm not in love with our bullpen. But giving millions of dollars to a mediocre "closer" like Cordero is not the path to excellence. It'd be one thing if we were talking about a truly elite reliever, like Craig Kimbrel. But we're not.
    I don't want to pick up Cordero's option. And I'd love Kimbrel.

    My point is that small market teams think this is the one area where it's a waste to spend cash because A) closers can be created out of whole cloth and B) they're overrated anyhow.

    My point is that they're not as common as you'd think and they're extremely important.

    As for set-up guys, I think a great closer makes for great set-up guys but that's only an anectdotal conclusion.
    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

  2. Turn Off Ads?
  3. #62
    Stat Wanker Hodiernus RedsManRick's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    Location
    Chicago, IL
    Posts
    15,984

    Re: Closer for 2012

    Quote Originally Posted by Rojo View Post
    My point is that they're not as common as you'd think and they're extremely important.

    As for set-up guys, I think a great closer makes for great set-up guys but that's only an anectdotal conclusion.
    We'll have to agree to disagree here. I think great closers are essentially as common as great relievers. That is to say, I don't think "closing" is a skill different from "setting up". Guys who can't handle pressure either don't make it to the majors or don't stay there for long. And guys who flame out in limited opportunity as closers aren't necessarily failing because closing is different. It could very well just be a function of the fact that all pitchers struggle from time to time. Give enough pitchers an opportunity to close and a few of them are going to blow some games early on. It doesn't mean they can't close, just that they pitched poorly a few times -- and usually those guys aren't afforded the opportunity for the sample size to get big enough for it all to average out.

    Your second statement strikes me as just silly. Put Mariano Rivera on the Reds and Nick Masset and Logan Ondrusek aren't going to pitch any better. Sure, the bullpen as a whole is better, but that's just because you've added a great pitcher. I don't see a multiplicative effect. Apparently you do -- I'd be curious to learn more about what you've observed. If you're just referencing the benefit having somebody who can bail out lesser pitchers out of a jam, then whether or not that guy is your "closer" or not is irrelevant. In anything, it might be a disadvantage if that guy had the closer label because managers may be less inclined to bring him in to that crucial situation in the 7th or 8th when the game is really on the line.

    Having a relief ace like a Mike Marshall or Bruce Sutter who can take the ball from the starter in the 7th and finish the game himself is a huge asset. Having a guy who can come in with the bases empty in the 9th and just needs to get 3 outs before the other team scores 2+ runs, not quite so much.
    Last edited by RedsManRick; 09-08-2011 at 03:46 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. #63
    Vavasor TRF's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2000
    Location
    Amarillo, TX
    Posts
    13,371

    Re: Closer for 2012

    Quote Originally Posted by RedsManRick View Post
    We'll have to agree to disagree here. I think great closers are essentially as common as great relievers. That is to say, I don't think "closing" is a skill different from "setting up". Guys who can't handle pressure either don't make it to the majors or don't stay there for long. And guys who flame out in limited opportunity as closers aren't necessarily failing because closing is different. It could very well just be a function of the fact that all pitchers struggle from time to time. Give enough pitchers an opportunity to close and a few of them are going to blow some games early on. It doesn't mean they can't close, just that they pitched poorly a few times -- and usually those guys aren't afforded the opportunity for the sample size to get big enough for it all to average out.

    Your second statement strikes me as just silly. Put Mariano Rivera on the Reds and Nick Masset and Logan Ondrusek aren't going to pitch any better. Sure, the bullpen as a whole is better, but that's just because you've added a great pitcher. I don't see a multiplicative effect. Apparently you do -- I'd be curious to learn more about what you've observed. If you're just referencing the benefit having somebody who can bail out lesser pitchers out of a jam, then whether or not that guy is your "closer" or not is irrelevant. In anything, it might be a disadvantage if that guy had the closer label because managers may be less inclined to bring him in to that crucial situation in the 7th or 8th when the game is really on the line.

    Having a relief ace like a Mike Marshall or Bruce Sutter who can take the ball from the starter in the 7th and finish the game himself is a huge asset. Having a guy who can come in with the bases empty in the 9th and just needs to get 3 outs before the other team scores 2+ runs, not quite so much.
    I could not disagree with you more, and I advocate a closer by committee.

    Some people perform better under pressure. They just do. In every occupation we see this. Now, can we measure it? I have no idea. But I do know that it exists. Aside from how the "book" tells managers how to use their designated closers, those managers know. They know if a closer has the mental toughness to go in there with a 1 run lead and get three outs when the meat of the order is up. IS Cordero that guy? Well, yeah as compared to the previous closer, David Weathers, in regards to stuff. But as for mentality? I'd go with Weathers. Calmer. nothing seemed to faze him. Cordero gets fiery, sometimes too fiery.

    Some guys are born to the role. Papelbon springs to mind. Some could never really handle that role, Like a Jon Rauch, who should have been a hammer. The thought of ruining 8 innings of work in 3 AB's or less... Some guys are more comfortable in that 7th inning role even if the situation is similar. Its a mindset.
    Suck it up cupcake.

  5. #64
    Stat Wanker Hodiernus RedsManRick's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    Location
    Chicago, IL
    Posts
    15,984

    Re: Closer for 2012

    Quote Originally Posted by TRF View Post
    I could not disagree with you more, and I advocate a closer by committee.

    Some people perform better under pressure. They just do. In every occupation we see this. Now, can we measure it? I have no idea. But I do know that it exists. Aside from how the "book" tells managers how to use their designated closers, those managers know. They know if a closer has the mental toughness to go in there with a 1 run lead and get three outs when the meat of the order is up. IS Cordero that guy? Well, yeah as compared to the previous closer, David Weathers, in regards to stuff. But as for mentality? I'd go with Weathers. Calmer. nothing seemed to faze him. Cordero gets fiery, sometimes too fiery.

    Some guys are born to the role. Papelbon springs to mind. Some could never really handle that role, Like a Jon Rauch, who should have been a hammer. The thought of ruining 8 innings of work in 3 AB's or less... Some guys are more comfortable in that 7th inning role even if the situation is similar. Its a mindset.
    Except MLB isn't an industry, all of professional baseball is. MLB is the top 600 guys in the profession. A BIG factor in becoming part of that 600 and becoming an effective part of that 600 is an ability to handle pressure.

    Frankly, I don't know that managers actually know that. I imagine they think they do. And I imagine that some guys are more comfortable in some situations than in others. But we don't know if those things actually affect performance. But to take just a few examples:

    Mariano Rivera
    Save situations: .202/.250/.272, .522 OPS
    Non-save situations: .213/.269/.297, .567 OPS
    17 points of OPS better when "under pressure"

    Trevor Hoffman
    Save situations: .203/.251/.336, .587 OPS
    Non-save situations: .225/.293/.353, .646 OPS
    59 points of OPS better when "under pressure"

    Jonathan Papelbon
    Save situations: .197/.260/.301, .561 OPS
    Non-save situations: .208/.259/.316, .575 OPS
    14 points of OPS worse when "under pressure"

    Fransisco Cordero
    Save situations: .242/.324/.351, .674 OPS
    Non-save situations: .229/.318/.334, .652 OPS
    22 points of OPS worse when "under pressure"

    Wow, Coco's mental edge really shows. But what if it's not about performing better, it's just not performing worse? Let's look at some guys who have a reputation for not having the mentality and see how they fare.

    Kyle Farnsworth
    Save situations: .244/.321/.398, .719 OPS
    Non-save situations: .241/.317/.385, .702 OPS
    17 points of OPS worse when "under pressure"

    Jon Rauch
    Save situations: .251/.289/.422, .711 OPS
    Non-save situations: .242/.305/.382, .687 OPS
    24 points of OPS worse when "under pressure"

    (I wanted to look at Weathers and LaTroy Hawkins, but their data is skewed by having significant amounts of innings in games they started, which would seriously bias this split)

    I'd have to look at a lot more pitchers than just this handful of guys to get a full picture, but suffice it to say that it's highly likely that many guys we view as having the "closer mentality" don't actually perform like you'd expect and vice versa. It's a fun narrative, but to me it seems riddled with confirmation bias. We give a guy a label early on and then whatever happens, we find a way to explain it using the narrative we've constructed.

    Is Cordero is a better closer than David Weathers because because he's especially mentally tough -- or is he just a better pitcher regardless of circumstance?

    But besides that, what really makes relievers feel pressure? Which is greater pressure -- getting out of a bases loaded jam in the 7th or getting 3 outs with the bases empty in the 9th? If I've got one greater reliever, I'm using him in the 7th there. And if I'm building a roster, I'm not going to pay extra for a guy just because he's saved games. I'll pay the guy for his ability to get outs. And if by chance, I come across a guy who has a long track record of falling apart in "high pressure" situations, well, I probably wouldn't sign him to begin with.

    One more for the road...

    Nick Masset
    Save situations: .264/.338/.353, .691 OPS
    Non-save situations: .262/.338/.390, .728 OPS
    37 points of OPS better when "under pressure"

    Looks like we have our next closer already in our midst!
    Last edited by RedsManRick; 09-08-2011 at 07:10 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.

  6. #65
    Member
    Join Date
    May 2000
    Location
    The Bush Leagues
    Posts
    9,111

    Re: Closer for 2012

    Quote Originally Posted by RedsManRick View Post
    Your second statement strikes me as just silly. Put Mariano Rivera on the Reds and Nick Masset and Logan Ondrusek aren't going to pitch any better. Sure, the bullpen as a whole is better, but that's just because you've added a great pitcher. I don't see a multiplicative effect. Apparently you do -- I'd be curious to learn more about what you've observed. If you're just referencing the benefit having somebody who can bail out lesser pitchers out of a jam, then whether or not that guy is your "closer" or not is irrelevant.
    Ballplayers are silly. They like having roles.

    And adding a great closer is like adding a 1A pitcher -- because everyone else gets knocked down a notch, you've improved your rotation/bullpen.
    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

  7. #66
    Stat Wanker Hodiernus RedsManRick's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    Location
    Chicago, IL
    Posts
    15,984

    Re: Closer for 2012

    Quote Originally Posted by Rojo View Post
    Ballplayers are silly. They like having roles.

    And adding a great closer is like adding a 1A pitcher -- because everyone else gets knocked down a notch, you've improved your rotation/bullpen.
    And yet somehow games got "saved" before the closer was invented 30 years ago. You can have clear roles without defining them based on an arbitrary statistic that is not aligned with what's best for the team.

    I'm all for having an "ace" reliever. I just don't define that by saves, which is how closers are defined.
    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.

  8. #67
    High five! nate's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Location
    Irvine, CA
    Posts
    6,976

    Re: Closer for 2012

    Quote Originally Posted by RedsManRick View Post
    I'd have to look at a lot more pitchers than just this handful of guys to get a full picture, but suffice it to say that it's highly likely that many guys we view as having the "closer mentality" don't actually perform like you'd expect and vice versa. It's a fun narrative, but to me it seems riddled with confirmation bias. We give a guy a label early on and then whatever happens, we find a way to explain it using the narrative we've constructed.
    This is the essence of how I feel about it. Well said.

    High five!
    "Bring on Rod Stupid!"

  9. #68
    Vavasor TRF's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2000
    Location
    Amarillo, TX
    Posts
    13,371

    Re: Closer for 2012

    RMR snarkiness aside, Farnsworth is seeing his first real shot at closing at 35. Why do you suppose that is? Could be the Rays had no one else. Maybe every manager he ever had realized his head wasn't suited for closing. or maybe it was his career 3.7 BB/9 that did it.

    Nice job cherry picking closers with HOF credentials though. Why not Jon Rauch? He's had numerous opportunities as a closer, and yet seems to never stick in the role. Jason Motte has been talked about as a future closer for 3-4 years now. I think he'd be a good one, but LaRussa and Duncan have only given him limited opportunities. What about Octavio Dotel? He's a curious case.

    You keep eliminating the human element. The role is defined. It doesn't matter how it was defined in the 30's, 40's and 50's. it is a defined role now. that role bears some psychological weight, whether that weight is real or imagined, it is there. Some guys are suited to it some aren't. It doesn't mean Baker can't bring in Ondrusek for a save once and a while. It means maybe he shouldn't do it all that often.
    Suck it up cupcake.

  10. #69
    Stat Wanker Hodiernus RedsManRick's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    Location
    Chicago, IL
    Posts
    15,984

    Re: Closer for 2012

    Quote Originally Posted by TRF View Post
    RMR snarkiness aside, Farnsworth is seeing his first real shot at closing at 35. Why do you suppose that is? Could be the Rays had no one else. Maybe every manager he ever had realized his head wasn't suited for closing. or maybe it was his career 3.7 BB/9 that did it.
    Since 2000, 40 men have saved 100 games. 15 of those 40 (37.%) have a BB/9 in that time over 3.7, including Cordero (and Jose Valverde, who is perfect in save opps this year). Maybe Farnsworth hasn't been a closer because early in his career, he failed to capitalize on an opportunity to close. In doing so, he created a narrative in which he lacked some special ability to be a closer. Because of that narrative, managers refused to give him additional opportunities. It's a feedback loop.

    Could the reason the Rays had no else is because they chose to not have anybody else when they realized it was a waste of money to pay a nominal "closer" extra money when they could just get a quality reliever and get the job done?

    Nice job cherry picking closers with HOF credentials though. Why not Jon Rauch? He's had numerous opportunities as a closer, and yet seems to never stick in the role. Jason Motte has been talked about as a future closer for 3-4 years now. I think he'd be a good one, but LaRussa and Duncan have only given him limited opportunities. What about Octavio Dotel? He's a curious case.
    I think you missed the point with those stats. It wasn't meant to be an objective study, merely an illustration, a counter-factual. Here it is more plainly. There's is much more variation between how effective various pitchers are overall than how pitchers pitch relatively to themselves in save situations. That is to say, a guy with a .600 OPS against who generally struggles relative to his ability in save situations (player A) is still likely to pitch better in save situations than a guy with a .700 OPS against who does relative well in them (player B). Pitcher skill is paramount. So even if there is some demonstrated ability to pitch relatively well in save situations, it's a secondary consideration at best. If I'm deciding who to give money to, I'd much rather give $5M to player A to be my closer than give $10M to player B.

    There are guys like Cordero, like Jonathan Papelbon who have the "closer" label but who have demonstrated no more extra skill in saving games than have guys who aren't viewed as closer material, like Rauch and Farnsworth. What distinguishes these guys is their overall ability to get outs, not a special ability to get outs in save situations.

    That is to say, being labeled a closer appears to be as much a function of early success and narrative than some demonstrable ability to perform well in the clutch. If you want to find a closer, find a guy who gets outs, period. I have yet to come across a guy who is a great pitcher but who just falls apart as a closer. And yet, teams continue to run out mediocre pitchers who are less effective as their closer because of perceived clutchiness.

    Consider the standard "clutch" conversation for hitters. This is basically the same thing. The only difference is that teams are willing to pay relievers 2 or 3 fold what they would otherwise pay them for their clutchiness. Imagine if we signed an 750 OPS bat to a $12MM contract to be our cleanup hitter because he put up an 800 OPS in the 7-9th innings. That's what we do with closers -- and often we don't even see them put up better performance, we just assert that they "have what it takes."

    You keep eliminating the human element. The role is defined. It doesn't matter how it was defined in the 30's, 40's and 50's. it is a defined role now. that role bears some psychological weight, whether that weight is real or imagined, it is there. Some guys are suited to it some aren't. It doesn't mean Baker can't bring in Ondrusek for a save once and a while. It means maybe he shouldn't do it all that often.
    Asserting it over and over again doesn't make it so. I have no doubt that pitchers feel more comfortable with defined roles and that one of those roles is called closer. That doesn't mean having a defined role makes them actually pitch any better. It's logical, but again, that doesn't make it true. And to the point of having a defined role, why does that role have be defined by the save statistic. Why can't the role be redefined? Clearly it's been done before. Tell a guy his role is to be the relief ace who comes in to get crucial outs and you've given him a role that is in better alignment with what would most benefit the team.

    Lastly, you are assuming that managers are making the decisions that actually most benefit the team. I don't think they (always) do. As you said, they're human. They have interests beyond maximizing the results on the field. They care about their players' feelings and want to protect them. They care about their job security and don't want to put their own butt on the line by doing something that is perceived as risky. Right or wrong, if Ryan Franklin blows a save, it's Ryan Franklin's fault. If Jason Motte does, it's Tony LaRussa's fault. For many managers, marginal benefits on the field are outweighed by the perception of those benefits by the broader public and/or management. It's the same reason most NFL teams punt on 4th & 1 from the 40 yard line. Most do it; that doesn't mean it's the wise thing to do.

    I'll let it die here. I think we're both pretty well set it how we view this and I don't want to beat it to death any more than I already have.
    Last edited by RedsManRick; 09-09-2011 at 01:44 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.

  11. #70
    Mr. Underhill signalhome's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Manchester, KY
    Posts
    441

    Re: Closer for 2012

    Quote Originally Posted by TRF View Post
    RMR snarkiness aside, Farnsworth is seeing his first real shot at closing at 35. Why do you suppose that is? Could be the Rays had no one else. Maybe every manager he ever had realized his head wasn't suited for closing. or maybe it was his career 3.7 BB/9 that did it.

    Nice job cherry picking closers with HOF credentials though. Why not Jon Rauch? He's had numerous opportunities as a closer, and yet seems to never stick in the role. Jason Motte has been talked about as a future closer for 3-4 years now. I think he'd be a good one, but LaRussa and Duncan have only given him limited opportunities. What about Octavio Dotel? He's a curious case.

    You keep eliminating the human element. The role is defined. It doesn't matter how it was defined in the 30's, 40's and 50's. it is a defined role now. that role bears some psychological weight, whether that weight is real or imagined, it is there. Some guys are suited to it some aren't. It doesn't mean Baker can't bring in Ondrusek for a save once and a while. It means maybe he shouldn't do it all that often.
    RMR did take a look at Rauch, as well as Farnsworth. He didn't cherry-pick HOF players.

    Kyle Farnsworth
    Save situations: .244/.321/.398, .719 OPS
    Non-save situations: .241/.317/.385, .702 OPS
    17 points of OPS worse when "under pressure"

    Jon Rauch
    Save situations: .251/.289/.422, .711 OPS
    Non-save situations: .242/.305/.382, .687 OPS
    24 points of OPS worse when "under pressure"

    I'd rather see their K/9, BB/9, and xFIP when split into these two situations, but these numbers give a pretty good ballpark estimate. It seems that these guys are pretty much the same regardless of situation.

  12. #71
    Vavasor TRF's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2000
    Location
    Amarillo, TX
    Posts
    13,371

    Re: Closer for 2012

    Quote Originally Posted by signalhome View Post
    RMR did take a look at Rauch, as well as Farnsworth. He didn't cherry-pick HOF players.

    Kyle Farnsworth
    Save situations: .244/.321/.398, .719 OPS
    Non-save situations: .241/.317/.385, .702 OPS
    17 points of OPS worse when "under pressure"

    Jon Rauch
    Save situations: .251/.289/.422, .711 OPS
    Non-save situations: .242/.305/.382, .687 OPS
    24 points of OPS worse when "under pressure"

    I'd rather see their K/9, BB/9, and xFIP when split into these two situations, but these numbers give a pretty good ballpark estimate. It seems that these guys are pretty much the same regardless of situation.
    maybe. depends on if those are this year's numbers or career numbers. Rauch and Farnsworth had some fairly mediocre years closing prior to 2011, which may be why they never kept that role for very long.

    like RMR.. agree to disagree.
    Suck it up cupcake.

  13. #72
    Member
    Join Date
    May 2000
    Location
    The Bush Leagues
    Posts
    9,111

    Re: Closer for 2012

    Quote Originally Posted by RedsManRick View Post
    And yet somehow games got "saved" before the closer was invented 30 years ago.
    Yes, and somehow runs were scored before people cared about on-base percentage.

    Admittedly LaRussa and others have over-defined roles and the definition of a save is overly broad but it is an innovation nonetheless and can be used to tilt the odds.
    Last edited by Rojo; 09-09-2011 at 05:50 PM.
    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

  14. #73
    Stat Wanker Hodiernus RedsManRick's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    Location
    Chicago, IL
    Posts
    15,984

    Re: Closer for 2012

    Quote Originally Posted by Rojo View Post
    Yes, and somehow runs were scored before people cared about on-base percentage.
    If only managers utilized their position players' based on their OBP with the same fervor they do with closers.

    Admittedly LaRussa and others have over-defined roles and the definition of a save is overly broad but it is an innovation nonetheless and can can be used to tilt the odds.
    Just because it is an innovation doesn't mean it has improved the odds. I'm with you on the idea that using your best pitchers in the highest leverage situation maximizes their value. I'm not with you that "save opportunity" is a good way for defining a high leverage situation.

    To my knowledge, managers have always used their best relievers to get crucial outs. They used to be referred to as "relief aces". What's changed is that instead of using those guys at any time in relief based on the importance on the situation, we've "overdefined" it. We've made the 9th inning the most important one and determined that a 3 run lead means the game is at risk. But using a really good reliever to protect a bases empty, 3-run lead in the 9th is doing much less to tilt the odds than is using him to protect a bases-loaded, 1-run lead in the 7th.

    Many of a closers' outings are spent slamming doors that are nearly closed already. I'd much rather use my best relievers when the game is really at risk. Sometimes that's the 9th. Often it's not.

    If I could redefine the save, here's how I'd do it:
    - Team is in the lead
    - Reliever enters the game with the go-ahead run on base or at the plate
    - Reliever finishes the inning without giving up the lead (or giving up a run if you prefer)

    That's it. There could be multiple saves per game. It would revolutionize the way relievers are used by aligning the stat with the events that actually matter. You'd see teams start using their best relievers when they need them the most, saving games in an eventful 7th and letting a lesser reliever face the bottom of the order in a quiet 9th.
    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.

  15. #74
    Stat geek...and proud
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    Location
    New Paris, OH
    Posts
    2,562
    Quote Originally Posted by RedsManRick View Post
    If only managers utilized their position players' based on their OBP with the same fervor they do with closers.



    Just because it is an innovation doesn't mean it has improved the odds. I'm with you on the idea that using your best pitchers in the highest leverage situation maximizes their value. I'm not with you that "save opportunity" is a good way for defining a high leverage situation.

    To my knowledge, managers have always used their best relievers to get crucial outs. They used to be referred to as "relief aces". What's changed is that instead of using those guys at any time in relief based on the importance on the situation, we've "overdefined" it. We've made the 9th inning the most important one and determined that a 3 run lead means the game is at risk. But using a really good reliever to protect a bases empty, 3-run lead in the 9th is doing much less to tilt the odds than is using him to protect a bases-loaded, 1-run lead in the 7th.

    Many of a closers' outings are spent slamming doors that are nearly closed already. I'd much rather use my best relievers when the game is really at risk. Sometimes that's the 9th. Often it's not.

    If I could redefine the save, here's how I'd do it:
    - Team is in the lead
    - Reliever enters the game with the go-ahead run on base or at the plate
    - Reliever finishes the inning without giving up the lead (or giving up a run if you prefer)

    That's it. There could be multiple saves per game. It would revolutionize the way relievers are used by aligning the stat with the events that actually matter. You'd see teams start using their best relievers when they need them the most, saving games in an eventful 7th and letting a lesser reliever face the bottom of the order in a quiet 9th.
    That's a fantastic idea, but the baseball flat-earth society won't go for it because it's not "the way it's always been done."

    Sent from my SGH-I897 using Tapatalk
    numbersinthereds.blogspot.com I actually made a post on 7/24/14. I promise.

  16. #75
    Member 757690's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Dayton
    Posts
    10,255

    Re: Closer for 2012

    Quote Originally Posted by RedsManRick View Post
    Except MLB isn't an industry, all of professional baseball is. MLB is the top 600 guys in the profession. A BIG factor in becoming part of that 600 and becoming an effective part of that 600 is an ability to handle pressure.

    Frankly, I don't know that managers actually know that. I imagine they think they do. And I imagine that some guys are more comfortable in some situations than in others. But we don't know if those things actually affect performance. But to take just a few examples:

    Mariano Rivera
    Save situations: .202/.250/.272, .522 OPS
    Non-save situations: .213/.269/.297, .567 OPS
    17 points of OPS better when "under pressure"

    Trevor Hoffman
    Save situations: .203/.251/.336, .587 OPS
    Non-save situations: .225/.293/.353, .646 OPS
    59 points of OPS better when "under pressure"

    Jonathan Papelbon
    Save situations: .197/.260/.301, .561 OPS
    Non-save situations: .208/.259/.316, .575 OPS
    14 points of OPS worse when "under pressure"

    Fransisco Cordero
    Save situations: .242/.324/.351, .674 OPS
    Non-save situations: .229/.318/.334, .652 OPS
    22 points of OPS worse when "under pressure"

    Wow, Coco's mental edge really shows. But what if it's not about performing better, it's just not performing worse? Let's look at some guys who have a reputation for not having the mentality and see how they fare.

    Kyle Farnsworth
    Save situations: .244/.321/.398, .719 OPS
    Non-save situations: .241/.317/.385, .702 OPS
    17 points of OPS worse when "under pressure"

    Jon Rauch
    Save situations: .251/.289/.422, .711 OPS
    Non-save situations: .242/.305/.382, .687 OPS
    24 points of OPS worse when "under pressure"

    (I wanted to look at Weathers and LaTroy Hawkins, but their data is skewed by having significant amounts of innings in games they started, which would seriously bias this split)

    I'd have to look at a lot more pitchers than just this handful of guys to get a full picture, but suffice it to say that it's highly likely that many guys we view as having the "closer mentality" don't actually perform like you'd expect and vice versa. It's a fun narrative, but to me it seems riddled with confirmation bias. We give a guy a label early on and then whatever happens, we find a way to explain it using the narrative we've constructed.

    Is Cordero is a better closer than David Weathers because because he's especially mentally tough -- or is he just a better pitcher regardless of circumstance?

    But besides that, what really makes relievers feel pressure? Which is greater pressure -- getting out of a bases loaded jam in the 7th or getting 3 outs with the bases empty in the 9th? If I've got one greater reliever, I'm using him in the 7th there. And if I'm building a roster, I'm not going to pay extra for a guy just because he's saved games. I'll pay the guy for his ability to get outs. And if by chance, I come across a guy who has a long track record of falling apart in "high pressure" situations, well, I probably wouldn't sign him to begin with.

    One more for the road...

    Nick Masset
    Save situations: .264/.338/.353, .691 OPS
    Non-save situations: .262/.338/.390, .728 OPS
    37 points of OPS better when "under pressure"

    Looks like we have our next closer already in our midst!
    Save situations are rather meaningless in this discussion, considering how absurd the stat is defined. In no way would I ever classify all that constitutes a save situation as "under pressure."

    My take is that there are guys who just aren't good at getting the final three outs of a game their team is winning, while other are, for whatever reason. Arthur Rhodes is a good example of someone who wasn't. I think Carlos Marmol, Frank Francisco and ex-red Mike Jackson are other good examples that I can think of off the top of my head . Jeff Brantley, Jeff Shaw, Bob Stanley, and Tom Hume are good examples of pitchers who can get those last three outs, even though they don't have great stuff.

    It would take a huge effort to find a stat that shows this, but I think there really exists a closer's mentality, the ability to be non-plused by having to get the final outs of a winning game. At the very least, there are guys out there with great stuff, who don't have a closer's mentality.
    "Man, the pitch looks fast, even in slow motion." Thom Brennaman on Chapman's fastball.


Turn Off Ads?

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  

Board Moderators may, at their discretion and judgment, delete and/or edit any messages that violate any of the following guidelines: 1. Explicit references to alleged illegal or unlawful acts. 2. Graphic sexual descriptions. 3. Racial or ethnic slurs. 4. Use of edgy language (including masked profanity). 5. Direct personal attacks, flames, fights, trolling, baiting, name-calling, general nuisance, excessive player criticism or anything along those lines. 6. Posting spam. 7. Each person may have only one user account. It is fine to be critical here - that's what this board is for. But let's not beat a subject or a player to death, please.

Thank you, and most importantly, enjoy yourselves!


RedsZone.com is a privately owned website and is not affiliated with the Cincinnati Reds or Major League Baseball


Contact us: Boss | GIK | BCubb2003 | dabvu2498 | Gallen5862 | LexRedsFan | Plus Plus | RedlegJake | redsfan1995 | The Operator | Tommyjohn25