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Aceves named closer


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#51 Sprowl


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Posted 04 April 2012 - 09:45 PM

It's costlier for a closer to hit a batter than for a 7th inning reliever to hit a batter. One thing we know about Tropical Storm Alfredo: he piles up the HBP.

#52 TheGoldenGreek33

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Posted 04 April 2012 - 09:45 PM

For me, it starts and ends with his .235 BABIP over 240 total innings. I just can't wrap my head around the idea that it could be sustainable. I don't think it's a question of whether it'll come up so much as how much. Combining that rise in BABIP with a move to higher leverage innings seems like a recipe for disaster. I am not enthusiastic about this.

Career numbers for Percival, Adams, Soriano and Aceves. Hat tip to Troy Patterson of Fire Brand AL:

Name K/9 BB/9 K/BB HR/9 K% BB% AVG WHIP BABIP LOB% ERA- FIP- xFIP- ERA FIP E-F xFIP tERA SIERA
Mike Adams 9.25 2.60 3.56 0.66 25.80% 7.30% 0.193 1.00 0.246 82.30% 53 72 78 2.11 2.86 -0.75 3.28 2.62 2.87
Rafael Soriano 9.49 2.82 3.37 0.89 26.40% 7.80% 0.195 1.03 0.245 78.70% 67 78 85 2.86 3.30 -0.44 3.68 3.23 3.10
Troy Percival 9.92 3.89 2.55 1.08 26.80% 10.50% 0.186 1.11 0.230 78.10% 69 85 109 3.17 3.87 -0.69 4.82 4.00 4.09
Alfredo Aceves 6.26 2.70 2.32 0.86 17.00% 7.30% 0.211 1.08 0.235 78.40% 66 94 108 2.92 4.08 -1.16 4.54 4.06 4.02

Edited by TheGoldenGreek33, 04 April 2012 - 09:46 PM.


#53 Alcohol&Overcalls

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Posted 04 April 2012 - 09:46 PM

Really

I've seen more "Stuff" guys like Billy Koch, Kyle Farsworth, Bobby Parnell, Bobby Jenks who throw 100mph fail at closer than guys like Trevor Hoffman, Kieth Foulke, Reardon, Eckersly, who were more about make-up who succeeded.


Ah yes, the makeup guys like Foulke (elite change-up, career 8.2 K/9 and 4:1 K/BB ratio) and Dennis Eckersley (whose relief K/9 was over 9, with a ratio while relieving of about 8:1).

I don't think anybody assumes "stuff" is just "velocity" - at least nobody with any sort of scouting background. "Stuff" is usually more like "ability to fool hitters/get strikeouts."

Edited by Alcohol&Overcalls, 04 April 2012 - 09:50 PM.


#54 Plympton91


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Posted 04 April 2012 - 10:26 PM

This thread is schizophrenic. On one side are people who are so sure that Aceves is a lock down middle reliever that they want him to pitch multiple innings instead of just one. On the other side are people arguing Aceves is an average pitcher more likely to have an ERA of 4.00 than 3.00.

I may be mistaken, but it seemed to me that Aceves improved as a pitcher in the second half of last season. His velocity rose some, and his control issues dissipated while his K rate improved.

Another cut of the data I'd like to see is Aceves' stats when he was used in a clear set-up role separte from his stats when brought in to throw multiple innings. Seems to me that he can leave a little more on the mound when he's just throwing 1 inning at a time, and get the K-rate up to 8 or so.

But, taking the worst case scenario, the Sox have a Bob Wickman clone for 4 months. That's a pretty good plan B, and a testament to the depth they've built.

It's baseball season; time to be happy folks.

#55 aron7awol

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Posted 04 April 2012 - 11:17 PM

Career numbers for Percival, Adams, Soriano and Aceves. Hat tip to Troy Patterson of Fire Brand AL:

Name K/9 BB/9 K/BB HR/9 K% BB% AVG WHIP BABIP LOB% ERA- FIP- xFIP- ERA FIP E-F xFIP tERA SIERA
Mike Adams 9.25 2.60 3.56 0.66 25.80% 7.30% 0.193 1.00 0.246 82.30% 53 72 78 2.11 2.86 -0.75 3.28 2.62 2.87
Rafael Soriano 9.49 2.82 3.37 0.89 26.40% 7.80% 0.195 1.03 0.245 78.70% 67 78 85 2.86 3.30 -0.44 3.68 3.23 3.10
Troy Percival 9.92 3.89 2.55 1.08 26.80% 10.50% 0.186 1.11 0.230 78.10% 69 85 109 3.17 3.87 -0.69 4.82 4.00 4.09
Alfredo Aceves 6.26 2.70 2.32 0.86 17.00% 7.30% 0.211 1.08 0.235 78.40% 66 94 108 2.92 4.08 -1.16 4.54 4.06 4.02


First of all, thanks for posting this. I know it's easier to sustain a lower BABIP as a reliever, and these are good examples of guys who have done it. I'd like to add some other important data, however...

Mike Adams has pitched only 311.1 innings (1239 TBF) in his career, has the high K rate usually associated with suppressed BABIP, and his ERA has outperformed his SIERA by 0.76.
Rafael Soriano has pitched only 434.1 innings (1738 TBF) in his career, has the high K rate usually assocaited with suppressed BABIP, and his ERA has outperformed his SIERA by 0.24.
Troy Percival pitched only 708.2 innings (2915 TBF) in his career, had the high K rate usually associated with suppressed BABIP, and his ERA (in the time period where SIERA has been calculated for, 2002 and on) outperformed his SIERA by 0.78.
Alfredo Aceves has pitched only 240 innings (984 TBF) in his career, does not have the high K rate usually associated with suppressed BABIP, and his ERA has outperformed his SIERA by 1.09.

I'm not sure that anyone has actually determined what a large enough sample size is for BABIP to stabilize, but I do know that according to Pizza Cutter's research, the split-half reliability of BABIP at 300 batters faced was .135 and at 750 batters faced was still only .188. Here's the link if you'd like to read the article:
http://web.archive.o...pitching-stats/

Another thing that reduces the samples even smaller for the three guys listed with Aceves is that by definition, high strikeout pitchers will have less balls in play per batters faced. To put the TBF numbers in perspective, many starters face upwards of 900 batters in a season, and Chris Carpenter faced 996 batters in 2011 alone. I think we all know BABIP has a lot of variance from season to season. Percival's 14 year career was the equivalent of only about 3 seasons' worth of starting.

Do I think Adams, Soriano, and Percival possess some BABIP suppressing skill as relievers? Absolutely. Do I think their actual skill level is anywhere near as low as they ended up? No, I think they were all fortunate in their "small" samples.

I've said it before and I'll say it again: There is no reason to think Aceves possesses a skill that allows his him to suppress BABIP anywhere near the level of .235, nor sustain the 2.93 ERA that he has been fortunate to produce so far. Can he improve his peripherals and thus his expected results? Sure. But until then, the smart money is on him turning into a pumpkin. I just hope it doesn't happen while he's the closer.

#56 Savin Hillbilly


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Posted 05 April 2012 - 07:31 AM

Just to zoom in on what I think is the most important point here, all you have to do is look at the very first column in that table and play "Who Don't Fit?" to see why some of us have our doubts about Aceves.

#57 Cumberland Blues

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Posted 05 April 2012 - 10:37 AM

I'm not really concerned with who the closer is or who isn't - but I think this is a sensible decision. While Aceves' ability to bounce back and throw multiple innings for days on end is enticing - I think we'd be playing a dangerous game with him in that role again. His protestations about being ready if he wakes up aside - his arm took a bunch of abuse last year and piling more on does not seem a smart idea to me. Make him the closer - lock him in for shorter outings and hopefully keep him healthy. I'd rather have him for 75 IP spread out over a season than to beat on him for 40 Ip and a shoulder injury by Memorial Day. Sure - he could stay healthy in that role all year - but I think they'd be playing with fire, the list of guys w/ back-to-back 90+ IP seasons out of the pen is short for a reason.

#58 Carl Everetts Therapist


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Posted 05 April 2012 - 03:21 PM

I'm not liking the Melancon/Aceves back end, can we trade up?

#59 sachilles


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Posted 05 April 2012 - 03:30 PM

It's costlier for a closer to hit a batter than for a 7th inning reliever to hit a batter. One thing we know about Tropical Storm Alfredo: he piles up the HBP.

In light of the end of the season opener, it seemed like a discussion point worthy of more discussion.
Aceves inherited two runners. Hit the third. Ominous start to say the least.

#60 absintheofmalaise


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Posted 05 April 2012 - 03:34 PM

In light of the end of the season opener, it seemed like a discussion point worthy of more discussion.
Aceves inherited two runners. Hit the third. Ominous start to say the least.


It looked to me like the batter swung at the pitch. If so, it was a strike and not a HBP.

#61 tims4wins


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Posted 05 April 2012 - 03:34 PM

It looked to me like the batter swung at the pitch. If so, it was a strike and not a HBP.


Even so, it was a wild pitch, and the next guy got a base hit anyway

#62 tonyarmasjr

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Posted 05 April 2012 - 03:35 PM

I'm not liking the Melancon/Aceves back end, can we trade up?

RHP Kevin Gregg could be a candidate for the Red Sox closer's role, the Baltimore Sun reported. While there have been no official connections between Gregg and the role, it would be a logical fit. Boston needs a closer with RHP Andrew Bailey likely to miss the first half of the year with a thumb injury, and the Orioles are seeking to deal Gregg -- and his nearly $6 million salary -- after he lost the closer's role last summer.
(Yahoo! Sports)

Just happened to read this a minute ago. Oh, what fun.

#63 SoxFanInCali


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Posted 05 April 2012 - 03:36 PM

Even so, it was a wild pitch, and the next guy got a base hit anyway

If it was called a swing, it would have been a dead ball, not a wild pitch.

#64 tims4wins


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Posted 05 April 2012 - 03:38 PM

If it was called a swing, it would have been a dead ball, not a wild pitch.


Good point

#65 Lose Remerswaal


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Posted 05 April 2012 - 03:40 PM

Speaking of Gregg, what's up with Mike Gonzalez?

#66 Laser Show

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Posted 05 April 2012 - 03:48 PM

Gregg's career BB/9 is 4.0, and has risen each of the past two years, including a 6.0 last year. I'm not so sure he would be a "solution."

#67 Max Power


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Posted 05 April 2012 - 03:59 PM

They can put his locker next to David Ortiz's. It'll work out awesome.

#68 Carl Everetts Therapist


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Posted 05 April 2012 - 04:05 PM

there is no way we pick up Gregg unless we simply accept it as the O's salary dump. He is paid way too much for what he would be worth to this team

#69 bosockboy


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Posted 05 April 2012 - 04:12 PM

Speaking of Gregg, what's up with Mike Gonzalez?

Agreed. No downside to bringing him in here.

#70 normstalls

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Posted 05 April 2012 - 04:12 PM

I'm not liking the Melancon/Aceves back end, can we trade up?


From where I am sitting this is the clearly the weak link for this team. I was already nervous about the bullpen and then Bailey went down with the thumb injury which only made it thinner.
Sox are gonna have to find some lightening in a bottle (ala Aceves and Albers last year) or make a trade.

#71 OttoC


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Posted 05 April 2012 - 05:01 PM

I almost started a thread asking which prospects will be traded to upgrade the bullpen.or, maybe when Cook and Hill are ready, Cook can take over Bard's spot, Bard moves to closer, and Hill grabs a bullpen spot with Aceves going back to his old role.

#72 Plympton91


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Posted 05 April 2012 - 10:05 PM

Weakening the rotation to strengthen the bullpen is robbing Peter to pay Paul. It is not a solution to the problem of a weak bullpen. Every other team in baseball finds highly effective relievers out of their farm system or off the scrap heap. Time for the Red Sox to do the same. If the Red Sox went into 2011 with Kyle Farnsworth as their closer, this Board would have been apoplectic. Yet, he did what Papelbon failed to do on the last day of last season.

Find relievers. Let Bard become a rotation anchor for the next half decade.

#73 Savin Hillbilly


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Posted 05 April 2012 - 10:22 PM

I love Opening Day overreactions. They smell like freshly mown grass.

I don't think Aceves was the best choice to close, but one day doesn't prove jack shit.

#74 Doctor G

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Posted 05 April 2012 - 10:26 PM

Stay the course. if anything move Morales up a notch.

#75 pjheff

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Posted 06 April 2012 - 08:42 AM

I love Opening Day overreactions. They smell like freshly mown grass.

I don't think Aceves was the best choice to close, but one day doesn't prove jack shit.


I am in complete agreement that one game proves nothing. The problem is that Opening Day results reinforced a set of perceptions. One is that we didn't have enough in the bullpen last year, with only three reliable relievers in Aceves, Bard, and Papelbon. Another is that we substracted two of those arms from the bullpen (Papelbon and Bard) and replaced them with downgrades in Bailey and Melancon. And that was before we lost Bailey for 4-5 months.

Obviously, going into the game, Verlander was going to be a tough matchup. But to watch Lester hang in there and the offense rally only to have the bullpen bleed it away was disheartening. And somehow, amidst all of the debate over SS or the 4th and 5th spots in the rotation, I don't think that nearly enough attention has been paid to the bullpen as the most likely culprit to sink our 2012 season.

#76 Savin Hillbilly


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Posted 06 April 2012 - 09:06 AM

One is that we didn't have enough in the bullpen last year, with only three reliable relievers in Aceves, Bard, and Papelbon. Another is that we substracted two of those arms from the bullpen (Papelbon and Bard) and replaced them with downgrades in Bailey and Melancon. And that was before we lost Bailey for 4-5 months.


I don't dispute the diagnosis of the bullpen situation--yes, the pen was likely to be a little worse this year, even assuming health and typical performance from Bailey, and now it's likely to be more than a little worse unless somebody unexpected steps up or they make a deal.

But I want to address the bolded. If we didn't have enough in the bullpen last year, how come we were fourth in the league in bullpen ERA, second in bullpen WPA, and first in bullpen FIP and fWAR? Our bullpen was one of our strengths last year; it was arguably the best in the league, and certainly one of the top three along with the Yankees and White Sox.

In fact, we had so much bullpen strength that we could afford to steal from it to shore up the starting rotation, which was our real problem last year. It was a valid strategy if Bailey doesn't go down.

If we didn't have any reliable relievers past the top three (I'd argue that's a tad unjust to Morales)--well, very few teams do. There's a reason why guys wind up in bullpen slots 4-7, and it's not generally because they're the most rock-solid guys on the roster.

#77 pjheff

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Posted 06 April 2012 - 09:18 AM

But I want to address the bolded. If we didn't have enough in the bullpen last year, how come we were fourth in the league in bullpen ERA, second in bullpen WPA, and first in bullpen FIP and fWAR? Our bullpen was one of our strengths last year; it was arguably the best in the league, and certainly one of the top three along with the Yankees and White Sox.


Perhaps I could have been a bit more clear. The perception exists that we didn't have enough in the bullpen last September. By that time, our lack of starting pitching depth had killed Albers and torched Bard, undermining what had been an effective unit for months. And since that time, we have subtracted.

#78 Doctor G

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Posted 06 April 2012 - 09:25 AM

if they are going to look outside for reinforcements, call Jon Daniels to see what he wants for Uehara.

#79 redsahx

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Posted 06 April 2012 - 09:45 AM

Weakening the rotation to strengthen the bullpen is robbing Peter to pay Paul. It is not a solution to the problem of a weak bullpen. Every other team in baseball finds highly effective relievers out of their farm system or off the scrap heap. Time for the Red Sox to do the same. If the Red Sox went into 2011 with Kyle Farnsworth as their closer, this Board would have been apoplectic. Yet, he did what Papelbon failed to do on the last day of last season.

Find relievers. Let Bard become a rotation anchor for the next half decade.

This is exactly how I feel and I can't bang this drum loud enough. The only way I will accept Bard in the pen this year is if it's past late June, he is struggling as a starter, the bullpen is still a mess, and you have a healthy Dice-K ready to enter the rotation and are looking for someone to bump.

I haven't listened to Felger and Mazz since the end of last week when Felger insisted essentially that Sox management forcing Bard to be a starter is a sign they don't care about giving Bobby the best chance to win this year, and that Bard is only in the rotation so that he might become a useful starter 2-3 years down the road. Somehow I can tolerate our sports media when it comes to the rest of our teams, but not when it comes to baseball. The over-the-top cynicism towards management and ownership, along with the pedaling in stupid logic is just too much.

#80 OttoC


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Posted 06 April 2012 - 10:34 AM

What does Bard have to do as a starter this season to justify his moving to the starting rotation? Suppose he goes 10-10 with peripheral numbers that suggest he should have gone 10-10? Will that be enough to satisfy the critics? I'm just curious what people think he needs to accomplish as a starter to outweigh his value in the bullpen.

#81 aron7awol

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Posted 06 April 2012 - 10:44 AM

The reactionary shortsightedness prevalent on this board lately is ridiculous. Plympton, Savin, redsahx...you guys have it right. Everyone needs to have some patience and look at the big picture.

The plan this year is to have a second half starting rotation of Lester, Beckett, Buchholz, Bard, Matsuzaka. Those 5 guys healthy are all potentially dominant, and that rotation can stack up with anyone else in baseball. They also have Lester and Beckett locked up through 2014, Bard and Lackey through 2015, and Buchholz through 2016. That sets you up with a rotation of Lester, Beckett, Buchholz, Bard, Lackey for the two seasons after this one. With a healthy Lackey, that rotation is probably even better. The rotation should be the strength of this pitching staff first and foremost for at least the next 3 years. Don't mortgage the future to improve the bullpen for the few months Bailey is out.

Of course the pen looks much worse with Bailey out. He was the best reliever in the pen. Remove Papelbon from the pen last year and it suddenly gets much worse, too. Still, the starting rotation has to be the highest priority, since almost 70% of your innings are going to come from there. Then fill up the pen with the best remaining arms while trying to maintain as much depth as possible for the inevitable upcoming injuries during the season.

#82 Buzzkill Pauley

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Posted 06 April 2012 - 10:45 AM

What does Bard have to do as a starter this season to justify his moving to the starting rotation? Suppose he goes 10-10 with peripheral numbers that suggest he should have gone 10-10? Will that be enough to satisfy the critics? I'm just curious what people think he needs to accomplish as a starter to outweigh his value in the bullpen.


100 IP of >95 ERA+ pitching + 40 IP in relief, such that his arm is ready to throw 175+ innnings next year.

Moving Bard to the rotation is as much about 2013-14, and its increased CBT penalties, as it is about 2012. It is a tactical move, but also a long-term strategic one.

#83 redsahx

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Posted 06 April 2012 - 10:50 AM

What does Bard have to do as a starter this season to justify his moving to the starting rotation? Suppose he goes 10-10 with peripheral numbers that suggest he should have gone 10-10? Will that be enough to satisfy the critics? I'm just curious what people think he needs to accomplish as a starter to outweigh his value in the bullpen.


As someone who wants him to be a starter, I'd like to see him get to the neighborhood of 175 innings or better, an ERA in the low 4s or better, and roughly 150 strikeouts, or 7-8 k/9ip. Whatever that translates to in wins is fine with me. I don't have the baseball prospectus forecast for him as a starter so I unfortunately have to plead ignorance at the moment as to what analysts think is the most likely outcome for him this season, and whether I am being too ambitious.

As far as the actual critics of this move, I will venture a guess and say most (not all) are a bit behind the curve on statistical analysis as far as the value of starters vs. relievers, so their judgement will likely be correlated with talking heads conventional wisdom, which I'm guessing will be influenced by how stable and successful the bullpen is. If the pen is a source of frustration all year, Bard will likely have to end up being one of the teams top 3 starters this year to shut people up about the move.

#84 LeoCarrillo


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Posted 06 April 2012 - 11:39 AM

Of course the pen looks much worse with Bailey out. He was the best reliever in the pen. Remove Papelbon from the pen last year and it suddenly gets much worse, too. Still, the starting rotation has to be the highest priority, since almost 70% of your innings are going to come from there. Then fill up the pen with the best remaining arms while trying to maintain as much depth as possible for the inevitable upcoming injuries during the season.


But will they all be good innings? I think that's the crux of this Bard argument. And we'll just have to give it a half-season to find out if he's a good No. 4/5. If not, and in essence we've got a so-so 4/5, like most teams, there is a theory (I've heard Rick Peterson takes credit for it) that the best way to reach the playoffs is to field three excellent starters (which we've got) who go seven innings per start, and then you lock it down with a lights-out 8th and 9th duo (which we had last year). On No. 4 and No. 5 pitcher games, you roll the dice and use the other guys in the pen. Part of the theory is that lots of those games, you're gonna lose anyway if you draw, say, your No. 4 vs. the other team's ace.

Hard to find data to support this theory, but observationally, I buy it. If Buchholz is healthy last year, our 1-2-3 starters plus Bard-Pap get us into the playoffs regardless of the Lackey/Bedard/Wake/Miller/etc. follies.

#85 OttoC


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Posted 06 April 2012 - 12:54 PM

...there is a theory (I've heard Rick Peterson takes credit for it) that the best way to reach the playoffs is to field three excellent starters (which we've got) who go seven innings per start, and then you lock it down with a lights-out 8th and 9th duo (which we had last year)....


Well, if you have three starters who go 20-10, 20-10, and 18-12, and rest of the pitchers give you .500 ball, you'll win 94 games. While the argument is that starters are worth more than relievers, in today's game with strict pitch counts and a premium on batters taking pitches, starters are having problems getting much past the 6th inning, on average; therefore, the value of the bullpen would seem to be going up.

I tried looking at the top three starters by club for 2011 and rapidly realized that is hard to do unless you know who was designated 1,2,3 for each club because of injuries, trades, call-ups, etc. For example, Brandon Beachey had the third-most starts for the Braves but Jurjjens had more innings and the club won a much higher percentage of his games. I used number of starts, then IP, and found the average record for the number-3 starter to be 10.9 wins and 9.3 losses (range W: 16 to 4 and range L: 13 to 3). In a couple of cases, the third-starter by my criteria had the best record on the team.

#86 aron7awol

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Posted 06 April 2012 - 01:49 PM

But will they all be good innings? I think that's the crux of this Bard argument. And we'll just have to give it a half-season to find out if he's a good No. 4/5. If not, and in essence we've got a so-so 4/5, like most teams, there is a theory (I've heard Rick Peterson takes credit for it) that the best way to reach the playoffs is to field three excellent starters (which we've got) who go seven innings per start, and then you lock it down with a lights-out 8th and 9th duo (which we had last year). On No. 4 and No. 5 pitcher games, you roll the dice and use the other guys in the pen. Part of the theory is that lots of those games, you're gonna lose anyway if you draw, say, your No. 4 vs. the other team's ace.

Hard to find data to support this theory, but observationally, I buy it. If Buchholz is healthy last year, our 1-2-3 starters plus Bard-Pap get us into the playoffs regardless of the Lackey/Bedard/Wake/Miller/etc. follies.


That has more to do with the fact that we had the best offense in baseball last year than anything else. I would like to pose a question to you, since you seem to be one of the people who are somewhat doubtful of Bard's likelihood of success as a starter: What do you think the likelihood is that Bard ends the year with an ERA as a starter of 4.00 or lower? I already have a bet with a Yankee fan friend of mine on this exactly, so I obviously think the likelihood is greater than 50%. Because of that, I think you absolutely have to give him a full chance to realize that potential. 200 innings of sub-4.00 ERA is more valuable than 75 innings of 3.00 ERA pitching, even with an average leverage index of 1.75 across those 75 innings. FWIW, every published projection of Bard as a starter that I've seen has been under 4.00.

#87 czar


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Posted 06 April 2012 - 02:07 PM

That has more to do with the fact that we had the best offense in baseball last year than anything else. I would like to pose a question to you, since you seem to be one of the people who are somewhat doubtful of Bard's likelihood of success as a starter: What do you think the likelihood is that Bard ends the year with an ERA as a starter of 4.00 or lower? I already have a bet with a Yankee fan friend of mine on this exactly, so I obviously think the likelihood is greater than 50%. Because of that, I think you absolutely have to give him a full chance to realize that potential. 200 innings of sub-4.00 ERA is more valuable than 75 innings of 3.00 ERA pitching, even with an average leverage index of 1.75 across those 75 innings. FWIW, every published projection of Bard as a starter that I've seen has been under 4.00.


I've been sitting first-class on the "Bard as a SP" train all winter, but the bolded leads to one small caveat. I've pretty much ignored projections for Bard since I've only seen a couple that have him starting games (James and Steamer) both have interesting results. James is very bullish, but includes things like K% spikes that seem difficult to attain. Steamer's peripherals seem more reasonable, but provide a near-4.00 ERA projection for Bard.

I think if the Bard/SP discussion has taught us one thing this offseason is that there is a serious lack of statistical evidence one way or the other for successful/unsuccessful transitions for similar pitchers. That said, the only way you will find out is by trying, and kudos to the Sox for not overreacting (even though I thoroughly despise Aceves the Closer™) to Bailey's injury by yanking Bard around like some of the fanbase is clamoring for.

#88 Red(s)HawksFan

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Posted 06 April 2012 - 02:22 PM

Perhaps I could have been a bit more clear. The perception exists that we didn't have enough in the bullpen last September. By that time, our lack of starting pitching depth had killed Albers and torched Bard, undermining what had been an effective unit for months. And since that time, we have subtracted.

Isn't there a chance that with an off-season of recovery, that Albers could return to close to what he was in the first half last year? And Morales could be as good as he was last year (like SH implied, his season is being underrated)? And Aceves, returning to his role last year, could be similarly effective? That combined with Melancon being adequate in the closer's role and a much improved (healthy) rotation could be enough to get them through the first half of the season, at least. Then you've got Bailey back and one of Bard/Doubront if not both to pick up the slack in the second half.

Of course, the first step in that would be Valentine trusting Melancon with closer's spot and not losing Aceves by giving him a less glamourous but definitely more valuable set up role. That might be asking a lot in and of itself, before we get into the what-ifs of Albers and Morales and Bailey's health.

#89 LeoCarrillo


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Posted 06 April 2012 - 02:52 PM

That has more to do with the fact that we had the best offense in baseball last year than anything else. I would like to pose a question to you, since you seem to be one of the people who are somewhat doubtful of Bard's likelihood of success as a starter: What do you think the likelihood is that Bard ends the year with an ERA as a starter of 4.00 or lower? I already have a bet with a Yankee fan friend of mine on this exactly, so I obviously think the likelihood is greater than 50%. Because of that, I think you absolutely have to give him a full chance to realize that potential. 200 innings of sub-4.00 ERA is more valuable than 75 innings of 3.00 ERA pitching, even with an average leverage index of 1.75 across those 75 innings. FWIW, every published projection of Bard as a starter that I've seen has been under 4.00.


I'm not against the experiment of Bard as starter, and I'm not predicting he fails. Multiple pitches, mindset seem right. And, hell, if we find a 4 who pitches like a 2 that's huge -- and a $$ saver moving forward. And I appreciate that Ben & V don't want to Joba the guy, so at this point they've gotta give him a decent shot to start. So, it's delicate. I mean, Bailey just went out. But to take a position, I will say if our pen spends the next two months blowing Lester/Beckett/Buchh games by turning 2-0 leads into 3-2 losses, then we should act out of necessity. And if Bard is 3-4 with a 4.15 ERA or thereabouts, then rob Peter to pay Paul (if Peter is flush and Paul is broke).

#90 aron7awol

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Posted 06 April 2012 - 02:55 PM

I'm not against the experiment of Bard as starter, and I'm not predicting he fails. Multiple pitches, mindset seem right. And, hell, if we find a 4 who pitches like a 2 that's huge -- and a $$ saver moving forward. And I appreciate that Ben & V don't want to Joba the guy, so at this point they've gotta give him a decent shot to start. So, it's delicate. I mean, Bailey just went out. But to take a position, I will say if our pen spends the next two months blowing Lester/Beckett/Buchh games by turning 2-0 leads into 3-2 losses, then we should act out of necessity. And if Bard is 3-4 with a 4.15 ERA or thereabouts, then rob Peter to pay Paul (if Peter is flush and Paul is broke).


Fair enough, sounds like we aren't far apart on opinions. Reassessing after a couple months is exactly what I'd do.

#91 Plympton91


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Posted 06 April 2012 - 04:57 PM

I'm not against the experiment of Bard as starter, and I'm not predicting he fails. Multiple pitches, mindset seem right. And, hell, if we find a 4 who pitches like a 2 that's huge -- and a $$ saver moving forward. And I appreciate that Ben & V don't want to Joba the guy, so at this point they've gotta give him a decent shot to start. So, it's delicate. I mean, Bailey just went out. But to take a position, I will say if our pen spends the next two months blowing Lester/Beckett/Buchh games by turning 2-0 leads into 3-2 losses, then we should act out of necessity. And if Bard is 3-4 with a 4.15 ERA or thereabouts, then rob Peter to pay Paul (if Peter is flush and Paul is broke).


Suppose Bard is 7-1 with a 2.90 ERA, and Beckett is 3-4 with a 4.15 ERA, would you make Beckett the closer? If not, then you shouldn't be willing to do it with Bard if the numbers are reversed.

#92 LeoCarrillo


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Posted 06 April 2012 - 05:24 PM

Suppose Bard is 7-1 with a 2.90 ERA, and Beckett is 3-4 with a 4.15 ERA, would you make Beckett the closer? If not, then you shouldn't be willing to do it with Bard if the numbers are reversed.


I'm assuming your question is more illustrative than literal. JFB does have 125 career MLB wins and all. Plus it'd be prudent to keep the tempestuous Texan happy with three years left on his deal. But turn the calendar to 2014, and your hypothetical could very well be spot-on. Bard a third-year starter and Beckett in the last year of his contract. If our closer was crap, sure. Beckett.

#93 Savin Hillbilly


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Posted 06 April 2012 - 06:13 PM

Suppose Bard is 7-1 with a 2.90 ERA, and Beckett is 3-4 with a 4.15 ERA, would you make Beckett the closer? If not, then you shouldn't be willing to do it with Bard if the numbers are reversed.


If Bard has a 4.15 ERA in June, the experiment is a resounding success and there's no question of moving him. Half a run worse, and I'd still stay the course. Really, it would take a >5 ERA to make me want to pull the plug unless the trend is markedly in the wrong direction. The Sox would have made the playoffs last year if they'd had more than 2 guys with >20 starts and a <5 ERA.

#94 Plympton91


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Posted 06 April 2012 - 07:47 PM

If Bard has a 4.15 ERA in June, the experiment is a resounding success and there's no question of moving him. Half a run worse, and I'd still stay the course. Really, it would take a >5 ERA to make me want to pull the plug unless the trend is markedly in the wrong direction. The Sox would have made the playoffs last year if they'd had more than 2 guys with >20 starts and a <5 ERA.


Yup, I think that last point is part of why I'm being so obstinant. I was saying to put Aceves in the rotation last July, but everyone, including, it seems, everyone in the organization who mattered, thought it was better to have Aceves pitch a bunch of games when the team was losing 6-0 in the 3rd after another starter had crapped the bed rather than have him start the game and avoid being down 6-0 in the first place. If they'd used Aceves as a starter and Weiland in the bullpen starting August 15, I bet they make the playoffs with 2 games to spare.

The best 4 start. The 5th best closes. Fill in the rest as best as possible.

Edited by Plympton91, 06 April 2012 - 07:48 PM.


#95 Smiling Joe Hesketh


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Posted 06 April 2012 - 08:09 PM

Yup, I think that last point is part of why I'm being so obstinant. I was saying to put Aceves in the rotation last July, but everyone, including, it seems, everyone in the organization who mattered, thought it was better to have Aceves pitch a bunch of games when the team was losing 6-0 in the 3rd after another starter had crapped the bed rather than have him start the game and avoid being down 6-0 in the first place. If they'd used Aceves as a starter and Weiland in the bullpen starting August 15, I bet they make the playoffs with 2 games to spare.

The best 4 start. The 5th best closes. Fill in the rest as best as possible.


Looking at his game logs, there's exactly one game Aceves pitched in from July 1 onwards that meets your description of going in down big after a starter blew up: July 15 at Tampa. Over the rest of the season, he pitched in 30 games, going 6-1 with a 1.84 ERA and generally pitching mutliple innings in the middle or late parts of games that were close.

So "a bunch of games" when the starter bombed from July onwards isn't accurate at all. He was being used as a kickass setup man in close games from July 16 onwards and he was damn good at it. The organization kept him in that role (and not one as mopup man) because he was awesome in it and because he was one of the few relievers who could be counted on not to shit the bed.

#96 Plympton91


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Posted 06 April 2012 - 10:13 PM

You're being too literal and not looking hard enough:

July 10, Kyle Weiland gives up 6 in the second inning, Red Sox fall behind 6-2. Sox tie it 6-6 but Weiland can't answer the bell for the 5th inning, and Aceves pitches 3 scoreless innings of relief to get the win as the Sox add two more and win 8-6, but not before Bard and Papelbon add some additional miles. If Aceves starts, Red Sox likely win in a laugher, saving Bard and Paps.

July 26, Andrew Miller gives up 7 runs in 3-2/3, but the bats are alive so he leaves with the score tied 7-7 and Aceves pitches 3-1/3 scoreless for the 13-9 Red Sox win. Just what you want a middle reliever to do? Or, a night that should have been a laugher and a rest for the bullpen needs 4 pitchers to close it out?

August 19, Red Sox win 7-1, but Aceves is needed anyway for 3-2/3 relatively low leverage innings because Andrew Miller can't get out of the 6th.

August 27, Eric Bedard gives up no runs, but only goes 4 innings, so it's Aceves for 3 scoreless innings, then Bard, then Papelbon add on some more milage for a 4-0 win at Oakland. Another game where, sure, Aceves as a middle reliever is exactly what the doctor ordered. But another game where a starting pitcher failed to go even 5 strong innings, taxing the bullpen.

September 10, Kyle Weiland starts and gives up 3 runs in 4 innings, Sox trailed 3-1 at one point, Aceves comes in and gives up 2 runs in the next 4 innings, Red Sox lose 6-5 in 11

September 19, Kyle Weiland starts and gives up 6 runs in 4-2/3 innings, Aceves comes in and pitches 3 innings of scoreless relief, Red Sox, who trailed 5-1 at one point, lose 6-5.

September 27, Eric Bedard goes 3-1/3, giving up 3 runs on 8 baserunners, Aceves comes in for 3-1/3 of 1 run relief and the Sox win 8-7 but yet another failure by the starter to go anywhere near as long into the game as needed puts further pressure on an already taxed bullpen despite the offense putting up 8 runs.

That's 7 games by replacement starters where they were so horrific that they had to be removed, thus taxing the bullpen even beyond the use of Aceves for 3 or more innings. Allowing Aceves to start, even if he goes 6 innings and gives up 3 or 4 runs, would have been a vastly superior outcome for the staff as a whole.

#97 Smiling Joe Hesketh


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Posted 07 April 2012 - 11:23 AM

Just not seeing it. Those are games that Aceves pitched so well in that he gave his team a chance to get back into and win those games. And given that his results last year were vastly better out of the pen than as a starter, I cannot buy the argument that he should have been starting.

He was our Jamesian relief ace last year.

#98 aron7awol

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Posted 07 April 2012 - 11:39 AM

He was our Jamesian relief ace last year.


Wouldn't a Jamesian relief ace have a very high gmLI? Aceves' gmLI last season was 1.09. If you are saying that in September he was the Jamesian relief ace, well, it's a little closer, but still not there. Looking at the game logs, he had a pLI of 1.21 in September compared to a 0.95 overall. In comparison, Bard's gmLI in 2010 and 2011 were 1.90 and 1.71, respectively.

pLI: A player’s average LI for all game events.
gmLI: A pitcher’s average LI when he enters the game.

Edited by aron7awol, 07 April 2012 - 11:39 AM.


#99 Smiling Joe Hesketh


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Posted 07 April 2012 - 11:40 AM

I was thinking more of the many multi-inning appearances in tied or close games, but you do make a good point.

#100 pjheff

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Posted 07 April 2012 - 01:47 PM

Isn't there a chance that with an off-season of recovery, that Albers could return to close to what he was in the first half last year? And Morales could be as good as he was last year (like SH implied, his season is being underrated)? And Aceves, returning to his role last year, could be similarly effective? That combined with Melancon being adequate in the closer's role and a much improved (healthy) rotation could be enough to get them through the first half of the season, at least.


Isn't there a chance? Certainly there's a chance. There's a chance that Bowden's splitter will help him finally stick at the ML level and that Tazawa's return to health will allow him to contribute as well. But until those chances turn into realities, the bullpen that faded in September and subtracted in the offseason is going to be suspect. There's not one guy that I trust out there, and frankly, I'm not comfortable with the thought of Melancon adequately replacing Bard at setup, much less Papelbon as closer.




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