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The 2013 Bullpen


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#101 Snodgrass'Muff


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Posted 22 December 2012 - 02:38 PM

It's starting to get to the point where I can't tell if you're saying things simply to be snarky, or if you actually believe them. Would you support a closer by committee?


That's not even remotely close to what he's saying. You complain about him being snarky or contrarian or whatever then try to pigeonhole his post into something ridiculous you can disagree with. What he's saying is that good relievers are good relievers and this belief that a good reliever can only close if he has that certain something is akin to believing in magic. Uehara has a higher k/9 in high leverage innings over his career (11.35) and was actually very solid in closing games for Baltimore in 2010, recording 13 saves. His career ERA in save situations is 2.15. There is no reason to believe that having less career saves (a function of opportunity) than Hanrahan makes him less well suited for the role.

And that Tazawa has not closed games yet does not, in any way suggest that he is not suited for the job, either. If this was the case, Papelbon should never have been given an opportunity to save games since he had no saves to his name when the Sox slotted him into that role.

A lack of saves means next to nothing when talking about depth behind Bailey.

#102 czar


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Posted 22 December 2012 - 02:38 PM

Ask Alfredo Aceves if there's a difference pitching in the 9th.


Alfredo Aceves was a bad pitcher in 2011 but no one wanted to look past the ERA.

#103 Edelpeddle

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Posted 22 December 2012 - 02:40 PM

8 BS for him last year...four coming when he entered the game in the 8th, four when he entered the game in the 9th or later.

Aceves had a shitty year in general. It didn't necessarily come down to the fact that he was pitching in the 9th a lot.


Perhaps Daniel Bard would be a better example. Prior to last year, he had a career ERA of 2.88, a career FIP of 3.22 and he was 5-for-20 in converting saves.

#104 czar


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Posted 22 December 2012 - 02:42 PM

Perhaps Daniel Bard would be a better example. Prior to last year, he had a career ERA of 2.88, a career FIP of 3.22 and he was 5-for-20 in converting saves.


OK, now you are just exhibiting a fundamental lack of understanding how the save stat works.

#105 Rasputin


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Posted 22 December 2012 - 02:42 PM

Ask Alfredo Aceves if there's a difference pitching in the 9th.


I'm trying to find a way to respond to this that doesn't call it dumb but I can't. Aceves was a crappy closer not because he wilted under ninth inning pressure but because he's not that kind of pitcher. We all knew before they did it that he wasn't that kind of pitcher.

#106 Edelpeddle

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Posted 22 December 2012 - 02:44 PM

OK, now you are just exhibiting a fundamental lack of understanding how the save stat works.


Enlighten me.

#107 Red(s)HawksFan

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Posted 22 December 2012 - 02:44 PM

Perhaps Daniel Bard would be a better example. Prior to last year, he had a career ERA of 2.88, a career FIP of 3.22 and he was 5-for-20 in converting saves.


That's a bullshit argument too, because most of his "blown" saves were not even ninth inning save opportunities. Unfortunately, when you blow a "hold", you don't get saddled with a blown hold in your stat line, it's a blown save.

#108 sackamano

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Posted 22 December 2012 - 02:44 PM

What he's saying is that good relievers are good relievers and this belief that a good reliever can only close if he has that certain something is akin to believing in magic.


Completely agree with this sentiment. However in magical terms, I have no faith in Andrew Bailey being able to pull a rabbit out of his arse, even with dangling a carrot in front of it.

I have no faith in Andrew Bailey as a relief pitcher in high leverage situations.

#109 czar


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Posted 22 December 2012 - 02:45 PM

Enlighten me.


Can't look through the game logs, but I would argue that probably 14 of 15 of those saves came in situations where he could not have gotten a save, only a blown save (i.e., in the 7th or 8th innings).

#110 Snodgrass'Muff


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Posted 22 December 2012 - 02:45 PM

Ask Alfredo Aceves if there's a difference pitching in the 9th.


The reasons Aceves failed as a closer have nothing to do with the 9th inning and everything to do with the fact that he's just not that good of a pitcher. He's a serviceable long relief pitcher who is acceptable as an emergency spot starter. Asking him to pitch in more difficult situations in the first place was the problem, not a magical quality that some pitchers have to handle the duties of the closer.

If you're asking whether the 9th inning is tougher to pitch than the 6th, then sure. Aceves failing when making that switch was about Aceves, though, not the supposed difficulty of saves.

Uehara has been pitching more low leverage innings the last two seasons, but that had to do with the insanely deep bullpens he was part of in Texas. He was still solid in 2011 in the high leverage innings he did see and was excellent in the high leverage innings he saw in 2010 while in Baltimore.

#111 RedOctober3829


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Posted 22 December 2012 - 02:46 PM

I'm trying to find a way to respond to this that doesn't call it dumb but I can't. Aceves was a crappy closer not because he wilted under ninth inning pressure but because he's not that kind of pitcher. We all knew before they did it that he wasn't that kind of pitcher.


Not to start anything, but by your logic if Aceves is a good pitcher shouldn't he be able to be good regardless of inning?

#112 Snodgrass'Muff


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Posted 22 December 2012 - 02:47 PM

Completely agree with this sentiment. However in magical terms, I have no faith in Andrew Bailey being able to pull a rabbit out of his arse, even with dangling a carrot in front of it.

I have no faith in Andrew Bailey as a relief pitcher in high leverage situations.


Based on what? That's exactly what he excelled at in Oakland.

#113 Red(s)HawksFan

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Posted 22 December 2012 - 02:47 PM

Can't look through the game logs, but I would argue that probably 14 of 15 of those saves came in situations where he could not have gotten a save, only a blown save (i.e., in the 7th or 8th innings).


I just looked at his 2010 game log, in which he recorded seven blown saves. Six of them were in situations in which Bard lost the lead in the 7th or 8th inning. He was 3 for 4 in 9th inning save opportunities that season.

#114 Snodgrass'Muff


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Posted 22 December 2012 - 02:48 PM

Not to start anything, but by your logic if Aceves is a good pitcher shouldn't he be able to be good regardless of inning?


Good in a certain role is not the same as good. Aceves is good as a long man and spot starter because the quality of pitchers typically filling that role is generally pretty low. Compared to other guys in similar roles, I'm fine with Aceves. Put him in a role that requires a better pitcher and he's going to fail, like he did in 2012.

#115 Rasputin


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Posted 22 December 2012 - 02:52 PM

Enlighten me.


Here ya go:

That's a bullshit argument too, because most of his "blown" saves were not even ninth inning save opportunities. Unfortunately, when you blow a "hold", you don't get saddled with a blown hold in your stat line, it's a blown save.



I have no faith in Andrew Bailey as a relief pitcher in high leverage situations.


Andrew Bailey's Career Stats

Andrew Bailey Career Splits

In save situations over the course of his career, almost 105 innings worth of it, a 1.041 WHIP, 8 K/9, 3 K/BB.

If you have no faith in Andrew Bailey in high leverage situations, it's a flaw in your thinking, not his performance.

#116 Rasputin


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Posted 22 December 2012 - 02:54 PM

Not to start anything, but by your logic if Aceves is a good pitcher shouldn't he be able to be good regardless of inning?

Good in a certain role is not the same as good. Aceves is good as a long man and spot starter because the quality of pitchers typically filling that role is generally pretty low. Compared to other guys in similar roles, I'm fine with Aceves. Put him in a role that requires a better pitcher and he's going to fail, like he did in 2012.


This is a far more accurate and polite answer than I am capable of at the moment.

#117 Edelpeddle

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Posted 22 December 2012 - 02:55 PM

So there's no

Good in a certain role is not the same as good. Aceves is good as a long man and spot starter because the quality of pitchers typically filling that role is generally pretty low. Compared to other guys in similar roles, I'm fine with Aceves. Put him in a role that requires a better pitcher and he's going to fail, like he did in 2012.


So you're saying that there's no difference in the quality of a pitcher needed for the 8th or 9th innings but there is a difference in the quality of pitcher needed for the 7th inning?

#118 Red(s)HawksFan

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Posted 22 December 2012 - 02:59 PM

So there's no

So you're saying that there's no difference in the quality of a pitcher needed for the 8th or 9th innings but there is a difference in the quality of pitcher needed for the 7th inning?


That isn't what he's saying at all. Ideally, you'd "need" a high quality pitcher for every inning of every game. You certainly want one, in any case. But it's just not realistic to have enough high quality pitchers to do that.

I think the point isn't about what specific inning the pitcher is used in, it's the leverage of the situation. By and large, the 6th inning doesn't feature as high leverage situations as a later inning, so the lesser pitchers tend to be used there in the lower leverage spots. Aceves is a perfectly acceptable low-leverage pitcher. He starts to fail when the leverage goes up, whether it's the 7th inning, 9th inning or 15th inning.

#119 czar


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Posted 22 December 2012 - 03:00 PM

So there's no

So you're saying that there's no difference in the quality of a pitcher needed for the 8th or 9th innings but there is a difference in the quality of pitcher needed for the 7th inning?


He's not saying that, but even if he was, the real argument here is that Aceves isn't a good pitcher -- regardless of inning.

In Red Sox Nation he's still riding the coattails of his 2011 where he somehow put up a 2.61 ERA despite a sub 2 K/BB, leading the league in HBP/9 and a 4.77 xFIP.

Plus he's crazy and apparently people like that.

Edited by czar, 22 December 2012 - 03:00 PM.


#120 Edelpeddle

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Posted 22 December 2012 - 03:02 PM

That isn't what he's saying at all. Ideally, you'd "need" a high quality pitcher for every inning of every game. You certainly want one, in any case. But it's just not realistic to have enough high quality pitchers to do that.

I think the point isn't about what specific inning the pitcher is used in, it's the leverage of the situation. By and large, the 6th inning doesn't feature as high leverage situations as a later inning, so the lesser pitchers tend to be used there in the lower leverage spots. Aceves is a perfectly acceptable low-leverage pitcher. He starts to fail when the leverage goes up, whether it's the 7th inning, 9th inning or 15th inning.


You don't think a closer is brought in to high leverage situations more often than the set up man then? If it's the leverage that dictates what quality of pitcher is needed, and there's no difference in the quality of the pitcher needed to set up or close, then that would be your argument, correct?

#121 Snodgrass'Muff


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Posted 22 December 2012 - 03:02 PM

Red has it right. You want your best pitchers pitching in the highest leverage situations and those situations pop up more often in the last two or three innings than in the fifth or sixth. Aceves does not handle high leverage well because he's not a very good pitcher. He's good enough to do well with low leverage situations, and there's value in that, but using him as an example of why closing experience is an important part of evaluating players in a trade or for bullpen roles suggests a poor understanding of what Alfredo Aceves is and how to evaluate pitchers in general.

#122 Rasputin


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Posted 22 December 2012 - 03:02 PM

So you're saying that there's no difference in the quality of a pitcher needed for the 8th or 9th innings but there is a difference in the quality of pitcher needed for the 7th inning?


I'm rapidly coming to the conclusion that you are being intentionally obtuse for purposes of trolling.

There's a different quality of pitcher required for different roles. What inning they pitch in is completely fucking irrelevant. A short reliever, be it setup or closer should be a high strikeout, low WHIP kind of pitcher.

If there were an unlimited supply of such pitchers, you'd just stick seven of them in your pen and be good with it. There aren't, which means the guys in the long man and mop up roles are going to be guys who allow more runners on base and generally aren't as good. It's okay for this role because the innings they pitch aren't as likely to make the difference in the game.

#123 Snodgrass'Muff


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Posted 22 December 2012 - 03:04 PM

You don't think a closer is brought in to high leverage situations more often than the set up man then? If it's the leverage that dictates what quality of pitcher is needed, and there's no difference in the quality of the pitcher needed to set up or close, then that would be your argument, correct?


Take a look at the splits for Daniel Bard and Jonathan Papelbon the last two years they were in Boston together. Their leverage index was virtually identical. There is very little, if any, difference in leverage between the eight and ninth innings in the average year. There is always a difference in leverage between the 8th/9th innings and the innings that precede them, though.

#124 Rudy Pemberton


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Posted 22 December 2012 - 03:05 PM

Red has it right. You want your best pitchers pitching in the highest leverage situations and those situations pop up more often in the last two or three innings than in the fifth or sixth. Aceves does not handle high leverage well because he's not a very good pitcher. He's good enough to do well with low leverage situations, and there's value in that, but using him as an example of why closing experience is an important part of evaluating players in a trade or for bullpen roles suggests a poor understanding of what Alfredo Aceves is and how to evaluate pitchers in general.


Aceves career OPS against

High leverage: 593
Medium leverage: 632
Low leverage: 709

622 OPS against in the 9th; 593 in extras.

#125 Red(s)HawksFan

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Posted 22 December 2012 - 03:05 PM

You don't think a closer is brought in to high leverage situations more often than the set up man then? If it's the leverage that dictates what quality of pitcher is needed, and there's no difference in the quality of the pitcher needed to set up or close, then that would be your argument, correct?


Not every 9th inning is automatically a higher leverage situation than the 8th. Case in point, in 2011, Jonathan Papelbon and Daniel Bard had identical 1.7 gmLI (game entering leverage index), with Bard predominantly pitching the 8th and Papelbon the 9th.

#126 Edelpeddle

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Posted 22 December 2012 - 03:06 PM

Take a look at the splits for Daniel Bard and Jonathan Papelbon the last two years they were in Boston together. Their leverage index was virtually identical. There is very little, if any, difference in leverage between the eight and ninth innings in the average year. There is always a difference in leverage between the 8th/9th innings and the innings that precede them, though.


That's a rather small sample size. Are you willing to state that across MLB closers do not pitch in higher leverage innings than set up men (and hence there's no difference in quality of pitchers needed)?

#127 Snodgrass'Muff


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Posted 22 December 2012 - 03:07 PM

Aceves career OPS against

High leverage: 593
Medium leverage: 632
Low leverage: 709

622 OPS against in the 9th; 593 in extras.


High leverage: 51.1 IP
Medium leverage: 104 IP
Low leverage: 168.2 IP

See anything there that might explain an unexpected result in high leverage innings?

#128 Rasputin


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Posted 22 December 2012 - 03:09 PM

You don't think a closer is brought in to high leverage situations more often than the set up man then? If it's the leverage that dictates what quality of pitcher is needed, and there's no difference in the quality of the pitcher needed to set up or close, then that would be your argument, correct?


No, the closer isn't necessarily brought into higher leverage situations than the setup man.

Daniel Bard's Leverage Index from 2009-2011 1.0, 1.9, 1.7
Papelbon over the same time 1.8, 1.8, 1.7

That's one year out of three where Bard's leverage index was significantly less and oh hey, it just happens to be his rookie year.

#129 Snodgrass'Muff


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Posted 22 December 2012 - 03:09 PM

That's a rather small sample size. Are you willing to state that across MLB closers do not pitch in higher leverage innings than set up men (and hence there's no difference in quality of pitchers needed)?


I'm saying the leverage index from the 8th to the 9th is much smaller than you are making it out to be and that there is no magical difference between set up men and closers. Most closers were set up men before they started closing games. We construct narratives about the mystical abilities of "the closer" when we see a setup man fail but ignore the context, whether that context is poor peripherals or an abnormally low babip in the season preceding their attempt to close or a career year that followed mediocrity...

#130 Rudy Pemberton


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Posted 22 December 2012 - 03:10 PM

High leverage: 51.1 IP
Medium leverage: 104 IP
Low leverage: 168.2 IP

See anything there that might explain an unexpected result in high leverage innings?


You said that Aceves "does not handle high leverage well". The data clearly suggests that is not the case. Sure, he has not pitched as often in high leverage innings, although of course that is true because most innings are not high leverage, but he has performed quite a bit better in high leverage than medium, and better than medium than low. Do you disagree?

#131 czar


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Posted 22 December 2012 - 03:10 PM

That's a rather small sample size. Are you willing to state that across MLB closers do not pitch in higher leverage innings than set up men (and hence there's no difference in quality of pitchers needed)?


1/3 of the top 30 MLB pitchers by gmLI last year were setup men.

Another handful of them were guys who split the year between the eighth and the ninth.

#132 Rasputin


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Posted 22 December 2012 - 03:10 PM

That's a rather small sample size. Are you willing to state that across MLB closers do not pitch in higher leverage innings than set up men (and hence there's no difference in quality of pitchers needed)?


Yes.

#133 Edelpeddle

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Posted 22 December 2012 - 03:12 PM

I'm saying the leverage index from the 8th to the 9th is much smaller than you are making it out to be and that there is no magical difference between set up men and closers. Most closers were set up men before they started closing games. We construct narratives about the mystical abilities of "the closer" when we see a setup man fail but ignore the context, whether that context is poor peripherals or an abnormally low babip in the season preceding their attempt to close or a career year that followed mediocrity...


So you do believer closers are brought in to higher leverage situations than relievers, but you don't think the difference is as much as you think I think it is? Now this is getting convoluted. Either closers do get brought in to more higher leverage innings, or they don't.

#134 Red(s)HawksFan

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Posted 22 December 2012 - 03:15 PM

Common usage of "closers" defies logic a lot of the time. The ideal way to deploy bullpen pitchers would be to have your best pitchers pitching the highest leverage situations regardless of inning. In some cases, teams are lucky enough to have more than one pitcher capable of handling high leverage situations (such as the Red Sox in 2010 and 2011 with Bard/Papelbon) so that they can split them into more defined roles of "set up man" and "closer". In many others, the best high leverage pitcher isn't necessarily the closer. The guy with the "closer" title is the guy they are paying more for or the veteran or the guy with the most saves on his resume rather than the best pitcher in the bullpen.

#135 Snodgrass'Muff


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Posted 22 December 2012 - 03:17 PM

You said that Aceves "does not handle high leverage well". The data clearly suggests that is not the case. Sure, he has not pitched as often in high leverage innings, although of course that is true because most innings are not high leverage, but he has performed quite a bit better in high leverage than medium, and better than medium than low. Do you disagree?


No, I'm saying small sample size is skewing the results when looking through the lens of OPS against. He had 15.1 high leverage innings in 2011, a year in which he outperformed his peripherals so ridiculously that it was impossible for him to sustain it. He had 22.1 high leverage innings last year and was awful in them. He had 1 in 2010 and 10.2 in 2009, but saw the vast majority of his action in the 5th, 6th and 7th innings.

So yes, I disagree that he's better in high leverage innings. I think using him in such a role going forward would be awful roster management.

So you do believer closers are brought in to higher leverage situations than relievers, but you don't think the difference is as much as you think I think it is? Now this is getting convoluted. Either closers do get brought in to more higher leverage innings, or they don't.


Seriously? Are you being intentionally obtuse?

#136 Rasputin


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Posted 22 December 2012 - 03:18 PM

So you do believer closers are brought in to higher leverage situations than relievers, but you don't think the difference is as much as you think I think it is? Now this is getting convoluted. Either closers do get brought in to more higher leverage innings, or they don't.


Really?

You basically just said all numbers are equal.

Because you're saying a tiny difference between leverage index of the 8th and 9th is the same as a big difference in the leverage index of the 9th and 6th.

It's bad enough trying to explain simple baseball concepts, but when it gets into even more basic concepts, it's just not worth the time.

#137 SouthernBoSox


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Posted 22 December 2012 - 03:19 PM

So you do believer closers are brought in to higher leverage situations than relievers, but you don't think the difference is as much as you think I think it is? Now this is getting convoluted. Either closers do get brought in to more higher leverage innings, or they don't.

Dude, you aren't reading what anyone is posting. I don't understand how you are generating these conclusions, but you should really rethink how you are approaching this.

#138 Rudy Pemberton


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Posted 22 December 2012 - 03:24 PM

FWIW,last year, Aceves had a 651 OPS against in the 9th inning. 52 2/3 IP allowing a line of 218 / 290 / 362. Terrible in extras, terrible in the 8th...but the times he was used a traditional 3 out closer, he wasn't half bad.

#139 Red(s)HawksFan

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Posted 22 December 2012 - 03:26 PM

FWIW,last year, Aceves had a 651 OPS against in the 9th inning. 52 2/3 IP allowing a line of 218 / 290 / 362. Terrible in extras, terrible in the 8th...but the times he was used a traditional 3 out closer, he wasn't half bad.


Which just goes to the point that the "closer" doesn't necessariily have to be the best pitcher in the bullpen if deployed strictly as a 3-out, 9th inning pitcher.

#140 Snodgrass'Muff


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Posted 22 December 2012 - 03:28 PM

Rudy, not all 9th innings are high leverage, even if all of them are save opportunities. You are actually demonstrating why the traditional role of the closer is not an optimal use of a bullpen.

No one is suggesting that the typical model for bullpen usage is likely to be thrown out the window, but it's certainly not optimal.

#141 Edelpeddle

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Posted 22 December 2012 - 03:29 PM

Alright, so I found that according to fangraphs, the average closer has a leverage index of 1.8. I'm running some numbers to see if that's true and if so, how it compares to the average set up man. Can we agree that if closers are brought in to more higher leverage situations than set up men, that they acquire a higher level of pitcher?

Edited by Edelpeddle, 22 December 2012 - 03:30 PM.


#142 Papelbon's Poutine

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Posted 22 December 2012 - 03:33 PM

No. We can't. Just stop.

(null)

#143 Corsi


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Posted 22 December 2012 - 03:33 PM

Heyman tweets Jerry Sands could be in the mix.

#144 SoxScout


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Posted 22 December 2012 - 03:34 PM

jperrotto: #Pirates manager Clint Hurdle a fan of #RedSox LHP Franklin Morales from their days together with #Rockies.



#145 Rudy Pemberton


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Posted 22 December 2012 - 03:35 PM

Cherington loves acquiring guys, and then getting rid of them, doesn't he? BTW, everyone's favorite, fangraphs, has Hanrahan's value at -$1.6M last year.

Edited by Rudy Pemberton, 22 December 2012 - 03:36 PM.


#146 RedOctober3829


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Posted 22 December 2012 - 03:36 PM

Rudy, not all 9th innings are high leverage, even if all of them are save opportunities. You are actually demonstrating why the traditional role of the closer is not an optimal use of a bullpen.

No one is suggesting that the typical model for bullpen usage is likely to be thrown out the window, but it's certainly not optimal.


The optimal usage of a bullpen is to use your best reliever at the highest leverage situation possible and then divide responsibilities from there based on matchups. But, it won't happen that way these days because the "closers" are paid the most money as has stated. Yes Edel, setup men can and have pitched higher leverage innings on average than closers because the 9th inning is not always when the game is on the line. It could be the 7th inning of a 1 run game and there is bases loaded and 1 out. Do managers bring in their best reliever(often the closer) into the game then? Nope.

#147 Snodgrass'Muff


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Posted 22 December 2012 - 03:37 PM

Alright, so I found that according to fangraphs, the average closer has a leverage index of 1.8. I'm running some numbers to see if that's true and if so, how it compares to the average set up man. Can we agree that if closers are brought in to more higher leverage situations than set up men, that they acquire a higher level of pitcher?


I would guess that any difference in leverage is going to be fairly small... small enough to be, likely, statistically insignificant. And while yes, historically speaking and in absolute terms the collection of pitchers who have been called closers is probably going to come in as a slightly better group than those called setup men, those differences are likely going to be driven by how bullpens have been used more so than any supposed requirement for a level of talent for the two roles.

And all of this missed the point that's been made to you repeatedly today. You're getting hung up on labels like closer and setup man or save situation and non-save situation. We're saying there are good pitchers and there are not so good pitchers. Overwhelmingly, good pitchers end up pitching in the 8th and 9th inning and not so good pitchers don't. The leverage index between the 8th and 9th innings is going to be very similar since high leverage situations pop up fairly often in both innings, so you aren't going to see a lot of difference between the quality of pitchers who succeed in the 9th versus the quality of pitchers who succeed in the 8th.

Edit: The thread is moving fast, so I added the post I was responding to.

Edited by Snodgrass'Muff, 22 December 2012 - 03:39 PM.


#148 Edelpeddle

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Posted 22 December 2012 - 03:41 PM

I'm having trouble finding averages, but I have been able to find that the there are 37 relievers who have averaged a gmLI over 1.50 in the last decade and the vast majority of them were used as closers most of their careers.

http://www.fangraphs...ers=0&sort=10,d

#149 RedOctober3829


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Posted 22 December 2012 - 03:41 PM

JIM BOWDEN@JimBowdenESPNxm
@JonHeymanCBS tweets "One name that could be in mix is Jerry Sands"...moment later I confirm that Sands is indeed in trade #alwaysontopofit

#150 Edelpeddle

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Posted 22 December 2012 - 03:42 PM

I would be fine with Sands and Morales. I'd even throw in a Pimentel.




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