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Koji Uehara: one of the 20 best relief seasons ever?


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#1 StupendousMan

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Posted 10 August 2013 - 10:09 PM

Koji Uehara had another clean ninth inning tonight to finish the Sox' victory over KC.  Rudy Pemberton asked if any Sox reliever has had a better season in the game thread.  I checked Uehara against 2006 Papelbon, and it's a pretty close race -- though Uehara still has a number of chances to return to the ordinary, of course:

 

Papelbon in 2006: 68.1 IP, 40 H, 15 BB, 75 K, 3 HR, 0.776 WHIP, ERA+ 517

 

Uehara in 2013:    52.1 IP, 28 H, 11 BB, 74 K, 5 HR, 0.707 WHIP, ERA+ 307

 (not counting tonight)

 

That line looks so good, we might compare it to another really good season of relief: Eckersley in 1990:

 

Eckersley in 1990:  73.1 IP, 41 H, 5 BB, 73 K, 2 HR, 0.614 WHIP, ERA+ 603

 

Well, I'd say that Uehara can't match _that_ record, but I'm still mightily impressed with his work so far.  Is it possible that he might make the top 20 relief seasons of all time?  Please show us some of your candidates for top performances by a reliever.  It might make sense to break the entries into "end-of-game-one-inning" and "several-innings-at-a-time" categories.

 

 



#2 ScubaSteveAvery


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Posted 10 August 2013 - 10:15 PM

Craig Kimbrel last season was incredible:

 

62.2 IP 27 H, 14 BB, 116K , 3 HR, 0.654 WHIP, ERA+ 403 with an 8.29 K/BB ratio



#3 Ribeye

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Posted 10 August 2013 - 10:17 PM

Not popular around here but while with LAD:

 

Eric Gagne 2003:  82.1 IP, 37 H, 20 BB, 137 K, 2 HR, 0.692 WHIP, ERA+ 337

 

(Note the number of strikeouts with his filthy changeup.)


Edited by Ribeye, 10 August 2013 - 10:20 PM.


#4 JohntheBaptist


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Posted 10 August 2013 - 10:43 PM

Willie Hernandez for the Tigers in 1984 is tough to beat (112 Ks, 36 BB, 6 HR, .94 WHIP 1.92 ERA in 140.1 IP).

Edited by JohntheBaptist, 10 August 2013 - 10:44 PM.


#5 strek1


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Posted 10 August 2013 - 10:52 PM

Koji has been nothing short of spectacular. Regardless of how he stacks up against other players and their stats he sure as hell is getting the job done here this year.  WAY WAY beyond what I envisioned.



#6 Niastri

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Posted 10 August 2013 - 11:01 PM

Koji Uehara had another clean ninth inning tonight to finish the Sox' victory over KC.  Rudy Pemberton asked if any Sox reliever has had a better season in the game thread.  I checked Uehara against 2006 Papelbon, and it's a pretty close race -- though Uehara still has a number of chances to return to the ordinary, of course:

 

Papelbon in 2006: 68.1 IP, 40 H, 15 BB, 75 K, 3 HR, 0.776 WHIP, ERA+ 517

 

Uehara in 2013:    52.1 IP, 28 H, 11 BB, 74 K, 5 HR, 0.707 WHIP, ERA+ 307

 (not counting tonight)

 

That line looks so good, we might compare it to another really good season of relief: Eckersley in 1990:

 

Eckersley in 1990:  73.1 IP, 41 H, 5 BB, 73 K, 2 HR, 0.614 WHIP, ERA+ 603

 

Well, I'd say that Uehara can't match _that_ record, but I'm still mightily impressed with his work so far.  Is it possible that he might make the top 20 relief seasons of all time?  Please show us some of your candidates for top performances by a reliever.  It might make sense to break the entries into "end-of-game-one-inning" and "several-innings-at-a-time" categories.

 

 

 

The difference in the run environment during 2006 and this season is really highlighted by those stat lines.  While it is a marginally better line from Uehara this year compared to Papelbon in '06, Pap's era+ is a massive 210 better!  Truly remarkable how good that season from Papelbon was.  This is with Uehara having a better WHIP, K/9 and K/BB.  Amazing how inflated offense was back then.



#7 The Best Catch in 100 Years

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Posted 11 August 2013 - 12:31 AM

Aroldis Chapman was really good last year. The HR rate is particularly impressive given the park he pitches in.

 

71.2 IP, 35 H, 23 BB, 122 K, 4 HRA, 41 shutdowns, 6 meltdowns, 279 ERA+



#8 The Best Catch in 100 Years

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Posted 11 August 2013 - 12:45 AM

Willie Hernandez for the Tigers in 1984 is tough to beat (112 Ks, 36 BB, 6 HR, .94 WHIP 1.92 ERA in 140.1 IP).

In a similar vein, Mark Eichhorn for the Blue Jays in 1986: 166 K, 45 BB, 8 HR, 1.72 ERA in 157 IP. Interesting how much RP usage has changed over the last 20-30 years, though I guess this year Drew Smyly is racking up a lot of quality innings (should end up right around 100 for the year) in a pretty similar role to what Eichhorn and Hernandez played.

 

Edit: and I'm not going to list all the great reliever seasons, but just from a cursory sniff at these Fangraphs leaderboards, top 20 is a massive stretch. Uehara's having a really good year and I guess it might be a contender for like, top 75 or 100 reliever seasons, but even that might be too high.


Edited by The Best Catch in 100 Years, 11 August 2013 - 12:57 AM.


#9 BellhornIsGod

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Posted 11 August 2013 - 01:06 AM

Mariano Rivera in 1996

 

107.2 IP, 2.09 ERA, 0.99 WHIP, 130 K, 34 BB, 240 ERA+

 

Where things get really insane - opposing hitters slashed .189/.258/.228(!!) for an OPS of .486 and an OPS+ of 24. This was Mo's one year as Wettelend's set-up man and it was probably his most dominant year. 

 

Also finished with a 5.0 WAR and allowed one freaking homer all season. One. 



#10 CaptainLaddie


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Posted 11 August 2013 - 01:35 AM

Mike Marshall in 1974 threw 208.1 IP in RELIEF for crissakes.  I mean.  208.1 IP.  In 106 games.  I know his WAR was only 3.1, but he was absolutely insane that year.  Just the value of basically getting starters innings out of bullpen from one pitcher is beyond incroyable.



#11 bosox79

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Posted 11 August 2013 - 06:02 AM

Brad Lidge has a few sick seasons too.

#12 OttoC


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Posted 11 August 2013 - 06:46 AM

Well, if you want to go back and find lots of IP for a relief pitcher, how about Dick Radatz? In his first three years (1962-64 with the Red Sox), he pitched in 207 games (all in relief, finishing 178 of them) and recording 414.0 IP while allowing only 292 hits and striking out 487. He was 40-21 with 78 saves. Of course, those years basically burned him out.



#13 Tudor Fever

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Posted 11 August 2013 - 08:49 AM

The oft-maligned Bob Stanley had a great season in 1982. 168.1 IP, all in relief, WAR of 4.5, led all qualifiers in ERA+ (granted, it was the year Pete Vuckovich won the Cy).

Edited by Tudor Fever, 11 August 2013 - 08:49 AM.


#14 Soxfan in Fla


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Posted 11 August 2013 - 09:09 AM

Fernando Rodney and his skewed hat from last season

74.2 IP, 0.60 ERA, .777 WHIP, 43 hits, 5 ER, 15 BB, 76 K, WAR 3.8, ERA+ 641

#15 Devizier


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Posted 11 August 2013 - 09:54 AM

Hard to say. I mean, you're not going to see modern relievers dealing like Hoyt Wilhelm or Mike Marshall.

 

Take an example from Marshall's career (1974):

 

106 games pitched

208 1/3 innings

141 ERA+

Cy Young Award

 

Even so, some of the big seasons from modern relievers tended towards 70-80 innings (Francisco Rodriguez in 2004, Gagne in 2003, etc.)


Edited by Devizier, 11 August 2013 - 09:55 AM.


#16 Harry Agganis

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Posted 11 August 2013 - 10:00 AM

Uehara has appeared in 54 games. His next appearance will trigger a clause guaranteeing his contract for next season. That’s just fine with the Red Sox.

 

http://www.boston.co...off_royals.html

 

I was unaware of this aspect of the contract. I thought it was a straight 1/4.25 He is second year arb eligible.



#17 Savin Hillbilly


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Posted 11 August 2013 - 10:13 AM

Brad Lidge has a few sick seasons too.

 

Which should probably remind us that assessing any individual season at the three-quarter mark is an exercise that has "Gowdy" written all over it.

 

I'm mildly concerned (OK, maybe a bit more than mildly concerned) about the fact that he is on a pace to pitch more games and innings than ever before in his career, at age 38. I really hope Farrell can find ways to back off the throttle a bit over the next few weeks so he has something left for late September and beyond.

 

That said, yeah, pretty historic season so far. If he pitched in at least 70 games (which I hope he doesn't, but right now he's on a pace to), and maintained his current K/BB, WHIP and ERA+, they would rank 3rd, 2nd and 5th all-time for relievers with that many appearances.



#18 CaptainLaddie


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Posted 11 August 2013 - 10:14 AM

Hard to say. I mean, you're not going to see modern relievers dealing like Hoyt Wilhelm or Mike Marshall.

 

Take an example from Marshall's career (1974):

 

106 games pitched

208 1/3 innings

141 ERA+

Cy Young Award

 

Even so, some of the big seasons from modern relievers tended towards 70-80 innings (Francisco Rodriguez in 2004, Gagne in 2003, etc.)

Well, now I know I'm on your ignore list!



#19 Devizier


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Posted 11 August 2013 - 10:47 AM

Well, now I know I'm on your ignore list!

Nope, I just had the post sitting in my browser for a long time. Should have rechecked the thread.


Edited by Devizier, 11 August 2013 - 10:48 AM.


#20 bosockboy


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Posted 11 August 2013 - 11:14 AM

Uehara has appeared in 54 games. His next appearance will trigger a clause guaranteeing his contract for next season. That’s just fine with the Red Sox.
 
http://www.boston.co...off_royals.html
 
I was unaware of this aspect of the contract. I thought it was a straight 1/4.25 He is second year arb eligible.


Still not sure that's accurate; I'd be thrilled if it was. Nothing on COTS about it.

#21 Harry Agganis

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Posted 11 August 2013 - 11:46 AM

I agree but hard to believe that the globe created that from thin air.

#22 RoDaddy

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Posted 11 August 2013 - 12:27 PM

Well, if you want to go back and find lots of IP for a relief pitcher, how about Dick Radatz? In his first three years (1962-64 with the Red Sox), he pitched in 207 games (all in relief, finishing 178 of them) and recording 414.0 IP while allowing only 292 hits and striking out 487. He was 40-21 with 78 saves. Of course, those years basically burned him out.

 

Yeah, you can't really compare today's one inning reliever with older guys like Radatz and especially - as mentioned - Mike Marshall, who you could argue were as valuable as any relievers in history because of all the quality innings they gave. In fact, I read that Radatz still holds the all time record for reliever strikeouts in a season (181punchouts in 157 IP).  Plus, of course, today's one inning relievers have the advantage of rearing back and throwing harder since they're throwing a lot less innings per year. By comparison, older relievers like Radatz were more like a hybrid closer plus middle reliever, sometimes going 5 or more innings of relief, and often enough, relieving both ends of a double header. 



#23 Lose Remerswaal


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Posted 11 August 2013 - 01:17 PM

I just like that he has the balls to throw a 3-2 splitter, down and out of the zone, knowing the hitter is likely to swing and miss because the hitter is thinking "there's no way he's throwing a pitch on 3-2 that is going to end up 15 inches out of the strike zone."


Edited by Lose Remerswaal, 11 August 2013 - 01:17 PM.


#24 maufman


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Posted 11 August 2013 - 03:45 PM

Still not sure that's accurate; I'd be thrilled if it was. Nothing on COTS about it.


He doesn't have six years of service time. Unless there's a clause in his contract that requires the Sox to non-tender him on request (other Japanese players have negotiated such clauses), he's under club control next season.

#25 Bigpupp

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Posted 11 August 2013 - 04:16 PM

He doesn't have six years of service time. Unless there's a clause in his contract that requires the Sox to non-tender him on request (other Japanese players have negotiated such clauses), he's under club control next season.


He has had it on every contract he has signed, so it's not out of the realm of possibility.

#26 bosockboy


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Posted 11 August 2013 - 04:28 PM

Pardon my ignorance, but how did he reach free agency last winter?

#27 maufman


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Posted 11 August 2013 - 05:32 PM

He has had it on every contract he has signed, so it's not out of the realm of possibility.


I had assumed he had such a clause, but the Globe story to the contrary and the absence of any mention of the clause on Cot's make me wonder.


#28 The Gray Eagle


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Posted 11 August 2013 - 11:04 PM

This is a new one to me:

 

Farrell has come to marvel at how Uehara approaches the ninth inning.

“You sit there and you watch him pitch and against a given hitter you almost feel he’s got a sixth sense when he’s on the mound,” the manager said. “When to elevate a fastball to reverse the count, fall behind on purpose to be able to use some of the hitter’s aggressiveness against his split [finger fastball]. He’s just got an exceptional feel for the situation.”

 

Intentionally falling behind in the count is not something that I realized that he does. Takes real confidence and command to do that.



#29 lexrageorge

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Posted 11 August 2013 - 11:08 PM

Pardon my ignorance, but how did he reach free agency last winter?

 Texas did not renew his $4M contract, making him a free agent.  Pre-arb eligible players cannot have their contracts renewed for less than their current value, and Texas wasn't willing to spend that kind of money to keep him.  

 

EDIT:  Correction.  See the following posts for the details.  


Edited by lexrageorge, 12 August 2013 - 09:26 AM.


#30 Bigpupp

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Posted 11 August 2013 - 11:42 PM

 Texas did not renew his $4M contract, making him a free agent.  Pre-arb eligible players cannot have their contracts renewed for less than their current value, and Texas wasn't willing to spend that kind of money to keep him.  

 

That's not what Cot's says, though. According to them:

 

 


  • 1 year/$3M (2011), plus 2012 vesting option
  • signed by Baltimore as a free agent 12/9/10
  • 11:$3M, 12:$4M vesting option (guaranteed with 55 games or 25 games finished in 2011)
  • 2011 performance bonuses:
    • $0.1M each for 30, 35, 40, 45, 50 games
    • $0.15M – $0.25M for games finished (10-55)
  • 2012 performance bonuses up to $1M based on GF (if option vests)
  • award bonuses
  • limited no-trade protection (may block deals to 6 clubs)
  • may elect to become XX(B) free agent when contract ends
  • acquired by Texas in trade from Baltimore 7/30/11 (Orioles pay $2M to Rangers in deal)
  • 2012 option vested 8/31/12


That, and he wasn't a pre-arb player last year. He would have been arb 2.


Edited by Bigpupp, 11 August 2013 - 11:45 PM.


#31 Reverend


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Posted 12 August 2013 - 02:09 AM

Craig Kimbrel last season was incredible:

 

62.2 IP 27 H, 14 BB, 116K , 3 HR, 0.654 WHIP, ERA+ 403 with an 8.29 K/BB ratio

 

Wait--that happened?



#32 j44thor

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Posted 12 August 2013 - 05:51 AM

 

Wait--that happened?

 

Yeah he has to be the best pitcher no one really talks about.  He has 205 career IP with a .919 WHIP, 5.2 H/9, and 15.5 K/9



#33 wade boggs chicken dinner


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Posted 12 August 2013 - 08:45 AM

 Texas did not renew his $4M contract, making him a free agent.  Pre-arb eligible players cannot have their contracts renewed for less than their current value, and Texas wasn't willing to spend that kind of money to keep him.  

 

Yes, that is not correct.  Uehara has had a clause in his contract since he signed with the Os that allowed him to be a FA at the end of the contract.  He exercised that clause in October 2012 and became a FA.  For whatever reason, he didn't like the Rangers.

 

Os contract details.

 

Exercised FA clause last year.

 

Oh, and according to my rapidly fading memory, Bruce Sutter's 1977 was so good it really got people to start paying attention to relievers.  Plus he added a new pitch to the lingo.  OPS+ - 31; WHIP = .857; ERA = 1.34; 107.1 IP.



#34 Super Nomario


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Posted 12 August 2013 - 09:20 AM

Billy Wagner had some monster years. His best ERA+ was 293 in 2005, with a 1.51 ERA, 38 saves, 87 K / 20 BB in 77 2/3 IP. His '99 might have been more impressive, with a 287 ERA+, 1.57 ERA, 39 saves, 124 K / 23 BB in 74 2/3 IP. His career ERA is 2.31, ERA+ 187, and K/9 11.9.



#35 LesterFan

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Posted 12 August 2013 - 12:23 PM

Alex Speier confirms he has a 2014 option

 

 

According to an industry source, Uehara’s one-year, $4.25 million deal included a $4.25 million vesting option for the 2014 season that becomes guaranteed when he pitches in 55 games; incentives can push the value of the deal to $5 million with 35 games finished.

 

http://fullcount.wee...ore-appearance/



#36 Rovin Romine

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Posted 12 August 2013 - 01:13 PM

Heck.  Give the man 6.

 

Which prompts me to ask - Is there any reason a team can't voluntarily pay more to a player?  Could a team have a sort of unofficial policy of paying players an extra bonus if they put up additional WAR (or some other "overall performance" stat) at the end of the season?

 

I ask because I know that performance based contracts are pretty much a no-no, per the Union, I think.   I was just thinking of how one could incentivize players to "play smart" instead of "playing hurt" and going after counting stats (most contract incentives seem to be counting stats - number of saves and so forth, without discounting for blown saves or shitty performance in getting those saves.)

 

Seems to me that if you had "decent" standard contracts, plus an unoffical WAR bonus program, you'd attract guys who think they'd do well regardless of their role on the team.   Could be attractive to rebound players. 

 

Well, maybe WAR wouldn't do that - maybe it would create perverse incentives.  But some kind of numbers based "we appreciate what you did this year" reward might foster team-friendly "hometown discount" deals in the future.

 

Anyway - random Monday afternoon question/thought.



#37 Drek717

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Posted 12 August 2013 - 01:33 PM

Alex Speier confirms he has a 2014 option

 

 

http://fullcount.wee...ore-appearance/

That's a pretty crazy vesting option.  He's an outright bargain at $5M, and he needs to finish another 12 games to even get to that.  I was seriously worried about how much keeping Koji was going to cost given his dominance and move to closer this year if the FO had to bid against other teams for him.



#38 mt8thsw9th


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Posted 12 August 2013 - 01:52 PM

 

Wait--that happened?

 

Aroldis Chapman struck out 122 last season. Carlos Marmol had 138 in 2010 (15.99 K/9). 



#39 Lose Remerswaal


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Posted 12 August 2013 - 01:53 PM

Heck, Melancon's numbers this year are better than Koji's.  What a crazy conjecture!



#40 trekfan55


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Posted 12 August 2013 - 02:03 PM

Heck.  Give the man 6.

 

Which prompts me to ask - Is there any reason a team can't voluntarily pay more to a player?  Could a team have a sort of unofficial policy of paying players an extra bonus if they put up additional WAR (or some other "overall performance" stat) at the end of the season?

 

I ask because I know that performance based contracts are pretty much a no-no, per the Union, I think.   I was just thinking of how one could incentivize players to "play smart" instead of "playing hurt" and going after counting stats (most contract incentives seem to be counting stats - number of saves and so forth, without discounting for blown saves or shitty performance in getting those saves.)

 

Seems to me that if you had "decent" standard contracts, plus an unoffical WAR bonus program, you'd attract guys who think they'd do well regardless of their role on the team.   Could be attractive to rebound players. 

 

Well, maybe WAR wouldn't do that - maybe it would create perverse incentives.  But some kind of numbers based "we appreciate what you did this year" reward might foster team-friendly "hometown discount" deals in the future.

 

Anyway - random Monday afternoon question/thought.

 

The contracts don't use stats such as saves, but rather "games finished" or "games played" and for a pitcher there may be Innings pitched.  I do not think the Union and MLB accept contracts which use numbers such as "1MM extra for hitting 60 HRs"  (Arod's bonuses for reaching lifetime HR milestones are the only kind I remember but that's not single season, plus Schilling "sneaked past" a bonus clause for winning the 2004 World Series).



#41 Reverend


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Posted 12 August 2013 - 02:31 PM

 

The contracts don't use stats such as saves, but rather "games finished" or "games played" and for a pitcher there may be Innings pitched.  I do not think the Union and MLB accept contracts which use numbers such as "1MM extra for hitting 60 HRs"  (Arod's bonuses for reaching lifetime HR milestones are the only kind I remember but that's not single season, plus Schilling "sneaked past" a bonus clause for winning the 2004 World Series).

 

I had thought that provision was invalidated. A google search, though, has the NYTimes saying after the fact that Schilling got the bonus and it has since been prohibited, while an ESPN article before the fact said it was spotted ahead of time and was going to be reworked somehow. I do still love the provision: "When." Remember when Schilling was The Man?

 

In the process, I found this list of strange contract stuff which is kinda awesome--had no idea that Rollie Fingers grew his stache for cash.

 

Edit: I think Roy Oswalt getting a bulldozer for winning an NLCS game is my favorite.


Edited by Reverend, 12 August 2013 - 02:33 PM.


#42 kieckeredinthehead

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Posted 13 August 2013 - 02:34 PM

Echoing Farrell's recent comments about Uehara's mind-reading ability, here's Breslow (final third of the article):

 

 

"I don't know if he's reading swings or what," Breslow said, "but it seems like invariably he throws a fastball and the guy is sitting on a split and he throws a split and the guy's sitting on a fastball.

 

"It's like, 0-and-0, the most aggressive guy in the lineup, he throws fastball middle middle and the hitter is taking all the way. How do you know that? The number of times he's frozen guys or beat guys with fastballs with two strikes is pretty remarkable.



#43 jscola85

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Posted 13 August 2013 - 03:23 PM

Best seasons by fWAR, last 5 years:

 

Rivera, 2008 (3.3)

Kimbrel, 2012 (3.3)

Chapman, 2012 (3.3)

Papelbon, 2011 (3.2)

Kimbrel, 2011 (3.1)

Papelbon, 2008 (3.0)

Marmol, 2010 (2.8)

 

Koji, 2013 (2.0 to date)

 

By WPA:

Lidge, 2008 (5.37)

Johnson, 2012 (5.35)

Papelbon, 2009 (5.13)

Clippard, 2011 (5.01)

Rodney, 2012 (4.82)

Soria, 2010 (4.65)

Bell, 2010 (4.49)

Rivera, 2008 (4.47)

 

Koji, 2013 (2.81 to date)

 

We're ~75% of the way through the year, so if Koji stays on pace, he'd end up with ~2.7 WAR and 3.75 WPA - of course, these can bounce around a bit more due to the SSS of relievers in a single season, so take it with a grain of salt.  

 

Still, while Koji is having a great year, it's not quite on par with some of the truly dominant relief seasons of recent past.  Interestingly, only Rivera in 2008 wound up in both of the top seasons by WAR and WPA.



#44 Niastri

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Posted 13 August 2013 - 05:17 PM

ERA+ is supposed to figure out differences in quality of number by eliminating park and era effects, etc...  So, isn't the best relief season ever the highest combination of innings and ERA+?  Maybe you put some WPA in there for a measure of clutch pitching.

 

Until somebody approaches Eck's 603 ERA+ season in 1990, it sounds like the best relief season ever conversation is a little premature.  Uehara might be having one of the 20 best relief seasons of the decade, but even that is looking like a stretch.



#45 WayBackVazquez


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Posted 13 August 2013 - 06:49 PM

Koji Uehara had another clean ninth inning tonight to finish the Sox' victory over KC.  Rudy Pemberton asked if any Sox reliever has had a better season in the game thread.  I checked Uehara against 2006 Papelbon, and it's a pretty close race -- though Uehara still has a number of chances to return to the ordinary, of course:
 
Papelbon in 2006: 68.1 IP, 40 H, 15 BB, 75 K, 3 HR, 0.776 WHIP, ERA+ 517
 
Uehara in 2013:    52.1 IP, 28 H, 11 BB, 74 K, 5 HR, 0.707 WHIP, ERA+ 307
 (not counting tonight)
 
That line looks so good, we might compare it to another really good season of relief: Eckersley in 1990:
 
Eckersley in 1990:  73.1 IP, 41 H, 5 BB, 73 K, 2 HR, 0.614 WHIP, ERA+ 603
 
Well, I'd say that Uehara can't match _that_ record, but I'm still mightily impressed with his work so far.  Is it possible that he might make the top 20 relief seasons of all time?  Please show us some of your candidates for top performances by a reliever.  It might make sense to break the entries into "end-of-game-one-inning" and "several-innings-at-a-time" categories.

 
How long have you been following the Red Sox? I remember a reliever not too long ago who had the following line at around this point in the season:
 
55.1 IP, 32 H, 12 BB, 3 HR, 0.795 WHIP, .098 ERA
 
Spoiler

 
He finished the season with a very good, but not historic 2.22. There's still a lot of baseball to be played; one 3-run homer really makes those numbers look different when you've only pitched ~50 innings.

Edited by SumnerH, 13 August 2013 - 07:07 PM.
Fixed spoiler tags


#46 Reverend


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Posted 13 August 2013 - 07:04 PM

 

How long have you been following the Red Sox? I remember a reliever not too long ago who had the following line at around this point in the season:

 

55.1 IP, 32 H, 12 BB, 3 HR, 0.795 WHIP, .098 ERA

 

Hideki Okajima - 2007

 

He finished the season with a very good, but not historic 2.22. There's still a lot of baseball to be played; one 3-run homer really makes those numbers look different when you've only pitched ~50 innings.

 

 

Spoiler tags dropped the "2" a couple years ago--you need to just use spoiler /spoiler now or it won't work.



#47 GreenMonsterVsGodzilla

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Posted 23 August 2013 - 10:35 AM

Reading this topic I got very interested in ERA+, and whether it can be anything close to a one-size-fits all stat to measure reliever performance.  Not sure I'm any closer, and definitely sure I'm not really qualified to make that call anyway.  But just for general interest, and in how it relates to Koji's season, I thought there were some pretty fascinating trends. 

Strictly by ERA+ (minimum 40 IP seemed reasonable), Koji's not in the top 20 best seasons, but damn close.  He's at #26, with an ERA+ of 331. 

300 seems like a good  cut-off for the elite of the elite seasons.  It's only been done 44 times.

Whether Koji makes the top 20 this year will depend not only on his performance, but on the 5 other pitchers above 300 this year who could beat him out or drop behind him.  Mark Melancon, whose name sounds familiar (387) and Craig Kimbrel (370) are ahead, and Neal Cotts (328), Luis Avilan (327) and Alex Torres (302) are behind.  That's crazy.  6 would be easily the most for a single season (4 in 2006, 07 and 08) but the overall trend stands out even more.  If this year stands, 12 of the top 44 (27%) will have been in the last 3 years.  And 31 (71%) will have been since 2000, and 37 (84%) since 1990.  There were only 2 seasons in the 70's (Bruce Sutter in 1977, Dale Murray in 1974), and 1 in the 60's (Bill Henry in 1964)!  Obviously reliever usage has changed, so it's not surprising it's skewed toward recent years, but I'm amazed it's that skewed.  Maybe it means that ERA+ isn't really as adjusted as it would seem...I'll leave that for the experts.  Or maybe that the most elite relievers now are just really, really good.  Seems possible. 

 

 

Into trivia now, but thought this was cool:

 

Top 5:  Joey Devine, OAK in 2008 (698); Fernando Rodney, TBR in 2012 (641); Dennis Eckersley, OAK in 1990 (603); Rob Murphy, CIN in 1986 (541); Jonathan Papelbon, BOS in 2006 (517).

 

If Craig Kimbrel does it again this year, he will be the only pitcher to beat 300 twice, other than Mariano Rivera (also twice).  He would be the only one to do it two years in a row (403 last year). 

 

With numbers this low, obviously a single HR can make a huge difference.   Devine gave up none in 2008 ...if he gives up 1 more earned run, his ERA+ drops from 698 to something like 535 (I think...I don't know exactly how the ballpark adjustment works).   Also, a lot of guys were really "helped" by unearned runs.  4 out of 7 of Devine's total runs allowed were unearned...and lots of other similar cases.

 

Atlanta has had the most seasons above 300, with 6.  Second, Montreal with 5.  Boston, 3 (counting this year).

 

Besides Uehara (if he does it), and Papelbon in 06, who's the other Red Sox to top 300?

 

Spoiler

 

Uehara would be the oldest pitcher (38) to beat 300, tied with Rivera.

 

Only in 6 of these seasons did the player lead the league in saves. 

 

And for the paranoid...the Sox have also had a lot of players who had fantastic seasons before or after coming to Boston.  That list includes Eric Gagne (2003), Uggy Urbina (1998), Eckersley (1990), Melancon, and Cla Meredith (2006).



#48 Rice4HOF

  • 1408 posts

Posted 23 August 2013 - 03:41 PM

The problem with using ERA+ is that it's based in ERA which just isn't very useful for a reliever. If you come in with bases loaded 2 outs and walk 3 straight batters before getting the 3rd out, your ERA decreases(!). We all saw Villareal throw 4 balls the other night, but his ERA didn't suffer for that. In fact if he gets an out without giving up a run in his next outing his ERA+ will be infinity.

There is a stat that is based on run expectancy when the reliever enters the game vs what he does. I can't quite remember what it's called and cant fond it using my phone right now but using that would probably be more meaningful than ERA.

#49 Devizier


  • SoSH Member


  • 5145 posts

Posted 23 August 2013 - 07:45 PM

Given that Uehara typically enters the game with no runners and no outs, ERA is okay. But it fails for set-up and middle relief, for certain.



#50 HomeRunBaker


  • sloppy seconds


  • 9823 posts

Posted 25 August 2013 - 06:16 PM

In a similar vein, Mark Eichhorn for the Blue Jays in 1986: 166 K, 45 BB, 8 HR, 1.72 ERA in 157 IP. Interesting how much RP usage has changed over the last 20-30 years, though I guess this year Drew Smyly is racking up a lot of quality innings (should end up right around 100 for the year) in a pretty similar role to what Eichhorn and Hernandez played.

 

At least Jimy Williams didn't abuse Eichhorn.....157 IP out of the pen in 69 outings followed by 127 IP in 89 games the following year?

 

Meaningless Stat of the Day: During Eichhorn's 11 season career he wore 8 different uniform numbers.






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