Relievers who walk nobody

LeoCarrillo

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This seems like as good a place as any for this item:
 
Ten players in Boston for the weeklong rookie program of getting a bit familiar with Fenway, the coaching staff, etc. Mostly it's guys you'd expect. But one surprise: Noe Ramirez. He's only rated No. 30 on soxprospects. Good numbers as a righty reliever last year in Portland. 24 years old. Control guy, sounds like.
 
 
Per Globe:
The 10 participants this season are RHP Matt Barnes, 3B Garin Cecchini, RHP Dalier Hinojosa, LHP Henry Owens, SS Deven Marrero, RHP Noe Ramirez, RHP Anthony Ranaudo, 1B Travis Shaw, C Blake Swihart, and C Christian Vazquez.
 

smastroyin

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Presumably they could give him a shot at a bullpen job this year.  He responded pretty well to his move there last year and pitched well (not great) in the AFL.  So while he doesn't have a lot of top end potential, he is probably pretty high on the list of guys that may see Fenway in 2014. 
 

Sprowl

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Split from minor league prospect thread.
 
***
 
With Uehara, Mujica and now Ramirez, the Red Sox seem to place a premium on relievers with control, and who can keep the pitch count down. The Red Sox have assembled a corps of batters who specialize in exhausting the pitcher; they also seem to want pitchers who can throw strikes, even if those strikes turn into hits.
 

LeoCarrillo

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Soxprospects says Noe is fastball-changeup. If his out pitch is the changeup, Maybe Pedro sees something he can help hone.

He did teach RDLR a changeup.

(That felt kinda wrong to bring up RDLR in a thread about people who walk nobody.)
 

smastroyin

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I don't have the time to really put the research in, but it would be somewhat interesting to see if there is an expected payoff here.  Granted that less BB are better than more, but is this something that translates to better relievers?  Are they better overall as a rule?  Are they more consistent and predictable?  
 
The problem with a lot of doing this research is that relievers are so fungible that the guys who have great walk rates but otherwise suck get replaced.  You end up with a performance bias - only the guys who are consistently good rack up enough innings to build a decent sample.  
 

The Mort Report

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I believe BB are at least somewhat more damaging for a reliever than a starter.  If a starter walks the #7 guy in the 3rd inning, its too early in the game to bring in a pinch hitter, so he faces the #8.  If a reliever walks the #7 in the 8th inning, the opposing manager will most likely pinch hit with a better batter, causing a higher chance of scoring.  I would imagine that batters walking in the 7-9 innings have a higher score rate than other innings.
 

nvalvo

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If you haven't seen Noe, he's got an interesting slingy motion. I could think of a bunch of lefties with a similar motion, and not all of them LOOGYs, but Noe's a righty. I think he gets some pretty good deception that way; it's an unexpected look.
 
Video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-89tYQKhMlk
 
spoiler alert: He walks somebody. 
 

Savin Hillbilly

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Sprowl said:
With Uehara, Mujica and now Ramirez, the Red Sox seem to place a premium on relievers with control, and who can keep the pitch count down.
 
Tazawa too, of course. And Badenhop has posted BB/9s under 2 the past two seasons. A bullpen of Uehara/Mujica/Breslow/Tazawa/Miller/Badenhop/Ramirez would include only two guys with a BB/9 >2.0 in 2013--Miller and Breslow (with a very respectable 2.7). And even Miller didn't give up a ton of walks to LHH.
 
For that kind of bullpen the only vulnerability is hard contact--and if you play matchups well enough you can minimize that vulnerability. A smart acquisition strategy for a team run by a very pitching-savvy manager with two veteran catchers.
 

bosox79

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He had good control as a starter too but never went more than 5. He being Noe.He was a fast riser but probably due to age.
 

Rasputin

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smastroyin said:
I don't have the time to really put the research in, but it would be somewhat interesting to see if there is an expected payoff here.  Granted that less BB are better than more, but is this something that translates to better relievers?  Are they better overall as a rule?  Are they more consistent and predictable?  
 
I think a lot of people looked at what the Sox did last year and got the wrong message. I'm not saying you're doing this, just using this post as a jumping off point. A lot of people just looked at what the Sox did and decided that it was about not giving out long term contracts for a lot of money, and while that's true, I don't think it was really the whole point. Mostly, I think the Sox strategy shifted from one of trying to get tremendous players at as many positions as possible then filling in around them, to one of ensuring that you're not terrible anywhere, then getting--or in the Sox case, already having--enough talent that is much better than just not terrible to take you over the top.
 
And I think having relievers who don't walk people is just a scaling down of that strategy. A reliever who doesn't strike out a ton of guys is never going to be your high leverage man, but there are a lot of innings pitched that aren't high leverage, and while they'll give up their hits, that's true of pretty much everyone. But what's the fastest (er, actually, it's pretty slow, but you know what I mean) way to turn a low leverage seventh inning into a high leverage seventh inning? Walking people.
 
If all you do in your inning is not be terrible, you're fine for the back of the bullpen, and walking people is large part of being terrible.
 

Rough Carrigan

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I love that the Sox seems to be stockpiling guys like this.  They're a joy to watch.  Things cut right to the chase in every at bat.  It often seems that relievers like Koji or at least down that end of the BB/9 scale are the aggressors and the batters are defensive.  On the flip side of it, I know some old school jackasses think that taking pitches is just being passive but when the meat of the Sox order is up against a reliever with bad control it's not just passive.  They're aggressively pressuring him breaking him down, forcing him to take something off the pitch or not spin it so much because they won't swing at some piece of crap in the dirt or neck high.  They're using the strike zone as an active weapon against him. 
 
Koji and guys like him *force* the other team's hitters to swing away. 
 

Saints Rest

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Rasputin said:
 
I think a lot of people looked at what the Sox did last year and got the wrong message. I'm not saying you're doing this, just using this post as a jumping off point. A lot of people just looked at what the Sox did and decided that it was about not giving out long term contracts for a lot of money, and while that's true, I don't think it was really the whole point. Mostly, I think the Sox strategy shifted from one of trying to get tremendous players at as many positions as possible then filling in around them, to one of ensuring that you're not terrible anywhere, then getting--or in the Sox case, already having--enough talent that is much better than just not terrible to take you over the top.
 
And I think having relievers who don't walk people is just a scaling down of that strategy. A reliever who doesn't strike out a ton of guys is never going to be your high leverage man, but there are a lot of innings pitched that aren't high leverage, and while they'll give up their hits, that's true of pretty much everyone. But what's the fastest (er, actually, it's pretty slow, but you know what I mean) way to turn a low leverage seventh inning into a high leverage seventh inning? Walking people.
 
If all you do in your inning is not be terrible, you're fine for the back of the bullpen, and walking people is large part of being terrible.
Another way of saying this is a shift from an NBA model (you need the best player on the court to win, and ideally some version of a Big Three, while your depth is less vital) to the Patriots/Bruins model of "deep depth" which could also be seen as the portfolio model.  
 

redsox2020

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nvalvo said:
If you haven't seen Noe, he's got an interesting slingy motion. I could think of a bunch of lefties with a similar motion, and not all of them LOOGYs, but Noe's a righty. I think he gets some pretty good deception that way; it's an unexpected look.
 
Video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-89tYQKhMlk
 
spoiler alert: He walks somebody. 
Thanks for sharing.  The delivery vaguely reminded me of Keith Foulke, but I can't think of a righty who throws like that either.
 

Puffy

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redsox2020 said:
Thanks for sharing.  The delivery vaguely reminded me of Keith Foulke, but I can't think of a righty who throws like that either.
 
The video from his Team USA performance shows the CF angle, to get a better feel for his delivery.  
 
http://youtu.be/u8xJD46SHMY
 
Kind of Ubaldo Jimenez-y.