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 Post subject: The Best Reliever in Baseball
PostPosted: Fri May 24, 2013 7:55 pm 
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Believe it or not, so far the best reliever in baseball is none other than Mark Melancon. It's an insider article on ESPN.com, but it's based off of Fangraphs' development of a statistic called "shutdowns" (and it's counterpart, "meltdowns"). Melancon is the leader in all of baseball in terms of his win-probability added. They explained that because Grilli typically pitches in situations where the bases are clear and he has a lead of multiple runs, he hasn't quite accumulated as many shutdown type appearances as Melancon.

This can pretty much be taken 1 of 2 ways:

1) Neil Huntington deserves serious consideration as being a bullpen savant. That might seem facetious, but look at the late career resurrections we've had with Hanrahan, Grilli, and Melancon. It's astounding. You aren't talking about grabbing an aging guy and making him serviceable...these guys are dominant for prolonged stretches.

2) The Pirates are slightly lucky right now in terms of late-game success and could be due for a correction of sorts at some point.

Undoubtedly hoping for #1....or that if it is #2, the correction doesn't happen for a while and we're able to have a REALLY nice cushion built up.

Cool to see Melancon get recognition either way, albeit through SABR type analysis. He's been outstanding.

edit: Link for those with insider

http://insider.espn.go.com/mlb/story/_/id/9304648/using-shutdowns-measure-baseball-top-relievers-mlb

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 Post subject: Re: The Best Reliever in Baseball
PostPosted: Fri May 24, 2013 8:03 pm 
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StarlingArcher wrote:
1) Neil Huntington deserves serious consideration as being a bullpen savant. That might seem facetious, but look at the late career resurrections we've had with Hanrahan, Grilli, and Melancon. It's astounding. You aren't talking about grabbing an aging guy and making him serviceable...these guys are dominant for prolonged stretches.


Octavio Dotel was decent enough, too (plus he netted J-Mac and Lambo). Jose Veras also proved useful (and landed Casey McGehee before we realized that he was washed up).

And, while they're not 'old vets' nor are they fully established yet, Jeanmar Gomez and Vin Mazzaro have looked good so far this season.

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 Post subject: Re: The Best Reliever in Baseball
PostPosted: Fri May 24, 2013 8:11 pm 
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I'm glad to see they're utilizing the "shutdowns/meltdowns" technique for evaluation ... here is the link to the original Fangraphs article where Dave Cameron deciphers the idea (I had it handy because I had posted it in a thread about saves/closers a month or so ago: http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/shutdown ... -the-save/

I agree with both of your points. Bullpen configuration, which many brush off as being minor, is absolutely a crucial part of team and roster construction and it's probably where Huntington gets the most glaring passing grade, though I hope that starting pitching is currently catching up. He has done so in a variety of ways, not just getting success out of the current guys but being able to get sustained success from or flip pieces who seemed completely irrelevant or unwanted prior for legitimate returns i.e. scrapheap arms like Dotel, Resop, Lopez, Veras, etc.


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 Post subject: Re: The Best Reliever in Baseball
PostPosted: Fri May 24, 2013 10:16 pm 
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TheShark wrote:
...Resop, Lopez...


Wow, forgot about those two.

Lopez has been great since NH picked him up. It's too bad the Bucs didn't have him the last three years and/or that the return for him proved to be terrible (Bowker and some nobody named Martinez).

The player received for Resop might be a little something, too. While he's old for A+/AA, Zach Thorntonlooks, on paper, to be a half decent reliever.

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 Post subject: Re: The Best Reliever in Baseball
PostPosted: Sat May 25, 2013 1:33 am 
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Damaso Marte as well. He ended up being the biggest Yankees related component in the Tabata-Karstens-Ohlendorf trade. Say what you will, any time you can get a guy like Karstens and Tabata for a reliever, you win.

Same goes for Lincoln and Snider. Pirates clearly won that trade when Lincoln failed to be anything more than a middle reliever.

Resop wound up being DFA'd this year, too. So really the fact that the Pirates got anything for him is a plus. They clearly sold high. He was a guy who didn't do much before us or do too much after, either.

I don't think Huntington has done too terribly. Admittedly, I was brought up in the midst of the Bonifay and Littlefield years so maybe he looks good by comparison, but given his budget and spending allocations I think he's been relatively solid.

The minor league system is spectacular compared to previous years and ranked based on quantity AND quality. Last time the system was so highly regarded it was because of the Alvarez/Cutch/Walker/Tabata wave who was due up. Now you have Gerrit Cole graduating, to be replaced by Taillon, who is replaced by Glasnow, who is replaced by Heredia, etc., etc..

Big improvements given budgets and typical baseball constraints (ie a premium SS won't hit the open market at a price a small team can afford, etc).

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 Post subject: Re: The Best Reliever in Baseball
PostPosted: Sat May 25, 2013 3:29 pm 
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StarlingArcher wrote:
Damaso Marte as well. He ended up being the biggest Yankees related component in the Tabata-Karstens-Ohlendorf trade. Say what you will, any time you can get a guy like Karstens and Tabata for a reliever, you win.

Same goes for Lincoln and Snider. Pirates clearly won that trade when Lincoln failed to be anything more than a middle reliever.

Resop wound up being DFA'd this year, too. So really the fact that the Pirates got anything for him is a plus. They clearly sold high. He was a guy who didn't do much before us or do too much after, either.

I don't think Huntington has done too terribly. Admittedly, I was brought up in the midst of the Bonifay and Littlefield years so maybe he looks good by comparison, but given his budget and spending allocations I think he's been relatively solid.

The minor league system is spectacular compared to previous years and ranked based on quantity AND quality. Last time the system was so highly regarded it was because of the Alvarez/Cutch/Walker/Tabata wave who was due up. Now you have Gerrit Cole graduating, to be replaced by Taillon, who is replaced by Glasnow, who is replaced by Heredia, etc., etc..

Big improvements given budgets and typical baseball constraints (ie a premium SS won't hit the open market at a price a small team can afford, etc).

I thought Nady was the biggest name in that Yankee trade some years ago.

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 Post subject: Re: The Best Reliever in Baseball
PostPosted: Sat May 25, 2013 4:32 pm 
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StarlingArcher wrote:
Damaso Marte as well...

Same goes for Lincoln...


Yeah, even though he didn't sign them, NH did well trading those guys high.

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 Post subject: Re: The Best Reliever in Baseball
PostPosted: Sat May 25, 2013 5:08 pm 
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Substitute2 wrote:
I thought Nady was the biggest name in that Yankee trade some years ago.


He was, but Damaso Marte wasn't a non-factor in it, he was coming off a 2.38 ERA season with an excellent K:BB ratio, and big market teams like the Yankees used to always seem keen on giving up legitimate returns for good bullpen arms. The Pirates sold high on both and neither ever produced at all after the trade.


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