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 Post subject: Good Article from St. Louis -- Why One Closer?
PostPosted: Mon Apr 22, 2013 11:35 am 
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http://www.stltoday.com/sports/columns/ ... 55e82.html

Good stuff here from Bernie Miklasz of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Here's an interesting statistical recap of the piece:

No MLB reliever had a 30-save season until 1965, and there were no 40-save seasons until 1983.

Over many decades of baseball played before 1989, only 50 MLB relievers had 30-plus save seasons.

Since 1989, a total of 352 relievers have had at least 30 saves in a season.

The designated closer is here to stay.

I could better understand this inane approach if the practice translated into improved results, but that isn't the case.

Before 1989 the overall MLB save percentage was 75.3.

Since 1989, the MLB-wide save percentage is only 67.9.

Teams have become more susceptible _ not less _ to squandering leads.


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 Post subject: Re: Good Article from St. Louis -- Why One Closer?
PostPosted: Mon Apr 22, 2013 12:09 pm 
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The save percentage figure is faulty, J_C, since it includes the introduction of set-up guys by Larussa in the latter part of the 1980's. Before then, the starting pitcher would go 7 or or 8 innings.

If he lost the lead, no blown save. Larussa embellished the idea that the Yankees had, using Storm Davis to pitch the 8th and Rich Gossage to pitch the 9th, thereby "shortening" games. Larussa developed the idea of the closer going just 1 inning, and the set-up guys (plural now) working the 7th and 8th innings.

The result has been that a far greater number of relief pitchers enter the game in "save situations" (i.e., lead of 3 runs or less), thereby increasing by legion the chances for a "blown save" by a LOOGY used in the 7th inning to face one guy with a 1-run lead.


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 Post subject: Re: Good Article from St. Louis -- Why One Closer?
PostPosted: Mon Apr 22, 2013 12:14 pm 
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J_C_Steel wrote:
http://www.stltoday.com/sports/columns/bernie-miklasz/bernie-solitary-closer-not-always-the-best-option/article_5e89c78b-5445-5822-8c25-71e749955e82.html

Good stuff here from Bernie Miklasz of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Here's an interesting statistical recap of the piece:

No MLB reliever had a 30-save season until 1965, and there were no 40-save seasons until 1983.

Over many decades of baseball played before 1989, only 50 MLB relievers had 30-plus save seasons.

Since 1989, a total of 352 relievers have had at least 30 saves in a season.

The designated closer is here to stay.

I could better understand this inane approach if the practice translated into improved results, but that isn't the case.

Before 1989 the overall MLB save percentage was 75.3.

Since 1989, the MLB-wide save percentage is only 67.9.

Teams have become more susceptible _ not less _ to squandering leads.



I would really like to see a team try a 70's era bullpen setup. It will be very ballsy to do so since players rely on stats for big paychecks and everyone else is locked into the one inning defined roles. I'm not sure it will work in today's game, but I'd love to see a team truly try it for a year.

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 Post subject: Re: Good Article from St. Louis -- Why One Closer?
PostPosted: Mon Apr 22, 2013 12:16 pm 
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I hate the save and I hate that managers are so beholden to it. Like if you have (that year he was unhittable) Gagne, and it's the 8th inning against the Giants, you're up by 1, and Bonds is coming up, why do you trot out Johnny McSetup guy in hopes of getting lucky and then having Gagne going out to nail down the win against the bottom of the order?

All about paying for saves!

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 Post subject: Re: Good Article from St. Louis -- Why One Closer?
PostPosted: Mon Apr 22, 2013 12:17 pm 
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The article makes the point I was referencing above by noting:

With Motte down and Boggs messed up Cardinals manager Mike Matheny will go with a group approach, but it appears that the ninth innings will be handed off to Edward Mujica. But Mujica is only 5 for 18 in converting career save opportunities.

Well of course he is "only 5 for 18 in converting save opportunities." He does not actually close games but is used in save situations so every time he is successful, he gets a hold or a hot dog or something, and every time he is unsuccessful, he gets a "blown save."


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 Post subject: Re: Good Article from St. Louis -- Why One Closer?
PostPosted: Mon Apr 22, 2013 12:20 pm 
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Bucfan wrote:
The article makes the point I was referencing above by noting:

With Motte down and Boggs messed up Cardinals manager Mike Matheny will go with a group approach, but it appears that the ninth innings will be handed off to Edward Mujica. But Mujica is only 5 for 18 in converting career save opportunities.

Well of course he is "only 5 for 18 in converting save opportunities." He does not actually close games but is used in save situations so every time he is successful, he gets a hold or a hot dog or something, and every time he is unsuccessful, he gets a "blown save."



Would have never even thought of it that way. Good point.

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 Post subject: Re: Good Article from St. Louis -- Why One Closer?
PostPosted: Mon Apr 22, 2013 12:40 pm 
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Bucfan wrote:
The save percentage figure is faulty, J_C, since it includes the introduction of set-up guys by Larussa in the latter part of the 1980's. Before then, the starting pitcher would go 7 or or 8 innings.

If he lost the lead, no blown save. Larussa embellished the idea that the Yankees had, using Storm Davis to pitch the 8th and Rich Gossage to pitch the 9th, thereby "shortening" games. Larussa developed the idea of the closer going just 1 inning, and the set-up guys (plural now) working the 7th and 8th innings.

The result has been that a far greater number of relief pitchers enter the game in "save situations" (i.e., lead of 3 runs or less), thereby increasing by legion the chances for a "blown save" by a LOOGY used in the 7th inning to face one guy with a 1-run lead.


I understand that starters began working less innings over the last 20 years or so, Bucfan, and I understand that created more opportunities for saves to be blown, but how would that effect the overall percentage (as opposed to gross numbers)? In fact, if LOOGYs are effective, shouldn't it reduce the blown save percentage?

And that's the article's point. If LOOGYs, set-up men, and closers were more effective than just riding a starter for as long as possible and using your bullpen in situational fashion, you'd expect the save percentage to improve, right?


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 Post subject: Re: Good Article from St. Louis -- Why One Closer?
PostPosted: Mon Apr 22, 2013 1:08 pm 
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J_C_Steel wrote:
I understand that starters began working less innings over the last 20 years or so, Bucfan, and I understand that created more opportunities for saves to be blown, but how would that effect the overall percentage (as opposed to gross numbers)? In fact, if LOOGYs are effective, shouldn't it reduce the blown save percentage?

No, it should not. The set-up guys have the opportunity to "blow" saves, but not the opportunity to actually earn a save.

The new approach thereby increases the number of pitchers who are put into a save situation, but can never increase the number who successfully earn a save, since that always remains a static number - 1.

Look at it this way. The save percentage overall is simply a product of adding the save percentage for each game together. The save percentage for each game is this:

x/1, where "x" is the number of pitchers brought into the game in a save situation. If that number is "1," then the chances of blowing a save are as low as possible.

If that number is 4, then the chances of blowing the save become increased substantially since now not 1 or 2 pitchers have to do their job successfully, but ALL FOUR have to do the job.

Therefore, when the Pirates use Justin Wilson, and Jared Hughes, and Marc Melancon, and Jason Grilli to close out the game, and all succeed, only one player is actually credited with the save.

If any one of those four pitchers gives up the lead, "blown save" is credited. The blown save is skewed by the fact that so many pitchers are now put into "save situations" in the 6th inning and later, while the number of successful conversions remains constant.

Further, if the pen is given a 1-run lead in the 6th inning, and a RP'er gives up a run in the 8th that ties the game, the team then comes back to get the lead the and closer does his job, the "save percentage" for that game is just 50%. Again, this is due to the greater number of set-up guys used now by all managers, following the template that Larussa created.


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 Post subject: Re: Good Article from St. Louis -- Why One Closer?
PostPosted: Mon Apr 22, 2013 1:20 pm 
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Bucfan wrote:
J_C_Steel wrote:
I understand that starters began working less innings over the last 20 years or so, Bucfan, and I understand that created more opportunities for saves to be blown, but how would that effect the overall percentage (as opposed to gross numbers)? In fact, if LOOGYs are effective, shouldn't it reduce the blown save percentage?

No, it should not. The set-up guys have the opportunity to "blow" saves, but not the opportunity to actually earn a save.

The new approach thereby increases the number of pitchers who are put into a save situation, but can never increase the number who successfully earn a save, since that always remains a static number - 1.

Look at it this way. The save percentage overall is simply a product of adding the save percentage for each game together. The save percentage for each game is this:

x/1, where "x" is the number of pitchers brought into the game in a save situation. If that number is "1," then the chances of blowing a save are as low as possible.

If that number is 4, then the chances of blowing the save become increased substantially since now not 1 or 2 pitchers have to do their job successfully, but ALL FOUR have to do the job.

Therefore, when the Pirates use Justin Wilson, and Jared Hughes, and Marc Melancon, and Jason Grilli to close out the game, and all succeed, only one player is actually credited with the save.

If any one of those four pitchers gives up the lead, "blown save" is credited. The blown save is skewed by the fact that so many pitchers are now put into "save situations" in the 6th inning and later, while the number of successful conversions remains constant.

Further, if the pen is given a 1-run lead in the 6th inning, and a RP'er gives up a run in the 8th that ties the game, the team then comes back to get the lead the and closer does his job, the "save percentage" for that game is just 50%. Again, this is due to the greater number of set-up guys used now by all managers, following the template that Larussa created.


Aha. NOW I get it. Thanks. It's skewed because the definition of a "blown save" is far more expansive than the definition for a "save."

Good point, Bucfan.


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 Post subject: Re: Good Article from St. Louis -- Why One Closer?
PostPosted: Mon Apr 22, 2013 2:29 pm 
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Couldn't they just come up with a blown hold or a non-9th inning blown save stat? I mean they already list the leaders in 7th stride to first base length and cosine arc of bat swing over pi.

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 Post subject: Re: Good Article from St. Louis -- Why One Closer?
PostPosted: Mon Apr 22, 2013 2:59 pm 
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Bucfan wrote:
J_C_Steel wrote:
I understand that starters began working less innings over the last 20 years or so, Bucfan, and I understand that created more opportunities for saves to be blown, but how would that effect the overall percentage (as opposed to gross numbers)? In fact, if LOOGYs are effective, shouldn't it reduce the blown save percentage?

No, it should not. The set-up guys have the opportunity to "blow" saves, but not the opportunity to actually earn a save.

The new approach thereby increases the number of pitchers who are put into a save situation, but can never increase the number who successfully earn a save, since that always remains a static number - 1.

Look at it this way. The save percentage overall is simply a product of adding the save percentage for each game together. The save percentage for each game is this:

x/1, where "x" is the number of pitchers brought into the game in a save situation. If that number is "1," then the chances of blowing a save are as low as possible.

If that number is 4, then the chances of blowing the save become increased substantially since now not 1 or 2 pitchers have to do their job successfully, but ALL FOUR have to do the job.

Therefore, when the Pirates use Justin Wilson, and Jared Hughes, and Marc Melancon, and Jason Grilli to close out the game, and all succeed, only one player is actually credited with the save.

If any one of those four pitchers gives up the lead, "blown save" is credited. The blown save is skewed by the fact that so many pitchers are now put into "save situations" in the 6th inning and later, while the number of successful conversions remains constant.

Further, if the pen is given a 1-run lead in the 6th inning, and a RP'er gives up a run in the 8th that ties the game, the team then comes back to get the lead the and closer does his job, the "save percentage" for that game is just 50%. Again, this is due to the greater number of set-up guys used now by all managers, following the template that Larussa created.

And that's why I come here. Thanks Tim.


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 Post subject: Re: Good Article from St. Louis -- Why One Closer?
PostPosted: Mon Apr 22, 2013 3:16 pm 
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SUPERCHARGED APE wrote:
I hate the save and I hate that managers are so beholden to it. Like if you have (that year he was unhittable) Gagne, and it's the 8th inning against the Giants, you're up by 1, and Bonds is coming up, why do you trot out Johnny McSetup guy in hopes of getting lucky and then having Gagne going out to nail down the win against the bottom of the order?

All about paying for saves!


And while we're on one of my favorite subjects (the save being a pointless statistic and the way it dictates modern bullpen configurations is poison) and posting articles based on statistical analysis, I love(d) this piece from Fangraphs's Dave Cameron last year: http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/shutdown ... -the-save/


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 Post subject: Re: Good Article from St. Louis -- Why One Closer?
PostPosted: Mon Apr 22, 2013 3:17 pm 
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val wrote:
And that's why I come here. Thanks Tim.


Yeah, he's pretty smart.


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 Post subject: Re: Good Article from St. Louis -- Why One Closer?
PostPosted: Mon Apr 22, 2013 3:20 pm 
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That being said -- dumber statistic: saves or pitcher's W/L?


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 Post subject: Re: Good Article from St. Louis -- Why One Closer?
PostPosted: Mon Apr 22, 2013 3:25 pm 
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TheShark wrote:
That being said -- dumber statistic: saves or pitcher's W/L?


Yes.


And don't forget the RBI- if we're going to drudge up useless statistics, that one always seems to get certain people's knickers twisted.


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 Post subject: Re: Good Article from St. Louis -- Why One Closer?
PostPosted: Mon Apr 22, 2013 3:35 pm 
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TheShark wrote:
That being said -- dumber statistic: saves or pitcher's W/L?



I'll go with the save, because only one seems to dictate to managers how to use their pitchers. W/L are stupid but I don't hate them like I do the save.

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 Post subject: Re: Good Article from St. Louis -- Why One Closer?
PostPosted: Mon Apr 22, 2013 3:40 pm 
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TheShark wrote:
That being said -- dumber statistic: saves or pitcher's W/L?


Saves, at least W/L measures something that did happen, like RBI (given that it is a team thing). The whole concept of proven closer is about the dumbest thing in current MLB dogma. Man, the Bucs sure are suffering for choosing to go without a proven closer.

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 Post subject: Re: Good Article from St. Louis -- Why One Closer?
PostPosted: Mon Apr 22, 2013 4:36 pm 
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J_C_Steel wrote:
Aha. NOW I get it. Thanks. It's skewed because the definition of a "blown save" is far more expansive than the definition for a "save."

Good point, Bucfan.


val wrote:
And that's why I come here. Thanks Tim.


No problem.


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 Post subject: Re: Good Article from St. Louis -- Why One Closer?
PostPosted: Mon Apr 22, 2013 4:54 pm 
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J_C_Steel wrote:
val wrote:
And that's why I come here. Thanks Tim.


Yeah, he's pretty smart.

You should check the standings in our auction league. I am hanging by a thread to stay out of last place ... ahead of the guy who was stuck with an auto-draft. :oops:


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 Post subject: Re: Good Article from St. Louis -- Why One Closer?
PostPosted: Mon Apr 22, 2013 6:01 pm 
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Bucfan wrote:
You should check the standings in our auction league. I am hanging by a thread to stay out of last place ... ahead of the guy who was stuck with an auto-draft. :oops:


I'm not one to make excuses, but I think half of your team has been on the DL. Don't look at the standings until at least 6 weeks have gone bad. It'll keep you sane.

And I'm still up for trade talks...


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