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  #1  
Old 01-09-2019, 09:09 AM
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Default Any modern save statistic?

I am not a new stats guy, and probably never will be. Don't know why; I guess I am just happy with the stats I grew up with and maybe a few of the new ones.

I was curious if there is any new metric to measure how effective a relief pitcher actually is? I was on another board and someone was extolling the virtues of John Franco. I am a life long Mets fans and watched every one of Franco's seasons in NY. And I don't think he was anywhere near great. In fact I think he was probably good - very good overall. Certainly not dominant in any way like Rivera. He came in many games, farted around, gave up a run or two, and then was rewarded with a save. Is there any new metric people have developed to judge quality appearances by a relief pitcher? Obviously the save statistic is of very limited utility.

Last edited by Snapolit1; 01-09-2019 at 09:10 AM.
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Old 01-09-2019, 04:47 PM
dgo71 dgo71 is offline
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I'm not sure if it has a fancy acronym yet and I'm not entirely sure it exists in any formal way, but I'd always thought it would be nice to see the % of inherited runners a reliever allowed to score... IRSP (inherited runners scored percentage?) Relievers, especially closers, often have very misleading ERAs since runners they allow to score are charged back to the previous pitcher. I suppose some of that might be gleaned from WHIP, but a high WHIP doesn't necessarily mean those runners scored.
And ultimately runs win (or lose) the game. When I think of truly effective relievers I think of the guy who comes in to the game in a jam and gets his team out of it. Of course, I guess there's something to be said for guys that come in to a clean inning because they are essentially shortening the game and thereby providing their team a better chance to win.

Last edited by dgo71; 01-09-2019 at 04:49 PM.
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Old 01-09-2019, 06:31 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dgo71 View Post
I'm not sure if it has a fancy acronym yet and I'm not entirely sure it exists in any formal way, but I'd always thought it would be nice to see the % of inherited runners a reliever allowed to score... IRSP (inherited runners scored percentage?) Relievers, especially closers, often have very misleading ERAs since runners they allow to score are charged back to the previous pitcher. I suppose some of that might be gleaned from WHIP, but a high WHIP doesn't necessarily mean those runners scored.
And ultimately runs win (or lose) the game. When I think of truly effective relievers I think of the guy who comes in to the game in a jam and gets his team out of it. Of course, I guess there's something to be said for guys that come in to a clean inning because they are essentially shortening the game and thereby providing their team a better chance to win.
Agree, percentage of inherited runners allowed to school would probably tell you more at the end of a season than saves or ERA.
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Old 01-09-2019, 08:07 PM
mckinneyj mckinneyj is offline
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Except closers typically arrive on the scene in the ninth with the bases empty inheriting nothing... (IMO) many of them seem not to be able to pitch well with the distraction of runners on base.
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Old 01-10-2019, 06:52 AM
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Inherited runners isn't fair either. Pitcher enters game with runner on third with one out, he gets the batter to groundout to second, runner scores. Pitcher did his job but gets a neg because inherited runner scored?
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Old 01-10-2019, 11:56 AM
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Not sure if you've looked at Wins Probability Added (WPA), but that might be something. It takes into account the context of the situation for the player and how their contributions add or detract to the probability of the team winning that game (I think I'm explaining it right). So a grand slam by a hitter in the bottom of the ninth with two outs when the team trails by three is a huge shift in WPA, both for the hitter and the pitcher who served it up.

Here's the Fangraph's WPA leader board for relievers in 2018:
https://www.fangraphs.com/leaders.as...ter=&players=0
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Old 01-10-2019, 12:28 PM
packs packs is offline
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ERA is going to tell you everything in most cases. I don't see how you can call any closer great without an ERA under 3.00. That's why I don't understand the perception of Lee Smith being "dominant". His career ERA is over 3.00. John Franco sits at 2.89 and he threw just about the same amount of innings as Smith. I don't hear anyone calling for his induction though.
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Old 01-10-2019, 01:05 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by packs View Post
ERA is going to tell you everything in most cases. I don't see how you can call any closer great without an ERA under 3.00. That's why I don't understand the perception of Lee Smith being "dominant". His career ERA is over 3.00. John Franco sits at 2.89 and he threw just about the same amount of innings as Smith. I don't hear anyone calling for his induction though.
Granted modern closers usually start the ninth inning with the bases empty.

But remember that inherited runners do not impact the ERA of the "closer" or whoever is on the mound when the inherited runner scores. For this reason, relief pitchers who are not really that good can have deceptively lowered ERAs.

Lee Smith had the saves, but in the eighties he was not strictly a ninth inning closer. Evaluation of his ERA vs the modern "closer" is problematic in my opinion.
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Old 01-10-2019, 01:32 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by frankbmd View Post
Granted modern closers usually start the ninth inning with the bases empty.

But remember that inherited runners do not impact the ERA of the "closer" or whoever is on the mound when the inherited runner scores. For this reason, relief pitchers who are not really that good can have deceptively lowered ERAs.
I think this is one reason why WPA could be a help, as relievers who come in and are true "Firemen," getting big outs with runners on base and the score close, would rack up more WPA than a closer who always comes in with a three-run lead and the bases empty to start the ninth.
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Old 01-10-2019, 01:50 PM
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ERA+ together with innings pitched is probably good enough. It's true that it doesn't account for inherited runners, but, first, after enough innings pitched, that difference will usually come out in the wash, and, second, in extreme cases, you can do a little mental adjustment. The adjustment shouldn't be that big - pitching well is more important than holding runners.

There are many (many many many) problems with the save statistic, but one of them is that it doesn't tell you anything about middle relievers, who are sometimes quite good. An ERA-based metric won't ignore them.

Whether to pay attention to WPA depends on what you want. If you want to know how skilled a pitcher is then WPA just introduces noise that you don't want. A pitcher who gives up a meatball with the bases empty is just as bad of a pitcher as one who gives up a meatball with the bases loaded. If you want to tell the story of a team, or a player, or a pennant race, then it's useful, because it'll tell you who swung the odds the most (even if there was a lot of randomness involved).

(ERA+ takes ERA, adjusts it for the park in which the player was pitching, and compares it to league average, which is automatically set at 100. Higher is better. The normalizations allow for cross-era comparisons.)
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Old 01-10-2019, 02:20 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by packs View Post
ERA is going to tell you everything in most cases. I don't see how you can call any closer great without an ERA under 3.00. That's why I don't understand the perception of Lee Smith being "dominant". His career ERA is over 3.00. John Franco sits at 2.89 and he threw just about the same amount of innings as Smith. I don't hear anyone calling for his induction though.
Well, Lee Smith did pitch in Wrigley and Fenway for a combined 10 years, so I guess you have to cut him a little slack for that.
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Old 01-10-2019, 04:42 PM
packs packs is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by frankbmd View Post
Granted modern closers usually start the ninth inning with the bases empty.

But remember that inherited runners do not impact the ERA of the "closer" or whoever is on the mound when the inherited runner scores. For this reason, relief pitchers who are not really that good can have deceptively lowered ERAs.

Lee Smith had the saves, but in the eighties he was not strictly a ninth inning closer. Evaluation of his ERA vs the modern "closer" is problematic in my opinion.
Franco's career nearly overlaps Smith's almost exactly and they pitched almost exactly the same amount of innings in the same role, but Franco's ERA is considerably lower at 2.89 vs 3.03 and Franco has a winning record compared to Smith's losing record. Almost no one considers Franco to be dominant though.

Last edited by packs; 01-10-2019 at 04:43 PM.
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Old 01-10-2019, 04:53 PM
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Franco's career nearly overlaps Smith's almost exactly and they pitched almost exactly the same amount of innings in the same role, but Franco's ERA is considerably lower at 2.89 vs 3.03 and Franco has a winning record compared to Smith's losing record. Almost no one considers Franco to be dominant though.
Maybe because Lee Smith is a huge man and looked the part of a dominant closer and Franco did not.
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Old 01-11-2019, 11:20 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nat View Post
ERA+ together with innings pitched is probably good enough.

Whether to pay attention to WPA depends on what you want. If you want to know how skilled a pitcher is then WPA just introduces noise that you don't want. A pitcher who gives up a meatball with the bases empty is just as bad of a pitcher as one who gives up a meatball with the bases loaded. If you want to tell the story of a team, or a player, or a pennant race, then it's useful, because it'll tell you who swung the odds the most (even if there was a lot of randomness involved).

(ERA+ takes ERA, adjusts it for the park in which the player was pitching, and compares it to league average, which is automatically set at 100. Higher is better. The normalizations allow for cross-era comparisons.)
ERA+, in my opinion, would not be the best stat for reliever-to-reliever comparisons, since ERA+ would offer a baseline that includes all pitchers in the league.

I think what you describe as "noise" can be helpful for reliever-to-reliever comparisons, because the better relievers would be put into situations where there is higher leverage and by succeeding, accumulate more WPA. (WPA, in my opinion, wouldn't be very useful for starter-to-reliever comparisons)

Either way, ERA- would be better than ERA+, since the former describes the difference between the pitcher to the rest of his league, while the latter describes the difference between the rest of the league to the pitcher. Anyone who isn't SABR-minded, disregard, but here's the explanation: https://www.beyondtheboxscore.com/20...s-vs-era-minus

And I hope Jack Morris supporters don't read the bit about serving up meatballs with bases empty versus bases loaded, it might not sit well with the "pitch to the score" narrative about him... ;P
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