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Frobby

Cole Sulser: not closer material

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Here are the top 20 all time worst Orioles in what I call BSP--blown save percentage. That's BS/(Saves + Holds + BS). It's not perfect, but if a set up man holds the lead without finishing, he gets a hold.

Only 46 pitchers met my minimum of 10 total chances. Note that Kevin Gregg had no holds, so those are pretty much 9th inning blown saves. 

 

  Saves Holds BS BSP  
Jason Berken 0 11 7 0.3889 18
Jason Grimsley 0 15 9 0.3750 24
Jim Hoey 0 8 4 0.3333 12
Tanner Scott 1 11 5 0.2941 17
T.J. McFarland 0 8 3 0.2727 11
Rick Bauer 1 15 6 0.2727 22
Mark Hendrickson 1 10 4 0.2667 15
Matt Albers 0 23 8 0.2581 31
Steve Kline 0 9 3 0.2500 12
Shawn Armstrong 4 11 5 0.2500 20
Pedro Strop 3 31 11 0.2444 45
Miguel Castro 3 19 7 0.2414 29
Kevin Gregg 22 0 7 0.2414 29
John Parrish 1 13 4 0.2222 18
Jamie Walker 7 32 11 0.2200 50
Paul Fry 5 22 7 0.2059 34
Chris Ray 49 14 16 0.2025 79
Luis Ayala 1 11 3 0.2000 15
LaTroy Hawkins 0 16 4 0.2000 20
Alfredo Simon 17 0 4 0.1905 21
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Edit - As I typed this, gtown made his post above making much the same point.

===

If you want a better (still imperfect) comparison, use Saves + Holds/Save Opportunities.   

Take Jim Johnson in 2011.   He had 18 holds, 9 saves and 5 blown saves.    So, he was handed a lead 32 times and blew it 5 times.   He took over as closer in September and had 6 saves without a blown save in that role.   All of his blown saves came before the 9th inning, including as early as the 6th.    

While the formula that includes holds is a better measure to compare the “save rates” of closers and non-closers, it’s still imperfect.    Let’s say a pitcher is brought in during the 8th inning with the bases loaded and nobody out, and a one-run lead.   He allows one run on an infield grounder and otherwise escapes the inning.    That’s still a blown save.    At the same time, say a guy comes in with two outs in the 8th and bases empty with a two run lead, allows a solo homer and then gets an out.   That guy gets a hold.    Who had the better performance?
 


 

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1 hour ago, Frobby said:

Edit - As I typed this, gtown made his post above making much the same point.

===

If you want a better (still imperfect) comparison, use Saves + Holds/Save Opportunities.   

Take Jim Johnson in 2011.   He had 18 holds, 9 saves and 5 blown saves.    So, he was handed a lead 32 times and blew it 5 times.   He took over as closer in September and had 6 saves without a blown save in that role.   All of his blown saves came before the 9th inning, including as early as the 6th.    

While the formula that includes holds is a better measure to compare the “save rates” of closers and non-closers, it’s still imperfect.    Let’s say a pitcher is brought in during the 8th inning with the bases loaded and nobody out, and a one-run lead.   He allows one run on an infield grounder and otherwise escapes the inning.    That’s still a blown save.    At the same time, say a guy comes in with two outs in the 8th and bases empty with a two run lead, allows a solo homer and then gets an out.   That guy gets a hold.    Who had the better performance?
 


 

I understand the list and appreciate the data posted by @gtown
 

but, my first thought is many of those guys were really never closers. Since we are discussing closer are the other names really relevant?

I mean, I don’t ever recall Alber’s being put in many game save situations to finish off the other offense.

Honestly to me Sulser appears to have pretty good movement and a good breaking ball to go with his fastball. I just don’t think he was ready to handle the pressure of closing. It probably should’ve been Givens but I understand why it wasn’t 

I think he will do fine in a set up or middle relief role.

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I like Sulser. I don’t think he’s “done” as closer. I think we’ll see more of a closer by committee down the stretch. However, he’s the perfect piece to eat saves on a non contending club in order to save the the younger guys from having big arbitration numbers. 

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7 hours ago, Frobby said:

You can’t conpare the save percentages of closers and non-closers.    Say O’Day comes in for the 8th inning with a one-run lead.   If he doesn’t allow a run, but leaves the game after that inning, he gets no save.    If he allows a run, it’s a blown save.  

Good point. So what metric would you use to identify the most volatile relievers?

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12 hours ago, Roll Tide said:

I understand the list and appreciate the data posted by @gtown
 

but, my first thought is many of those guys were really never closers. Since we are discussing closer are the other names really relevant?

I mean, I don’t ever recall Alber’s being put in many game save situations to finish off the other offense.

Honestly to me Sulser appears to have pretty good movement and a good breaking ball to go with his fastball. I just don’t think he was ready to handle the pressure of closing. It probably should’ve been Givens but I understand why it wasn’t 

I think he will do fine in a set up or middle relief role.

I am not convinced, depending on what you mean by “fine.”    He’s carrying a 4.70 ERA, which I suppose plenty of middle relievers do without being drummed out of the league.   But that’s about representative of what I think he’ll do as a major league reliever.   I don’t expect him to do better than that just because he’s not closing.   

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50 minutes ago, Frobby said:

I am not convinced, depending on what you mean by “fine.”    He’s carrying a 4.70 ERA, which I suppose plenty of middle relievers do without being drummed out of the league.   But that’s about representative of what I think he’ll do as a major league reliever.   I don’t expect him to do better than that just because he’s not closing.   

You could say the same about Givens but look what happened. Likely the only difference was psychological: but hard to quantify except for the results themselves, which one might otherwise call "random," SSS, etc.... similar to "clutch" for batters, or for postseason performances. That said, I think with Hyde that a psychological reset could change things around.

Edit, after rocky appearance vs. Mets: ... then again, maybe 4.70 is just who he is.

Edit2: Make that 5.94.

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19 minutes ago, now said:

You could say the same about Givens but look what happened. Likely the only difference was psychological: but hard to quantify except for the results themselves, which one might otherwise call "random," SSS, etc.... similar to "clutch" for batters, or for postseason performances. That said, I think with Hyde that a psychological reset could change things around.

I am not saying that there aren’t some good setup guys who struggle in the closer role.   There can be two reasons for that (1) poor performance under pressure, and (2) inability to avoid facing opposite-handed pinch hitters.    It’s easier to play matchups in the set-up innings and bring your RHP in to face mostly RHB, than it is in the 9th when the opposing manager is going to pull every LHB he’s got out of the dugout.   

Putting all that to one side, I’m just not all that impressed with Sulser’s stuff or command.   He’s not as good as Givens or even Castro IMO, no matter what inning he pitches in.   But he may be at least serviceable.   
 

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1 hour ago, Frobby said:

I am not convinced, depending on what you mean by “fine.”    He’s carrying a 4.70 ERA, which I suppose plenty of middle relievers do without being drummed out of the league.   But that’s about representative of what I think he’ll do as a major league reliever.   I don’t expect him to do better than that just because he’s not closing.   

I would like to see some splits for Sulster for his first inning appearance vs. afterward  It seems to me the majority of his ERs have come when he gets trotted out for a second inning.   This of course limits his usefulness in the bullpen, but if he could hypothetically post a 3.50 ERA if has limited to only a single inning, thats stil pretty useful and borderline setup material. 

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I like Sulser, but never agreed with committing to him as a closer... at least not until he established himself and truly earned it. I don't think that ever happened.

In times like this, I'd like to see a bullpen by committee. Using the best pitcher available in any given situation seems like the most logical direction to go. When the entire staff is young and questionable, there's no need to force anyone into any given role. Put them in situations where they'll most likely succeed, learn and improve. I'd think situational pitching would be the best thing for this club.

I realize a closer an expectation in today's game, but that may not always lead to more wins, which should be the ultimate goal. I'm not so concerned about wins this season, but in a year or two, let's go for wins, not saves.

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I wonder what managers (or at least Hyde) would say they prefer in their bullpen, if the personnel fits:

flexibility (closer by committee) or predictability (designated closer).

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On 9/1/2020 at 8:11 AM, Redskins Rick said:

Tommy Hunter, you ought to remember him. Need to do some  brain thought for some others.

Pedro Strop was also great setting up for Johnson. And he lasted several more years As a solid piece in the Cub pen.

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7 hours ago, Philip said:

Pedro Strop was also great setting up for Johnson. And he lasted several more years As a solid piece in the Cub pen.

I thought Pedro was early inning guy, bringing the gap to the setup dude.

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On 9/1/2020 at 6:35 AM, DrungoHazewood said:

That statement would be just as, or more, valid if you didn't have the first two sentences.

Ok .. but there are many effective relievers that didn’t do well as closers. If it’s not being able to handle constant high leverage spots what do you blame it on?

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7 minutes ago, Roll Tide said:

Ok .. but there are many effective relievers that didn’t do well as closers. If it’s not being able to handle constant high leverage spots what do you blame it on?

The wind. :) :) :)

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