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Frobby

Cole Sulser: not closer material

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4 hours ago, Redskins Rick said:

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

I don’t remember whether it was Patton, Strop, Oday, Johnson, or some other order, but I think Strop usually handled 7th or 8th.

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1 hour ago, DrungoHazewood said:

In his career Kevin Gregg had a .701 OPS against him in high leverage situations, a .712 in low.

In 2011 with the Orioles he had a .751 in high leverage, .739 in low.  Essentially the same, both in 122 PAs.

In 2012 he had a .717 in high leverage, a .848 in low, but something like 90% of his appearances were in low leverage situations.

What was his save vs blown save percentage? I just recall him blowing a bunch when he was here

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11 hours ago, Roll Tide said:

What was his save vs blown save percentage? I just recall him blowing a bunch when he was here

It’s in a post earlier in this thread, listing a bunch of pitchers.   

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6 hours ago, Frobby said:

It’s in a post earlier in this thread, listing a bunch of pitchers.   

That listing said 7 while an Oriole? The interesting thing is Gregg fell off a cliff when he got here . His WHIP jumped .3 above his career norm. He did manage to recover for 1 season with the Cubs after he left here. The Baltimore Jinx?

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On 9/2/2020 at 11:10 AM, now said:

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

I’ve been meaning to get back to this post for a few days.   There are a couple of metrics for relievers that I think are decent, though I don’t know that there’s one perfect stat.   

One interesting set available on Fangraphs is Win Probability Added (WPA) and shutdowns vs. meltdowns.    WPA looks at the probability that the pitcher’s team will win the game at the beginning of each at bat, versus the end of that at bat.  So for example, a team that starts the bottom of the 9th up by one run has about a .77 chance of winning that game.    If the closer comes in and completes that inning without blowing the lead, his WPA for that game will be .23 (1.00 - .77).    If he allows 2 runs and loses the game, his WPA will be -.77.     If he gives up the tying run but doesn’t lose the game, it will be something like -.25.    It’s all done with historical data of what a team’s chances are depending on size of lead, runners on base, number of innings remaining etc.    Note that the pitcher gets no credit for what the offense does.    If the team scores after he has entered the game (thus improving the team’s chance of winning), that doesn’t factor into the pitcher’s WPA, because the probability is measured as of the beginning of each at bat where the pitcher is on the mound.

A shutdown is any appearance where the pitcher’s WPA was greater than .06 for the game.    A meltdown is an appearance where the WPA was worse than -.06.    Note that a setup guy or even a middle reliever can have a shutdown or a meltdown regardless of the inning and whether the lead changes.   It’s much more focused on the quality of the outing.   

So let’s look at Jim Johnson in 2011-13.   In 2011 he had a very good season, mostly as a setup man, getting the closer job in December.    He had a 2.67 ERA, 9 saves, 5 blown saves and 18 holds.   That earned him a 2.57 WPA, and he had 31 shutdowns vs. 11 meltdowns.    His highest WPA that year was a game where he entered a tie game in the bottom of the 8th, and pitched three scoreless innings, leaving the game with the score still tied after 10 innings.    He would not have earned either a save or a hold for that game, but he definitely earned his shutdown.   His lowest WPA was a game he entered in the bottom of the 7th inning ahead by a run, and allowed 3 runs in the inning to leave down two.    That earned him both a blown save and a meltdown.

In 2012, Johnson spent the whole year as closer, saving 51 while blowing 3.    That earned him a 5.27 WPA, and 46 shutdowns vs. 3 meltdowns.   

JJ also was the closer in 2013, posting a 2.94 ERA and earning 50 saves vs. 9 blown saves.    His WPA that year was -0.48 and he had 41 shutdowns vs. 12 meltdowns.  

 

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Just looking at Sulser's career splits, along with watching him pitch, it is obvious that he is that rare RHP who isich better at getting out lefty hitters than righties.

(I realize his whole career is still a small sample size, but Hyde in camp this spring said he was better versus lefties and he certainly gone out and backed it up).

That means to be effective, he needs to be targeted to a spot in the opponent's batting order where there a lot of leftily hitters or even better, switch hitters (switch hitters are better because Sulser becomes THE GUY to face them, while vs lefties you can use a LOOGY just as easily.

So the idea of designating him as The Closer is clearly a bad one.  When that 9th inning rolls around you might have righties due.

But if it's the 9th inning and L-S-R-L is due, seems to me like he would be a good guy to use.  If that part of the order is coming up in the 7th, use him then.

Bringing him in to close when Aaron Judge and Randal Grichuk are due...not so much.

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1 hour ago, Frobby said:

In 2012, Johnson spent the whole year as closer, saving 51 while blowing 3.    That earned him a 5.27 WPA, and 46 shutdowns vs. 3 meltdowns.   

JJ also was the closer in 2013, posting a 2.94 ERA and earning 50 saves vs. 9 blown saves.    His WPA that year was -0.48 and he had 41 shutdowns vs. 12 meltdowns. 

That's awesome, thanks for the research. The Johnson example certainly passes the sniff test for me, with that glaring difference between his 2012 vs. 2013 meltdowns.

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Worth noting: a two-run lead ninth inning save will earn you a shutdown, but a three-run lead save won’t.   Three run leads are very rarely blown in the ninth.   

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On 9/3/2020 at 11:03 AM, Moshagge3 said:

Sorry if I'm late to the game on this, but Cole Young Sulser's name anagrams to "No closer, guy. Use? L." 

Most underrated comment in OH history. 

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On 9/3/2020 at 7:09 AM, CarrRun49 said:

Aren't all bullpens by committee?

I guess it depends on how the term is defined. I defined it as "Using the best pitcher available in any given situation..."

This primarily means not committing to someone as the "closer". How many times have we seen an inexperienced "closer" start the 9th inning and blow the save, and the next night he's put in the same situation and blows the save, and three nights later... etc. In the meantime, the previous pitcher recorded two outs on four pitches, and instead of leaving him in to close the game, he's replaced by the "closer", who promptly walks the bases loaded, gets a couple outs, then loses the game on a two-run double. By not committing to a "closer", however, we can leave the hot hand in the game, or bring in another pitcher who's been hot to finish the game, and if he gets in trouble, then replace him with another pitcher who might be right for the given situation.

This idea isn't new and has been discussed by sports journalists for years. I simply take the above position- unless we have clearly have a dominating closer (and we've had many).

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