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Sunday, May 28, 2006

Hoyt Wilhelm

Eligible in 1978.

John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: May 28, 2006 at 06:52 PM | 196 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
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   1. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: May 28, 2006 at 07:17 PM (#2041255)
If you like relief pitchers, he'll probably get a vote high on your ballot. But are there enough voters in that camp for him?
   2. Brandon in MO (Yunitility Infielder) Posted: May 28, 2006 at 08:52 PM (#2041506)
Wilhelm had good strikeout numbers.

He had 6.43 K per 9 in a climate which had 5.18 Ks per 9.

Ranked #27 in the NBJHBA.

He had 1070 games in an era where the record for most games was in the 70s, and not 106.

I would imagine that he would have started more if he was born later.

Hoyt as a starter: 383 1/3 IP, 2.68 ERA, 5.87 K/9, 2.7 BB/9
Hoyt as a reliever: 1871 IP, 2.49 ERA, 6.54 K/9, 3.19 BB/9
   3. Howie Menckel Posted: May 28, 2006 at 10:55 PM (#2041673)
I like the 539.6 IP he threw in a 5-year stretch, all in relief, while never allowing his ERA to reach 2.00.
Also that the shoulder seasons of that stretch are 2.64 and 2.19, in 213.3 IP.

Oh yeah, that 5-year stretch came at ages 41 to 45!
   4. OCF Posted: May 28, 2006 at 11:30 PM (#2041697)
For the 7-year stretch from 1964 through 1970, my RA+ equivelent system, straight up with no adjustments, has him at 53-24. I think those are the years Howie was referring to. But that's not cherry-picking. Take those 7 years out, and I have the rest of his career at 105-68. Compare my overall total for Wilhelm, 158-92, to what I had for Koufax: 163-95. Yes, that's an advantage for Koufax, but not much of one.

I probably shouldn't go on like this. What I'm saying is that just playing it straight on IP and RA+, Wilhelm can stand up to be compared to starters. That's not a standard any other relief pitcher can be expected to meet, so the debate on whether it's even appropriate to talk like that will have to be saved for some other case.
   5. Daryn Posted: May 29, 2006 at 12:34 AM (#2041743)
I will be treating relief pitchers like half a position. If, for example, the top 18 3b are "in" in my system, then the top 9 relievers will be. Now, as it happens, I'm not that tied to positional quotas and will not be too bent out of shape if I end up with 14 3b and 22 ss, but I use that as a guidepost.

Wilhelm is in the hunt for the title of #1 reliever of all-time, so he will be easily at the #1 position on my ballot, since no other player on the ballot can come close to saying that about their position.

To anticipate some questions, no I don't think middle reliever, LOOGY, pinch hitter or pinch runner are positions. I haven't decided about DHs.

I also could be convinced 9 is not the right number -- a pure mathematical analysis might put the number at 6, but I'm not comfortable with who that number would leave out.

I will be evaluating them on a separate scale from starters and then integrating them.
   6. TomH Posted: May 29, 2006 at 12:55 AM (#2041757)
I don't have much to say about Wilhelm - besides he's real good and a highly deserving HoMer - but he is the first of his type, the career reliever. Even tho Hoyt was much different than the modern closers, we need discuss how to treat bullpen men before the first borderline case arrives (Fingers?? Goose??). Maybe a "relievers" thread is in order.
   7. Brent Posted: May 29, 2006 at 01:14 AM (#2041777)
Oh yeah, that 5-year stretch came at ages 41 to 45!

Remember Hal Newhouser? Elected way back in 1960? He and Wilhelm are close enough in age, that if they had attended the same high school they could have been classmates:

Hal Newhouser - born May 20, 1921
Hoyt Wilhelm - born July 26, 1922
   8. sunnyday2 Posted: May 29, 2006 at 05:03 AM (#2041991)
There is absolutely no question in my mind that Wilhelm is the greatest reliever ever, and by a wide margin.
   9. rawagman Posted: May 29, 2006 at 08:59 AM (#2042081)
OCF - I definately don't think comparing Wilhelm to Koufax is a good idea.

I don't think Wilhelm can really be comepared to anyone - definitely not anyone who has been considered yet.

This is probably a good time to start a relievers thread.
   10. Joey Numbaz (Scruff) Posted: May 29, 2006 at 09:28 AM (#2042085)
IMO, if anything Wilhelm would rate ahead of Koufax, based on #4. I mean the records are pretty similar, and Hoyt had much more leverage, right?

I'm not saying I'd rate Wilhelm that high - yet. But if the only numbers I was given were 158-92, and 163-95 and told the first guy was a relief ace and the second a starting pitcher, I'd take the reliever. Easily.
   11. rawagman Posted: May 29, 2006 at 09:41 AM (#2042089)
Joe - that would be a mistake. A releif ace with those numbers would have had serious luck to get there with the inning difference between himself and the starter.

Even the aciest of relief aces would not pitch more than 140 or innings per yer on average.
Few relief appearances would consist of more than 2IP. That means, without breaking it down to a game by game study, a sh!tload of vulture wins.

I am not a proponent of measuring players by win shares, but how many win shares would a reliever get winning 12 games (usually the highwater mark for releiver) off of 90 or so IP?
How many would a starter get with 12 wins in 210 IP?

For the purposes of this question, let's assume that the two players were equivalent in their peripherals - ERA, WHIP, K/9, etc...

I would take the starter every day.
   12. sunnyday2 Posted: May 29, 2006 at 11:15 AM (#2042097)
Fortunately we don't have to take one or the other.
   13. OCF Posted: May 29, 2006 at 02:23 PM (#2042196)
rawagman - you seem to misunderstand my #4. I was not talking about actual W-L records, and indeed, Wilhelm's actual W-L record was 92-86, which severely understates his value. That's an equivalent record, assigned on the basis of IP and RA+, with one decision for every 9 IP. You're saying that if the effectiveness per inning was the same, you'd take the guy with more IP. What I'm saying is that for his career, Wilhelm has nearly as many IP as Koufax with essentially the same effectiveness per innng.

The discrepancy between Wilhelm's actual record and his equivalent record is by far the largest I've seen of over 100 pitchers that I've worked up.

There are some counterbalancing possible adjustments here. One is leverage - the notion that late an close innings have more value than average innings. But I see two items that go the other way. One, for anyone using ERA+ or RA+, is that when a pitching change happens in the middle of an inning, runs that are the joint responsibility of both pitchers get assigned to the first pitcher, giving the reliever an unfair break. The other is - call it the Gagne effect - that a pitcher can be much more effective by giving a more intense effort when he knows he will only be in the game for a short time. My sense is that that matters more after 1990 than before.
   14. Paul Wendt Posted: May 29, 2006 at 02:43 PM (#2042204)
Daryn Posted: May 28, 2006 at 08:34 PM (#2041743)
I will be treating relief pitchers like half a position. If, for example, the top 18 3b are "in" in my system, then the top 9 relievers will be. Now, as it happens, I'm not that tied to positional quotas and will not be too bent out of shape if I end up with 14 3b and 22 ss, but I use that as a guidepost.

That seems extremely favorable to relief pitchers since their position has been HOM significant for less than half of mlb history.
   15. rawagman Posted: May 29, 2006 at 03:03 PM (#2042216)
OCF - fair enough - I haven't had a chance to examine Wilhelm yet, so I didn't really think about the numbers
   16. Dag Nabbit: secretary of the World Banana Forum Posted: May 29, 2006 at 04:37 PM (#2042274)
The book Paths of Glory has a great section on him. One thing to keep in mind is that his RA his more important than his ERA because as a knuckler he had a wildly disproporionate number of passed balls. How wildly disproportionate? Well . . . .

When he entered MLB the record for most passed balls in an inning was four, done once way back in the Deadball Era. Men trying to catch Wilhelm tied this record on seven different occasions.

Over a 15-16 year period teams he pitched for led the league in baseball almost every year. Once his team's main catcher had 30+ passed balls. The back-up defensive specialist also had about 30. No one else in the league had more than 20.

One former catcher said he used to wake up shaking after trying to catch Wilhelm.

IIRC, Paths of Glory says if you adjust for extra UER, his ERA goes up considerably. Looking it up, almost 20% of the runs he allowed were unearned. That's comprable to Walter Johnson. I'm pretty sure league wide UER percentages dropped some between 1910 and 1970.

Still a great pitcher, though.
   17. rawagman Posted: May 29, 2006 at 05:02 PM (#2042287)
<blockquote>IIRC, Paths of Glory says if you adjust for extra UER, his (Wilhelm's) ERA goes up considerably. Looking it up, almost 20% of the runs he (Wilhelm) allowed were unearned. That's comprable to Walter Johnson. I'm pretty sure league wide UER percentages dropped some between 1910 and 1970.

That sounds like ammo for my very good friend, Rube
   18. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: May 29, 2006 at 05:09 PM (#2042293)
IIRC, Paths of Glory says if you adjust for extra UER, his ERA goes up considerably. Looking it up, almost 20% of the runs he allowed were unearned.

I apologize... for not reading that book. I apologize for not revealing this earlier. I apologize, sir, for not telling you sooner that you're a degenerate, sadistic old man. And you can go to hell before I apologize to you now or ever again!

Oops! I was channeling the movie there for a minute. ;-)
   19. sunnyday2 Posted: May 29, 2006 at 07:07 PM (#2042484)
After our experience with Rube, I would need a very close look before hitting on Wilhelm for UER.
   20. OCF Posted: May 30, 2006 at 12:31 AM (#2042917)
Re: UER: as always, I'm using RA, not ERA. He's being charged in full in my system, and he still looks like Koufax spread over 20 years.

Re: #7: the Stats encyclopedia I've been using lists a 1923 birthdate for Wilhelm. The point stands anyway - he's certainly younger than Don Newcombe.

Re: minor leagues: In the header of the Maury Wills thread, John speculates about possible minor league credit, as Willis certainly kicked around the minors for many years. Well, what about Wilhelm? Even though he was almost certainly a "late bloomer," he was effective from the moment he set foot in the majors. Why has the issue of minor league credit ever arisen with us? There are three main reasons: the "free" or relatively free minors didn't always have to give up their best players in a timely fashion (that applies to Cravath but not to either Wills or Wilhelm); in the relatively slow pace of integration, black players - especially those who weren't potential superstar outfielders - didn't always advance as fast as they could have (possibly applies to Wills, certainly not Wilhelm), and the third reason: baseball fashions and prejudices caused this player's skills to be overlooked or underrated. That applies to Cravath and to Fournier - and I imagine it could have applied to Wilhelm. "Knuckleball pitcher" isn't a skill set that was exactly in fashion in Wilhelm's time - if it ever was.

Re: use as a starter: Unlike the ill-fated Goose Gossage experiment, Wilhelm was quite a good starter in and around 1959 - he wasn't removed from that role because it wasn't working. But one sidelight of that: that was the year Wilhelm got his greatest number of at bats, and it wasn't a pretty picture. Wilhelm began as a bad-hitting pitcher, but his hitting declined with age, and, as you know, there got to be quite a lot of age.
   21. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: May 30, 2006 at 02:10 AM (#2043180)
OCF:

You're right about Wilhem and the minor leagues. My impression from anecdotes about him was that he wasn't ready for the ML '52, but I have no clue if this was really true. An examination of his MiL stats is sorely needed, IMO.
   22. Steve Treder Posted: May 30, 2006 at 02:19 AM (#2043226)
Wilhelm's raw minor league stats were good, but hardly great. He was excellent in the N.C. State League:

1942 10-3, 4.25
1946 21-8, 2.47
1947 20-7, 3.38

Pretty good in the Tri-State League:

1948 13-9, 3.62

Excellent in the South Atlantic League:

1949 17-12, 2.66

But so-so in the American Association:

1950 15-11, 4.95
1951 11-14, 3.94

Faulting the Giants for not bringing him up sooner would seem to involve a fair amount of Monday morning quarterbacking.
   23. OCF Posted: May 30, 2006 at 06:47 AM (#2043644)
OK, I don't see really obvious minor league credit there. But he spent three years in the Army after his minor league career began?

Also: 1946 and 1947 both in what must have been a pretty low-level league? This was the high point of the minors, right? More teams and more leagues than either before or since.
   24. yest Posted: May 30, 2006 at 10:34 AM (#2043667)
Wilhelm began as a bad-hitting pitcher
actulay he began as a great hitter and then came the 3rd at bat
   25. Steve Treder Posted: May 30, 2006 at 03:21 PM (#2043790)
But he spent three years in the Army after his minor league career began?

Yes, and I'm fairly sure he won a Purple Heart in Europe, IIRC at the Battle of the Bulge.

Also: 1946 and 1947 both in what must have been a pretty low-level league? This was the high point of the minors, right? More teams and more leagues than either before or since.

The late '40s was absolutely the zenith of the minor leagues, with far more leagues and teams than at any time before or since. I can verify this tonight in my Baseball Guides, but I'm 95% sure the classifications of Wilhelm's minor leagues were:

NC State League: Class D
Tri-State League: Class B
South Atlantic League: Class A

And of course the American Association was AAA.
   26. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: May 30, 2006 at 05:55 PM (#2043939)
There is absolutely no question in my mind that Wilhelm is the greatest reliever ever, and by a wide margin.

How many years unitl Mariano has that distinction? If he retired now would he be the #1?

I mean realistically, there's only three guys: Wilhelm, Rivera, Gossage. And Gossage's case is weaker than Wilhelm's so that leaves just two wholly different beasts to choose from.
   27. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: May 30, 2006 at 06:05 PM (#2043953)
What about Bob Apodaca?
   28. sunnyday2 Posted: May 30, 2006 at 06:17 PM (#2043965)
Re. Rivera, I just don't bother to try to rate/rank players who are still active, so that is the caveat.

But to me it's an open question whether Rivera is better than Gossage. Just taking their Yankee careers head-to-head is interesting to me, then Goose had some great years in Padre land. But then again, I have not seriously thought about Rivera.

In my world of safely retired and eligible players, Gossage is a pretty obvious #2, but Quisenberry is the other guy who just floors me as a peak/prime voter. Of course, what reliever other than Wilhelm is not a peak/prime candidate? So I agree, there's just 3 guys, but for me they're Wilhelm, Goose and Quiz.
   29. OCF Posted: May 30, 2006 at 06:28 PM (#2043981)
Typo fix: in #20 I meant to say that Wilhelm was older than Newcombe, not younger. But you knew that, right?

For sure, Wilhelm is the very last player with significant WWII military service to reach our ballot.

In thinking about the case for Wilhelm: A great year or two as a releiver is not enough. There have been a lot of great runs. Look at this year's eligibles, which include Phil Regan and Ted Abernathy.

Sure, Regan had to be plenty lucky to go 14-1 in 1966. But he did have a 203 ERA+ that year in 117 innings - it was a very good, very high impact year. And he had a couple of other years that were pretty good. But the over the three years immediately preceding 1966, Regan had ERA+ of 97, 73, and 69. His career: 1373 IP (over half of it from an early run as a mediocre starter), 97 ERA+.

Abernathy's case is a little more substantial, although most of what he did before the age of 34 is a wash. Starting at that late age, he was spectacular for a while as a submarine-motion reliever, including a 295 ERA+ in 106 innings in 1967. From that point to the end of his career, his ERA+ never dipped below 127. (For those of you who grew up on Quisenberry and Tekulve and associate underhand motions with good control, look up Abernathy and take a look at his walk rates!)

But that's a few years as a top-notch reliever for Abernathy. It can't come anywhere close to comparing with what Wilhelm did year after year after year.
   30. DavidFoss Posted: May 30, 2006 at 07:34 PM (#2044096)
Typo fix: in #20 I meant to say that Wilhelm was older than Newcombe, not younger. But you knew that, right?

Hoyt Wilhelm is older than Ralph Kiner. He's only four years younger than Bob Feller.
   31. Daryn Posted: May 30, 2006 at 07:43 PM (#2044105)
Realistically, there's only Wilhelm, Rivera, Gossage. And Gossage's case is weaker than Wilhelm's so that leaves just two wholly different beasts to choose from.

If you like peak, there's Eck. His 88-92 is comparable to Wilhelm's 61-65, Goose's 77-81 and Mariano's 96-00. The thing about Mariano, which makes him clearly #1 to me is that his 01-05 is as good as his first 5 year peak. Though both Wilhelm and Gossage can also add another 2 to 4 years of stellar peakiness to their first 5 year stellar peaks.

Those 4 were goof [sic] pitchers -- though I know some may disagree about Eck. I still love Eck's 606 ERA+ that one year.
   32. sunnyday2 Posted: May 30, 2006 at 07:54 PM (#2044119)
If I limited it to a 3-4-5 year peak, maybe, but Goose and Quiz had peaks--not primes, but peaks--that were longer than that. That has to count for something.
   33. Steve Treder Posted: May 30, 2006 at 08:00 PM (#2044125)
If you like peak, there's Eck. His 88-92 is comparable to Wilhelm's 61-65, Goose's 77-81

Comparable, sure, but the IP issue here is extremely important. ERA+ isn't nearly sufficient as a means of comparison.
   34. Daryn Posted: May 30, 2006 at 08:39 PM (#2044172)
Comparable, sure, but the IP issue here is extremely important. ERA+ isn't nearly sufficient as a means of comparison.

Eck best season would've had to have had a pretty bad extra 50 innings added to match Wilhelm's best season.

Any innings focused comparison would have to leave Rivera out of the HoM if he retired today. To me, any system that leaves Mo out of the HoM is a flawed system.
   35. Steve Treder Posted: May 30, 2006 at 08:55 PM (#2044193)
Eck best season would've had to have had a pretty bad extra 50 innings added to match Wilhelm's best season.

Of course, in the discussion we've had numerous times. But it's also the case that Eck's best season in terms of ERA/ERA+ was pretty fluky in that regard (among other things, 44% of the runs he was charged with were unearned). A more meaningful comparison would be the residual between Eckersley's best 5 (or whatever) seasons combined with Wilhelm's best 5 (or whatever) seasons combined. And moreover, a hypothetical ~50 innings isn't the same thing as an actual ~50, which truly did eliminate a pitcher from the roster altogether, and thus truly did add a position player.

Any innings focused comparison would have to leave Rivera out of the HoM if he retired today.

Not necessarily; it depends on how the system were constructed.

To me, any system that leaves Mo out of the HoM is a flawed system.

Perhaps. But that doesn't render unnecessary the need to keep a very close watch on IP in comparing *all* pitchers; what it suggests instead is the challenge of developing a system which does appropriately value IP's while not eliminating Rivera from HOM consideration. Get right on that, will you!
   36. DavidFoss Posted: May 30, 2006 at 09:22 PM (#2044231)
Eck best season would've had to have had a pretty bad extra 50 innings added to match Wilhelm's best season.

Remember you have to <u>harmonically</u> average ERA+'s.

(TotIP/TotERA+) = (OneIP/OneERA+) + (TwoIP/TwoERA+)

Plugging in Wilhelm's 1965 season of 144 IP and 176 ERA+ for the total...

Plugging in Eck's 1990 season of 73.3 IP and 606 ERA+ for the 'One'...

... solves to 70.7 IP and 101 ERA+ for the difference. Not that great, but nowhere near 'pretty bad'.
   37. Backlasher Posted: May 30, 2006 at 09:29 PM (#2044243)
And moreover, a hypothetical ~50 innings isn't the same thing as an actual ~50, which truly did eliminate a pitcher from the roster altogether, and thus truly did add a position player.


And as has been discussed a thousand times, would provide you nominal value at best and probably results in declining value.

This was expressly discussed with Mo, and based on the calculation being done CORRECTLY that the difference between Mo and Wilhelm on the innings to end up at the same ERA+ is basically a person taht would have had trouble keeping a job as a middle reliever. That is a trade off that most would take in terms of the benefit of taking a third catcher, or the 1 year out of 50 you actually get a productive player.

Wilhelm was a pioneering pitcher that deserves a lot of recognition. When everything is said and done, Mo is probably going to be better.

I only read these HOM threads occasionally, but I don't think "better than Mo" has to be a criteria.

And if you want to talk about Wilhelm's best years as a reliever (not counting where he racked up most of his IP as a starter), he was pitching bettter when his IP was more judiciously monitored.

But "the how pitchers should be used" shouldn't be invading these HOM threads. What matters here is how well the pitchers performed.

I have confidence the Merit boys will look at Wilhelm properly.
   38. DCA Posted: May 30, 2006 at 09:38 PM (#2044252)
I still love Eck's 606 ERA+ that one year.

Me too. My favorite stat ... more saves than baserunners allowed (48 SV, 41 H, 4 BB, 0 HBP). That had never been done before, in any significant sample size, and I'm not sure it's been done since, probably not as we haven't had a closer with Eck's control since then. And Eck averaged 1.2 IP/G, so he wasn't exactly pitching only the 9th.
   39. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: May 30, 2006 at 09:52 PM (#2044264)
I have confidence that Wilhelm, Gossage, Eckersley, and Rivera will be HoMers. Beyond them will come the real discussions (Quisenberry, Smith, Hoffman, Fingers, Sutter, etc.)
   40. Steve Treder Posted: May 30, 2006 at 09:56 PM (#2044268)
And Eck averaged 1.2 IP/G, so he wasn't exactly pitching only the 9th.

He averaged almost exactly one inning and one-half of one extra out in 1990. That's about one-quarter of an out longer than the average stint of the typical 2000s closer -- longer yes, but only fractionally so, and certainly not nearly enough further than just a single inning to conclude that he contributed significant 8th inning value.
   41. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: May 30, 2006 at 10:00 PM (#2044271)
I also think some balance between rate stats and IP needs to be applied. That way, one era wont gain the upper hand when it comes to relief stars in the Hall of Merit.
   42. Steve Treder Posted: May 30, 2006 at 10:05 PM (#2044278)
I also think some balance between rate stats and IP needs to be applied. That way, one era wont gain the upper hand when it comes to relief stars in the Hall of Merit.

I would certainly concur, and I would further suggest that some balance between rate stats and IP needs to be applied (far easier said than done, of course) when comparing starters as well as relievers. The Wilhelm vs. Eck issue is just another version of the Koufax vs. Pedro issue (or the Walsh vs. Koufax issue, for that matter). It always matters.
   43. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: May 30, 2006 at 10:09 PM (#2044284)
I would certainly concur, and I would further suggest that some balance between rate stats and IP needs to be applied (far easier said than done, of course) when comparing starters as well as relievers. The Wilhelm vs. Eck issue is just another version of the Koufax vs. Pedro issue (or the Walsh vs. Koufax issue, for that matter). It always matters.

I agree on all points, Steve.
   44. DCA Posted: May 30, 2006 at 10:09 PM (#2044285)
Steve ... I just wanted to note that it is significantly higher than 1.0, which is what some of the more "babied" or "extremely leveraged" modern closers have been doing ... such as Percival, Hoffman, Isringhausen, and the mid-90's Eck. That he is the only guy who has more saves than baserunners, and did it without the advantage of only one inning outings when others *have* had that advantage, is notable.
   45. OCF Posted: May 30, 2006 at 10:09 PM (#2044286)
Did Wilhelm pitch more effectively when he pitched less (as a reliever)? Since I had the RA+ worked out, I did the following:

I went to his record and eliminated from consideration the following years: 1958, 1959, and 1960 (the years in which he got most of his starts) and 1971 and 1972 (in which he was very, very old and not pitching very much.) That leaves 16 other years, with a mean IP of about 107 and a mean RA+ of about 142.

The correlation between IP and RA+ was slightly positive: +0.12, which isn't much. But there's no support for the idea that he pitched better when he pitched less.

Part of this is his "trough" in 1956-57, in which he pitched less and pitched worse - perhaps the former is because of the latter, rather than the other way around. At the other end, he reached a peak of use as a reliever in 1963-64-65 with 136-131-144 IP. His RA+ for those years: 129-160-171.

Wilhelm saw his usage drop from 144 to 81 IP between 1965 and 1966. In 1965, the White Sox, managed by Al Lopez, had only 21 complete games - a well below average number of CG, especially for a team with good pitching. Eddie Fisher saw even more usage than Wilhelm. In 1966, Eddie Stanky was the manager, and the number of complete games was a slightly above average 38 - a near-doubling from one year to the next. (Did Fisher get hurt?) Wilhelm went from 14 decisions and 20 saves to 7 decisions and 6 saves, which suggests that he was disproportionately losing the highest-leverage parts of his usage between the two seasons. His RA+ was essentially the same for the two years: 171 in 1965, 154 in 1966 - not something that I'd read anything at all into.
   46. Steve Treder Posted: May 30, 2006 at 10:17 PM (#2044294)
I just wanted to note that it is significantly higher than 1.0

Well, maybe this is mere semantics, but I wouldn't consider 1.16 to be "significantly" higher than 1.0, in practical terms. The only units real games measure are 0.33. Half of an out is more than no outs, but the average closer in the 2000s has been at about 1.08 -- so Eck's 1990 season incorporated an average stint of just a quarter of an out more than the current-day guy's. It isn't nothing, but I sure wouldn't call it significant.

Eckersley's effectiveness was mind-boggling. But his usage pattern in 1990 and after was almost indistinguishable from the modern closer's; indeed he was the first modern closer.
   47. Steve Treder Posted: May 30, 2006 at 10:28 PM (#2044309)
Wilhelm saw his usage drop from 144 to 81 IP between 1965 and 1966. In 1965, the White Sox, managed by Al Lopez, had only 21 complete games - a well below average number of CG, especially for a team with good pitching. Eddie Fisher saw even more usage than Wilhelm. In 1966, Eddie Stanky was the manager, and the number of complete games was a slightly above average 38 - a near-doubling from one year to the next. (Did Fisher get hurt?) Wilhelm went from 14 decisions and 20 saves to 7 decisions and 6 saves, which suggests that he was disproportionately losing the highest-leverage parts of his usage between the two seasons. His RA+ was essentially the same for the two years: 171 in 1965, 154 in 1966 - not something that I'd read anything at all into.

Wilhelm suffered a broken finger in the spring of 1966, and didn't pitch his first regular season game until June 14th. When he came back off the DL that June, the White Sox traded Fisher to the Orioles for Jerry Adair.

Stanky wasn't as heavy a bullpen user in 1966-67 as Lopez had come to be.

ERA and ERA+ really have their limitations in looking at relievers, Wilhelm included. By those metrics, he was more effective under his rather light workload of 1967 than in the seasons surrounding it. But by WHIP, that was his least effective season (or better, least great season) of 1964 through 1969.
   48. Backlasher Posted: May 30, 2006 at 10:39 PM (#2044326)
I also think some balance between rate stats and IP needs to be applied. That way, one era wont gain the upper hand when it comes to relief stars in the Hall of Merit.

FWIW, I would agree, but if you IP others rates, and the difference is significantly below median performance, the difference in value by those IP is looking pretty tenuous.

At some point, its going to become similar to giving a batter extra credit because they made more outs.

Wilhelm stands pretty good on his own. Gossage is going to require some more creativity to get in the same sentence as Wilhelm and Mo.
   49. OCF Posted: May 30, 2006 at 10:47 PM (#2044332)
ERA and ERA+ ... By those metrics, he was more effective under his rather light workload of 1967 than in the seasons surrounding it.

By ERA+ for 1966-67-68: 190-236-176
By RA+ for 1966-67-68: 154-160-180

In 1967, only 13 of the 21 runs Wilhelm allowed were recorded as earned. Here's another of the reasons I like RA rather than ERA: less noise.

Most effective year as a reliever? I like 1965. (RA+ equivalent record 11-5). But his RA+ equivalent record for 1959 as a starter was 18-7.

Thanks for the information concerning 1966.
   50. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: May 30, 2006 at 10:56 PM (#2044336)
FWIW, I would agree, but if you IP others rates, and the difference is significantly below median performance, the difference in value by those IP is looking pretty tenuous.

If that's the case, then I will have to do some tinkering with the numbers to correct for that. I have a few years left before we go from the firemans to the closers. :-)

Wilhelm stands pretty good on his own. Gossage is going to require some more creativity to get in the same sentence as Wilhelm and Mo.

Wilhelm is clearly better than Gossage. As for Gossage and Rivera, comparing them is much more difficult since they're different types of relief pitchers. Rivera has the same mystique that Gossage had, but I may be overrating the Goose since he was the one who really shaped my view of the position as a kid.
   51. sunnyday2 Posted: May 30, 2006 at 10:56 PM (#2044337)
>Any innings focused comparison would have to leave Rivera out of the HoM if he retired today. To me, any system that leaves Mo out of the HoM is a flawed system.

OTOH if you start with the players you want to elect and then devise a system to elect them, that sounds a bit flawed too ;-)

OTOOH I know you didn't mean that the way it sounded.
   52. Steve Treder Posted: May 30, 2006 at 10:57 PM (#2044338)
Here's another of the reasons I like RA rather than ERA: less noise.

Agree, especially in the small sample sizes of relievers, and especially especially in the very small sample sizes of relievers who allow very few runs, earned or unearned.

For relievers, I tend to prefer WHIP: it's easily available and, as the essential equivalent of OBP for pitchers, a damn good indicator of effectiveness.

I agree that '65 was most likely the best of Wilhelm's many tremendous seasons. If that wasn't the best year any reliever has yet compiled, it was damn close.
   53. OCF Posted: May 30, 2006 at 11:02 PM (#2044340)
For relievers, I tend to prefer WHIP: it's easily available and, as the essential equivalent of OBP for pitchers, a damn good indicator of effectiveness.

A way park and league adjust WHIP, quick and dirty, would be nice.
   54. Steve Treder Posted: May 30, 2006 at 11:10 PM (#2044351)
A way to park and league adjust WHIP, quick and dirty, would be nice.

Roger that. OPS+ Against would be the ideal -- but reconciling that with quick & dirty is a stretch.
   55. DCW3 Posted: May 30, 2006 at 11:14 PM (#2044361)
A way park and league adjust WHIP, quick and dirty, would be nice.

Well, instead of WHIP, you could actually calculate opponent OBP for pitchers--hits plus walks plus HBP, all divided by batters faced, and then compare it to the park-adjusted league average for that year. Wilhelm's opponent OBP in 1965 was .224, and the park-adjusted league OBP for the White Sox that year was .313, so Wilhelm's OBP+ would be 140 (.313/.224).
   56. Steve Treder Posted: May 30, 2006 at 11:20 PM (#2044368)
Well, instead of WHIP, you could actually calculate opponent OBP for pitchers--hits plus walks plus HBP, all divided by batters faced, and then compare it to the park-adjusted league average for that year. Wilhelm's opponent OBP in 1965 was .224, and the park-adjusted league OBP for the White Sox that year was .313, so Wilhelm's OBP+ would be 140 (.313/.224).

That's fabulous, Jasper. BTW, just what part of "quick and dirty" did you miss? ;-p
   57. DCW3 Posted: May 30, 2006 at 11:24 PM (#2044376)
Hey, to my mind, that's "quick and dirty." Took me about 30 seconds to calculate. Non-quick would be trying to figure out an adjusted opponent slugging percentage by using the hit and home run rates we have for pitchers and then adjusting their hit rates based on the average ratio of triples and doubles to singles that year. You know, for example.
   58. Steve Treder Posted: May 30, 2006 at 11:30 PM (#2044396)
Sheesh. It takes me about 30 seconds to remember how to turn on the TV.
   59. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: May 31, 2006 at 02:25 PM (#2045376)
I have confidence the Merit boys will look at Wilhelm properly.

And theoretical girls...just in case one should ever come along...and identify herself as one.

I have confidence that Wilhelm, Gossage, Eckersley, and Rivera will be HoMers.

I have confidence that W, G, and R will be homers, but I think we'd better tread carefully with Eck before proclaiming his fitness for induction. There's much discussion left on him (which I'm not trying to open now), and despite his nice five years, it's far, far, far away from an open-and-shut case. Virtually all relievers are, I suppose, but I think that Eck merits the same extraordinary caution that all the non-Wilhelm relievers do.
   60. Mark Shirk (jsch) Posted: May 31, 2006 at 02:51 PM (#2045402)
I agree with Doc in that I only see three relievers that look HOM worthy right now in Wilhelm, Rivera, and Gossage. After that I would place Eck with Quisenberry, Smith, Hoffman, Sutter, Fingers, etc., though probably at the top of that list.
   61. DCA Posted: May 31, 2006 at 02:55 PM (#2045406)
Well, maybe this is mere semantics, but I wouldn't consider 1.16 to be "significantly" higher than 1.0, in practical terms.

Maybe it is semantics, but it is significant in terms of the stat I am referencing -- saves vs baserunners allowed. It is significant in that holding games pitched fixed, he had 10 innings which a Percival-style closer wouldn't have pitched in which he _wasn't_ padding his save totals and _was_ giving up baserunners. Even at his low WHIP, that's 6 extra baserunners. Knock his innings down to only 1.0 per game, and he might have done it in 1989 too.

Eck had 11 outings of 1 2/3 innings or more in 1990, or a little more than 1/6 of his appearances. That's not a lot, but it's twice a month, enough that it clearly happened on a regular basis. Several current closers do this, but not all. Percival in 2002, his best season as a closer by ERA+, had none. Hoffman, last season, had none. Isringhausen, last season, had one. Eckersley in 1997, his last season as a closer, had one. I'm not sure I'd call that insignificant by any definition ... while an increase in workload of 10 IP has little to no effect on the total innings pitched by the rest of the staff, it's an easily noticeable difference in terms of the pitcher's actual usage. Now Percival/Hoffman/Izzy isn't exactly typical, even today, but it is an established usage pattern.
   62. andrew siegel Posted: May 31, 2006 at 03:01 PM (#2045412)
I think it is very important to play around with the numbers for the easy cases (Wilhelm, Gossage, and Rivera) to come up with metrics for assessing the borderline guys (Eck, Henke, Quisenberry, Lee Smith, France, Hoffman, Sutter, am I missing anybody?).
   63. Steve Treder Posted: May 31, 2006 at 03:02 PM (#2045413)
while an increase in workload of 10 IP has little to no effect on the total innings pitched by the rest of the staff, it's an easily noticeable difference in terms of the pitcher's actual usage. Now Percival/Hoffman/Izzy isn't exactly typical, even today, but it is an established usage pattern.

Fair enough.
   64. Steve Treder Posted: May 31, 2006 at 03:07 PM (#2045418)
(Eck, Henke, Quisenberry, Lee Smith, Franco, Hoffman, Sutter, am I missing anybody?).

Fingers. And I would say Lyle and McGraw deserve fair consideration too.
   65. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: May 31, 2006 at 03:10 PM (#2045420)
I agree with Doc in that I only see three relievers that look HOM worthy right now in Wilhelm, Rivera, and Gossage. After that I would place Eck with Quisenberry, Smith, Hoffman, Sutter, Fingers, etc., though probably at the top of that list.

I agree that Eck's career was unique and is not as easy to analyze than the career relievers, but I think the sum total will make him a HoMer eventually (though not necessarily a first-ballot one).
   66. Paul Wendt Posted: May 31, 2006 at 03:17 PM (#2045424)
Wilhelm's opponent OBP in 1965 was .224, and the park-adjusted league OBP for the White Sox that year was .313, so Wilhelm's OBP+ would be 140 (.313/.224).

good show.
Are you using the baseball-reference implementation lgOPS* ? white sock

I think we'd better tread carefully with Eck before proclaiming his fitness for induction. There's much discussion left on him (which I'm not trying to open now)

It's epidemic around here. I don't know whether there is true consensus regarding the approach, although I've heard it said that one should discuss and vote in simulated ignorance of the future. If Tekulve, Gossage, Hiller and three other leading 1970s relievers all pitched 50% more innings than they really did, with ERA+ 50% higher, should that influence assessment of Wilhelm? Difficult to avoid.
(But I don't believe Eckersley influences assessment of Wilhelm.)

--
Well, maybe this is mere semantics, but I wouldn't consider 1.16 to be "significantly" higher than 1.0, in practical terms. The only units real games measure are 0.33. Half of an out is more than no outs, but the average closer in the 2000s has been at about 1.08 -- so Eck's 1990 season incorporated an average stint of just a quarter of an out more than the current-day guy's. It isn't nothing, but I sure wouldn't call it significant.

Eckersley's effectiveness was mind-boggling. But his usage pattern in 1990 and after was almost indistinguishable from the modern closer's; indeed he was the first modern closer.


For me, too, it's surprising to read Eckersley considered pre-modern for his heavy workload.

Relying on 1.08 and 1.16, doesn't that small difference in IP/game overstate the difference in usage? Eckersley didn't blow his share of saves, so he didn't have his share of 0 to 2/3-inning games. 1.08 and 1.16 might represent identical usage --entry into games at identical game states-- with the "1.16" pitcher more effective, completing more ninth innings.
   67. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: May 31, 2006 at 03:17 PM (#2045425)
What is the status of Firpo Marberry?
   68. Daryn Posted: May 31, 2006 at 03:19 PM (#2045427)
Nice atypical usage night for Mo on the heels of this discussion.
   69. Daryn Posted: May 31, 2006 at 03:24 PM (#2045431)
I put Eck in a category with Smoltz and maybe Righetti, separate from the career relievers. I anticipate I will be a supporter of both, but not Righetti.

I'm not sure if it is a positive or a negative for Eck that he managed to have a pretty good career as a starter while be drunk for a decade.
   70. Daryn Posted: May 31, 2006 at 03:26 PM (#2045433)
Marberry is eligible, but nobody has voted for him yet. The same can be said for the somewhat similar Ellis Kinder.
   71. DL from MN Posted: May 31, 2006 at 03:41 PM (#2045449)
Anyone work up a Keltner list for Ron Davis?
   72. rawagman Posted: May 31, 2006 at 03:49 PM (#2045456)
I think it is very important to play around with the numbers for the easy cases (Wilhelm, Gossage, and Rivera) to come up with metrics for assessing the borderline guys (Eck, Henke, Quisenberry, Lee Smith, France, Hoffman, Sutter, am I missing anybody?).


Well said.
I can't, and I don't think anyone can really fairly compare Wilhelm with anyone. Before him, a reliever was a non-starter. After him, a reliever became a limited specialist.

Hoyt stands alone. Until I can be convinced otherwise, relievers who were dominant enough to be considered (like the one's in andrew siegel has noted and maybe a few others) will be compared only to the relievers who were their peers.
   73. OCF Posted: May 31, 2006 at 03:54 PM (#2045462)
We have a thread for Marberry:

http://www.baseballthinkfactory.org/files/hall_of_merit/discussion/firpo_marberry

Discussion has been dormant for a while. He never attracted significant support - people were interested in him but ultimately just didn't find enough there. At the time, we didn't have any other relievers to compare him to. Perhaps that's different now, but it still doesn't seem likely that he's got the ERA+ to get into this discussion.
   74. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: May 31, 2006 at 04:09 PM (#2045472)
What is the status of Firpo Marberry?

Deceased.

;-)
   75. Daryn Posted: May 31, 2006 at 05:03 PM (#2045522)
Given the small gradations in value of the current backlog, which will be even smaller 30 years from now, I expect that we will see an almost binary ranking of closers by the electorate -- they will either fall at the top of the ballot or not in the top 50. I just don't see someone saying that Lee Smith places 13th on their ballot -- I think it will be top 3 or not at all.
   76. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: May 31, 2006 at 05:22 PM (#2045540)
What cap goes on Wilhelm's plaque if he's inducted? The Ginats, Orioles, and ChiSox all have excellent cases. I believe he wears a Giant hat in the HOF, IIRC.

I'm going to look into it now, but if anyone has any ideas, please let me know.
   77. Backlasher Posted: May 31, 2006 at 05:32 PM (#2045550)
What cap goes on Wilhelm's plaque if he's inducted? The Ginats, Orioles, and ChiSox all have excellent cases. I believe he wears a Giant hat in the HOF, IIRC.



I'd go with this one.
   78. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: May 31, 2006 at 05:33 PM (#2045551)
Okay, going over his performance for all three teams, Wilhelm was the most valuable with the White Sox. Anybody disagree?
   79. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: May 31, 2006 at 05:34 PM (#2045552)
I'd go with this one.

LOL

That made my day, BL. :-)
   80. Evan Posted: May 31, 2006 at 08:25 PM (#2045778)
It's pretty amazing that the man had his 6 best years with the White Sox, considering that those were his age 40-45 seasons.

Incredible.
   81. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: May 31, 2006 at 08:30 PM (#2045787)
It's pretty amazing that the man had his 6 best years with the White Sox, considering that those were his age 40-45 seasons.

Incredible.


He is helped in the cap debate by playing a couple more seasons in Chicago than in NY or Baltimore, but it is impressive that he hadn't slowed down at all during that time with the White Sox.
   82. DavidFoss Posted: May 31, 2006 at 08:35 PM (#2045801)
He is helped in the cap debate by playing a couple more seasons in Chicago than in NY or Baltimore, but it is impressive that he hadn't slowed down at all during that time with the White Sox.

Yeah, he's really more known as either a Giant or an Oriole, but those six years in Chicago are great years. I might go with Chisox as well. For which team does he have the most Win Shares (not sure how WS handles relievers).
   83. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: May 31, 2006 at 08:40 PM (#2045808)
I might go with Chisox as well. For which team does he have the most Win Shares (not sure how WS handles relievers).

It's the White Sox, David.
   84. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: May 31, 2006 at 10:22 PM (#2045923)
Deceased.

The news reports today indicate his condition this morning was unchanged.

I'll be at Circus, Circus next week; don't forget to tip your barmaids, REO Speedwagon's coming up after this so stick around.
   85. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: May 31, 2006 at 10:27 PM (#2045931)
One more quick thing about Marbury. I think the biggest reason he doesn't have much support is probably because there's not much in the way starter/reliever splits or in play-by-play data. We can't know his leverage, and we don't know how he did in one role versus another. This is also the "basis" for Ellis Kinder's lack of support I'm sure. I have a suspicion that Kinder's reputation will rise tremendously when he is finally retro(sheet)fitted with pbp data, but that's just a guess. Maybe Marbury too.

Actually while I'm at it, Kinder, Marbury, Eck, and maybe Smoltz are probably groupable in the starter/ace-reliever hybrid career. I'm not sure about Righetti because he only started a year or two, and Smoltz only relieved a smidge more than that, which is why I call him a maybe. There are probably others.
   86. Steve Treder Posted: May 31, 2006 at 11:40 PM (#2046059)
Actually while I'm at it, Kinder, Marbury, Eck, and maybe Smoltz are probably groupable in the starter/ace-reliever hybrid career. I'm not sure about Righetti because he only started a year or two, and Smoltz only relieved a smidge more than that, which is why I call him a maybe. There are probably others.

Not of HOM quality, but some other careers that were of that type would be:

- Gerry Staley
- Ted Wilks
- Al Brazle
- Ron Kline
- Dave Giusti
- Wilbur Wood (borderline HOM quality, I'd guess)
   87. Mark Shirk (jsch) Posted: June 01, 2006 at 02:37 AM (#2046766)
One of Win Shares biggest weaknesses, in my opinion, is its handling of relievers in that it gives some sort of points for saves. I guess the argument is that by using leverage alone guys like Rivera may get hurt since they usually pitch just the ninth when there may not be much leverage. I haven't read that section of the Win Shares book in a while. In fact I may do that either tonight or tomorrow morning.

I guess the biggest question may be how this affects other players, if James is giving extra Win Shares for saves. I am not sure that it does, maybe a few from other pitchers.
   88. Paul Wendt Posted: June 01, 2006 at 04:51 AM (#2046892)
if James is giving extra Win Shares for saves.

By the way, the Win Shares system gives credit for pitcher wins.

--

Steve Treder Posted: May 31, 2006 at 11:07 AM (#2045418)
> [WILHELM, GOSSAGE, RIVERA]
> (Eck, Henke, Quisenberry, Lee Smith, Franco, Hoffman, Sutter, am I missing anybody?).

Fingers. And I would say Lyle and McGraw deserve fair consideration too.


Tek Tek Tekulve.

Pete Palmer's "Relief Ranking" rating also points to
Wetteland (he's number 5!), Hernandez, Nen, Jones, Marshall, Hiller, Orosco, Aguilera, Foulke, Percival, Montgomery, Wagner.

Other leaders in relief innings (top twelve):
McDaniel (2), Garber (5), McMahon, Borbon, Orosco, Marshall (9-12).
   89. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: June 01, 2006 at 01:30 PM (#2046997)
IIRC, Tek's 179 IBB issued is among the highest totals ever. I could be wrong about that, though, and b-r.com doesn't list out leaders in IBB allowed.
   90. Mark Shirk (jsch) Posted: June 01, 2006 at 01:34 PM (#2047001)
James figures leverage by giving a certain amount of claim points based on saves and, of all things, holds. It is something like Saves times three plus holds times one, but it can never be more than 2 times innings pitched so it is then adjusted downward.
   91. Rob_Wood Posted: June 02, 2006 at 04:53 AM (#2048072)
A couple of points on Wilhelm. First, I think he may deserve some military service credit since his career was probably delayed due to three years of military service during WWII (in which he fought at the Battle of the Bulge). Second, I am struggling with Clemente vs Wilhelm for number one on my ballot. I can see valid arguments both ways. I have a difficult time understanding ballots without Wilhelm.
   92. DCW3 Posted: June 02, 2006 at 05:38 AM (#2048087)
IIRC, Tek's 179 IBB issued is among the highest totals ever. I could be wrong about that, though, and b-r.com doesn't list out leaders in IBB allowed.

Tekulve does, in fact, hold the record for most career IBB, at least among pitchers for whom we have the records.
   93. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: June 02, 2006 at 06:29 PM (#2048444)
Excellent! BP has indeed updated their stats to 1960, so we can take a look at their leverage numbers for the second half of Hoyt's career. In seasons where he had a split season, I'm only listing the higher leverage of his two partial seasons.

MLB    MLB  TOP    
          RANK
*  RANK  RP's
YEAR LEV  w/SP  NO SP  LEV*
------------------------------------------
1960 1.77   17     3   Eli Grba (2.24)    
1961 1.48   30    12   Ron Kline (1.83)
1962 1.79   22     3   Joe Moeller (2.40)
1963 1.42   39    17   Jim Roland (2.19)
1964 1.63   24     5   Frank Kreutzer (1.75)
1965 1.43   51    14   Stu Miller (1.91)
1966 1.29   63    27   Stu Miller (1.96)
1967 1.74   17     1   Hoyt Wilhelm (1.74)
1968 1.27   47    24   Lindy McDaniel (1.88)
1969 1.51   32    14   Tug McGraw (1.96)
1970 1.27   68    36   Pete Reichert (2.05)
1971 N/A               Dick Hall (1.95)
1972 0.62  161 dozens  Jim Brewer (2.17)
*rankings minimum 25 IP
**reliever defined as 1/2 apps or fewer as starts 


I don't know that this speaks to the quality of his pitching, but it should speak to his value and to his standing among the other relievers of his time. Clearly after 1965 he was predominantly used in less leveraged roles (except for his late-career jewel, 1967). Was this because he was thought to be unworthy of high leverage situations? If so, does that mean he was only pitching to the lesser portions of the lineup, allowing him to puff his stats a bit?

Before 1965, he is probalby among the more highly leveraged relievers, but it's hardly a given that he'd be the most highly leveraged or even that he'd be "very" highly leveraged. Didn't lead the league in that period; was top five thrice, outside the top dozen thrice. I don't know if that's dominance or not. It's not dominance the way we see dominance with hitters and pitchers, but there's also the manager's discretion at work. Maybe it's dominance in the consistently-around-the-best-guy-in-the-league way. Then again, do we have a sense of who the best RPs were from 1960-1965? Which leads to...

Stu Miller! Stu is someone who I think needs to be looked at since, like Wilhelm, his entire career was previously buried in the non-PBP zone.

Also worth noting is the general trend about leverage. Compare the w/SP to NO SP column. Relievers make up an increasingly large portion of the league leaders in leverage as the 1960s roll along.
   94. sunnyday2 Posted: June 02, 2006 at 07:53 PM (#2048517)
I don't know if this is a factor or not, probably not, but still I wonder. You see Wilhelm bouncing everywhere from #1 to #27 through the 1960s, and this is not for performance level, it is for how he was used by his managers. Performance levels vary, but you would think a manager would use a pitcher more or less the same. Or, if he had declined steadily from 1 to 3 to 5 to 12 to 17 to 24 to 27 you'd say that, yes, his manager is using him differently. But he is bouncing around.

To me that means that the team had differential leverage to give. What Wilhelm got was situational, not just based on the manager's perspective on Wilhelm's strengths and weaknesses.

I ask because Joe Nathan of the Twins, my hometown team, is on track this year for about 15 saves after getting about 40 each of the past 2 years. 50 years from now somebody will say that Nathan declined or his manager used him differently. The fact is that the Twins have simply not had any save opportunities to speak of this year. No leverage. Either they are behind or they're ahead 7-1. Nathan finished the 7-1 game the other night; Rincon got an H but for Nathan, no S.

So I wonder if we're reading into the leverage thing a bit more than is there.
   95. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: June 02, 2006 at 08:19 PM (#2048542)
So I wonder if we're reading into the leverage thing a bit more than is there.

That's an interesting point. Where leverage reflects value, judging by leverage makes sense. Where leverage reflects opportunity, judging by leverage makes only some sense.

Which kind of brings us back around to the whole question of whether the uberstats measure of leverage is too blunt or whether by keeping the leverage more general like this, they may be recognizing the need for flexibility in defining leverage and using it as a measuring stick.

Ugh, this whole relievers question is just one be clusterbucket!
   96. sunnyday2 Posted: June 02, 2006 at 08:47 PM (#2048561)
Yeah, is leverage a little bit like RBI?
   97. Chris Cobb Posted: June 02, 2006 at 08:52 PM (#2048567)
Doc, where in BP are you getting that leverage data? Is it part of what you can access for free, or is it in the subscriber portion of the site?
   98. jimd Posted: June 02, 2006 at 11:08 PM (#2048657)
Leverage is a measure of the average importance of the pitching situations. It tells nothing about how effective the pitching was in those situations.

It's like saying that somebody played in 4 Game 7's. OK, that's nice, but it really only tells you that the manager thought that he was the best option available. It has to be combined with performance to give a meaningful value stat.
   99. jimd Posted: June 02, 2006 at 11:49 PM (#2048679)
I remember that it was a fairly big deal when Wilhelm broke Cy Young's record for Games Pitched in 1968. He would eventually shatter it by about the same degree as Bonds did the single-season HR mark (by 18%). I could be wrong, but I think that breaking that record played a role in Hoyt's BBWAA election.

I don't remember that it was a big deal when Eckersley broke Wilhelm's record in Eck's last career appearance in 1998, though I do remember him paying homage to Hoyt when the record was mentioned to him after the game, so Eck was aware of it.

Orosco would break Eck's record the following year, and I have no recollection of that at all. Maybe it was now old hat, or maybe I wasn't paying attention. He would tack on another 17%.

Can Mike Stanton break Jesse's record? It could happen in late 2008, early 2009.
   100. jimd Posted: June 03, 2006 at 12:01 AM (#2048686)
Doc, where in BP are you getting that leverage data?

Click on "Statistics", and then "Relievers Expected Wins Added" on the resulting page. WXRL is the main value stat (no idea how it's calculated), and it's available back though 1960. I assume this is all calculated from Retrosheet PBP data, so we may be able to work out some WARP correction factors for leverage for the non-closer years, and for some of the career setup guys who also probably get shafted by the leverage calculations in WARP and WS.
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