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Relief Pitching Newsbeat

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Analytics have teams considering bullpen roles | MLB.com

4. Playing it by ear every day would inevitably force relief pitchers to warm up more frequently than they have to, ultimately hindering performance.

At least that’s what Angels closer Huston Street believes.

“At the end of the day,” Street said, “it’s quite simple: There’s just not enough energy to go around.”

Street has been a closer almost his entire life, from his collegiate days at the University of Texas to the totality of his 11-year Major League career. He estimates that in a given year he actually makes about 100 appearances—65 or so when he pitches in a game and then another 30 or 40 from all those times he warms up in the bullpen, sits back down and warms up again. The latter is “every reliever’s worst nightmare,” Street said, but also an inevitable part of the job.

If a team’s best reliever were assigned to the highest-leverage situation, as opposed to merely the ninth inning, Street estimates he would have to warm up, sit down and warm up again twice as frequently, because a lot of time is needed to get ready and because the leverage of a situation can change so quickly.

He believes it would be too much for a bullpen to absorb.

“There is no getting used to that,” Street said. “You can’t. Your arm gets sore. It just gets sore. That’s what happens. “

Street, and basically everybody else polled on the subject, concluded that the theory can work in small sample sizes, like the playoffs, but is unsustainable over the course of a six-month regular season. They ultimately believe the statistical advantages are not enough to outweigh all of the potential hazards that come with it.

“Perfect on paper,” Street said. “But in practice, it’s the worst idea I’ve ever heard.”

Jim Furtado Posted: March 17, 2016 at 08:30 AM | 37 comment(s)
  Beats: managers, relief pitching, sabermetrics

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Sullivan: The Extra Value of Having an Elite Reliever

It couldn’t be cleaner. We were missing about 1.7 wins. Through Clutch, we located about 1.7 wins. This appears to explain the over-performance, but given the consistency, it shouldn’t be thought of as over-performance; it should be thought of as a team capability, that WAR misses.

This is evidence that having a shutdown high-leverage reliever can be worth more wins than WAR would suggest. And this is just in the regular season, so we’re not touching on any further benefits in the playoffs. When you have that reliever, you can make sure to use him at the most important times, saving close games and putting out assorted other fires. I think it’s entirely intuitive, so this probably isn’t a shocking result. This doesn’t get into deeper bullpens. And I might be overlooking a bias or two that explains what’s been found. Very well could be there are going to be comments below that make me out to be an idiot, but if they’re right, I’ll appreciate them, since I’d love to have more than one brain considering this.

Heinie Mantush (Krusty) Posted: November 11, 2015 at 11:46 AM | 3 comment(s)
  Beats: clutch, leverage, relief pitching, sabermetrics, war

 

 

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