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Monday, November 21, 2011

Bisher Unleashed: On Closers

Can You Take Another Dose of PERCEPTO?...for Furman Bisher Has Been Unleashed Once Again!

This is, of course, a reflection of my vintage, but it strikes me as being totally sinful that the Rookie of the Year in the National League is a pitcher who played only one inning at a time. True indeed, that Casey Kimbrel played his part in the Braves’ charge toward the National League pennant, but consider where they might have finished without Freddie Freeman’s daily appearance at first base. This “closer” thing has become a baseball disease.  Freeman was in the lineup every day, with a .282 batting average, 76 RBI—only Dan Uggla drove in more — 21 home runs, 32 doubles and a bulwark of defense at first base. Kimbrel—an inning at a time, nicely done. I’m repeating myself, I know, but I never have, and never will cast my Hall of Fame vote for a “closer.”  Never.

Repoz Posted: November 21, 2011 at 10:38 AM | 13 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: awards, braves, hall of fame, history

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   1. Gonfalon Bubble Posted: November 21, 2011 at 11:54 AM (#3998343)
Furman Bisher's age when these diseased "closers" become eligible for election:

Troy Percival: 96
Trevor Hoffman: 97
Billy Wagner: 97
Jonathan Papelbon: 105+
Casey Kimbrel: 113+
Mariano Rivera: ?
   2. Jim Wisinski Posted: November 21, 2011 at 12:26 PM (#3998349)
Pitching just an inning at a time? Obviously Kimbrel isn't playing real baseball.
   3. zfan Posted: November 21, 2011 at 12:56 PM (#3998358)
Does he actually go by "Casey"? Isn't his name Craig?
   4. Rickey! something like a pipe-bomb ready to blow Posted: November 21, 2011 at 01:17 PM (#3998364)
Aside from being a grumpy old man and getting Kimbrel's first name wrong, where is the grumpy old man wrong on the merits? I'm glad my favorite team has Kimbrel (and Venters and O'Flaherty.) But closers are the most overrated players in the game, bar none, and there's a perfectly good argument that 1) Freeman played an every day position and should have been considered more valuable than a 1-inning per game pitcher and 2) 1-inning pitchers don't belong in the HOF.
   5. Tom Nawrocki Posted: November 21, 2011 at 01:31 PM (#3998366)
Bisher just assumes that no other reliever will ever measure up to the first closer he covered, Doc Crandall.
   6. cardsfanboy Posted: November 21, 2011 at 04:27 PM (#3998489)
I'm agreeing with Sam... Freeman should have won, Collmenter should have placed second, and Kimbrel should have gotten two votes from local scribes.
   7. Bug Selig Posted: November 21, 2011 at 04:59 PM (#3998531)
Pitching just an inning at a time? Obviously Kimbrel isn't playing real baseball.

Great Martha's Garters! How could they give ANY award to someone from the AL?!?!? None of those bastards play real baseball!

Furthermore, is ROY supposed to be "most-valuable rookie" or "best rookie"?
   8. Walt Davis Posted: November 21, 2011 at 05:46 PM (#3998602)
is ROY supposed to be "most-valuable rookie" or "best rookie"?

Not sure what you're asking. It's quite clear that RoY is awarded based on "best-performing rookie" which is close to "most valuable" but the whole "has to be from a contending team" thing doesn't play much of a role. "Potential" plays virtually no role at all.

If you're going for an argument that Kimbrel performed at a higher level while being less valuable, I suppose there's a reasonable argument there but I don't think it's one that's been employed often in RoY voting.

But, yeah, I see nothing to disagree with in that excerpt.
   9. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: November 21, 2011 at 05:51 PM (#3998608)
Fred Bisher is right for once. Closers are overrated. Frankie Freeman was the more valuable rookie.
   10. Bug Selig Posted: November 21, 2011 at 07:56 PM (#3998760)
8) Walt - yes, that was my point. Kimbrel was freaking amazing. While his usage certainly speaks to value, I think it can be said that he was the top performer.
   11. cardsfanboy Posted: November 22, 2011 at 04:19 AM (#3999226)
8) Walt - yes, that was my point. Kimbrel was freaking amazing. While his usage certainly speaks to value, I think it can be said that he was the top performer.

he was something like 7 runs better than Collmenter over 70-80 innings, then Collmenter also pitched another 70 innings as a league average pitcher. Not comparable, Collmenter was better.
   12. Dan Szymborski Posted: November 22, 2011 at 04:41 AM (#3999239)
But Kimbrel had a leverage index of 1.9 compared to Collmenter's 0.9. I considered Collmenter for my vote on the ESPN panel, but I went with Kimbrel in the end.
   13. MM1f Posted: November 22, 2011 at 05:31 AM (#3999261)
Agreed. I am quite ok with prioritizing "top performer" over "most value" in the Rookie of the Year voting. I don't think the Rookie of the Year voting has to follow the MVP award's focus on production and value.

That being said, I don't disagree with Bisher at all here. He is completely right. Freeman's role was certainly more valuable and it is probably more difficult for a rookie to adjust to playing 9 innings every day over a 162 game season than it is for a reliever to throw an inning every few days, though of course Fredi tried his damnedest to have Kimbrel throw every darn day. And Freeman was pretty darn good this year.

There is nothing wrong with either approach, but I think we should be giving Bisher credit for being completely right about the "closer as a baseball disease" thing. So many "old school" sportswriters get blasted on here, sometimes rightfully so, for worrying too much about "proven closers" but Bisher is so damn old school that he still treasures baseball without 'em. I love it.

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