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Monday, October 22, 2018

Do the Nationals need to go modern and develop a hybrid reliever? - The Washington Post

It’s not new. Teams have used multi-inning relievers in the past. I’m just waiting until they move to four-man rotations with guys throwing 75-85 pitches per start.

But as the Nationals consider potential improvements to their pitching staff next season, might it make sense to try to develop a Josh Hader-esque reliever, the kind that can go multiple shutdown innings in big spots, the kind that mollifies the pain of a short start? Might they have the arms to fill such a role on their roster already?

Jim Furtado Posted: October 22, 2018 at 01:49 PM | 15 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: nationals

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   1. BDC Posted: October 22, 2018 at 01:54 PM (#5772500)
I saw this on the X-Files and it wasn't pretty.
   2. jmurph Posted: October 22, 2018 at 02:03 PM (#5772512)
I would think just acquiring more healthy, good players would be the starting point for the Nationals. Let's not get too fancy here.
   3. JJ1986 Posted: October 22, 2018 at 03:09 PM (#5772569)
I don't see the point. Those guys are mostly valuable in the playoffs.
   4. Zonk is One Individual Posted: October 22, 2018 at 03:14 PM (#5772570)
I saw this on the X-Files and it wasn't pretty.


You prefer the Nats "monster of the week" episodes?
   5. Davo and his Moose Tacos Posted: October 22, 2018 at 04:02 PM (#5772602)
Every team wants a Josh Hader. If what he was doing was easy, every team WOULD have a Josh Hader.
   6. Rally Posted: October 22, 2018 at 04:03 PM (#5772603)
I saw this on the X-Files and it wasn't pretty.


Josh Exley would have been a great MLB slugger if segregation had not extended to the greys. Not sure if he would have stayed at catcher. Like Bryce Harper, they probably would have moved him to a position where he could play everyday, keep that bat in the lineup.
   7. Zonk is One Individual Posted: October 22, 2018 at 04:11 PM (#5772616)
Was Exley a catcher? I know they sorta, kinda modeled him after Gibson - but my recollection was that he was an OF. Could be misremembering, though. Far more familiar with Jesse L Martin's work on Law & Order.

One of my favorite episodes though...
   8. caspian88 Posted: October 22, 2018 at 04:32 PM (#5772630)
A Nats monster of the week episode is just a Bryce Harper June plate appearance.
   9. Walt Davis Posted: October 22, 2018 at 04:38 PM (#5772633)
The "innovation" of Hader is overstated. He averages less than 1.5 innings so he's not exactly re-defining the role. He averages that many innings per appearance because he's so damn good -- it was just over 5.5 BF per appearance this year. So he was averaging about 4.5 outs for every 5.5 batters. In the end, batters hit 132/220/265. A typical reliever outing (for a top reliever) would be 3-5 batters faced ... Hader was so good that sort of outing was as likely to result in 1.2 innings as it was 1 inning.

I don't want to understate it either, he had a lot of longer outings by today's standads. His BF breakdown (#BF, #times)

10 2
9 3
8 7
7 9
6 7
5 8
4 7
3 8
2 2
1 2


He didn't bridge for crappy starters very often though. All but 4 of his appearances were in the 6th or later, roughly equally split 6, 7, 8. They did a good job of leveraging him with 43 appearances being between tied and +2, only 4 appearances trailing.
   10. puck Posted: October 22, 2018 at 04:39 PM (#5772635)
It's pretty funny that a reliever who can pitch in more than one inning is now a "hybrid" reliever.
   11. bfan Posted: October 22, 2018 at 04:43 PM (#5772639)
Every team wants a Josh Hader. If what he was doing was easy, every team WOULD have a Josh Hader.


Except the headline is develop one. The question is whether teams will start to take a perfectly functional (maybe even one of their better) MiLB starters and convert them into 2 to 3 inning pitchers. Since a top-line starter these days seems to good for 160 innings (note-there were only 57 pitchers this year who hit 162 innings, less than 2 per team). Are 81 (Hader's) leveraged innings more important than 160 innings of your standard starter?
   12. Zonk is One Individual Posted: October 22, 2018 at 04:44 PM (#5772640)
He didn't bridge for crappy starters very often though.


Technically, he did -

They just happened to wildly exceed expectations.

Now, to read the rest of the paragraph.
   13. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: October 22, 2018 at 04:44 PM (#5772641)
It's pretty funny that a reliever who can pitch in more than one inning is now a "hybrid" reliever.
It's a cross-breeding of a 2018 reliever and a team of Iditarod champion sled dogs.
   14. Nasty Nate Posted: October 22, 2018 at 04:52 PM (#5772649)
Except the headline is develop one. The question is whether teams will start to take a perfectly functional (maybe even one of their better) MiLB starters and convert them into 2 to 3 inning pitchers. Since a top-line starter these days seems to good for 160 innings (note-there were only 57 pitchers this year who hit 162 innings, less than 2 per team). Are 81 (Hader's) leveraged innings more important than 160 innings of your standard starter?
But Hader is special because no one can hit him and he strikes out half the batters he faces. Every team has guys that could give 80 relief innings @ 1.5 inning per outing. And it seems like everybody converts MiLB starts to relievers.
   15. Walt Davis Posted: October 22, 2018 at 11:20 PM (#5772805)
Teams this year averaged 581 relief innings. Some of that was the cheatin' Rays and their opener followed by the real starter for 4-5 innings so it's probably nothing more than a few innings when averaged over 30 teams. Some of that is Sept 40-man rosters which is probably more significant so let's call it 560 innings from the regular 8 relief slots so 70 innings per slot. Hader takes up a full slot for the whole year so his expanded usage is only buying you 11 extra innings over average ... maybe 15 relative to a standard high-leverage relieve. This extra usage is only buying you maybe 20% of a slot.

In short, it doesn't really help you unless the guy is really good. Even that still leaves open the question of whether Hader could be even more dominant one inning at a time ... or last for more seasons or both.

There's also rest between appearances. He pitched back-to-back just 5 times and only another 11 with 1 day of rest. For his 5 b2b:

3 BF then 7 BF following 3 DR
1 then 4, 3 DR
1 then 4, 4 DR
3 then 6, 3 DR
6 then 3, 2 DR

So he was never asked for more than 9 batters over 2 days, all with multiple days rest. (He did have those two 10-batter outings so technically ...) Using him for 2 innings knowing that probably means he won't be available for at least two days is not necessarily a bad thing -- win today's game -- especially if you have a deep pen, but it's not obviously superior to Strop appearing back-to-back, one inning at a time.

Let's wait to see if Hader can keep doing this before we credit him with revolutionizing modern usage. He's still well short of Andrew Miller 2015-17.

Are 81 (Hader's) leveraged innings more important than 160 innings of your standard starter?

Apparently not by bWAR. He put up just 2.1 WAR which is good for a reliever, a bit above-average for a 160-IP starter, but nothing special for either. In the NL, the following relievers had more bWAR: Cishek, Dominguez, Oberg, Doolittle (in 45 innings), Ottavinso, Jared Hughes (for crying out loud!), and Jeffress (#1 with 3.4 WAR. Gio Gonzales, 171 IP of 100 ERA+, had 2.2 bWAR.

The Brewers did a good job on Hader's leverage but a bit better on Jeffress. Jeffress's FIP was about half a run worse but his ERA was just over half of Hader's. Despite all the Ks, Hader's FIP is not as mind-numbing as you might think, mainly due to a reasonably high HR rate for a reliever ... and not getting credit for his 221 BABIP.

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