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Wednesday, August 08, 2012

Doyel: NL Cy Young Award conversation starts with closers Chapman, Kimbrel

From the era of Bedrock Bedrosian
They’re a page right out of history…

R.A. Dickey is having a Cy Young sort of season. So is Johnny Cueto. Maybe a few other starting pitchers in the National League, too, but especially Dickey and Cueto. They’re on pace to win 20 games, lose fewer than half of those and finish among league leaders in ERA and strikeouts—which is to say, they’re having seasons typical of a Cy Young winner.

But Aroldis Chapman and Craig Kimbrel are having seasons that have never been done before.

So let’s give the Cy Young to one of them.

Problem is, Chapman and Kimbrel are relievers, and relievers aren’t supposed to win this thing. A closer will win it from time to time, but usually he has to have some #######’ facial hair or 50-plus saves or just do like Sparky Lyle did in 1977 and pitch for the Yankees.

...And if the season ended today, voters wouldn’t. Without telling them why, I asked four baseball writers at CBSSports.com and one at Yahoo Sports for their top-three Cy Young ballot if the season ended today. None of them named Chapman or Kimbrel. So I’m here to get the word out, start a conversation about the NL Cy Young, because the right thing must be done. And the right thing is for Chapman and Kimbrel to be sitting in the lead at this moment

Repoz Posted: August 08, 2012 at 01:14 PM | 55 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: awards

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   1. Depressoteric Posted: August 08, 2012 at 01:28 PM (#4203330)
No, no it's not.
   2. Robert in Manhattan Beach Posted: August 08, 2012 at 01:31 PM (#4203338)
Maybe one of them will even reach 70 innings pitched! If that happens let's make him the MVP too!

Every year we have to do this stupid dance.
   3. jacjacatk Posted: August 08, 2012 at 01:31 PM (#4203340)
It's a lot easier to blow up those sparkling closer ERAs with one bad outing, and if that happens there's no reason to think the award won't go to whichever 20 game winner looks the most compelling at the end of the season. Cueto looks like a solid choice right now, and I wouldn't discount the "story" factor for Burnett if he gets to 20+.

I don't think a modern closer's getting there if there are reasonable SP choices, barring some sort of 90+ IP, 50+ save season.
   4. SG Posted: August 08, 2012 at 01:34 PM (#4203344)
The difference between Dickey/Cueto and Chapman is about 100 innings of 3.50-4.00 RA pitching. Unless you think that's not worth anything, I don't know you can make a logical case that Chapman deserves the Cy over either.
   5. Depressoteric Posted: August 08, 2012 at 01:34 PM (#4203346)
Cueto looks like a solid choice right now, and I wouldn't discount the "story" factor for Burnett if he gets to 20+.
On the merits it should be Cueto and then arguably Jordan Zimmermann. There's a big gap in quality after those two (and, honestly, an even bigger gap between Cueto and J. Zimmermann). But I think that because people (oddly enough) aren't really talking about how good Cueto and Zimmermann have been this year, there actually might be an opening for someone like Chapman or Kimbrel to unjustly steal the award.

Still, if I had to bet right now I'd say it's most likely to be Cueto when all is said and done.
   6. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: August 08, 2012 at 01:37 PM (#4203351)
hmmm

cueto is 3rd in innings pitched

just doesn't have a lot of flashy numbers. he strikes out 7 guys a game but that's not impressive in this day and age.

i like cueto a lot and certainly way more than almost any relief pitcher as a cy young candidate

but i can understand a voter not being enthralled.

and please don't anyone on this board trot out wins.
   7. Greg Maddux School of Reflexive Profanity Posted: August 08, 2012 at 01:40 PM (#4203361)
The award goes to the most outstanding pitcher, not the pitcher who accumulates the most value. This is why it's perfectly reasonable to give it to a reliever having an extraordinary season when there's no starter doing anything particularly remarkable. The criteria are *not* the same as the MVP.
   8. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: August 08, 2012 at 01:42 PM (#4203365)
Jordan Zimmerman? Really? How is he that much better than Dickey, Cain, Gonzalez, Strasburg, Johnson or Hamels? I think Cueto, right this second, is the guy. He can invite Tony LaRussa to the press conference!
   9. KT's Pot Arb Posted: August 08, 2012 at 01:52 PM (#4203379)
The Cy Young award is for the best, not the most valuable, pitcher, not starter. You can easily make the case that either Chapman or Kimbrell are the "best" pitchers of this year. I'd pick Chapman due to innings, and its pretty easy to think Chapman could have pitched a full season as a starter and still have been one of, if not the, most effective starters in the league. But he wasn't given that choice.

I normally would discount relievers in the best pitcher discussion, but when a starter is asked to relieve, and puts up monumental numbers hitherto unseen in baseball history, he should be in the center of the discussion.

And by WAR, Chapman is 20th in all of baseball among pitchers, in barely 50 innings, and first in K rate. Using 50 innings he's 14th in HR rate, and his walk rate is also better than average. Who has been a better pitcher than Chapman in the innings thheyve been alotted?

And if it has to be a starter, clearly Strasburg has been the most effective starter in baseball.
   10. jacksone (AKA It's OK...) Posted: August 08, 2012 at 01:57 PM (#4203389)
and I wouldn't discount the "story" factor for Burnett if he gets to 20+.


You mean the story about how he clearly has no balls because he can't take the pressure in NY? Seriously, I think Burnett's story would be a negative in the eyes of some voters.
   11. The District Attorney Posted: August 08, 2012 at 02:02 PM (#4203395)
Maybe one of them will even reach 70 innings pitched! If that happens let's make him the MVP too!

Every year we have to do this stupid dance.
To be fair, these guys are not mediocrities stumbling into a bunch of saves; they are putting up dominant, historic numbers (as most of the article is dedicated to establishing.) However, having more "cool factor" in your numbers doesn't equate to having more value. Obviously Cueto, Dickey, etc. aren't going to average four hits allowed and 16 K per game, but, you know.

(Of course, it wouldn't exactly be the first time cool factor beat out value in award voting. But the results of the author's small-sample voter poll, at least, are gratifying.)

EDIT: Started composing this before #7/#9 were posted. I disagree with your criteria and wouldn't vote that way, but it sounds like you're within the rules of the award and are being consistent, so, cool!
   12. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: August 08, 2012 at 02:02 PM (#4203396)
i am pretty sure if you ask the reds who is the most valuable most will say chapman for the simple reason his making the end of games non-events has solidified the entire staff. dusty looks like a maestro as every move he makes seems to turn out because come the end of the game everyone knows its over.

i still give a lot of weight to the innings difference and cueto has been consistently very, very good

but i understand why folks are looking at chapman. he's awesome and he's made the reds pitching staff what it is. that and some very solid defense.

s
   13. PreservedFish Posted: August 08, 2012 at 02:05 PM (#4203399)
Do lots of voters still think that relievers are good candidates for the MVP award but not for the Cy Young?
   14. AROM Posted: August 08, 2012 at 02:06 PM (#4203403)
I'd pick Chapman due to innings, and its pretty easy to think Chapman could have pitched a full season as a starter and still have been one of, if not the, most effective starters in the league. But he wasn't given that choice.


I'm open to consideration of Chapman and/or Kimbrel, but this argument doesn't do it. Chapman has started zero major league games. When he was used as a starter in the minors, he wasn't all that good. It's the move to the bullpen that let him take a step forward. It's just as easy to imagine him not being able to maintain that velocity in a starting role and ending up more like Dan Bard than Chris Sale.
   15. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: August 08, 2012 at 02:10 PM (#4203411)
arom

heads up that the reds believe chapman is the team's best starter based off his work in spring training
   16. TomH Posted: August 08, 2012 at 02:13 PM (#4203415)
Sergio Romo stats
as of 26 July
30 IP 35 KO 0.60 ERA
as of today
35 IP 42 KO 2.06 ERA

bullpen stats change quickly!!
   17. Robert in Manhattan Beach Posted: August 08, 2012 at 02:13 PM (#4203416)
I could get behind a reliever if he threw 90-100 innings and was coming into a lot of tie games and games that are greatly in doubt. But the way closers are used - only in the ninth, only with the lead - they just don't have that much value no matter how dominant. These games are 95% decided before they even break a sweat.
   18. AROM Posted: August 08, 2012 at 02:14 PM (#4203418)
The top strikeout freaks ever, minimum 100 career innings, by SO/9:

1. Kimbrel
2. Jansen
3. Chapman
4. Robertson
5. Frieri

All debuted in the last 5 years, the top 3 all in 2010. Rob Dibble is #6, the tops among retired pitchers. 45 pitchers meet 100 IP and have 10 or more SO/9. 29 of them are active (though 1, Ankiel, hasn't pitched since 2004). All but 2 of them pitched within the last 10 years, the 2 exceptions being Dibble and Bryan Harvey.
   19. The District Attorney Posted: August 08, 2012 at 02:24 PM (#4203430)
What do folks make of the author's implicit argument that Chapman's relatively worse performance in interleague play should be downplayed in terms of the National League Cy Young Award?
Kimbrel's ERA is 1.29. Chapman's is slightly behind that at 1.34, but against National League foes, his ERA is 0.19.

Read that again, please.

Chapman's ERA in 48 1/3 innings against National League opposition is zero point one-nine. Again, that's Little League stuff.

Chapman had a bad stretch in June during interleague play, which counts and matters, but still. If we're talking about the National League's best pitcher, well, here's a closer who has held NL foes to 3.3 hits per nine innings while striking out nearly 20 batters per nine...
I give it points for creativity, but I can't say I buy it. (Not to mention, of course, that the distinction hasn't been consistently applied previously. But lack of precedent isn't necessarily a reason to never do something, and interleague play hasn't been around all that long in any event, so that's a lesser argument.)
   20. Yeaarrgghhhh Posted: August 08, 2012 at 02:25 PM (#4203436)
I wouldn't have a problem giving the award to one of these guys if they keep up this pace for the rest of the season and no starter is truly dominant. What they're doing is amazing. But that's a pretty big "if."
   21. AROM Posted: August 08, 2012 at 02:29 PM (#4203440)
Chapman's ERA in 48 1/3 innings against National League opposition is zero point one-nine. Again, that's Little League stuff.


Their numbers look a lot like the high school stats of pitchers who are drafted in the first round.
   22. JJ1986 Posted: August 08, 2012 at 02:33 PM (#4203447)
I give it points for creativity, but I can't say I buy it.


If there were some reason that the Reds were playing more interleague games than other teams, then maybe. As is, every team in the NL plays interleague games. That's part of being in the NL.
   23. madvillain Posted: August 08, 2012 at 02:33 PM (#4203449)
And if it has to be a starter, clearly Strasburg has been the most effective starter in baseball.


He hasn't even been close. Verlander, Sale, Felix, etc, etc. He hasn't even been close to the "most effective" in his own league. Yea he's good, but he's also not thrown very many innings. Hell, Jose Quintana, he of the minor league signing by the White Sox, is only .1 bWAR away from Strasburg.
   24. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: August 08, 2012 at 02:36 PM (#4203454)
if you took goose gossage circa 1977-1983 i suspect his numbers would look pretty similar if you put him in a 2012 season

   25. SoSH U at work Posted: August 08, 2012 at 02:41 PM (#4203463)

If there were some reason that the Reds were playing more interleague games than other teams, then maybe. As is, every team in the NL plays interleague games. That's part of being in the NL.


I think it's an interesing question. Is the award designed to honor the Cy honor the guy who pitches best for an NL team? In that case, interleague is irrelevant. Or is it to honor the guy who pitches the best in National League games? Since interleague games only have one-half the significance of intraleague games in that regard, a case can be made for discounting numbers in those games.

Obviously, when these awards were created, the distinction was irrelevant. Now, it's at least worth kicking it around.

   26. KT's Pot Arb Posted: August 08, 2012 at 02:43 PM (#4203468)
He hasn't even been close. Verlander, Sale, Felix, etc, etc. He hasn't even been close to the "most effective" in his own league. Yea he's good, but he's also not thrown very many innings. Hell, Jose Quintana, he of the minor league signing by the White Sox, is only .1 bWAR away from Strasburg.


He's clearly the most effective per inning pitched, in the innings he's been allowed to pitch, which was my point.
   27. Rants Mulliniks Posted: August 08, 2012 at 02:44 PM (#4203470)
Its not hard to garner some serious K totals in a sport full of Adam Dunns, Mark Reynoldses and Drew Stubbses.
   28. JJ1986 Posted: August 08, 2012 at 02:50 PM (#4203482)
I think it's an interesing question. Is the award designed to honor the Cy honor the guy who pitches best for an NL team? In that case, interleague is irrelevant. Or is it to honor the guy who pitches the best in National League games? Since interleague games only have one-half the significance of intraleague games in that regard, a case can be made for discounting numbers in those games.


I think writers have clearly gone with the former. If a writer is advocating the latter in this one case, it should be because he believes it always and not just because it makes his candidate (Chapman) look better. You can't change criteria based on whom it most benefits.

In 2008 (I think), when Sabathia was traded to Milwaukee, I did advocate looking at adding his interleague stats (against the NL) to his NL stats for Cy Young candidacy. I think now that was a bad call, though.
   29. SoSH U at work Posted: August 08, 2012 at 02:59 PM (#4203504)
I think writers have clearly gone with the former.


I think it's never really been given much consideration, in part because there was no interleague play for the vast majority of the time the award was being presented.

In 2008 (I think), when Sabathia was traded to Milwaukee, I did advocate looking at adding his interleague stats (against the NL) to his NL stats for Cy Young candidacy. I think now that was a bad call, though.


And I wondered whether all of CC's stats should be considered when evaluating whether he was worthy of the NL's Cy Young.

I'm not saying I'm sold on either idea. Just that interleague is a major change in the way the game is played and how these once-separate leagues operate. We should at least consider what these league-specific awards should be honoring as a result of this change.


   30. PreservedFish Posted: August 08, 2012 at 03:02 PM (#4203510)
In 2008 (I think), when Sabathia was traded to Milwaukee, I did advocate looking at adding his interleague stats (against the NL) to his NL stats for Cy Young candidacy. I think now that was a bad call, though.


Remember when Shannon Stewart was a very silly MVP candidate? I remember Rob Neyer (or someone) pointed out that before he was traded to the Twins, he killed them when facing them as an opponent. How do you handle that?
   31. Monty Predicts a Padres-Mariners WS in 2016 Posted: August 08, 2012 at 03:10 PM (#4203522)
He's clearly the most effective per inning pitched, in the innings he's been allowed to pitch, which was my point.


If that's the criteria used, shouldn't the relievers be back in the argument?
   32. SoSH U at work Posted: August 08, 2012 at 03:16 PM (#4203531)
If that's the criteria used, shouldn't the relievers be back in the argument?


ValueArb's post 9 indicates they should be.

   33. TomH Posted: August 08, 2012 at 03:28 PM (#4203552)
Allow me to start a Cy Young award conversation:

"Kimbrel and Chapman shouldn't get votes". There, RU happy?
   34. The District Attorney Posted: August 08, 2012 at 03:41 PM (#4203573)
I just can't figure out a criteria by which the interleague games should be treated differently.

If the criteria is value to his team, then obviously pitching worse in the interleague games lessens Chapman's value, because those games counted as much for the Reds as other games.

If the criteria is "outstandingness" and the idea is that you can reward someone who had less value to his team but was more "outstanding" when he did pitch, then the fact that Chapman wasn't as outstanding in certain games seems as relevant as the fact that he was more outstanding in other games. I don't know what the principled reason would be for awarding "National League vs. National League outstandingness" as opposed to "outstandingness while playing for a National League team."
   35. Kiko Sakata Posted: August 08, 2012 at 03:54 PM (#4203588)
obviously pitching worse in the interleague games lessens Chapman's value, because those games counted as much for the Reds as other games.


I think the argument for treating inter-league differently is stronger in an MVP context than a Cy Young one. In an MVP contest, one could make an argument that intra-league games are more important because they are against the teams against whom the team is directly competing for a playoff berth. If one views the Cy Young award as more of a pure "best pitcher" competition (and I get the sense that most people see it this way), then the only argument I could see for treating inter-league and intra-league differently might be a quality-of-competition argument, which, if anything, would probably work against Chapman here (he fattened up his statistics by beating up on weaker teams in the weaker league).
   36. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: August 08, 2012 at 04:11 PM (#4203609)
They’re on pace to win 20 games, lose fewer than half of those


Wait, if they're going to get a Cy Young, shouldn't they not lose any of the games they win?
   37. SoSH U at work Posted: August 08, 2012 at 04:17 PM (#4203620)
I just can't figure out a criteria by which the interleague games should be treated differently.


If the criteria is not "who pitched best for an NL team, but who pitched best in NL games." Then, you're not just weighing what the pitcher did positively for his own team, but the damage he did to the other NL team. The performances in games between two NL teams count fully this way - Chapman is helping the Reds as much as he's hurting the NL rival he's pitching against. But an interleague game only has half the NL value as an intraleague game.

But a flip side to the argument is 2008. If all games are equal, then why not go even further. Maybe we should ignore not just who they pitched against, but who for. During the 2008 season, CC Sabathia had the best overall year of anyone who could be defined as an NL pitcher (whether by quality of performance, IP or who he finished with - he did have a GP edge with Cleveland, however). In a sport where teams now compete against foes from the other league, should we automatically exclude those IP thrown for another team?

Keep in mind, I'm not pushing one of these ideas or the other. I'm merely noting that how we approach these league-based awards probably warrants more discussion than it's been given since the sport has abandoned the leagues as separate entities.

If nothing else, I find it more interesting than rehashing whether Ichiro's a Hall of Famer.

   38. PreservedFish Posted: August 08, 2012 at 04:25 PM (#4203635)
The performances in games between two NL teams count fully this way - Chapman is helping the Reds as much as he's hurting the NL rival he's pitching against. But an interleague game only has half the NL value as an intraleague game.


This seems like it could slipperyslopify down into something like "innings thrown in a pennant race should count more."
   39. spike Posted: August 08, 2012 at 04:27 PM (#4203637)
making the end of games non-events

Indeed. Atlanta is 51-1 when leading after 6. That's a really great feeling for a fan.
   40. The District Attorney Posted: August 08, 2012 at 04:30 PM (#4203643)
If the criteria is not "who pitched best for an NL team, but who pitched best in NL games." Then, you're not just weighing what the pitcher did positively for his own team, but the damage he did to the other NL team. The performances in games between two NL teams count fully this way - Chapman is helping the Reds as much as he's hurting the NL rival he's pitching against. But an interleague game only has half the NL value as an intraleague game.
But that's a "value" argument, and I don't think there is a plausible "value" argument, no matter what games you're considering, that a guy who throws 60 super-great IP is more valuable than one who throws 200 great IP.¹

Chapman instead has to use the "outstanding" argument, and I don't see a way to reconcile this line with the "outstanding" argument.

If nothing else, I find it more interesting than rehashing whether Ichiro's a Hall of Famer.
Yeah, I brought it up because I did think it was worth considering...

¹ At least in a single-season context, anyway. If we're talking about e.g. the Hall of Fame, then it might well make sense to magnify the difference between super-great and great, and to consider Mariano Rivera a better candidate than an above-average SP with three times as many IP. But when we're dealing with a single season, presumably we're talking "replacement value" as we generally know it.
   41. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: August 08, 2012 at 04:50 PM (#4203670)
spike

i am likely influenced by brewerdom but after watching 2007 and 2012 fall apart completely due to awful bullpens i am not a advocate for a closer but i am a strong proponent that whatever you do to make for a good bullpen you do it

   42. SoSH U at work Posted: August 08, 2012 at 05:45 PM (#4203710)
But that's a "value" argument, and I don't think there is a plausible "value" argument, no matter what games you're considering, that a guy who throws 60 super-great IP is more valuable than one who throws 200 great IP.¹


I didn't intend to limit it to just Chapman. Just the idea that games played outside the league could be looked at differently, depending how one views the award (and what it's honoring).

   43. Crispix reaches boiling point with lackluster play Posted: August 08, 2012 at 06:00 PM (#4203723)
i am likely influenced by brewerdom but after watching 2007 and 2012 fall apart completely due to awful bullpens


Hey, let's not forget the 2010 bullpen, made awful by giving big innings to a parade of veterans who were uniformly terrible (Trevor Hoffman, LaTroy Hawkins, Jeff Suppan, David Riske, Claudio Vargas). Aside from Carlos Villanueva there was a near-perfect correlation between age and ERA.

Whatever happened to Zach Braddock?

   44. Walt Davis Posted: August 08, 2012 at 06:08 PM (#4203728)
Can't we just create the Hoyt or the Rollie or the Goose Award and be done with this?
   45. Crispix reaches boiling point with lackluster play Posted: August 08, 2012 at 06:11 PM (#4203732)
What if some corporation sponsored an award for the best reliever? Ideally a company that is publicly associated with the concept of "relief", to make it catchy. If they had started doing this 35 years ago or so, it might have attained some prestige by now.
   46. Poster Nutbag Posted: August 08, 2012 at 06:18 PM (#4203741)
Can't we just create the Hoyt or the Rollie or the Goose Award and be done with this?


Don't they still do the Rolaid's Relief Fireman of the Year? Or was that just from when I was younger?

EDIT: ....and then I read the rest of the page....D'OH!
   47. Steve Parris, Je t'aime Posted: August 08, 2012 at 06:57 PM (#4203767)
Didn't read the article, but one thing Chapman has going against him from a voting perspective is a relatively low saves total (for a reliever CYA candidate) because he didn't start the year as a closer. Since '87, the lowest saves total for a CYA reliever has been 40. Gagne was the last to do it, and he had 55. Chapman has 25. Since he and Kimbrel will split the reliever votes, I doubt either gets the award.
   48. JJ1986 Posted: August 08, 2012 at 07:14 PM (#4203774)
The Rolaids award is determined by a formula. Since writers don't get to vote on it, they don't really have any reason to write about it.
   49. Ryan Lind Posted: August 08, 2012 at 09:31 PM (#4203884)
The award goes to the most outstanding pitcher, not the pitcher who accumulates the most value. This is why it's perfectly reasonable to give it to a reliever having an extraordinary season when there's no starter doing anything particularly remarkable. The criteria are *not* the same as the MVP.


I guess.

But I guess it's just hard to really be enthused by a remarkable performance in 48 innings. A lot of pitchers are great in 48 innings.

Craig Kimbrel has a 1.29 ERA in 42 innings. Nice. RA Dickey had a 0.18 ERA in 48.2 Innings, but we're going to punish him for also tacking on an extra 94 Innings with an ERA of 4.47? I'm not sure that makes much sense, form a "most extraordinary" point of view.

I love high K relievers. I love watching Chapman. But maintaining a great performance while seeing batters more than once per game, over 200 innings throughout the season, is far more impressive and extraordinary in my opinion.
   50. Walt Davis Posted: August 09, 2012 at 12:08 AM (#4203987)
What Shock said and a bit more:

Johnny Cueto, 4/5 to 5/9: 48.1 IP, 1.12 ERA
Johnny Cueto, 6/12 to 7/22: 54.2 IP, 1.65 ERA
Jared Weaver, 5/18 to 7/7: 42.2 IP, .84 ERA*
J Zimmermann, 6/27 to 7/28: 44 IP, 1.02 ERA
David Price, 6/24 to 7/25: 42.1 IP, 1.49 ERA
Chris Sale, 5/1 to 6/9: 48.2 IP, 1.48 ERA
King Felix, 7/8 to 8/4: 48 IP, 1.13 ERA

(Verlander has not had a sufficiently dominant consecutive stretch)

and the real stud starters:

Ryan Dempster, 6/5 to 7/20: 39 IP, .92 ERA
Ryan Vogelsong, 5/3 to 6/9: 56 IP, 1.60 ERA

Hmmm ... Dempster, Vogelsong, Zimmerman, Braun, Howard ... verily we live in the Golden Age of Ryans.

(There are plenty more perfectly decent Ryans out there at the moment. I'm guessing that was the most popular name 25-30 years ago.)


*Does include 3 UER which would bring his RA up to about 1.50
   51. Walt Davis Posted: August 09, 2012 at 12:20 AM (#4203993)
The Rolaids award is determined by a formula. Since writers don't get to vote on it, they don't really have any reason to write about it.

Word. The Rolaids was reasonably popular when it first started out (seems to me) but faded. The writers had no reason to write about it and the formula did produce a few odd winners (largely based on saves). Alfonseca won it in 2000 with his league-leading 45 saves ... and 4.24 ERA and just 47 K in 70 IP ... but I'm pretty sure it had faded by then. Anyway, it pretty much just went to the league leader in saves I think so there wasn't much point to it.

In 1976, the Rolaids reward was first given. That year Eastwick led the NL with 26 saves (winning the award and having led the league the year before with 22). Bill Campbell won the AL award with just 20 saves but mainly thanks to his 17 wins ... 168 IP in 78 appearances. After the introduction of the award, you rarely saw league leaders under 30 except in strike years.

Wow, Campbell's 77 was incredible. 140 IP in 69 appearances with 13 wins (9 losses) and a league-leading 31 saves. Now that's leveraging a reliever! 69 appearances and he played a role in the "decision" in 53 of them while averaging 2 IP per.
   52. BurlyBuehrle Posted: August 09, 2012 at 12:28 AM (#4203998)
(There are plenty more perfectly decent Ryans out there at the moment. I'm guessing that was the most popular name 25-30 years ago.)


Nah, Michael. The top male name (in the US, anyway) in each and every individual year from 1977 to 1992...maybe other years, too, but figured that was the sweet spot for MLB performance. http://www.ssa.gov/cgi-bin/popularnames.cgi
   53. Jay Z Posted: August 09, 2012 at 01:17 AM (#4204019)
spike

i am likely influenced by brewerdom but after watching 2007 and 2012 fall apart completely due to awful bullpens i am not a advocate for a closer but i am a strong proponent that whatever you do to make for a good bullpen you do it


2007 had a lot of starters who struggled in the sixth inning too, making Yost look dumber than he was. 2012 was two seasons. Most of April/May they had all of the injuries and a lot of players off to slow starts. Bullpen was not great at that time either, but not noticably worse than anything else. Then others started getting healthy and playing better and the bullpen cratered, losing way too many games to overcome.

The problem with the closer can be seen in the recent Reds Brewers series. Brewers swept the Reds at home, Chapman never takes the field. Two of the games the Brewers have the lead, the other they score 2 in the 8th to overcome a one run deficit. In the olden days Chapman would have been in the game at some point in the eighth inning, if not starting the inning on the mound. Here he isn't. "You can't beat our best!" Maybe not, but I guess we can prevent him from ever playing, given how you use him! (Brewers actually got good relief pitching in the series as well.)
   54. Cooper Nielson Posted: August 09, 2012 at 03:22 AM (#4204041)
Hmmm ... Dempster, Vogelsong, Zimmerman, Braun, Howard ... verily we live in the Golden Age of Ryans.

(There are plenty more perfectly decent Ryans out there at the moment. I'm guessing that was the most popular name 25-30 years ago.)


There's also a wealth of Brandons in MLB right now, especially in the Bay Area (McCarthy, Moss, Hicks, Inge, Belt, Crawford). They're not nearly as good as the Ryans, though.
   55. Cooper Nielson Posted: August 09, 2012 at 05:20 AM (#4204049)
Nah, Michael. The top male name (in the US, anyway) in each and every individual year from 1977 to 1992...maybe other years, too, but figured that was the sweet spot for MLB performance.

Michael is surely #1 in baseball. I did some research on Yahoo Fantasy Sports for players who have played at least one game in 2012 and came up with:

21 Mikes
14 Michaels

Also from the "Michael" family:

7 Miguels
2 Mitches
1 Mitchell
1 Maikel
1 Micah
1 Mickey

I'm not sure where "Melky" and "Yamaico" come from.

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