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Sunday, August 18, 2019

This year’s crop of major free-agent relievers has been a $250 million disaster

If any fans feel annoyed this offseason about their team not spending to strengthen the bullpen, they might want to look at what is happening this year across Major League Baseball.

A long rehab for Philadelphia Phillies reliever David Robertson got much longer on Saturday as the 34-year-old underwent Tommy John surgery. The dreaded surgery will cost Robertson, who went on the injured list back in May, the rest of 2019 and likely the entire 2020 season as well.

Robertson signed a two-year, $23 million contract with Philadelphia in free agency last offseason, and now it looks like he’s going to spend all but a month of his Phillies tenure on the injured list. In that month, he had a 5.40 ERA. The Phillies didn’t exactly get great value there.

What’s so sad about Robertson’s turmoil is that up to 2019, he was as steady a reliever as you could find in baseball. In the decade preceding this season, Robertson posted an ERA above 3.50 just once in 10 seasons. He posted fewer than 60 innings just once in 10 seasons. He posted a K/9 above 10 in all 10 seasons, moving between set-up duties and closing.

Would that I could explain why this fact seems to keep surprising so many people…..

 

QLE Posted: August 18, 2019 at 04:18 AM | 54 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: busts, but good luck convincing anyone in the sport, david robertson, relievers are inherently fungible

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   1. bfan Posted: August 18, 2019 at 09:06 AM (#5872279)
So will we see articles in February about how the baseball FA system is broken when a couple of relievers have not scored their 3 year, $50 million gig

Was FA broken when 2 luminaries like Kimbrell and Kuechel were not given big contracts, coming out of spring?

I get why fans and sports-writers like big free agent signings; it gives them something to write about (writers) or fret and argue about (fans), in the off-season. But bully to GM's who can ignore that stuff, and not "spend stupidly" (as the Phillies owner was so bold to admit).
   2. The Anthony Kennedy of BBTF (Scott) Posted: August 18, 2019 at 09:58 AM (#5872289)
Kuechel should have gotten a much better deal than he did. Above average, reliable starting pitching is worth a lot of ######' money- Keuchel should have gotten something in the range of what Samardzija, Porcello, or Leake got (roughly 5/90m). Instead, he ended up with 1/13m, worse than if he'd taken the QO.

Kimbrell, if he had been willing to accept 3/50m by spring training, should have gotten a deal. He's a slightly different case, because he was looking for such a giant contract at the start of free agency and any Sox fan could tell you that he was not looking great at the end of last season. But still, he's been among the best relievers in all of history across his career, so you can see why he expected to get a deal that at least topped what Wade Davis got from the Rockies.

Guys like Robertson had bad injury luck, but don't forget that Robertson was worth 2.3 wins above AVERAGE over the three seasons prior to signing with the Phillies. Likewise, Jeurys Familia stinks this season but at 3/30m merely needed to be what he'd been over the prior three or four seasons to make the deal a cromulent value.

What frustrates fans about not signing free agents, or refusing to pay the players you have, and all the rest is that they're not TRYING TO WIN. The Indians actively got worse this offseason in the belief that they were good enough to make the playoffs and that they could shave salary at the same time. The Cubs, who are in a very competitive division, made the big splash of signing Brad Brach for 1/3m... who they've already DFA'd.
   3. JRVJ Posted: August 18, 2019 at 10:20 AM (#5872293)
Robertson's contract was presumably insured, so the Phillies will get a large amount of that money back.

Personally, the lack of insurance info on players has always seemed to me to be one of the biggest omissions in evaluating baseball.
   4. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: August 18, 2019 at 10:53 AM (#5872302)
Above average, reliable starting pitching is worth a lot of ######' money- Keuchel should have gotten something in the range of what Samardzija, Porcello, or Leake got (roughly 5/90m).
Why aren’t teams allowed to say (non-collusively) “You know what, maybe committing 5 years and 90 million dollars to Mike Leake-level pitching isn’t the best use of our resources anymore”?
   5. Joyful Calculus Instructor Posted: August 18, 2019 at 11:01 AM (#5872304)
MLB relievers have a higher ERA than MLB starters this year. This is a big departure from the norm.
   6. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: August 18, 2019 at 11:04 AM (#5872306)
Why aren’t teams allowed to say (non-collusively) “You know what, maybe committing 5 years and 90 million dollars to Mike Leake-level pitching isn’t the best use of our resources anymore”?

As long as they spend the money on other players, that's fine. When they collectively decide to spend less of their total revenue on players, it's a problem.

The whole system has been based on an agreed upon inefficiency. Players got underpaid when they were young, and overpaid when they were old. If the teams collectively decide to not do the latter (collusively or not) the bargain has been broken, and the players are going to be upset.
   7. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: August 18, 2019 at 11:08 AM (#5872307)
The whole system has been based on an agreed upon inefficiency. Players got underpaid when they were young, and overpaid when they were old. If the teams collectively decide to not do the latter (collusively or not) the bargain has been broken, and the players are going to be upset.
I get that, of course, but that’s different than fans saying “Free Agent X is entitled to the same type of deal that Free Agent Y got five years ago.” That’s just willfully ignoring context.
   8. Baldrick Posted: August 18, 2019 at 12:03 PM (#5872316)
MLB relievers have a higher ERA than MLB starters this year. This is a big departure from the norm.

Wait, really? That seems like a huge story. Presumably it's a function of the new willingness to lift starters much more quickly, thus allowing their fundamental superiority to shine through, and not get weighed down by getting knocked around the third time through the order as much? But even so...
   9. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: August 18, 2019 at 12:47 PM (#5872324)
I get that, of course, but that’s different than fans saying “Free Agent X is entitled to the same type of deal that Free Agent Y got five years ago.” That’s just willfully ignoring context.

Well, MLB revenue and profits are way up. Every player of a given ability should be getting more than he did 5 years ago.

   10. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: August 18, 2019 at 01:18 PM (#5872329)
Well, MLB revenue and profits are way up. Every player of a given ability should be getting more than he did 5 years ago.
Come on, man, you know enough about economics to know that the second sentence does not follow from the first.
   11. Joyful Calculus Instructor Posted: August 18, 2019 at 01:49 PM (#5872337)
[8] Yeah, really. Starters are at 4.52 as opposed to relievers at 4.54. It is close enough that it could conceivably flip by the end of the season, though. And I think it may actually be a sign of pitchers being used in a more strategically optimal way. If relievers are stronger than starters then it makes sense to cut down on starter innings in exchange for relief innings and then you hit an equilibrium when both types are equally effective.
   12. The Anthony Kennedy of BBTF (Scott) Posted: August 18, 2019 at 02:03 PM (#5872341)
JCI- That makes sense, but wouldn't the limited number of roster spots change the equilibrium? I'd imagine the optimal outcome is probably having starters be slightly worse because they can eat up more innings and thus reduce the need for a 13 man bullpen. Especially since the difference in quality between relievers can be so great as you get to the back of the 'pen.
   13. BrianBrianson Posted: August 18, 2019 at 02:59 PM (#5872359)
As long as they spend the money on other players, that's fine. When they collectively decide to spend less of their total revenue on players, it's a problem.


Players salary are the lowest fraction of revenue we've seen since 2012!

I don't mean 2012 factorial, obviously.
   14. Don August(us) Cesar Geronimo Berroa Posted: August 18, 2019 at 03:46 PM (#5872369)
Does the starters era include the 1ip openers?
   15. Davo Posted: August 18, 2019 at 03:47 PM (#5872370)
MLB relievers have a higher ERA than MLB starters this year. This is a big departure from the norm.

Wow, really? That’s incredible.

I don’t have the exact year off the top of my head, but I looked at the MLB-wide stats on this and the trend was about as sharp as sharp could be:

1. Every year from 1901 to 1962: Cumulatively, all starters have a lower ERA than all relievers.
2. Every year from 1963 to the present: Cumulatively, all relievers have a lower ERA than all starters.

Like, it was a perfect demarcation point: one year (I do think it was 1962) relievers finally had a lower ERA than starters, and then that would remain the case for literally every single season.

UNTIL NOW!!!
   16. My name is RMc and I feel extremely affected Posted: August 18, 2019 at 03:55 PM (#5872371)
I don't mean 2012 factorial, obviously.

Internet sez 2012! equals ~ 1.412253972 E+5775: a 5,775-digit number. (Or roughly 1.4 duovigintillion nongentillion millinillion.)
   17. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: August 18, 2019 at 04:06 PM (#5872374)
Come on, man, you know enough about economics to know that the second sentence does not follow from the first.

In an industry where the employees are the vast majority of the value created, it kinda does. MLB players are the product. Their share of revenue should not be going down.

You see the same thing in investment banking. Employees are the product, and they pretty much get a consistent share of revenue.
   18. Greg Pope Posted: August 18, 2019 at 04:08 PM (#5872376)
1.412253972 E+5775: a 5,775-digit number.

I think that would be a 5,776-digit number.
   19. bobm Posted: August 18, 2019 at 05:44 PM (#5872394)
For single team seasons, From 1950 to 2019, All Teams in Major Leagues, as Reliever (within Pitching Role), sorted by greatest difference between for this split and the overall total

                                             
Rk         Split Year     G  ERA ERAtot  Diff
1    as Reliever 1950  2769 4.55   4.36  0.19
2    as Reliever 1954  3117 4.06    3.9  0.16
3    as Reliever 1953  3113 4.28   4.15  0.13
4    as Reliever 1969  6225 3.65   3.61  0.04
5    as Reliever 1968  4790    3   2.98  0.02
6    as Reliever 1959  3449 3.91    3.9  0.01
7    as Reliever 2019 12089 4.54   4.53  0.01
8    as Reliever 1963  4808 3.44   3.46 -0.02
9    as Reliever 1957  3543  3.8   3.83 -0.03
10   as Reliever 1951  2854 4.02   4.06 -0.04
11   as Reliever 1955  3476 3.96      4 -0.04
12   as Reliever 1973  5323 3.71   3.75 -0.04
13   as Reliever 1972  5409 3.23   3.27 -0.04
14   as Reliever 2018 16339 4.08   4.15 -0.07
15   as Reliever 1952  2782 3.63    3.7 -0.07
16   as Reliever 1994  7445 4.43   4.51 -0.08
17   as Reliever 1978  5891 3.61   3.69 -0.08
18   as Reliever 1971  5786 3.39   3.47 -0.08
19   as Reliever 1976  5486 3.42   3.51 -0.09
20   as Reliever 1970  6466 3.79   3.89  -0.1
21   as Reliever 1966  5275 3.42   3.52  -0.1
22   as Reliever 1967  5189 3.21   3.31  -0.1
23   as Reliever 1958  3555 3.75   3.86 -0.11
24   as Reliever 1974  5442 3.52   3.63 -0.11
25   as Reliever 1997 11327 4.26   4.39 -0.13
26   as Reliever 1956  3453 3.84   3.97 -0.13
27   as Reliever 1985  7298 3.75   3.89 -0.14
28   as Reliever 2010 13924 3.93   4.08 -0.15
29   as Reliever 1979  6379 3.85      4 -0.15
30   as Reliever 1995  9881  4.3   4.45 -0.15
31   as Reliever 2005 13170 4.14   4.29 -0.15
32   as Reliever 1993 10302 4.04   4.19 -0.15
33   as Reliever 1961  4127 3.88   4.03 -0.15
34   as Reliever 1960  3592 3.65   3.81 -0.16
35   as Reliever 2014 14461 3.58   3.74 -0.16
36   as Reliever 1962  5039 3.78   3.96 -0.18
37   as Reliever 1964  5129  3.4   3.58 -0.18
38   as Reliever 2000 12362 4.58   4.77 -0.19
39   as Reliever 1988  7331 3.54   3.73 -0.19
40   as Reliever 1965  5353 3.31    3.5 -0.19
41   as Reliever 1986  7554 3.77   3.97  -0.2
42   as Reliever 2017 15657 4.15   4.36 -0.21
43   as Reliever 1981  4652 3.37   3.58 -0.21
44   as Reliever 1991  8963 3.69   3.91 -0.22
45   as Reliever 2008 14156  4.1   4.32 -0.22
46   as Reliever 1999 12420 4.48   4.71 -0.23
47   as Reliever 1992  9041 3.52   3.75 -0.23
48   as Reliever 1987  7949 4.06   4.29 -0.23
49   as Reliever 1998 11962 4.19   4.43 -0.24
50   as Reliever 1990  8485 3.62   3.86 -0.24
51   as Reliever 1975  5404 3.47   3.71 -0.24
52   as Reliever 1996 11060 4.37   4.61 -0.24
53   as Reliever 2003 12958 4.16    4.4 -0.24
54   as Reliever 2009 14238 4.08   4.32 -0.24
55   as Reliever 2002 12759 4.03   4.28 -0.25
56   as Reliever 2015 15108 3.71   3.96 -0.25
57   as Reliever 2011 13894 3.69   3.94 -0.25
58   as Reliever 2016 15306 3.93   4.19 -0.26
59   as Reliever 1977  6415 3.73      4 -0.27
60   as Reliever 2007 14432 4.19   4.47 -0.28
61   as Reliever 1983  6760 3.59   3.87 -0.28
62   as Reliever 2013 14335 3.59   3.87 -0.28
63   as Reliever 2004 13417 4.17   4.46 -0.29
64   as Reliever 2001 12767 4.12   4.42  -0.3
65   as Reliever 1980  6586 3.54   3.84  -0.3
66   as Reliever 1989  7899 3.41   3.71  -0.3
67   as Reliever 2006 13836 4.22   4.53 -0.31
68   as Reliever 2012 14523 3.67   4.01 -0.34
69   as Reliever 1984  6967 3.47   3.81 -0.34
70   as Reliever 1982  6826 3.43   3.86 -0.43


Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 8/18/2019.
   20. bobm Posted: August 18, 2019 at 05:48 PM (#5872395)
For single team seasons, From 1960 to 2019, All Teams in Major Leagues, as Reliever (within Pitching Role), sorted by greatest difference in OPS between for this split and the overall total

                                       
Rk         Split Year  OPS OPStot  Diff
1    as Reliever 1969 .700   .689  .011
2    as Reliever 1972 .672   .664  .008
3    as Reliever 1968 .645   .638  .007
4    as Reliever 1966 .691   .686  .005
5    as Reliever 1978 .706   .702  .004
6    as Reliever 1967 .667   .663  .004
7    as Reliever 1970 .714   .711  .003
8    as Reliever 1973 .707   .704  .003
9    as Reliever 1963 .683   .681  .002
10   as Reliever 1961 .728   .727  .001
11   as Reliever 1974 .694   .693  .001
12   as Reliever 1971 .683   .682  .001
13   as Reliever 1965 .681   .682 -.001
14   as Reliever 1979 .725   .727 -.002
15   as Reliever 1975 .699   .701 -.002
16   as Reliever 1964 .688   .690 -.002
17   as Reliever 1976 .679   .681 -.002
18   as Reliever 1988 .693   .696 -.003
19   as Reliever 1994 .759   .763 -.004
20   as Reliever 2019 .757   .761 -.004
21   as Reliever 1960 .708   .712 -.004
22   as Reliever 1981 .685   .689 -.004
23   as Reliever 1986 .716   .721 -.005
24   as Reliever 1997 .750   .756 -.006
25   as Reliever 2018 .722   .728 -.006
26   as Reliever 1962 .713   .719 -.006
27   as Reliever 1995 .747   .755 -.008
28   as Reliever 1993 .727   .736 -.009
29   as Reliever 1985 .705   .714 -.009
30   as Reliever 1990 .700   .710 -.010
31   as Reliever 1991 .697   .708 -.011
32   as Reliever 1992 .689   .700 -.011
33   as Reliever 1977 .718   .730 -.012
34   as Reliever 2005 .736   .749 -.013
35   as Reliever 2010 .715   .728 -.013
36   as Reliever 1980 .701   .714 -.013
37   as Reliever 1987 .733   .747 -.014
38   as Reliever 1999 .763   .778 -.015
39   as Reliever 1996 .752   .767 -.015
40   as Reliever 1983 .699   .714 -.015
41   as Reliever 2000 .766   .782 -.016
42   as Reliever 1984 .692   .708 -.016
43   as Reliever 2008 .731   .749 -.018
44   as Reliever 2014 .682   .700 -.018
45   as Reliever 2003 .736   .755 -.019
46   as Reliever 2015 .702   .721 -.019
47   as Reliever 1989 .676   .695 -.019
48   as Reliever 2004 .743   .763 -.020
49   as Reliever 2002 .728   .748 -.020
50   as Reliever 1998 .734   .755 -.021
51   as Reliever 2006 .746   .768 -.022
52   as Reliever 2009 .729   .751 -.022
53   as Reliever 2016 .716   .739 -.023
54   as Reliever 2011 .696   .720 -.024
55   as Reliever 2013 .690   .714 -.024
56   as Reliever 2001 .734   .759 -.025
57   as Reliever 2017 .724   .750 -.026
58   as Reliever 1982 .687   .713 -.026
59   as Reliever 2007 .730   .758 -.028
60   as Reliever 2012 .696   .724 -.028


Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 8/18/2019.
   21. Infinite Yost (Voxter) Posted: August 18, 2019 at 05:57 PM (#5872397)
As happens so often with this kind of thing, what's old is new again. Today's game is built around the discovery that there is a nearly inexhaustible plethora of AAAA arms who can dial it up into the mid-to-high 90s if transitioned to the bullpen and told to cut loose; this has left many hitters helpless to do much but try to put wood on the ball and let it go over the fence when they accidentally make good contact.

That's (somewhat) different than the game was 20 years ago -- but what's not is that relievers are, as a group, a maddeningly inconsistent lot, for a host of reasons that new usage patterns can't solve: top-effort throwing breaks arms, small sample sizes lead to fluky outcomes, guys with no secondary stuff often falter when they lose even a little off their fastball, etc. The difference between Mariano Rivera (and to a lesser extent guys like Billy Wagner and Trevor Hoffman) and other relievers was not a matter of quality, but consistency: Rivera's best seasons weren't better than, say, Eric Gagne's; but they came, year-in-and-year-out, while guys like Gagne burnt out or lost the handle or whatever. That much is still true about relievers.

Which means that paying any but the very best relievers in the game very much money is still a fool's errand, and knowing who the best relievers are takes more time than you might expect. I realize that we have Statcast and all that now, which is of course useful, but a lot of the time there's no substitute for running a guy out there day after day and seeing if he can get outs. That can take a long time with a bullpen arm -- years, really, given how little they throw even today in comparison to starters.

If big bucks have been flying around because of eye-popping numbers, then that's a thinking error, as much as anything. Relievers as a whole may create more of the value in today's game than they ever have before, but any individual reliever probably doesn't.
   22. Joyful Calculus Instructor Posted: August 18, 2019 at 06:05 PM (#5872400)
[12] Perhaps, but with 8 man bullpens now there isn’t really a shortage of relievers. Perhaps a 5th bench guy would be more valuable than an 8th reliever, though neither player does a whole lot. Come to think of it, I think there are a couple other things affecting the higher relief pitching ERA. First as Don alluded to, openers are now a thing that some teams use which tend to place the crappier starting pitchers (those who the manger doubts can consistently go 5 innings) into the relief category. The other is that managers are more likely to allow position players to pitch and so that means a higher share of relief innings are by guys who aren’t professional pitchers.
   23. bobm Posted: August 18, 2019 at 06:16 PM (#5872402)
small sample sizes lead to fluky outcomes [...]

The difference between Mariano Rivera (and to a lesser extent guys like Billy Wagner and Trevor Hoffman) and other relievers was not a matter of quality, but consistency: Rivera's best seasons weren't better than, say, Eric Gagne's; but they came, year-in-and-year-out, while guys like Gagne burnt out or lost the handle or whatever. That much is still true about relievers.


I find this point to be the most important.
   24. Walt Davis Posted: August 19, 2019 at 12:47 AM (#5872458)
Parts of Bob's table sorted by year (ERA diff, OPS diff) with total relief IP. The ERA table sure looks like a trend, not so much the OPS table. :

2012 -0.34 -0.28 14,738
2013 -0.28 -0.24 14,977
2014 -0.29 -0.18 14,621
2015 -0.25 -0.19 15,184
2016 -0.26 -0.23 15,894
2017 -0.21 -0.26 16,470
2018 -0.07 -0.06 17,422
2019 +0.01 -0.04 17,827 (pro-rated)

The 8th reliever came in sometime around 2016 and became de rigeur around 2017. the 2018-19 numbers are skewed slightly by openers but outside of TB I'm not sure anybody is doing that all that often. We've gone from just over 3 relief IP per game to about 3.67 ... or about 490-500 per team to about 590. That's both an increase in the number of relief slots from 7 to 8 but also a slight increase in IP per slot from 70 to pushing 75 (some of that could be the opener effect).

Teams had been around that 490 average for quite a while. When they first started with the 8th reliever, the innings came mostly from the 4th-5th starter but now they are pulling them from top starters as well (i.e. even fewer guys topping 200 IP a year). Strictly from a run prevention standpoint, the first shift was undoubtedly a good idea -- even a mediocre but fresh reliever is probably a better bet than the 4/5 starter facing the middle of the lineup the 3rd time through. It's a lot less clear whether that's better than letting the 1-3 starters face them a third time. Possibly we've reached that equilibrium where it's a wash.

What we might expect to see is better ERAs in the 4th and 5th innings. Here we go ... 5th, 6th and overall (to at least partially adjust for overall context) and 6th/overall

2012 4.19 4.20 4.01 105 (note this is the opposite direction of ERA+)
2013 4.08 4.08 3.87 105
2014 4.00 3.91 3.74 105
2015 4.16 4.21 3.96 106
2016 4.42 4.43 4.19 106
2017 4.53 4.45 4.36 102
2018 4.30 4.29 4.15 103
2019 4.58 4.76 4.53 105

Not enough data to say with any reliability but it looks like the first shift helped but the further push (taking batters away from 1-3 starters) maybe not. (Near as I can tell, you can't get a split for a team's 3rd time facing a batter regardless of SP/RP but these should be close enough). Again just a 1-year thing but 5th and 6th inning ERAs had been close until this year. Even so such a shift from 1-3 starters might be justified if it helps those SPs stay healthy, maybe last longer (in terms of seasons) or improve their performance in innings 1-5 if they need to hold back even less, etc. Given the big push in relief innings was 2018, probably it will settle in between 2018 and 2019.

Estimating that vs. the marginal value of an extra bench player would be a neat trick. But dropping from say a 105 to 103 over 162 6th innings is only about 1.5-2 runs a year.
   25. Rally Posted: August 19, 2019 at 08:47 AM (#5872478)
MLB relievers have a higher ERA than MLB starters this year. This is a big departure from the norm.


Things don't always work out exactly as a theory would predict, but in this case it fits perfectly. Despite the reliever ERA advantage, they were not better pitchers than starters, quite the contrary. Starters were (and are) better pitchers and relievers were putting up better rate stats because they were used less.

In 2015, starters averaged 5.8 innings per game, relievers 3.1. This year, starters are down to 5.2 and relievers are up to 3.7. For the starters the innings lost are mostly 3rd time through the order batters. Splits for that have been ugly, so losing those innings should result in relative improvement. For relievers to pick up the slack, you have to do one of two things:

1. Ask your best relievers to pitch more innings
2. Give those innings to guys further down the depth chart

Option 2 is easily predictable as something that will lead to more runs allowed. Option one should as well, since a big advantage these pitchers have is not pacing themselves, throwing max effort for one inning. Asking a second inning from that pitcher should not give you results just as good as the first.

I guess there's an option 3, keep limiting your top relievers to 1 inning, but asking them to pitch more games, limiting their rest days. This option would also presumably lead to more runs allowed.
   26. Never Give an Inge (Dave) Posted: August 19, 2019 at 09:39 AM (#5872496)

The 8th reliever came in sometime around 2016 and became de rigeur around 2017. the 2018-19 numbers are skewed slightly by openers but outside of TB I'm not sure anybody is doing that all that often. We've gone from just over 3 relief IP per game to about 3.67 ... or about 490-500 per team to about 590. That's both an increase in the number of relief slots from 7 to 8 but also a slight increase in IP per slot from 70 to pushing 75 (some of that could be the opener effect).

Importantly, it's not just one additional reliever per team -- because of the way teams are increasingly making use of the DL / shuffling pitchers back and forth to the minors, it's actually more than that.

For example, in 2014, teams used 692 pitchers, or 23.1 per team. In 2018, they used 799 pitchers, or 26.6 per team -- basically more than three additional pitchers being used per team, more than 300 additional pitchers being used overall. (Some of that is starting pitchers, too.)

In 1998, they only used 557 pitchers, or 18.6 per team -- 8 fewer than 2018. It seems to go up every year though I haven't checked every season. This year we're already at 775 so I'm sure we will break the record again.
   27. . Posted: August 19, 2019 at 09:53 AM (#5872502)
In 1980, the five LA Dodger starters, top setup man, and closer -- what I'd define as the "brand name" pitchers (*) -- pitched 1215 of the team's 1472 innings -- or 83%.

The thing that sucks even more about the new era is that it's all based on junk science -- which we see now in the fact that relievers have a worse ERA than starters for the first time in 56 years. Only the hopelessly pea-brained could have thought there were enough surplus arms floating around out there for every team to have a competent 8-man relief corps.

(*) I.e., any attentive fan of the sport could turn on their TV, see one of them pitching and say, "I know that guy." If anything, the Dodger numbers understate it because Rick Sutcliffe pitched another 110 innings and he was the rookie of the year the year before.
   28. Never Give an Inge (Dave) Posted: August 19, 2019 at 10:10 AM (#5872505)
In 2018, they used 799 pitchers, or 26.6 per team -- basically more than three additional pitchers being used per team, more than 300 additional pitchers being used overall.

Sorry, that should say "more than 100 additional pitchers being used overall", not "more than 300". Too late to edit.
   29. bobm Posted: August 19, 2019 at 10:14 AM (#5872509)
Near as I can tell, you can't get a split for a team's 3rd time facing a batter regardless of SP/RP but these should be close enough

At least it may have improved the relative performance of SPs on that 3rd time through the order.

                                      
Rk               Split Year tOPS+  ERA
1    3rd PA in G as SP 2018   115 4.54
2    3rd PA in G as SP 2014   114 4.18
3    3rd PA in G as SP 2007   114 5.08
4    3rd PA in G as SP 2016   114 4.80
5    3rd PA in G as SP 2001   114 5.04
6    3rd PA in G as SP 2011   113 4.38
7    3rd PA in G as SP 1998   113 5.06
8    3rd PA in G as SP 2004   113 5.07
9    3rd PA in G as SP 2017   113 4.70
10   3rd PA in G as SP 2009   113 4.88
11   3rd PA in G as SP 2008   112 4.70
12   3rd PA in G as SP 2012   112 4.50
13   3rd PA in G as SP 1999   111 5.35
14   3rd PA in G as SP 2013   111 4.26
15   3rd PA in G as SP 2015   111 4.41
16   3rd PA in G as SP 1982   110 4.29
17   3rd PA in G as SP 1992   110 4.15
18   3rd PA in G as SP 1967   110 3.79
19   3rd PA in G as SP 2003   110 4.74
20   3rd PA in G as SP 2006   110 5.01
21   3rd PA in G as SP 2010   110 4.50
22   3rd PA in G as SP 2019   110 4.86
23   3rd PA in G as SP 2002   109 4.58
24   3rd PA in G as SP 2000   109 5.11
25   3rd PA in G as SP 1983   109 4.29
26   3rd PA in G as SP 1996   109 4.98
27   3rd PA in G as SP 1987   109 4.70
28   3rd PA in G as SP 2005   108 4.62
29   3rd PA in G as SP 1960   108 4.24
30   3rd PA in G as SP 1997   108 4.78
31   3rd PA in G as SP 1984   108 4.25
32   3rd PA in G as SP 1970   108 4.16
33   3rd PA in G as SP 1975   107 4.08
34   3rd PA in G as SP 1966   107 3.86
35   3rd PA in G as SP 1971   107 3.80
36   3rd PA in G as SP 1991   107 4.09
37   3rd PA in G as SP 1988   107 4.01
38   3rd PA in G as SP 1993   107 4.48
39   3rd PA in G as SP 1995   106 4.66
40   3rd PA in G as SP 1968   106 3.16
41   3rd PA in G as SP 1977   106 4.31
42   3rd PA in G as SP 1965   106 3.77
43   3rd PA in G as SP 1980   106 4.21
44   3rd PA in G as SP 1963   106 3.68
45   3rd PA in G as SP 1994   106 4.83
46   3rd PA in G as SP 1985   106 4.21
47   3rd PA in G as SP 1990   106 4.11
48   3rd PA in G as SP 1962   106 4.16
49   3rd PA in G as SP 1961   105 4.19
50   3rd PA in G as SP 1972   105 3.45
51   3rd PA in G as SP 1986   105 4.21
52   3rd PA in G as SP 1976   105 3.73
53   3rd PA in G as SP 1973   104 3.88
54   3rd PA in G as SP 1964   104 3.83
55   3rd PA in G as SP 1989   104 3.83
56   3rd PA in G as SP 1969   104 3.77
57   3rd PA in G as SP 1978   103 3.85
58   3rd PA in G as SP 1981   103 3.66
59   3rd PA in G as SP 1979   102 4.12
60   3rd PA in G as SP 1974   100 3.66


Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 8/19/2019.
   30. . Posted: August 19, 2019 at 10:22 AM (#5872512)
The third time through the order numbers are skewed and biased by the different patterns in starting pitcher training and expectations.
   31. Crispix Attacksel Rios Posted: August 19, 2019 at 10:40 AM (#5872520)
We all thought it was a nice story that David Robertson negotiated his contract without an agent. Especially impressive on his part that it was a 2-year contract for 2 years of him being injured. Oh well.
   32. bfan Posted: August 19, 2019 at 04:07 PM (#5872667)
as a partial cause for the need of an 8th reliever, and then a 9th, when did the outer limit of pitches by starters go from 120 in a game to 100? Even Trevor freakin Bauer got pulled after 5 great innings last week, when he hit 98 pitches.
   33. bobm Posted: August 19, 2019 at 09:28 PM (#5872743)
[32]

From 1998 to 2019, as Starter, (requiring Pitches>=120)

                   
Rk   Year #Matching
                   
1    1998       498
                   
2    1999       467
                   
3    2000       466
                   
4    2001       236
                   
5    2002       230
                   
6    2003       226
                   
7    2004       185
                   
8    2005       135
                   
9    2006       120
                   
10   2007        81

11   2008        73
                   
12   2009        92
                   
13   2010       131
                   
14   2011       129
                   
15   2012        74
                   
16   2013        69
                   
17   2014        58
                   
18   2015        40
                   
19   2016        22

20   2017        18

21   2018        12
                   
22   2019        12


Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 8/19/2019.
   34. Blastin Posted: August 20, 2019 at 09:24 AM (#5872812)
I find this point to be the most important.


I just look at Tommy Kahnle 2017, then 2018, then 2019.

The article is amused the Yankees are the only team that hasn't failed at this, it seems. I think most people wanted Robertson over Ottavino, but it has worked out okay.

I think the eventual trend may end up back to the early days of bulk relievers, 3 IP air it all out guys, however they'll be in innings 4-6 instead of 7-9.
   35. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: August 20, 2019 at 10:01 AM (#5872830)
I think the eventual trend may end up back to the early days of bulk relievers, 3 IP air it all out guys, however they'll be in innings 4-6 instead of 7-9.

95% of these guys aren't good enough to pitch 3 innings and still be more effective than the starters. That's the reality behind a lot of this; relievers are just not very good pitchers. They only succeed because they are pampered beyond belief.
   36. manchestermets Posted: August 20, 2019 at 10:27 AM (#5872834)
when did the outer limit of pitches by starters go from 120 in a game to 100?


I started watching baseball in 1999, and 100 pitches has always been not a hard limit, but when you'd certainly be expecting the pitcher not to be in the game past the end of the inning.
   37. Pat Rapper's Delight (as quoted on MLB Network) Posted: August 20, 2019 at 11:00 AM (#5872852)
when did the outer limit of pitches by starters go from 120 in a game to 100?

I reckon it was around the time "3rd time through the order penalty" became orthodoxy.
   38. Blastin Posted: August 20, 2019 at 11:48 AM (#5872871)
95% of these guys aren't good enough to pitch 3 innings and still be more effective than the starters.


I'm saying more that they'll try prospects as starters and pull the plug to try them more like this earlier. Mostly it's SP fail SP fail, one inning at last resort. So this might be a middle step.

I don't think I'd ever act like you about relievers though. To me, they're sprinters vs marathon runners. I'm a marathon runner but I don't feel that sprinters are "worse." It's a different skill. It's true that short reliever are bad at the endurance aspects of pitching. But it's not good/bad. At least to me.

Wilson Kipsang or Geoffrey Mutai can't match Bolt over 100m, and vice versa.

I suppose a talented generalist (which is what SPs are) is certainly more valuable than a talented specialist. But the latter just has a narrower set of skills. They are still among the very best pitchers on earth.

   39. bobm Posted: August 20, 2019 at 12:08 PM (#5872883)
I reckon it was around the time "3rd time through the order penalty" became orthodoxy.

For single team seasons, From 1998 to 2019, All Teams in Major Leagues, 3rd PA in G, as SP (within Times Facing Opponent in Game), sorted by season

                                                                                                   
Rk               Split Year    BF  ERA   GS   HR   BB   SO SO9 SO/W   BA  OBP  SLG  OPS BAbip tOPS+
1    3rd PA in G as SP 1998 34109 5.06 4533 1062 2814 5050 6.0 1.79 .285 .348 .459 .807  .310   113
2    3rd PA in G as SP 1999 33176 5.35 4461 1068 2936 4626 5.7 1.58 .290 .357 .468 .825  .312   111
3    3rd PA in G as SP 2000 33375 5.11 4475 1146 3000 4754 5.8 1.58 .283 .351 .469 .820  .302   109
4    3rd PA in G as SP 2001 32832 5.04 4486 1125 2647 4839 5.9 1.83 .284 .347 .469 .815  .305   114
5    3rd PA in G as SP 2002 32561 4.58 4487  991 2666 4672 5.7 1.75 .275 .339 .444 .783  .296   109
6    3rd PA in G as SP 2003 32724 4.74 4508  977 2706 4471 5.4 1.65 .280 .344 .449 .793  .300   110
7    3rd PA in G as SP 2004 32836 5.07 4495 1130 2741 4624 5.7 1.69 .281 .347 .467 .813  .299   113
8    3rd PA in G as SP 2005 33651 4.62 4549  981 2583 4747 5.6 1.84 .277 .338 .442 .780  .299   108
9    3rd PA in G as SP 2006 32567 5.01 4497 1017 2625 4542 5.6 1.73 .285 .348 .461 .810  .306   110
10   3rd PA in G as SP 2007 32379 5.08 4521 1030 2577 4681 5.8 1.82 .288 .349 .466 .815  .311   114
11   3rd PA in G as SP 2008 32057 4.70 4526  956 2641 4752 5.9 1.80 .281 .345 .452 .797  .306   112
12   3rd PA in G as SP 2009 32077 4.88 4529 1015 2694 4998 6.2 1.86 .281 .345 .458 .802  .307   113
13   3rd PA in G as SP 2010 33470 4.50 4601  960 2654 5279 6.2 1.99 .271 .333 .434 .767  .298   110
14   3rd PA in G as SP 2011 33768 4.38 4606  943 2594 5363 6.3 2.07 .273 .333 .435 .767  .302   113
15   3rd PA in G as SP 2012 31999 4.50 4541 1021 2390 5436 6.7 2.27 .270 .329 .441 .770  .300   112
16   3rd PA in G as SP 2013 32155 4.26 4560  884 2459 5415 6.6 2.20 .269 .329 .427 .756  .302   111
17   3rd PA in G as SP 2014 32487 4.18 4609  869 2403 5762 6.9 2.40 .269 .328 .422 .750  .306   114

18   3rd PA in G as SP 2015 30704 4.41 4492  938 2284 5393 6.8 2.36 .269 .328 .437 .766  .301   111
19   3rd PA in G as SP 2016 29124 4.80 4451 1087 2288 5389 7.3 2.36 .271 .333 .460 .793  .302   114
20   3rd PA in G as SP 2017 27565 4.70 4386 1021 2277 5065 7.3 2.22 .272 .338 .463 .801  .303   113
21   3rd PA in G as SP 2018 24939 4.54 4203  911 2026 4662 7.3 2.30 .265 .330 .453 .784  .296   115

22   3rd PA in G as SP 2019 18817 4.86 3212  785 1418 3764 7.9 2.65 .268 .329 .473 .802  .300   110


Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 8/20/2019.


   40. Baldrick Posted: August 20, 2019 at 12:09 PM (#5872884)
I don't think I'd ever act like you about relievers though. To me, they're sprinters vs marathon runners. I'm a marathon runner but I don't feel that sprinters are "worse." It's a different skill. It's true that short reliever are bad at the endurance aspects of pitching. But it's not good/bad. At least to me.

There's no special skill that allows 'relievers' to do better in shorter outings. Or, if there is, it's possessed by the overwhelming majority of 'starters' too. With very few exceptions, relievers are just guys who weren't capable of pitching well in longer periods.
   41. bobm Posted: August 20, 2019 at 12:26 PM (#5872888)
[39] interesting sort order of teams (likely partly affected by TB's use of openers)

For cumulative team seasons, From 2015 to 2018, 3rd PA in G, as SP (within Times Facing Opponent in Game), sorted by greatest BF for this split

                                         
Rk   Team             Split   BF  ERA  GS
1     CHW 3rd PA in G as SP 4295 4.65 599
2     WSN 3rd PA in G as SP 4152 3.80 597
3     CLE 3rd PA in G as SP 4073 3.65 584
4     BOS 3rd PA in G as SP 4022 3.96 592
5     SFG 3rd PA in G as SP 4015 4.25 612
6     HOU 3rd PA in G as SP 3970 4.34 610
7     STL 3rd PA in G as SP 3968 4.22 604
8     TOR 3rd PA in G as SP 3949 4.71 587
9     NYM 3rd PA in G as SP 3905 4.34 585
10    TEX 3rd PA in G as SP 3901 5.08 600
11    COL 3rd PA in G as SP 3899 5.31 596
12    ARI 3rd PA in G as SP 3881 5.25 608
13    ATL 3rd PA in G as SP 3850 4.74 609
14    DET 3rd PA in G as SP 3771 4.88 575
15    KCR 3rd PA in G as SP 3760 4.92 573
16    PIT 3rd PA in G as SP 3754 4.58 599
17    SDP 3rd PA in G as SP 3719 5.03 593
18    SEA 3rd PA in G as SP 3680 4.35 579
19    BAL 3rd PA in G as SP 3670 5.29 573
20    PHI 3rd PA in G as SP 3668 5.24 592
21    CHC 3rd PA in G as SP 3655 3.96 587
22    NYY 3rd PA in G as SP 3649 4.79 588
23    MIN 3rd PA in G as SP 3624 4.90 555
24    OAK 3rd PA in G as SP 3531 4.81 562
25    LAA 3rd PA in G as SP 3443 4.48 561
26    MIL 3rd PA in G as SP 3417 4.95 591
27    CIN 3rd PA in G as SP 3373 5.40 562
28    MIA 3rd PA in G as SP 3305 5.00 573
29    LAD 3rd PA in G as SP 3254 3.84 567
30    TBR 3rd PA in G as SP 3179 4.21 519


Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 8/20/2019.
   42. Jeremy Renner App is Dead and I killed it Posted: August 20, 2019 at 12:30 PM (#5872889)
39--really see the inflection point the last few years. thanks for sharing
   43. bobm Posted: August 20, 2019 at 12:31 PM (#5872890)
For cumulative team seasons, From 2015 to 2018, 2nd PA in G, as SP (within Times Facing Opponent in Game), sorted by greatest BF for this split

                                    
Rk   Team             Split   BF  GS
1     SFG 2nd PA in G as SP 5728 645
2     ATL 2nd PA in G as SP 5706 643
3     STL 2nd PA in G as SP 5701 644
4     HOU 2nd PA in G as SP 5695 642
5     PIT 2nd PA in G as SP 5691 645
6     CHW 2nd PA in G as SP 5678 643
7     MIL 2nd PA in G as SP 5674 644
8     TEX 2nd PA in G as SP 5668 641
9     WSN 2nd PA in G as SP 5663 642
10    PHI 2nd PA in G as SP 5662 642
11    CHC 2nd PA in G as SP 5659 644
12    ARI 2nd PA in G as SP 5658 638
13    COL 2nd PA in G as SP 5658 641
14    NYY 2nd PA in G as SP 5656 639
15    NYM 2nd PA in G as SP 5638 639
16    BOS 2nd PA in G as SP 5632 642
17    KCR 2nd PA in G as SP 5632 643
18    SEA 2nd PA in G as SP 5629 640
19    CIN 2nd PA in G as SP 5621 641
20    TOR 2nd PA in G as SP 5614 637
21    MIA 2nd PA in G as SP 5614 640
22    SDP 2nd PA in G as SP 5605 637
23    LAD 2nd PA in G as SP 5605 638
24    CLE 2nd PA in G as SP 5570 634
25    BAL 2nd PA in G as SP 5560 636
26    DET 2nd PA in G as SP 5558 640
27    MIN 2nd PA in G as SP 5526 635
28    LAA 2nd PA in G as SP 5504 636
29    OAK 2nd PA in G as SP 5495 631

30    TBR 2nd PA in G as SP 5076 584


Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 8/20/2019.
   44. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: August 20, 2019 at 12:32 PM (#5872891)
I don't think I'd ever act like you about relievers though. To me, they're sprinters vs marathon runners. I'm a marathon runner but I don't feel that sprinters are "worse." It's a different skill. It's true that short reliever are bad at the endurance aspects of pitching. But it's not good/bad. At least to me.

Wilson Kipsang or Geoffrey Mutai can't match Bolt over 100m, and vice versa.


As Baldrick notes, it's not the same. SP pretty much always improve when they transition to relief. It's the same skill, just doing more of it.
   45. Crispix Attacksel Rios Posted: August 20, 2019 at 12:39 PM (#5872895)
I always thought there were some SP who couldn't switch to relief because they are worst in their first inning but then they settle down after that. Is there no evidence for this?
   46. SoSH U at work Posted: August 20, 2019 at 12:48 PM (#5872897)

I always thought there were some SP who couldn't switch to relief because they are worst in their first inning but then they settle down after that. Is there no evidence for this?


I don't know. My suspicion is certain types of pitchers, such as guys who thrive on location or sinkerballers, wouldn't see as much gain from the shift to shorter outings as hard throwers, but that's just a guess.
   47. bobm Posted: August 20, 2019 at 01:25 PM (#5872908)
For cumulative seasons, From 2017 to 2019, 1st inning (within By Inning), (requiring IP_from_outs >= 300 for entire season(s)/career), sorted by greatest percentage of total OPS in this split

                                                                                       
Rk    I            Player      Split From   To  G   OPS OPStot     %  ERA GS   IP IPtot
1             Steven Matz 1st inning 2017 2019 65 1.017   .777 130.9 7.92 65 63.2 337.0
2         Jeff Samardzija 1st inning 2017 2019 67  .904   .725 124.7 6.45 67 67.0 392.0
3       Antonio Senzatela 1st inning 2017 2019 51  .955   .792 120.6 6.35 51 51.0 318.0
4          German Marquez 1st inning 2017 2019 89  .879   .744 118.1 5.97 89 89.0 526.0
5            James Paxton 1st inning 2017 2019 74  .808   .684 118.1 6.16 74 73.0 409.2
6             Kenta Maeda 1st inning 2017 2019 69  .806   .693 116.3 5.61 69 69.0 386.2
7            Zack Wheeler 1st inning 2017 2019 70  .794   .689 115.2 5.27 70 70.0 418.0
8           Drew Pomeranz 1st inning 2017 2019 61  .914   .796 114.8 7.08 61 61.0 332.1
9          Kyle Hendricks 1st inning 2017 2019 80  .780   .683 114.2 5.29 80 80.0 475.0
10            Cole Hamels 1st inning 2017 2019 76  .823   .721 114.1 4.88 76 75.2 448.1
11             Mike Leake 1st inning 2017 2019 87  .883   .780 113.2 5.92 87 86.2 525.0
12        Carlos Martinez 1st inning 2017 2018 50  .766   .677 113.1 4.86 50 50.0 323.2
13          Lucas Giolito 1st inning 2017 2019 63  .817   .725 112.7 6.29 63 63.0 361.1
14           Martin Perez 1st inning 2017 2019 69  .919   .816 112.6 5.74 69 69.0 403.1
15            Gerrit Cole 1st inning 2017 2019 90  .741   .658 112.6 4.60 90 90.0 560.0
16             Aaron Nola 1st inning 2017 2019 86  .723   .644 112.3 3.56 86 86.0 534.2
17         Patrick Corbin 1st inning 2017 2019 90  .772   .692 111.6 4.30 90 90.0 543.1
18              Rich Hill 1st inning 2017 2019 58  .747   .672 111.2 4.97 58 58.0 321.1
19              Ivan Nova 1st inning 2017 2019 85  .866   .783 110.6 4.55 85 85.0 495.2
20        Masahiro Tanaka 1st inning 2017 2019 82  .822   .746 110.2 5.40 82 81.2 478.1
21          Luis Castillo 1st inning 2017 2019 71  .745   .677 110.0 4.06 71 71.0 407.0
22          Luis Severino 1st inning 2017 2018 63  .693   .635 109.1 3.29 63 63.0 384.2
23            Sean Manaea 1st inning 2017 2018 56  .775   .714 108.5 3.90 56 55.1 319.1
24        Trevor Williams 1st inning 2017 2019 74  .784   .723 108.4 4.86 74 74.0 425.2
25           Max Scherzer 1st inning 2017 2019 84  .630   .581 108.4 3.00 84 84.0 555.2
26             Jon Lester 1st inning 2017 2019 88  .817   .755 108.2 4.00 88 87.2 496.1
27           Gio Gonzalez 1st inning 2017 2019 75  .749   .693 108.1 3.72 75 75.0 426.1
28             Lance Lynn 1st inning 2017 2019 88  .766   .711 107.7 5.65 88 87.2 508.0
29          Jose Quintana 1st inning 2017 2019 88  .771   .720 107.1 4.50 88 88.0 505.2
30          Julio Teheran 1st inning 2017 2019 89  .773   .722 107.1 4.75 89 89.0 502.1
31          Kevin Gausman 1st inning 2017 2019 81  .840   .785 107.0 5.56 81 81.0 457.1
32         Dallas Keuchel 1st inning 2017 2019 68  .736   .688 107.0 5.03 68 68.0 416.0
33           Sean Newcomb 1st inning 2017 2019 53  .766   .719 106.5 3.91 53 53.0 318.2
34            Zach Davies 1st inning 2017 2019 69  .815   .765 106.5 4.96 69 69.0 380.0
35           Corey Kluber 1st inning 2017 2019 69  .652   .613 106.4 2.61 69 69.0 454.1
36             Robbie Ray 1st inning 2017 2019 78  .737   .693 106.3 4.15 78 78.0 427.2
37             Wade Miley 1st inning 2017 2019 73  .781   .735 106.3 4.16 73 71.1 379.2
38             Zach Eflin 1st inning 2017 2019 56  .849   .800 106.1 5.46 56 56.0 314.1
39            Matt Harvey 1st inning 2017 2019 58  .887   .837 106.0 6.98 58 58.0 307.1
40         Reynaldo Lopez 1st inning 2017 2019 65  .807   .763 105.8 5.26 65 65.0 377.2
41        Clayton Kershaw 1st inning 2017 2019 74  .650   .616 105.5 3.04 74 74.0 473.1
42      Stephen Strasburg 1st inning 2017 2019 75  .677   .643 105.3 3.48 75 75.0 463.1
43              J.A. Happ 1st inning 2017 2019 80  .765   .727 105.2 4.50 80 80.0 448.0
44         Jhoulys Chacin 1st inning 2017 2019 86  .745   .712 104.6 4.41 86 85.2 461.2
45      Jordan Zimmermann 1st inning 2017 2019 70  .888   .849 104.6 5.81 70 69.2 368.1
46         Chase Anderson 1st inning 2017 2019 75  .742   .711 104.4 5.04 75 75.0 406.1
47         Mike Clevinger 1st inning 2017 2019 66  .683   .655 104.3 3.68 66 66.0 394.0
48            David Price 1st inning 2017 2019 62  .732   .704 104.0 4.38 62 61.2 356.0
49          James Shields 1st inning 2017 2018 54  .810   .780 103.8 4.50 54 54.0 321.2
50          Kyle Freeland 1st inning 2017 2019 80  .796   .767 103.8 4.65 80 79.1 452.1
51          Rick Porcello 1st inning 2017 2019 91  .806   .777 103.7 5.38 91 90.1 534.0
52          Marco Estrada 1st inning 2017 2019 66  .846   .817 103.5 5.92 66 65.1 353.1
53           Zack Greinke 1st inning 2017 2019 91  .675   .652 103.5 3.26 91 91.0 575.0
54               Jon Gray 1st inning 2017 2019 76  .782   .756 103.4 4.74 76 76.0 432.2
55            Dylan Bundy 1st inning 2017 2019 82  .823   .796 103.4 5.67 82 81.0 461.1
56           Tanner Roark 1st inning 2017 2019 84  .767   .742 103.4 4.93 84 84.0 489.2
57       Justin Verlander 1st inning 2017 2019 93  .642   .624 102.9 3.39 93 93.0 589.2
58             Yu Darvish 1st inning 2017 2019 64  .724   .705 102.7 3.66 64 64.0 365.2
59           Jake Arrieta 1st inning 2017 2019 85  .762   .743 102.6 4.34 85 85.0 476.2
60           Nick Pivetta 1st inning 2017 2019 71  .825   .808 102.1 5.83 71 71.0 383.1
61             Mike Minor 1st inning 2018 2019 53  .716   .703 101.8 4.08 53 53.0 319.0
62           Hyun-Jin Ryu 1st inning 2017 2019 62  .677   .671 100.9 3.77 62 62.0 357.1
63        Mike Montgomery 1st inning 2017 2019 40  .722   .717 100.7 3.89 39 39.1 311.0
64      Madison Bumgarner 1st inning 2017 2019 65  .702   .698 100.6 3.88 65 65.0 405.1
65          Miles Mikolas 1st inning 2018 2019 57  .690   .689 100.1 3.16 57 57.0 343.0
66              Alex Wood 1st inning 2017 2019 57  .670   .670 100.0 3.95 57 57.0 328.1
67       Noah Syndergaard 1st inning 2017 2019 56  .657   .662  99.2 3.86 56 56.0 338.2
68           Jason Vargas 1st inning 2017 2019 74  .757   .765  99.0 5.08 74 72.2 389.0
69           Joe Musgrove 1st inning 2017 2019 59  .735   .745  98.7 4.45 59 58.2 362.0
70          Derek Holland 1st inning 2017 2019 63  .804   .815  98.7 4.29 63 63.0 383.0
71      Eduardo Rodriguez 1st inning 2017 2019 73  .709   .719  98.6 4.32 73 73.0 420.2
72            Jakob Junis 1st inning 2017 2019 72  .762   .775  98.3 4.00 72 72.0 426.0
73           Chris Archer 1st inning 2017 2019 83  .736   .749  98.3 4.61 83 82.0 468.0
74             Mike Fiers 1st inning 2017 2019 84  .735   .749  98.1 4.50 84 84.0 478.2
75           Matthew Boyd 1st inning 2017 2019 82  .736   .752  97.9 4.06 82 82.0 458.1
76         Marco Gonzales 1st inning 2017 2019 63  .734   .757  97.0 3.86 63 63.0 358.2
77           Homer Bailey 1st inning 2017 2019 62  .809   .837  96.7 5.66 62 62.0 319.2
78            Blake Snell 1st inning 2017 2019 75  .619   .641  96.6 3.51 75 74.1 411.0
79         Tyler Chatwood 1st inning 2017 2019 49  .748   .775  96.5 3.54 49 48.1 310.2
80           Jose Berrios 1st inning 2017 2019 82  .656   .681  96.3 3.51 82 82.0 495.2
81            Danny Duffy 1st inning 2017 2019 70  .731   .759  96.3 4.39 70 69.2 401.2
82              Alex Cobb 1st inning 2017 2019 59  .751   .781  96.2 3.51 59 59.0 344.0
83           Jacob deGrom 1st inning 2017 2019 88  .570   .604  94.4 1.84 88 88.0 573.1
84             Sonny Gray 1st inning 2017 2019 74  .641   .684  93.7 3.16 74 74.0 425.1
85            CC Sabathia 1st inning 2017 2019 74  .703   .751  93.6 3.89 74 74.0 395.0
86             Jose Urena 1st inning 2017 2019 72  .683   .730  93.6 4.18 72 71.0 418.1
87         Andrew Cashner 1st inning 2017 2019 79  .714   .766  93.2 3.65 79 79.0 449.1
88            Kyle Gibson 1st inning 2017 2019 85  .696   .748  93.0 4.02 85 85.0 487.0
89          Michael Wacha 1st inning 2017 2019 61  .704   .761  92.5 3.25 61 61.0 344.1
90        Clayton Richard 1st inning 2017 2019 69  .749   .821  91.2 4.96 69 69.0 401.1
91        Vince Velasquez 1st inning 2017 2019 61  .720   .790  91.1 3.69 61 61.0 307.2
92        Carlos Carrasco 1st inning 2017 2019 74  .636   .698  91.1 3.54 74 73.2 457.0
93         Marcus Stroman 1st inning 2017 2019 76  .643   .717  89.7 3.79 76 76.0 443.2
94        Jameson Taillon 1st inning 2017 2019 64  .647   .722  89.6 3.38 64 64.0 362.0
95          Jake Odorizzi 1st inning 2017 2019 84  .648   .724  89.5 3.33 84 83.2 433.2
96           Jason Hammel 1st inning 2017 2018 50  .721   .812  88.8 4.14 50 50.0 307.1
97           Trevor Bauer 1st inning 2017 2019 85  .616   .695  88.6 2.34 85 84.2 524.1
98            Dan Straily 1st inning 2017 2019 64  .737   .832  88.6 3.80 64 64.0 351.2
99          Jack Flaherty 1st inning 2017 2019 58  .583   .663  87.9 2.79 58 58.0 312.2
100        Anibal Sanchez 1st inning 2017 2019 64  .653   .751  87.0 3.29 64 63.0 363.2
101      Mike Foltynewicz 1st inning 2017 2019 73  .624   .729  85.6 3.58 73 73.0 412.1
102            Chris Sale 1st inning 2017 2019 84  .510   .609  83.7 2.79 84 84.0 519.2
103        Charlie Morton 1st inning 2017 2019 81  .541   .651  83.1 2.33 81 81.0 469.2
104           Zack Godley 1st inning 2017 2019 66  .588   .730  80.5 2.05 66 66.0 415.2


Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 8/20/2019.
   48. Joyful Calculus Instructor Posted: August 20, 2019 at 02:20 PM (#5872930)
I don't know. My suspicion is certain types of pitchers, such as guys who thrive on location or sinkerballers, wouldn't see as much gain from the shift to shorter outings as hard throwers, but that's just a guess.


The first guys I thought of to look at were Derek Lowe and Tim Wakefield and both of them were considerably better as relief pitchers (though a smaller gap for Wakefield). Is there a way to use Play Index to search for: IP as starter > 300, IP as reliever > 300, sort by ERA as starter - ERA as reliever (or search for something like ERA(starter) - ERA(reliever) < .5)?
   49. bobm Posted: August 20, 2019 at 05:42 PM (#5872989)
Pitching Split Finder cannot do exactly the output requested, but...

For cumulative seasons, From 1969 to 2019, as Reliever (within Pitching Role), (requiring GS >= 50 for entire season(s)/career and IP_from_outs >= 300), sorted by greatest difference between ERA(reliever) and overall total ERA

                                                                                
Rk               Player       Split From   To   G  ERA ERAtot  Diff GS GStot  GF
1            Bill Swift as Reliever 1985 1998 183 2.53   4.14 -1.61  0   150  67
2         Andrew Miller as Reliever 2006 2019 474 2.67    3.8 -1.13  0    53 135
3         Woodie Fryman as Reliever 1969 1983 283 2.85   3.86 -1.01  0   244 153
4         Chris Hammond as Reliever 1991 2006 305  3.1   4.05 -0.95  0    85  67
5          Kenny Rogers as Reliever 1989 2006 288 3.29   4.23 -0.94  0   131 133
6       Todd Van Poppel as Reliever 1995 2004 261  4.6   5.53 -0.93  0    58  84
7           Tom Griffin as Reliever 1970 1982 210 3.47   4.33 -0.86  0   104  53
8         Tim Wakefield as Reliever 1993 2011 164 3.73   4.59 -0.86  0   253  78
9          Jay Witasick as Reliever 1996 2007 349 3.83   4.64 -0.81  0    56 101
10           Derek Lowe as Reliever 1997 2013 304 3.15   3.95  -0.8  0   109 168
11       Joaquin Benoit as Reliever 2002 2017 709 3.06    3.8 -0.74  0    54 185
12        Elmer Dessens as Reliever 1996 2010 301 4.01   4.74 -0.73  0    76  64
13         Danny Darwin as Reliever 1978 1998 345 3.06   3.79 -0.73  0   290 171
14        Don Stanhouse as Reliever 1972 1982 228 3.11   3.84 -0.73  0    66 156
15           Joe Niekro as Reliever 1969 1988 183 3.14   3.86 -0.72  0   216  80
16          John Wasdin as Reliever 1995 2007 263 4.57   5.28 -0.71  0    65  78
17         Tommy Hunter as Reliever 2010 2019 373 3.21   3.89 -0.68  0    53  98
18             Jim Gott as Reliever 1982 1995 458  3.2   3.86 -0.66  0    70 261
19       Salomon Torres as Reliever 1994 2008 433 3.73   4.39 -0.66  0    51 168
20         Jeff Fassero as Reliever 1991 2006 478 3.91   4.56 -0.65  0    90 146
21           Mark Davis as Reliever 1980 1997 539 3.46   4.09 -0.63  0    56 265
22       Ramiro Mendoza as Reliever 1996 2005 280 3.68    4.3 -0.62  0    62  76
23        Darren Oliver as Reliever 1993 2013 537 3.19    3.8 -0.61  0    59 121
24          Mike LaCoss as Reliever 1978 1991 172 3.44   4.05 -0.61  0   224  61
25         Kent Mercker as Reliever 1989 2008 542 3.57   4.16 -0.59  0   150 157
26       Yusmeiro Petit as Reliever 2006 2019 334 3.43   4.02 -0.59  0    58  88
27       Byung-Hyun Kim as Reliever 1999 2007 307 3.58   4.16 -0.58  0    60 194
28         Jamey Wright as Reliever 1996 2014 471 3.96   4.54 -0.58  0   121 133
29         Bruce Ruffin as Reliever 1988 1997 317 3.85   4.43 -0.58  0    96 160
30        Willie Fraser as Reliever 1987 1995 182 3.87   4.44 -0.57  0    56  79
31         Don Robinson as Reliever 1978 1991 295 3.18   3.75 -0.57  0   218 185
32            Doug Bird as Reliever 1973 1983 332 3.44   3.99 -0.55  0   100 199
33         Dan Spillner as Reliever 1974 1985 433 3.66   4.21 -0.55  0   123 223
34         Willie Blair as Reliever 1990 2001 279  4.5   5.04 -0.54  0   139  75
35       Mike Remlinger as Reliever 1991 2006 580 3.37    3.9 -0.53  0    59 110
36        Tom Underwood as Reliever 1974 1984 176 3.33   3.85 -0.52  0   168  68
37      Jerry Augustine as Reliever 1975 1984 175 3.64   4.16 -0.52  0    71  75
38    Carlos Villanueva as Reliever 2006 2016 400 3.79   4.31 -0.52  0    76 110
39          Gene Nelson as Reliever 1981 1993 425 3.62   4.13 -0.51  0    68 153
40         Dave Schmidt as Reliever 1981 1992 313 3.38   3.88  -0.5  0    63 179
41       Paul Quantrill as Reliever 1992 2005 777 3.34   3.83 -0.49  0    64 228
42          Ron Villone as Reliever 1995 2009 624 4.31   4.79 -0.48  0    74 168
43             Ron Reed as Reliever 1969 1984 508 2.99   3.45 -0.46  0   109 298
44          Greg Harris as Reliever 1981 1995 605 3.24   3.69 -0.45  0    98 266
45           Dave Burba as Reliever 1990 2004 277 4.09   4.53 -0.44  0   168  71
46             Bill Lee as Reliever 1969 1982 191 3.27    3.7 -0.43  0   192  70
47         Stan Bahnsen as Reliever 1969 1982 243 3.39   3.82 -0.43  0   248  86
48       Julian Tavarez as Reliever 1993 2009 720 4.02   4.44 -0.42  0   107 184
49          Bob Shirley as Reliever 1977 1987 272  3.4   3.82 -0.42  0   162 105
50         Ron Schueler as Reliever 1972 1979 205 3.67   4.09 -0.42  0    86  76
51         Jeff Russell as Reliever 1984 1996 510 3.17   3.56 -0.39  0    56 340
52         Shane Rawley as Reliever 1978 1989 239  3.6   3.99 -0.39  0   139 140
53       John DAcquisto as Reliever 1973 1982 174 4.17   4.56 -0.39  0    92  76
54          Bob McClure as Reliever 1975 1993 625 3.43   3.81 -0.38  0    73 233
55     Dennis Eckersley as Reliever 1975 1998 710 2.85   3.22 -0.37  0    88 577
56             Rudy May as Reliever 1969 1983 164 3.04   3.41 -0.37  0   304  70
57        Skip Lockwood as Reliever 1969 1980 315 3.18   3.55 -0.37  0   106 219
58           Mark Grant as Reliever 1984 1993 175 3.94   4.31 -0.37  0    58  68
59          Bob Stanley as Reliever 1977 1989 552 3.28   3.64 -0.36  0    85 377
60       Rick Honeycutt as Reliever 1977 1997 529 3.36   3.72 -0.36  0   218 118
61          Neal Heaton as Reliever 1982 1993 180 3.99   4.35 -0.36  0   170  62
62        Grant Jackson as Reliever 1969 1982 537 3.07   3.42 -0.35  0    71 265
63           Neil Allen as Reliever 1979 1989 375 3.53   3.88 -0.35  0    59 222
64        Mark Thurmond as Reliever 1983 1990 217 3.35   3.69 -0.34  0    97  78
65             Don Hood as Reliever 1973 1983 225 3.45   3.79 -0.34  0    72  84
66           Tom Gordon as Reliever 1988 2009 687 3.29   3.62 -0.33  0    82 347
67        Lerrin LaGrow as Reliever 1970 1980 242 3.79   4.11 -0.32  0    67 140
68       Brian Duensing as Reliever 2009 2018 423 3.87   4.19 -0.32  0    61  73
69          Ray Sadecki as Reliever 1969 1977 187 3.28   3.59 -0.31  0    84  56
70         Andy Hassler as Reliever 1971 1985 275 3.53   3.83  -0.3  0   112 126
71           Ken Forsch as Reliever 1971 1986 280 3.02   3.32  -0.3  0   152 177
72             Tom Hume as Reliever 1977 1987 488 3.56   3.85 -0.29  0    55 267
73            Jose Mesa as Reliever 1987 2007 927 3.95   4.23 -0.28  0    65 633
74         Ricky Horton as Reliever 1984 1990 272 3.48   3.76 -0.28  0    53  81
75            Ted Power as Reliever 1981 1993 479 3.62   3.89 -0.27  0    51 233
76           Tom Murphy as Reliever 1969 1979 292 3.63   3.89 -0.26  0   132 204
77        Greg Swindell as Reliever 1987 2002 395  3.7   3.96 -0.26  0   108  93
78         Dickie Noles as Reliever 1980 1990 181 4.32   4.56 -0.24  0    80  68
79           Don Carman as Reliever 1983 1992 240 3.85   4.08 -0.23  0    67  83
80        Mike Williams as Reliever 1993 2003 413  4.2   4.42 -0.22  0    50 292
81        Chris Reitsma as Reliever 2001 2007 285 4.48    4.7 -0.22  0    53 114
82           Jim Slaton as Reliever 1971 1986 136 3.94   4.15 -0.21  0   281  71
83        Rick Aguilera as Reliever 1985 2000 643 3.19   3.39  -0.2  0    70 557
84       Dan Schatzeder as Reliever 1977 1991 383 3.54   3.74  -0.2  0   121 117
85        Rheal Cormier as Reliever 1991 2007 576  3.8      4  -0.2  0   107 105
86          Dennis Cook as Reliever 1989 2002 594 3.75   3.94 -0.19  0    67 116
87        Jeff Robinson as Reliever 1984 1992 392 3.61   3.79 -0.18  0    62 155
88          Dick Tidrow as Reliever 1972 1984 482 3.53   3.68 -0.15  0   138 244
89          Chad Gaudin as Reliever 2003 2013 257  4.3   4.45 -0.15  0    53  80
90             Tom Hall as Reliever 1969 1977 291 3.15    3.3 -0.15  0    59 129
91            Rick Camp as Reliever 1976 1985 349 3.22   3.37 -0.15  0    65 170
92       Bobby Castillo as Reliever 1977 1985 191 3.79   3.94 -0.15  0    59  88
93          Joe Hesketh as Reliever 1984 1994 225 3.78   3.92 -0.14  0    74  79
94       Juan Berenguer as Reliever 1978 1992 395 3.79   3.92 -0.13  0    90 157
95            Gary Ross as Reliever 1969 1977 216 3.78    3.9 -0.12  0    53  80
96          Dennis Lamp as Reliever 1977 1992 476 3.83   3.93  -0.1  0   163 173
97         Scott Bailes as Reliever 1986 1998 284 4.86   4.95 -0.09  0    59 103
98         Jesse Chavez as Reliever 2008 2019 384 4.41   4.48 -0.07  0    79 132
99             Jim Barr as Reliever 1971 1983 202 3.42   3.48 -0.06  0   177  75
100       Charlie Hough as Reliever 1970 1991 418 3.45    3.5 -0.05  0    85 240
101        Dave Stewart as Reliever 1978 1986 175 3.91   3.96 -0.05  0    72  87
102        Marty Pattin as Reliever 1969 1980 203 3.71   3.75 -0.04  0   184  99
103      Scott Garrelts as Reliever 1982 1991 263 3.15   3.12  0.03  0    53 162
104    Bruce Dal Canton as Reliever 1969 1977 220 3.78   3.75  0.03  0    81  95
105         Storm Davis as Reliever 1982 1994 203 4.12   4.08  0.04  0   150  85
106      Miguel Batista as Reliever 1992 2012 410 4.53   4.48  0.05  0   248 164
107         Diego Segui as Reliever 1969 1977 316 3.62   3.57  0.05  0    59 205
108           Ken Brett as Reliever 1970 1981 164 3.91   3.86  0.05  0   115  69
109       Dave Hamilton as Reliever 1972 1980 244 3.91   3.85  0.06  0    57 116
110    Reggie Cleveland as Reliever 1970 1981 225 4.29   4.21  0.08  0   103 111
111          Dick Drago as Reliever 1969 1981 330 3.73   3.62  0.11  0   189 216
112          Ray Burris as Reliever 1973 1987 178 4.29   4.12  0.17  0   234  65
113            Jim Kaat as Reliever 1969 1983 243 3.87   3.67   0.2  0   324  90
114         John Curtis as Reliever 1970 1984 239  4.2   3.96  0.24  0   199 100
115    Terry Mulholland as Reliever 1986 2006 353 4.85   4.55   0.3  0   233 128
116   Hipolito Pichardo as Reliever 1992 2002 282 4.79   4.44  0.35  0    68 103


Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 8/20/2019.



   50. Joyful Calculus Instructor Posted: August 20, 2019 at 05:55 PM (#5872995)
Thanks, Bob! Interesting that Terry Mulholland was one of the few guys who did worse as a reliever.
   51. SoSH U at work Posted: August 20, 2019 at 07:56 PM (#5873009)
How is Wade Davis not atop that list?
   52. puck Posted: August 20, 2019 at 08:18 PM (#5873022)
Hmm, yeah. 88 starts, 3.65 overall ERA, 2.53 ERA as reliever (for now).
   53. SoSH U at work Posted: August 20, 2019 at 11:04 PM (#5873088)

Hmm, yeah. 88 starts, 3.65 overall ERA, 2.53 ERA as reliever (for now).


Oh, it's ERA total. So he wouldn't be first, but third.

   54. Joyful Calculus Instructor Posted: August 20, 2019 at 11:25 PM (#5873091)
Wade Davis did have over 50 starts and over 300 relief innings, though, so I’m not sure why he’s not on the list.

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