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  1. One factor in this, which in some cases may have nothing to do with the quality of the bullpen, is whether or not the bullpen inherits many high-leverage situations. I am a Mariners fan, and if you look at the shutdown/meltdown statistics, there are only two pitchers (Aardsma and League) who have much of either. But I think that’s because the Mariners are so often out of the game by the time the bullpen comes in. Good teams, by virtue of their offense and starting pitching, will keep more games close, and thus hand on higher leverage situations to their bullpens, and will thus accumulate more, not because of the bullpen’s quality, but just because of having more opportunities.

    Comment by b_rider — September 27, 2010 @ 3:45 pm

  2. For the reasons you stated, is the reason I like the ratio used. With the Mariners, they had shutdowns = 96,meltdowns = 63 and a ratio of 1.52. They are just below league average, but number of meltdowns is what brings there ratio down.

    Comment by Jeff Zimmerman — September 27, 2010 @ 3:58 pm

  3. Yes, I see. I like the concept. Good work!

    Comment by b_rider — September 27, 2010 @ 4:01 pm

  4. Like b_rider I am unsure about using these stats to rate a bullpen, even the ratio. For instance being a Cardinals fan I assume the number of shutdowns is lowest mainly because of our starting pitching handing out relatively few high leverage innings, either because we are so far behind or so far ahead. The ratio would correct this somewhat but ends up giving equal weight to the “top” and “bottom” of the bullpen. LaRussa especially uses very different sets of releivers depending on whether the Cardinals have a lead or are behind. Franklin hardly ever pitches when the game is tied or the Cards are behind yet will always pitch a save situation which would normally be a decently high leverage situation. Using these stats to analyze a specific releiver is fine though, it seems to work great for that.

    Comment by StLHugo — September 27, 2010 @ 4:29 pm

  5. I really like the concept of looking at the SD/MD ratio. Any way that could be added to the leaderboards?

    Comment by robzk — September 27, 2010 @ 4:31 pm

  6. “Franklin hardly ever pitches when the game is tied or the Cards are behind yet will always pitch a save situation which would normally be a decently high leverage situation.”

    I don’t think that’s very different from 95% of manager’s treatment of their bullpens in general, or their closers specifically. LaRussa sure likes to play the L/R splits, but his closer usage isn’t atypical.

    “I assume the number of shutdowns is lowest mainly because of our starting pitching handing out relatively few high leverage innings, either because we are so far behind or so far ahead.”

    I tend to think the opposite about the Cards – good pitching, mediocre-at-best hitting, so that would tend to depress run scoring in both cases and lead to more close, low-scoring affairs and consequently more high leverage innings rather than fewer. The YTD stats tend to back that up; the Cards’ pitching staff is 5th in MLB in ERA, 8th in FIP, while the hitters are right square in the middle (15th) in both wOBA and wRC. The Cards strike me as one of the teams playing a lot of 4-2 games, and not so many 12-3 or 16-10 games.

    Comment by Jason B — September 27, 2010 @ 4:53 pm

  7. Except when Suppan pitches. Then it might be 12-3.

    (After four innings.)

    Comment by Jason B — September 27, 2010 @ 4:54 pm

  8. To me the first part of this is a rather ho-hum observation. “Teams that win a majority of their games will have better shutdown statistics than teams that don’t.” I’m supposed to be impressed by this finding?

    Comment by Bad Bill — September 27, 2010 @ 7:36 pm

  9. I thought I would point out somewhere that no team in the AL West or Central has a winning record against the AL East. Oddly the closest is the Royals with a 15-16 record.

    That sets me up to ask the question when we talk about these teamwide statistical evaluations in understanding successful roster construction don’t we need another way to evaluate team performance rather than “mak[ing] the playoffs”? If 4 of the 7 or 8 best teams in baseball are in the AL East does that mean that we should negatively evaluate the Blue Jays and Red Sox’s rosters based on their bullpens?

    Comment by Eric — September 28, 2010 @ 5:31 am

  10. I’d wager that the 2009 Phillies would have made an example of a winning team that had a huge number of meltdowns relative to their peers (i.e. teams that made the playoffs). So while it isn’t the most impressive statement, it is logical.

    Comment by Alex — September 28, 2010 @ 9:39 am

  11. [...] let’s look at team relief stats. On Monday Jeff went over shutdowns and meltdowns and how they affect playoff teams. Here we’ll look at some similar data, plus some other [...]

    Pingback by The AL Playoff Bullpens | FanGraphs Baseball — September 29, 2010 @ 2:01 pm

  12. [...] Shutdowns, Meltdowns and Making the Playoffs (FanGraphs). Yeah, that Padres bullpen would be devastating in a short series. [h/t reader Didi] [...]

    Pingback by Friday Links (1 Oct 10) – Ducksnorts — October 1, 2010 @ 10:39 am

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