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  1. Yep, it’s just the New York media over-reacting to a small sample size. I’m willing to bet that Rivera will still be Rivera before the season ends.

    Comment by TheGrandslamwich — August 12, 2011 @ 2:41 pm

  2. I think time will tell if he’s done or not. Rivera has done this several times, pitch ineffectively for a couple of games in a row, and then suddenly go on a hot streak where no one has touched him for about a month.

    Joe Girardi said it best (And I don’t get to say that very often), if this happened for about a month, there would be a cause for concern.

    I do think Mo will retire though after next year if he does indeed pitch ineffectively from here on out.

    I would still take him in the 9th over almost any other closer.

    The one minor concern though is that August and Sept/Oct are the months throughout Rivera’s career in which he is at his worst. And those worst numbers still today would be amongst some of the best in the game. And when I said October it’s referring to the regular season October games, not the postseason.

    Again, I think we just have to wait and see. If he is un-Mo like for awhile (Meaning for the rest of the month or so), there’s a definite cause for concern.

    Comment by Mike — August 12, 2011 @ 2:50 pm

  3. As Blue Jay fan, I agree, unfortunately.

    Comment by siggian — August 12, 2011 @ 2:50 pm

  4. I’m a baseball fan, not a New York Yankee baseball fan, so I haven’t been following any of this. Rivera is Rivera until someone can prove to me that he’s fallen off a cliff. I don’t see that he has just yet.

    Comment by Tasintango — August 12, 2011 @ 2:52 pm

  5. Age catches up with every player, we know that. But when a guy like Rivera does what he does so well and so consistently for so long we want it to never end. Good luck to him and maybe he will pitch till he’s 50!!

    Comment by Hurtlocker — August 12, 2011 @ 2:53 pm

  6. To put it another way for me,

    Is he finished? No.

    Is it the beginning of the end? Yes.

    Comment by Mike — August 12, 2011 @ 2:53 pm

  7. Is the phrase beginning of the end just about meaningless? Yes.

    Comment by juan pierre's mustache — August 12, 2011 @ 3:00 pm

  8. It’s a sad world where 1.2 IP is considered a big enough sample to say anything at all.

    Comment by Nathan — August 12, 2011 @ 3:06 pm

  9. This got em thinking. Will Rivera make the hall of fame? Should he? He sits at 38 WAR at age 41 and I have seen 50 WAR quoted regularly as a bare minimum to get in. Unlikely he picks up another 12 before retirement. He probably doesn’t come real close to 50 for his career. Still, he’s been the best player at his position for most of the last 15 years. A position where most players flame out in less than a third of that.

    Does he deserve consideration for pitching in all those postseason games? Do people start to cut relievers some slack since it is hard for them to rack up WAR? Do the answers to these questions differ if he played his career somewhere else?

    Comment by MikeS — August 12, 2011 @ 3:10 pm

  10. he’ll make the hall of fame no question, lets be serious

    Comment by steve — August 12, 2011 @ 3:17 pm

  11. Since when are HOF voters concerned with WAR accumulation?

    Comment by delv — August 12, 2011 @ 3:17 pm

  12. IP isn’t really a sample size though. The sample size would be in BF.

    You could face 100 batters in 1.2 IP if you were bad enough.

    Comment by RC — August 12, 2011 @ 3:22 pm

  13. Ha ha..

    The difference in the standings between the Blue Jays and the Yankees is greater than 10 games. Mariano doesn’t provide 10+ WAR for the Yankees, so even without him, the Blue Jays would still not be viable contenders for the AL East or AL Wild Card.

    And the Blue Jays traded Marc Rzepczynski: he went to my high school!! But the team I hate the most is the Phiilles because of their treatment of Ben Francisco. Play him more!!

    Comment by ServiteLegend — August 12, 2011 @ 3:25 pm

  14. As a Red Sox fan, I’ve hoped for the beginning of the end for Mo forever now. At this point, I’ll believe it when I see it.

    Comment by NBarnes — August 12, 2011 @ 3:27 pm

  15. I thought FanGraphs posters would realize that WAR for pitchers has to be adjusted due to high leverage situations.

    Comment by ServiteLegend — August 12, 2011 @ 3:31 pm

  16. MikeS – he’s first ballot. WAR is a terrible way too judge his value. Its blatantly obvious his low BABIP and low HR/FB rates aren’t flukes, yet WAR regresses them anyway. Not to mention it ignores context/leverage.

    Servite – what the hell are you talking about?

    Comment by slugger27 — August 12, 2011 @ 3:38 pm

  17. Yeah…youre probably right…i just dont see Mariano getting into the HoF either

    Comment by Plesh — August 12, 2011 @ 3:41 pm

  18. Baseball Reference WAR has him at 54.8 right now

    Comment by danmcp — August 12, 2011 @ 3:46 pm

  19. BB-Ref has him at 54.8 WAR.

    Comment by buddy — August 12, 2011 @ 3:46 pm

  20. Jinx.

    Comment by buddy — August 12, 2011 @ 3:47 pm

  21. He means the same as you do – you’ve got to take into account that he pitches in high leverage situations. His 38 WAR are context independent, so if his average LI were 2 it’d be worth the same 76 WAR from someone who pitches in neutral leverage situations.

    He’s a total shoe-in. The fact that anyone thinks he won’t get into the hall is hilarious.

    Comment by don — August 12, 2011 @ 3:54 pm

  22. How about looking at WPA instead of WAR? Already over 50, with 60 being a pretty reasonable goal by the time he’s done.

    Tack on his post-season exploits as gravy if you’d like, that may be another 10.

    Comment by Small Sample Goodness — August 12, 2011 @ 3:55 pm

  23. Thanks to everybody who replied. Even the ones who felt I’m an idiot.

    Why the huge difference between FG and BR? Does BR take LI into account or something?

    Another question (just curious) what player in the hall has the lowest WAR total – not counting injury shortened careers?

    Comment by MikeS — August 12, 2011 @ 4:03 pm

  24. It would be very cool if… in 10 years, Mariano relieves Jamie Moyer in a game.

    Comment by ?d?v?n — August 12, 2011 @ 4:07 pm

  25. What promoted you to explode on that guy and make fun of his team like that? You are the reason everyone hate Yankee fans

    Comment by j6takish — August 12, 2011 @ 4:10 pm

  26. that, would be good.

    Comment by Cidron — August 12, 2011 @ 4:23 pm

  27. Servite,

    Mo is a quality player on a stacked team in a stacked division. It would be more fun to be a blue jay fan if age caught up with him sooner or later. Don’t be an ass.

    Comment by DavidB — August 12, 2011 @ 4:24 pm

  28. this is only the 8 time in his 15 year career that he has allowed a run 3 games in a row, that’s amazing, he’ll be fine

    Comment by josechell — August 12, 2011 @ 4:26 pm

  29. As a Yankees fan, I pray that that kind of scenario never happens.

    Comment by Jerome S. — August 12, 2011 @ 4:27 pm

  30. The point was that the Yankees were so talented that they would likely be ahead of the Blue Jays, even if Rivera was replaced by a mediocre middle-reliever. Rivera might be a reason why they are in a close race for the AL East with the Red Sox, but the Yankees will make the post-season without him.

    Comment by ServiteLegend — August 12, 2011 @ 4:31 pm

  31. Long Live Ben Francisco, Dan Klein, Marc Rzepczynski!!

    Comment by ServiteLegend — August 12, 2011 @ 4:32 pm

  32. Did you just say that Mo is at his worst in October? Because that is wrong, just so very wrong. What is perhaps most amazing about Mo is that when the game is taken to the next level, The Post Season, he demonstrably ups his game, he is a superior pitcher during the post season in a way that no other player has ever been able to achieve. Guys like Jeter and Bernie, who played in the post season almost every year, their post season states eventually got to about their regular season stats because of regression to the mean, for Rivera, this is not true. He does not regress, he dominates, against better teams, in higher pressure situations, and he will do it for longer (more 2 innings saves). I don’t want to bother with states here, but I will if you ask.

    Comment by Cliff Lee's Changeup — August 12, 2011 @ 5:49 pm

  33. Hey! Baseball Reference has him at 54.8 WAR right now.

    Comment by JohnnyComeLately — August 12, 2011 @ 5:55 pm

  34. Your point has nothing to do with either siggian’s comment or the article. Unlike your Marc Rzepczynski comment. Totally relevant. Thanks for that.

    Comment by JohnnyComeLately — August 12, 2011 @ 5:57 pm

  35. As a Yankee fan who watches a lot of games Mo always go through a 2-3 game stretch at least once a year. Remember actually early in the year he blew a few leads one being in toronto and the yankees lost the game on a walk off hit by Travis Snider

    Comment by Dylan — August 12, 2011 @ 6:04 pm

  36. He clearly said he was referring to October regular season games, absolutely “not the postseason”. Before you rag on somebody, at least re-read the post that you’re ragging on.

    Comment by Richie — August 12, 2011 @ 6:12 pm

  37. Father Time gets everyone. Given his peripherals, I don’t think he’s lost it, either. But when his peripherals go south, Mo won’t be far behind, never mind what he once used to be.

    And if his lost velocity proves to be permanent rather than transient, I’d sell my Mo shares, if there were such things and I had any.

    Comment by Richie — August 12, 2011 @ 6:19 pm

  38. Mariano Rivera will probably get 650 saves. However, a closer’s collapse may be precipitous: Hoffman had a 1.83 ERA season in 2010 (and 37 saves) with great peripherals HR/9: 0.3 K/9 8.0, and BB/9 2.3, but was absolutely atrocious in 2011. One cannot infer a collapse based on his 2010 stats

    Comment by ServiteLegend — August 12, 2011 @ 6:26 pm

  39. Ha ha…

    After the Allied Victory in the Battle of El Alamein, Churchill said it was not the “beginning of the end” but the End of the Beginning.

    Comment by BenFrancisco's butt on the Philles Bench — August 12, 2011 @ 6:28 pm

  40. I believe bWAR is based off of ERA (RA?) while fWAR is based off of FIP.

    Comment by buddy — August 12, 2011 @ 7:15 pm

  41. “Why the huge difference between FG and BR? Does BR take LI into account or something?”

    Basically it’s this:

    Career ERA: 2.24
    Career FIP: 2.77

    The gap over 1195 innings is 70 runs. So it depends on whether or not think his defense saved him 70 runs over his career, or you think his cutter suppresses BABIP and he should get credit for that. Given the quality or lack thereof of the defense behind him over most of his career, I think FIP is penalizing him unfairly. He’s an outlier.

    So even if you completely ignore leverage, you can add something like 7 to 10 wins to his Fangraphs WAR just on the difference between ERA and FIP.

    Comment by SG — August 12, 2011 @ 7:20 pm

  42. “When Mariano finally retires, my guess is the only category Wilhelm still outpaces him in his Innings Pitched”

    Yeah, just that.

    I have no problem agreeing that Mo is the best closer since baseball bastardized the closer role, but since he hasn’t been asked to pitch 100+ innings each year, I have a major issue agreeing that Mo is better than Hoyt, Lyle, Eck, Goose, Quisenberry, et el were when the closer role often had these guys pitch 2+ innings – actually close close games out. It’s a whole new role today and there’s no data proving that Mo could have been any where near as successful as those other guys after pitching so often.

    Mo is the best closer today, though. Or at least he was last week :)

    Comment by Sultan of Schwwingg — August 12, 2011 @ 8:30 pm

  43. Walkoff HBP to Jeff Francouer with bases loaded was the ugliest.

    Comment by hunterfan — August 12, 2011 @ 8:51 pm

  44. I don’t agree that the closer role has been ‘bastardized.’ There’s nothing wrong with the closer role as it is today, except that managers are often reluctant to use the closer (their best reliever) when a high leverage situation arises in the 7th or 8th inning. Mariano was very effective in over 100 innings as a setup man for John Wetteland in 1996. The only person who thinks that Goose Gossage was better than Mariano Rivera is Goose Gossage.

    Comment by Andrew — August 12, 2011 @ 9:34 pm

  45. Using the fangraphs page, from 1871 to 2011…according to Fangraphs page, Mo has the most WAR among all relievers…Gossage is second, and is still 8 WAR behind mo.

    Comment by DT — August 12, 2011 @ 10:38 pm

  46. Lost velocity? Without looking at the numbers, I’d bet he is throwing harder than in 2009 at the very least

    Comment by Mike R. — August 12, 2011 @ 11:17 pm

  47. You can tell how much people respect Rivera through the comments…can’t really say that in regards to another certain Yankee.

    Comment by Mike R. — August 12, 2011 @ 11:21 pm

  48. How does he take his game to another level in the postseason? Is it by magic? Or does he just not try very hard during the regular season?

    Comment by Al — August 12, 2011 @ 11:27 pm

  49. He definitely will get in, but it IS a little weird letting somebody in who flunked out as a starter, no? I mean, Roy Oswalt isn’t a HOFer, but we would have a much easier team replicating Mo’s career than Mo would replicating Oswalt’s, right?

    Comment by Al — August 12, 2011 @ 11:35 pm

  50. You mean A-Rod? Jeter possibly?

    Comment by BenFrancisco's butt on the Phillies Bench — August 12, 2011 @ 11:38 pm

  51. That may have been his most productive year (per fWAR, it was). Also, yes, exactly:
    Wilhelm 1.84
    Goose 1.61
    Lyle 1.55
    Quiz 1.55

    Eck 1.14 (wow, so wrong)
    Mo 1.13

    Big difference, imo.

    Comment by Sultan of Schwwingg — August 12, 2011 @ 11:38 pm

  52. Terrible. Innings pitcher game, obviously?

    Comment by Sultan of Schwwingg — August 12, 2011 @ 11:42 pm

  53. I dunno how he does it – could be luck I suppose, as his BABIP and HR/FB are below his career averages and his strand rate is above his career average. But Mo has a .71 ERA in 140 postseason innings.

    Comment by Jordan — August 13, 2011 @ 3:12 am


    What’s behind those links, if you’re too lazy to check them out, are the career leaders for adjusted ERA+ and WPA. Mo is 6th all time in WPA (1st among RPs), and first – by 50 points – in ERA+. If you prefer WPA/LI, he’s 22nd all time in that, again including starters. And none of that includes his postseason dominance, which was totally unprecedented – 140 IP, .7 ERA.

    Comment by Jordan — August 13, 2011 @ 3:19 am

  55. Mo’s effectiveness isn’t about his 2seamer velocity its about his cutter movement and location. When the cutter stops cutting is when Mariano starts his free fall. His cutter has been flat the past few games but I wouldn’t say its Father Time just yet, get back to me in October.

    Comment by Shaun Catron — August 13, 2011 @ 4:18 am

  56. Haha, that’s true. It’s just stuck in my brain because it’s all I’ve been hearing the last few days on radio shows.

    Comment by Mike — August 13, 2011 @ 7:50 am

  57. Does that include inherited runners? Because he was only charged with 1 run that game.

    Comment by Mike — August 13, 2011 @ 7:53 am

  58. D.J. Carrasco averages like 1.74 innings per game, but that doesn’t make him better than Rivera or Eckersley or even Gossage. The quality of innings thrown is just as important as the quantity. Why do you think that Rivera has compiled more fWAR than Goosage in over 600 fewer innings? Probably because, according to ERA-, his innings have been twice as good as the average pitcher over the span of his career. A.J. Burnett could stand on the mound and struggle his way through 5 innings, giving up 8 runs along the way, but just because he pitched 5 innings doesn’t mean he performed well.

    Comment by Andrew — August 13, 2011 @ 9:33 am

  59. Reports are his velocity is down from last year. Leastwise I’ve seen people post that his velocity is down from last year. I’m taking those posters at their word. Which you can certainly value or devalue as you deem fit.

    Comment by Richie — August 13, 2011 @ 3:51 pm

  60. 46 thumbs down? Wow, even that guy who made inane comments about non-baseball gambling in the A-Rod poker post had fewer thumbs down!

    Long Live Servite!!!

    Comment by BenFrancisco's butt on the Phillies Bench — August 13, 2011 @ 4:02 pm

  61. Hate the Yanks. But waiting for Rivera’s decline is kind of like hoping Michael Jordon would retire. Here’s a vote for the age side losing.

    Comment by BubbaJays — August 13, 2011 @ 4:28 pm

  62. Yep. Even Yankee-haters don’t hate Rivera, because he’s just so damn good, and they didn’t buy him at auction, and he’s not a jerk.

    Dream scenario: Eric Hosmer drives a 1-1 cutter over the right field wall in the Stadium off Rivera in the bottom of the ninth of the seventh game of the 2014 ALCS.

    I just hope Hosmer’s playing for the Royals when he does it.

    Comment by Juancho — August 13, 2011 @ 5:49 pm

  63. Wait. That would be the top of the ninth. Duh. The Yanks still get to take their best shot at Soria. Assuming Dayton hasn’t traded him, either.

    Comment by Juancho — August 13, 2011 @ 5:55 pm

  64. Mike S – They haven’t changed the official name to the Hall of WAR yet.

    These are the kind of comments that make it hard those for us who love statistics.

    Comment by Enoch44 — August 13, 2011 @ 9:04 pm

  65. http :// www. buygreatshoes. org

    Comment by gtrweqry — August 13, 2011 @ 10:11 pm

  66. Thanks guys for the 55 thumbs down!! :)

    I’m proud of myself!

    Comment by BenFrancisco's butt on the Phillies Bench — August 14, 2011 @ 6:19 am

  67. For career WAR, I prefer bWAR b/c some pitchers have shown the ability to suppress BABIP and maintain higher LOB%.

    For single season WAR, I prefer to average bWAR and fWAR.

    Comment by CircleChange11 — August 14, 2011 @ 11:49 pm

  68. Well, it is nice to judge a guy on what actually happened, not what could/should have happened per averaged percentages.

    Comment by NEPP — August 15, 2011 @ 10:13 am

  69. The “problem” seems to arise from a situation of people using WAR (especially in conversation) to describe BOTH [1] a player’s on field value, and [2] his true talent.

    Those can be mutually exclusive.

    WAR measures what happened on the field. “little letter” WAR can tell us what coulda/shoulda/woulda happened in a neutral environment and/or with league average HR rates, etc.

    But, in terms of “on field value”, you have to count the luck (good or bad), because it happened and it provided value.

    True talent is a different story.

    Comment by CircleChange11 — August 15, 2011 @ 10:27 am

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