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  1. How much of this is due to the fact that the lineups were set up for starters and cannot be adjusted for relievers mid game.

    Comment by leo — October 17, 2011 @ 10:58 am

  2. The Yankees assembled that kind of bullpen too, except somebody forgot to tell Joe Girardi he was allowed to use it. Congratulations to the Rangers and Cardinals for getting the absolute best out of their assets in winning their respective pennants.

    Comment by Kevin S. — October 17, 2011 @ 11:32 am

  3. Interesting considering that the FG line, as I’ve seen it, is that relief is very low WAR and usually over valued… I guess not in the post season.

    Also, shouldn’t the starter be able to pitch harder if they know they old have to make it into the 5th?

    Comment by Barkey Walker — October 17, 2011 @ 11:42 am

  4. Great post. All the handwringing lately over the lack of Quality Starts from winning teams with deep bullpens has been getting somewhat annoying.

    Comment by Kyle — October 17, 2011 @ 11:56 am

  5. Any one who have ever pitched knows that if you start you need to save some energy for the later innings, if you get there. Relief pitchers can come in and go 100% effort right from the start because they know they will not be there after 1-2 innings at the most.

    Comment by Hurtlocker — October 17, 2011 @ 12:02 pm

  6. During the season, the WAR value of one reliever is low, as it should be. He just doesn’t pitch very often.
    Cameron was speaking of the relief staffs as a whole (8 or so pitchers in the playoffs) and pointed out the fact that they were pitching about half the innings in the postseason as opposed to about one-third in the regular season.

    Comment by GiantHusker — October 17, 2011 @ 12:07 pm

  7. So… isn’t that interesting? Doesn’t it contradict the low WAR line if you think wining in the post season matters?

    Comment by Barkey Walker — October 17, 2011 @ 12:27 pm

  8. It is important to stress that attempting the strategy of using the bullpen consistently early would likely be disastrous in the regular season. You did this with innings percentages.

    It would be nice to see a study on the effect of bullpen workloads.

    Comment by Anon — October 17, 2011 @ 12:40 pm

  9. People who have never pitched also know that. It’s almost, like, an extremely obvious fact.

    Comment by Conrad — October 17, 2011 @ 12:42 pm

  10. I don’t see why it’s important to stress that when Dave says it outright in the article—with evidence.

    Comment by Jake — October 17, 2011 @ 12:43 pm

  11. You read the article, right? Relief WAR is low in the regular season because relievers don’t pitch many inning. If the regular season were set up like the postseason, however—which allows relievers to pitch many more innings because of all the off days—their WAR would go up.

    Comment by PJW10 — October 17, 2011 @ 12:45 pm

  12. This article is spot-on but I’d like to see one slight tweak.

    Since we’re talking about the playoffs wouldn’t it be better to compare the numbers of only 1-4 starters with the the numbers of only the top 4-5 relievers in the pen? I mean, that’s more of what we actually see as far as playoff usage.

    I think this tweak might actually make the difference more pronounced.

    Comment by The Nicker — October 17, 2011 @ 1:03 pm

  13. I think this effect is probably driving some of the difference in opinion of reliever value on the open market. I think it’s tough to look at the evidence from the performance of free agent relievers and conclude that they aren’t overpaid in general, but teams that are planning on leveraging their bullpen in this way during the playoffs would have an incentive to pay a higher $/WAR during the off-season.

    The problem is that relievers are so inconsistent from year to year that trying to build a great bullpen through free agency is not all that likely to actually succeed. If relievers were more consistent, then I think the values that teams put on FA relievers would probably be more in line with their actual on field value.

    Doing what Texas and St. Louis did – upgrade mid-season when it is easier to identify what relievers are actually still useful – seems like a better path, even if it costs prospects instead of dollars.

    Comment by Dave Cameron — October 17, 2011 @ 1:12 pm

  14. And I pointed out that he did so.
    It is important to stress that because of the radical differences in scheduling for the regular season and postseason.

    However, I think it would make for great analysis to do a full study of bullpen workloads, usage, effectiveness, etc.

    Comment by Anon — October 17, 2011 @ 1:30 pm

  15. Relievers are just failed startes and are easily replaced. That’s the FG line.

    It’s amazing that every team doesn’t have a great bullpen since relievers are so easy to find. Tongue in cheek.

    The big value in using the rleievers in the post-season is that good hitting teams don’t get to see the starter for that 3rd and 4th time through the lineups. Plus, you get to use relievers to guide the platoon splits in your favor.

    Comment by CircleChange11 — October 17, 2011 @ 1:40 pm

  16. Starters don’t save anything anymore. They throw pretty much at the red line, knowing they only have 100 pitches anyway.

    Starters 40 years ago saved something extra for the 8th and 9th innings, or the last time through the lineup. Starters nowadays don’t.

    Relievers are more specialized, and the easiest specialization is to find hard throwers and mix in a slider. That’s much easier to develop than a true 3-4 pitch pitcher with good control.

    How many relievers actually throw a complete inning? The closer? Possibly the setup man?

    Comment by CircleChange11 — October 17, 2011 @ 1:42 pm

  17. We know the times-through-the-order effect plays a strong role in the lesser numbers of starting pitchers. Hitters hit better off a pitcher as the game progresses and they see him again and again. That’s a main driver of the difference in numbers between starters and relievers.

    I’d be interested to see a study that looked for a times-through-the-order effect among relief pitchers within a series. I’m not sure whether those with database skills can easily parse the requisite data, but I’d like to see if a reliever facing the same batters for the third night in a row performs worse. I’d expect a small effect, drastically smaller than the same-day effect for starters, but I don’t really know.

    Theoretically, a team could mix and match their starters during the playoffs, asking them to go one or two times through the order then come out, and pitch again on shorter rest than usual. Maybe 2 “starters” per game then the bullpen. This may or may not be a successful way to bend the strategy of STL and TEX towards a higher number of innings thrown by the higher quality starters.

    All theory here, but food for thought.

    Comment by Newcomer — October 17, 2011 @ 2:20 pm

  18. You can’t actually believe this. Max Scherzer was throwing 97-99 in the ALDS out of the bullpen after sitting 91-94 as a starter. Same deal with Ogando, who gets a huge velo bump when he moves to the bullpen. These guys are absolutely pitching at lower than full performance to ensure that they’re able to pitch deeper into games.

    Comment by Dave Cameron — October 17, 2011 @ 2:21 pm

  19. IIRC, there was a Baseball Prospectus study a few years back that showed that a starting pitcher could expect to shave a full run off his ERA if moved to relief. Unless that’s changed with the new usage patterns/run environments, there’s no doubt it still has a big effect.

    Comment by Nathaniel Stoltz — October 17, 2011 @ 2:42 pm

  20. Here’s what I said …

    [blockquote]Starters don’t save anything anymore. They throw pretty much at the red line, knowing they only have 100 pitches anyway.

    Starters 40 years ago saved something extra for the 8th and 9th innings, or the last time through the lineup. Starters nowadays don’t.[/blockquote]

    I understand that one could look at that and interpret it to mean that I’m saying starters put as much intensity into 100 pitches as they do into 12, but that would be a physical impossibility. Intenisty, volume, and duration exists in an inverse relationship. There are some things, facts, that I assume everyone understands as being understood.

    What I AM saying is that starters don;t “save it” for the later innings. They pretty much throw as intensly as they can for 100 pitches. If they make it to the 8th or 9th, it probably has more to do with their efficiency during that game than whether they’ve saved something for the 140-160 pitches.

    Due to pitch limits, relievers and specialists, quality of bottom order hitters, changing power numbers of batters, etc pitchers no longer “save” pitches for the late innings like pitchers would have done 50 years ago.

    Pitchers know they don’t need to save pitches for the late innings (the comment I was rsponding to) because they only way they’re getting to the late innings is if they are on pace to be near their pitch limit.

    [blockquote]Max Scherzer was throwing 97-99 in the ALDS out of the bullpen after sitting 91-94 as a starter.[/quote]

    Yeah, I’d look at the guns and mph opf all pitches. I’m guessing Scherzer has hit 97mph in a 4th or 6th inning here or there.

    I also saw Velrander hit triple digits in the 8th inning against ARod (on three consecutive pitches). Based on my experience, rather than suggesting that Verlander was holding something back to face ARod in the 8th, I’d say that adrenaline is a BMF.

    Comment by CircleChange11 — October 17, 2011 @ 2:49 pm

  21. Dave, it’s a similar change as the one that has occured in marathoning and Ironman events. Previously, saving something for the end, so that you can finish respectfully, was of value.

    Nowadays, athletes have changed their mind about finishing. Now, they pretty much race at red line intensity (heart rate and such) for the entire race, with the mindset that they’re either going to win or set a personal best or not finish. It’s basically race as hard as you can as long as you can and if the finish line comes before the collapse, then great. If not, well, there’s the next race.

    No one would say this with the intent of giving off the impression that a runner runs the same pace over 1 mile that he runs over 200m.

    Sorry for the additional anlogy, it’s just my way.

    Comment by CircleChange11 — October 17, 2011 @ 2:56 pm

  22. I would say, IMO, that compared to last year, the pitching pretty much sucked all around.

    Comment by channelclemente — October 17, 2011 @ 2:58 pm

  23. Rivera and Robertson were the two best relievers on the Yankees this year.

    Robertson threw 27 pitches in the ALDS. The only Yankee pitcher who threw fewer pitches than that was Mariano Rivera, who had 8 total pitches.

    So Robertson did not throw more pitches than other relievers like Cory Wade, Luis Ayala, Boone Logan, and Phil Hughes.

    I know closers are going to be saved for the very end in tight games, but at the very least Girardi should have found a more efficient way to use Robertson. He was too rigid with the idea of only using Robertson as the 8th Inning Guy.

    Just wait till next year when Joba is the 6th Inning Guy, Soriano is the 7th Inning Guy, Robertson is the 8th Inning Guy, and Mariano is the 9th Inning Guy. Girardi is only going to get more rigid and inflexible with his bullpen usage.

    Comment by Tito Santana — October 17, 2011 @ 4:13 pm

  24. There a few factors that contribute to relievers putting up superior non-walk peripherals. I think one that is overlooked is quality of lineup relievers face. Late in the game, it’s rare that all 8 starting position players are still in the game, especially in the NL. Defensive replacements and double switches with pinch hitters both contribute to the lineup quality diminishing, even if not significantly.

    Also, the broad ‘Relievers’ spectrum includes heavy platoon split guys that face 1-2 batters at most. Right handed starting pitchers face Ryan Howard 3 times or so. Relievers almost never face him unless they’re left handed, skewing it in their favor.

    That’s an extreme example, of course. But still one to consider.

    Comment by Voxx — October 17, 2011 @ 5:16 pm

  25. Isn’t the appropriate analogy for Dave’s point and for the original post’s point one between marathoners and sprinters? Starters are marathoners; they might not hold any performance back for a kick at the end but they adjust their pace such that they can maintain it for the whole race; this adjustment lowers their effective output through any given small sample. Relievers are sprinters; they neither save anything nor adjust their pace down in order to have optimum performance over time; they just push hard the entire time. Are you going to claim that marathoners and sprinters run at the same speeds or, at any rate, that marathoners sprint marathons? (Marathoners – ~12-15 mph, Sprinters ~20-23mph)

    But this was not your only argument. You also suggested that Dave’s data was not representative of any difference in effort from starters and relievers. But the burden would be on you to substantiate that. Since it seems obvious that the above analogy is good. By the way, this second argument seems to concede that you were claiming starters hold something back as compared to relievers, which is what you originally denied.

    In conclusion, it seems to me you picked on the vocabulary of “saving something” and rejected that without refuting the original post’s (and Dave’s) main point. Just because starters find a level of effort they can maintain for the entire start does not mean their effort levels are not lower than relievers’ nor that their effort levels are not lower than they would be if they themselves were relievers. This is the point left unaddressed by your arguments. Do you agree or do you have further arguments against what seems an obviously true observation?

    Comment by LTG — October 17, 2011 @ 5:50 pm

  26. Another aspect is that starters are often asked to pitch through trouble, and relievers arent’t.

    If a starter allows the 1st 2 batters of an inning to reach base, he’s gotta work through that. A reliever gets pulled, likely for a reliever with a platoon split. A reliever on an off night get pulled right away, a starter needs to work through it for 4-5 innings to save the bullpen (during regular season).

    For example, if Marcum were a reliever, he doesn’t even face David Freese. In Carp’s start against MIL it was obvious in the 1st IP that he doesn’t have his usual stuff, but they can’t just have him face 3 batters and call it a night.

    Comment by CircleChange11 — October 17, 2011 @ 5:52 pm

  27. This year in MLB, the times-through-order effect accounted for *all* of the difference. Starters first time through were .250 / .310 / .390, which is fractionally better than the relievers’ total of .243 / .321 / .375.

    Comment by Eric M. Van — October 17, 2011 @ 6:44 pm

  28. The marathon anology isn’t entirely relative even though I brought it up. It’s only accurate if starters throw 100 consecutive pitches without rest. They don’t.

    Just as elite marathoner’s 1-mile times are not much lower than their mile marathon pace (amazingly), IMO a starter’s effort per inning is not much different for each inning. What makes a marathoner great is that they can produce that near max effort for long periods of time. A great marathoner could not just run the mile in the Olympics and win it.

    Likewise, also IMO, one of the things that separates starters from relievers is this ability (either due to genetics, conditioning, or both) to replicate the near max effort over 6-7 “1-inning repeats”.

    If Justin Verlander pitches in relief does he throw 105 mph? If he turns into a closer does his mph vary from game to game? Does Roy Halladay as a reliever throw 95+ mph? If Max Scherzer relieves on a continual basis, versus one isolated, adrenaline-fueled high stakes game, does he hit 97-99mph every time?


    If relievers are able to give 100% for that one single inning, IMO starters are giving very close to that for their “1-inning repeats”. They don’t start out at 85%, so they can give 95% later on. That was the part I was disagreeing on. IMO, a starter holding back and giving 85-90% effort on each pitch is going to get lit up. I don’t think the current margin for error in MLB really allows for pitchers to hold anything back. I think a starting pitcher pitching at 90% is going to find himself out of the game in the 4th inning with his tam down by quite a few runs.

    If we have 10 various IP from Strasburg as a starter and 10 IP as Strasburg as reliever, and we look at mph, movement, results, can we really tell one from the other?

    Despite all of the comments, I am open to changing my mind.

    One thing that is highly interesting to me is how much better a starting pitcher’s performance would be if they faced 30 unique batters in a game, instead of the same 9 guys 3 times. IMHO, much of the decrease in performance is due to the batters being able to assess the pitcher’s velocity, movement, delivery, etc within the same game. If each batter gets to face the starter only once,I wonder if starters (due to their higher talent level) would perform much better than the reliever group?

    Comment by CircleChange11 — October 17, 2011 @ 7:07 pm

  29. That’s what I was referring to in a previous comment.

    My hunch was that is starters were able to face 27 unique batters in a game instead of the same 9 guys 3 times, that starters would perform better than relievers.

    The difference is that MLB hitters are damned good at “timing a guy up” the more they see them.

    The broadcasters in the MIL-StL Game 6 stated that Edwin jackson had pitched against the Brewers 5 times since being traded to StL and that it should be an advantage to him to know the hitters. IMO, this is completely back assward. It should give the Brewers a big advantage to have seen the pitcher that many times in such a short amount of time.

    In addition to your data, the starters “1st time through” are the 1,2,3, 4, 5 batters and the relievers first time through might include the bottom of the lineup. We’d need to see relivers first time through versus comparable hitters (top of the lineup only).

    Comment by CircleChange11 — October 17, 2011 @ 7:13 pm

  30. “They don’t start out at 85%, so they can give 95% later on. That was the part I was disagreeing on.”

    Right. My claim was that no one in this post is claiming this, certainly not Dave. Rather, the claim is that starters give constant max effort relative to the task of starting just as marathoners give max effort relative to the task of marathoning. But the relative task adjusts what the max effort can be given the desire to be as effective as possible through the whole task. Presumably, marathoners can run faster in a sprint than they do in a marathon but that wouldn’t be the most efficient in a marathon. Similarly, a starter could throw a bit harder if he knew his outing would be limited to one inning.

    I’ll grant that the number of variables to control for make finding evidence for either side of this claim difficult. But the anecdotal evidence is in the favor of starter’s adjusting their deliveries to that task.

    Comment by LTG — October 17, 2011 @ 7:23 pm

  31. Thanks, that makes a lot of sense.

    Interesting to think about relievers performance being difficult to predict from year to year but not month to month.

    Comment by Barkey Walker — October 17, 2011 @ 9:55 pm

  32. Anyone who have ever pitched knows that if you start you need to save some energy for the later innings, if you get there.

    This was the comment I was referring to.

    I interpreted it to mean that pitchers held back in the early innings so they’d have enough left in the later innings.

    I think starters pretty much always pitch knowing that they’ve got 100 pitches and they get to spread it out over 6 innings or so, with a rest in between each inning. I also think starters can pretty much duplicate their effort each inning based on conditioning and genetics, and not due to pacing. If they were holding back early on, high pitch outings wouldn’t be the big deal that they are.

    The evidence showing that a 140-pitch outing can negatively affect a starter for 3 or even more starts shows that these guys aren’t pacing themselves in how we traditionally think of the word. Those 140-pitch starts really take it of the starter, even with their talent and conditioning.

    I guess the point I wanted to make is that if a reliever is throwing 100% intensity, then a start is throwing in the vicinity of 95% or slightly higher, and not arguing against the fact that one cannot complete the same intensity over longer duration as they can shorter duration … just that difference in starter intensity per inning vs. reliever intensity per inning is “not much”.

    I actually find it amazing that guys exert that amount of effort each inning, for 200 IP in a season. This isn’t the golden era of baseball where half of the lineup is 180-pound slappers and the bottom third were basically defensive players that had to bat.

    Comment by CircleChange11 — October 17, 2011 @ 10:24 pm

  33. This may be a dumb question, but if the relievers are better than the starters, shouldn’t they be pitching more innings in the regular season too? Where do you draw the line?

    Comment by Chris — October 17, 2011 @ 10:33 pm

  34. I don’t understand this. If relievers are already so inconsistent from season to season, then why would it make more sense to upgrade mid-season based on *less* than a season of performance. That seems to be what you’re suggesting as a good approach in your last paragraph.

    Comment by Matt — October 17, 2011 @ 10:51 pm

  35. This article’s point is another wrinkle on the long known fact that _depth_ of starting pitching is less important in the postseason than it is in the regular season. The Braves in the 90s were the clearest example of it: their 4th and 5th starters blew away what the rest of the league had, which gave them a huge edge in the regular season but meant much less in the playoffs. This went all the way back to Charlie Liebrandt. His regular season value to the Braves was huge, but he wasn’t worth as much in the postseason.

    The 1991 Twins on the other hand were a great example of a team that rode 3 good starters to playoff success. Likewise a team could never get away with a whole season of what the Cardinals just did with starters and relievers in the NLCS — the relievers would burn out — but it worked very well for a short series. Of course the Cardinals were lucky to sneak into the playoffs at all. Missing the playoffs is the danger any team faces when it lacks deep, quality starting pitching.

    Comment by Jeff C. — October 17, 2011 @ 11:01 pm

  36. I think the line is bullpens matter alot in total, but since they pitch few innings anyone individual reliever does not matter much, closers are over valued, and setupmen usually matter the most.

    Comment by kick me in the GO NATS — October 18, 2011 @ 12:44 am

  37. “Just as elite marathoner’s 1-mile times are not much lower than their mile marathon pace (amazingly)”

    This isn’t all that relevant, but this claim is very dubious. An elite marathoner runs about a 5-minute mile pace (2:11 marathon). Considering any high school runner with a decent amount of athleticism can run a 5-minute mile, I am certain elite marathon runners can run the 1-mile much faster than that.

    Comment by Chris — October 18, 2011 @ 2:27 am

  38. Yes, relievers should also be pitching more in the regular season too. The biggest edge can be had for NL teams, replacing a 5-man rotation with a rotation that looks like:

    1st Starter
    2nd Starter
    Middle Reliever / Middle Reliever / Middle Reliever
    3rd Starter
    Middle Reliever / Middle Reliever / Middle Reliever

    You would have 3 designated relievers as for this purpose, and they would never bat. You get a huge advantage because relievers ERAs are lower than starters (especially the 4th and 5th starters they replace), and you can pinch hit for your pitcher every time in those game. The Book goes over this in detail.

    Comment by Ryan — October 18, 2011 @ 2:50 am

  39. Not sure exactly where the line is drawn, but there are a few factors that play into this. At the core, it is a workload issue. Most relievers aren’t going to be able to pile up a 100 IP workload over the course of a season pitching nearly every day. The schedule in the postseason helps (travel days every 3-4 days, rather than 1 day off every 2 weeks), and knowing that the increased workload won’t last forever.

    Also since postseason rotations feature only 4 starters, that’s at least one extra pitcher for the bullpen, plus teams are more willing to trot out SP’s especially in later games in a series if they aren’t going to start again. The Cardinals carried 12 pitchers in the NLCS, with 8 of them being relievers. You can mix and match and pitch guys in back-to-back games throughout the whole series and not have to worry about taxing the pen.

    Managers will also be more likely to play for a 9 inning game in the postseason, leaving only 1 reliever and a SP available to pitch extras if it goes that far. During the regular season there is much more reluctance to use a SP in an extra innings affair, and risk them getting off their routine.

    Comment by Ian — October 18, 2011 @ 7:37 am

  40. More data (I’m a Cardinals fan, so forgive me for focusing on them specifically). Here is the reliever usage by pitch count during the NLCS, including off days:

    Dotel: 20-0-0-0-16-16-0-8, total 60 pitches in 4 appearances
    Lynn: 17-1-0-17-0-21-0-18, total 74 pitches in 5 appearances
    McClellan: 17-0-0-0-0-0-0-0, total 17 pitches in 1 appearance
    Rzepcynski: 9-15-0-4-0-4-0-21, total 53 pitches in 5 appearances
    Boggs: 18-14-0-0-16-0-0-0, total 48 pitches in 3 appearances
    Rhodes: 0-6-0-0-10-0-0-0, total 16 pitches in 2 appearances
    Salas: 0-13-0-8-34-0-0-26, total 81 pitches in 4 appearances
    Motte: 0-15-0-16-0-11-0-12, total 54 pitches in 4 appearances

    Because of the off days, the bullpen wasn’t really overworked at all. But if you went into every game during the regular season with the mindset that you needed 4+ IP of RP every game, had at least one less reliever, and had a lot fewer off days–your bullpen would get gassed fast.

    Comment by Ian — October 18, 2011 @ 8:02 am

  41. Its a sample size of 1 guy, but Ogando’s the poster child for all this, He ran out of gas as as a starter, but can clearly rear back and pitch effectively for 1-2 innings.

    Which leads to a question, will we ever see teams mix and match like this in a regular season. What if you only had 2-3 starters you trust to pitch deeper into games, why not let them pitch like *normal* starters on normal 4 day rest, and then mix and match the other days? Only ask for a few IP from your other *starter*. Build good relievers back up to pitch 2 IPs a shot, 100-120 IP’s a year. 2011 Yankees seem like poster child for this.

    Comment by Adam — October 18, 2011 @ 9:29 am

  42. The thing is that you don’t need five starters to cover all the regular season innings, only three, perhaps even two, if you were willing to have a group of relievers who could finish games and “start” them but only pitched three innings in those games, at most four when neccessary, in order to keep their velocity up and their stuff better and sharper for the duration of their appearance, ie. you would still run with a five man rotation, but have a tandem of pitchers take the place of the 4th and 5th starters who are usually mediocre.

    Those pitchers would also at times come in and relieve games during earlier spots in the rotation. So you would end up with three pitchers pitching at least 600 innings, and in many cases closer to 700. And another eight filling in for those 700-900 more innings you need to complete a season, many of them pitching between 80 and 120 innings.

    I also wonder how much of this difference between starters and relievers is the fact that often starters are left in an inning too long. Of course no one can know when that inning is going to be: It’s different for eveyr player and different on different days, but if you had an arbitrary time when you were going to pull lesser starters that was sure to be before that, you could probably avoid that, while also insuring that they gave max effort on every pitch while out there, kind of like putting someone against a deadline.

    Comment by Crumpled Stiltskin — October 18, 2011 @ 10:59 am

  43. That doesn’t account for actual talent level differences between starters and relievers, though. There’s still an inherent structural advantage to only throwing 15-25 pitches that allows relievers to throw harder, which is a real difference. The fact that they can match more talented pitchers in first-time-through performance is a natural result of this.

    Comment by Dave Cameron — October 18, 2011 @ 11:05 am

  44. You’re not reducing the sample size that you’re evaluating off of, you’re increasing it. Instead of signing FA relievers, you can wait three months, see which ones didn’t break down in-season, and then acquire one of them mid-summer. This has the added benefit of generally not requiring a multi-year commitment as well.

    Essentially, I’m arguing that a team is better off trading talent for Mike Adams than signing Matt Guerrier to a free agent deal.

    Comment by Dave Cameron — October 18, 2011 @ 11:09 am

  45. I looked at this a few years ago while training for a half ironman.

    I do not retain all of the details that led to the conlcusion that I read.

    I already stated that it was stunning that a great marathoners time for the mile was not all that lower than their 1-mile repeat time (they do this in training a lot) and/or their 1-mile pace in marathons.

    It was in reference to training routines of “speed training” (very hard intensity 1-mile repeats) and “LSD” (long, slow distance). Essentially the great marathoners are not necessarily able to run an “A- mile”, but rather can run a lot of “B or B+” miles back to back to back to back.

    If I had all the data handy in regards to this I would. At this point I don;t recall if I read this from Daniels otr Lore of Running or whatever. I recall the conclusion because it “doesn’t make sense” based on what we think is common sense.

    If an elite marathoner runs 26 5-minute miles consecutively, how much faster do they run a single mile? How does that compare to en elite miler? If it’s faster, why don;t elite marathomners just take a “light day” and go win a medal in a mile competition?

    Like I said, I’m open to data illustrating a big difference or incorrect statements on my part, because it doesn’t make complete logical sense.

    Likewise the impressive thing with Ironmen isn’t just the pace they set, but how high of an intensity they can hold for that long. Most people cannot simply “redline” that long for that hard. It doesn;t make sense.

    Comment by CircleChange11 — October 18, 2011 @ 1:14 pm

  46. No, because WAR is a regular-season statistic. If relievers were used in the regular season as we’ve seen them used in the playoffs, they’d have much higher WARs.

    Comment by Kevin S. — October 18, 2011 @ 4:04 pm

  47. Would you rather have Tom Seaver on the mound in the 8th inning or a relief pitcher? Jim Palmer or a relief pitcher? Bob Gibson or a relief pitcher?

    Comment by Mike — May 28, 2012 @ 9:44 pm

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