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  1. What’s the IP requirement to be a qualified reliever?

    Ernesto Frieri is also doing crazy things (though not as crazy). He’s actually a little better than Kimbrel right now.

    Comment by DJG — July 26, 2012 @ 1:25 pm

  2. Frieri is better than Kimbrel in terms of K/9, I should clarify.

    Comment by DJG — July 26, 2012 @ 1:32 pm

  3. It’s a good time to be a Reds fan. We have the pitcher with the fastest pitch, and the runner with the fastest legs coming up.

    Comment by DK — July 26, 2012 @ 1:33 pm

  4. i guess chapman will never be a starter?

    Comment by reds fan — July 26, 2012 @ 1:34 pm

  5. Frieri has 2 more IP than Kimbrel. I’m sure he qualifies. But neither Kimbrel’s 15.00 or Frieri’s 15.15 is that high up the single season leaderboard.

    Comment by TKDC — July 26, 2012 @ 1:38 pm

  6. I’m starting to be okay with that. If memory serves, his velocity dropped significantly when he (briefly) was starting, and his results were not good. Sure, it would be better to get 200 quality innings a year from him, but he so far hasn’t shown that he can do that.

    On the other hand, Dusty is still talking about his future in the rotation, so we may yet get to find out if he can take the extra workload and slower fastball.

    Comment by Nick — July 26, 2012 @ 1:42 pm

  7. Glen Perkins has a 17.4% swinging strike rate on his fastball??

    What in the hell is he doing differently (other than just moving to the bullpen)? Last year it sat at 10.1%, 8.7% the year before that, and just 2.9% in 2009. The movement on his fastball has decreased every year since ’09, as well. Something is amiss here!

    Comment by saucypony — July 26, 2012 @ 1:43 pm

  8. It’s insane someone of Chapman’s talent is being marginalized as a closer. It’s obvious he would be a very effective starter and the Reds are not fully exploiting his potential.

    Comment by Phantom Stranger — July 26, 2012 @ 1:50 pm

  9. He’s throwing it harder.

    Comment by Bryz — July 26, 2012 @ 1:58 pm

  10. Maybe. See Bard, Daniel for an example of what can go wrong though.

    Comment by Oliver — July 26, 2012 @ 2:02 pm

  11. I was just wondering in general what the qualification requirements are.

    My comment about Frieri was separate. I just noticed that he too was getting into some rarefied strikeout air.

    Comment by DJG — July 26, 2012 @ 2:03 pm

  12. Haha, I suppose that’s the first thing I should’ve looked at, huh?

    Average velocity:
    2009 – 89.7
    2010 – 92.0
    2011 – 93.8
    2012 – 95.3

    Comment by saucypony — July 26, 2012 @ 2:05 pm

  13. It’s also obvious that you don’t follow the Reds too closely. Chapman was the Reds best starter in spring training. He was awesome. Then Ryan Madsen got hurt. Then Bill Bray got hurt. Then Nick Masset got hurt. The Reds had six quality starters and a gaping wound in their bullpen so they reluctantly sent Chapman to pen. Most people thought he would only stay there until one of the starters struggled or got hurt. Well, low and behold, all five starters have been healthy and excellent all season for the Reds while Chapman has moved into the closer role. The Reds are in first place and are rolling right now even without their best player. Life is good for Reds fans. Chapman will get his shot at the rotation again next year.

    Comment by SirBuckeye — July 26, 2012 @ 2:07 pm

  14. “marginalized as a closer”???

    Ask any Yanks fan in the last 12 years, having a closer is crucial. Mariano couldn’t hack it as a starter but is pretty lethal as a closer.

    Comment by Snarf — July 26, 2012 @ 2:08 pm

  15. People need to stop assuming elite relievers can throw 200 innings of even average baseball. Chapman is very valuable as a fireman. He should be able to produce ~3 War as a fireman.

    Comment by Matty Brown — July 26, 2012 @ 2:11 pm

  16. In 5.1 innings vs. the AL he has given up 7 earned runs. That means in his remaining 42.1 innings against the NL he has given up ONE!!! earned run against the Pirates.

    Comment by tigermojo — July 26, 2012 @ 2:36 pm

  17. Far too much rationality going on right here.

    Comment by gweedoh565 — July 26, 2012 @ 3:01 pm

  18. The Pirates are the only ones who have scored? Man, the times they are a-changin’.

    Comment by R M — July 26, 2012 @ 5:07 pm

  19. “Since 2002 — the first season for which monthly splits are available”

    I assume you mean on this site? As certainly, K’s and PA’s have definitely been recorded so that monthly splits are eminently possible…

    Comment by B N — July 26, 2012 @ 9:32 pm

  20. “Couldn’t hack it” is the key. If Rivera could have pitched anywhere near as well as a starter and stayed healthy enough to pitch 180 innings a year, he obviously would have been more valuable. Chapman didn’t get a chance to fail as a starter.

    Comment by Pitnick — July 26, 2012 @ 10:12 pm

  21. Terrific piece. In general, might there be a statistical grain of salt that can be applied to the recent K rate explosion? I wasn’t surprised to see that, in 1927, Babe Ruth K’ed more than any other AL batter. The number surprised me. 89. (And Hack Wilson led the NL with 70.) As recently as 1993, Reggie Sanders led the AL with 114. Today, if you K just 114 times, you are the next Tony Gwynn. So I’d be interested in seeing K/9s over time. Alternatively I’d be interested to know why it’s irrelevant, that the rise is simply a result of pitchers throwing harder, for instance.

    Comment by Keith — July 27, 2012 @ 12:21 am

  22. Chapman’s not just an elite reliever; he’s having one of the best seasons a reliever has ever had. Not only is he more than an “elite” reliever, but he’s left handed. He needs a chance to fail as a starter.

    Comment by BlackOps — July 27, 2012 @ 3:20 am

  23. Boone Logan and Sergio Romo are also specialty relievers.

    Comment by Marc — July 27, 2012 @ 3:43 am

  24. Not only is his fastball around 100 but part of the reason it’s so devastating is he releases it closer to plate than most guys. There was a cool sports science video about how he uses torque to generate velocity but also releases way out front to give the batter less time to react

    Comment by Colin P — July 27, 2012 @ 8:11 am

  25. Yes, when I want to get the best possible answer to a baseball question, I always ask a Yanks fan. Every single one of them knows more about baseball than anybody else.

    Comment by Baltar — July 27, 2012 @ 11:37 am

  26. K% has indeed risen every year since 2008 and is at an all-time high of 19.7% and going higher. Here it is over time: http://www.fangraphs.com/leaders.aspx?pos=all&stats=bat&lg=all&qual=0&type=8&season=2012&month=0&season1=1871&ind=0&team=0,ss&rost=0&age=0&players=0&sort=9,d

    Yes an argument for why is these sorts of specialized relievers are just too good now. But I think it is obvious that a huge reason for these abberrations is hitters just don’t care about contact. (see Mark Reynolds famous response to his # of K, “who cares?”). They came up in the steroid era, the only way you move on to the next level is HR.

    Just look at each of the videos above. Look at both hitters’ 2-strike approach. Where are there eyes? Their heads? On the ball or swinging out of their shoes pulling their heads out? So awful it would make a little league coach blush.

    Chapman is awesome and would have great numbers no matter what. But clearly the numbers are being padded by just horrid hitting approaches. See also the fact that after generations of knuckleballers establishing a consistent baseline result to that pitch, Dickey seems like the best ever. You can either accept that, or the more likely reason that hitters are just not good at making contact which is spotlighted when facing special outliers like a 100 mph fastball or a knuckleball.

    Comment by Fatbot — July 27, 2012 @ 11:59 am

  27. REGGIE SANDERS PLAYED IN THE NL IN 1993 GODDAMMIT

    Comment by gweedoh565 — July 27, 2012 @ 2:07 pm

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