I think the quirks of individual teams’ front offices and managers play far too big of a role in closer job security for these results to have much meaning.
Comment by theeiffeltower — April 11, 2012 @ 5:50 pm
No matter what your data suggests, I’d be very surprised if Sergio Santos was anywhere near thin ice going into this afternoon. Maybe you should include some kind of smarts modifier (use Fangraphs’ team rankings?) and weight the closer’s ZIPS ROS peripherals accordingly or something.
Comment by theeiffeltower — April 11, 2012 @ 5:53 pm
Good idea, but I think that each case has way too many additional factors (reputation, upside, service time, roster construction, manager tendencies) and way too small a sample to be something we can analyze objectively.
You obviously weren’t watching Rodney pitch in 2011. It was not reasonable and he deserved to get canned. Even after he got canned he still performed terribly in other non-closer relief situations and did nothing to win the job back.
In ’97 Norm Charlton and Bobby Ayala both lost their jobs for sucking. They were so bad, the Mariners traded prospects Derek Lowe and Jason Varitek for Heathcliff Slocumb so he could bring his slightly below average talents into the 9th inning.
In ’98 (after Slocumb lost the job in the offseason), Ayala got the job, stunk, lost it back to Slocumb, who almost immediately lost it to Mike Timlin. Finally, Timlin managed to hold on to the job and did well, saving 18 of 19 opportunities in the second half.
(Of course Timlin left that offseason, and the Mariners went through a year of “Ninth Inning Adventures with Jose Mesa” before finally stabilizing with Kaz Sasaki).
Quick correction -while he may now share the same name with the pitcher formerly known as Fausto Carmona, Roberto Hernandez had his very own career (with 326 saves of his own) using only one name!
Comment by Jonny's Bananas — April 11, 2012 @ 11:26 pm
Comment by philosofool — April 12, 2012 @ 12:25 am
Uehara and Adams are both better pitchers.
Tom Wilhelmsen is a strong saves candidate right now.
Comment by philosofool — April 12, 2012 @ 12:29 am
Well, The Kaiser is a strong saves candidate around the deadline, and right now is a strong reliever to get and stash.
Comment by philosofool — April 12, 2012 @ 12:30 am
(1) Not sure how you could say Rodney was having a “reasonable” season in 2011 when, in fact, he pitched only two times before he was replaced and the second appearance was God-awful, walking three to blow a save and hitting the strike zone about as often as Presidential candidates say something kind about each other. Of course Rodney was on an exceptionally short leash after two years in which he had shown a diminishing ability to strike out batters and a miserable ERA, FIP and xFIP for someone who comes in with no runners on in the 9th, not to mention a fireballer in Walden waiting in the wings.
(2) Your research is badly flawed. You chose as your sample to study closers who had lost their position but you failed to do something elemental: Compare them to closers who have not lost their role. I’m confident that among the latter group you would find 5-game stretches that were comparable, even worse, than the closers that lost their jobs. What distinguishes the two groups — those who lost their roles and those who did not — was the perception of pitcher BEFORE the five-game stretch. Rodney is a case in point. So too was Francisco, who never had the confidence of Ron Washington.
(3) Because your research is flawed you grossly overstate the chance that Santos will lose his position. The Jays’ brain trust believe in Santos, gave up a quality prospect to get him and are desperate for stability in that role. That’s why Alex Anthopoulos said after the second blown save that he was losing no sleep using someone as closer with Santos’s stuff.
“After looking at various time frames, I found that a closer is only as good as his last 5 games.”
No evidence stated about this?
I think, as others have alluded to, that this would be a better piece if you actually did some more situational research and discuss each closer with a paragraph. The chart, while useful, should be something like ‘exhibit B’.
Santos should not be in this discussion. 5 inning sample sizes? Are you kidding?