The margins of victory/defeat for a given team will conform to a particular distribution. Because you are subtracting one random variable (runs scored) from another (runs allowed), the resulting distribution is almost certain to resemble a discrete Gaussian. For a .500 ballclub, it will probably be symmetric and centered right around zero (although zero is an impossible outcome in this discrete distribution).

The team that gives you the most save opportunities is likely to be the one whose margin of victory/defeat distribution has the most mass at +1, +2, +3 on this distribution. It’s not obvious to me which sorts of teams will produce that best, but my intuition is that it will be winning, but low-scoring teams. Consider two teams that, on average, outscores their respective opponents by 1 run. But Team A scores 6 runs a game against 5, and Team B scores 3 runs a game against 2. It seems to me that the distribution of margins of victory for Team B will be more tightly centered than for Team A, resulting in more save opportunities.

I guess I could rephrase my hypothesis more concisely by saying that lower scores (runs for and runs against) lead to tighter ballgames, and tighter ballgames lead to more save opportunities. Here’s the plot I’d like to see: a scatterplot (like one that you’ve created, with Saves on the y-axis and team Winning % on the x-axis) with separate colors for high-scoring teams and for low-scoring teams. Plot the trendline separately for each group, and see if they look any different. Maybe we’ll learn something.

]]>Good pitcher + not closer = no saves (or very few)

Bad pitcher + closer = some saves (until he loses the job)

Good pitcher + closer = a lot of saves (with job security)

So now we’re talking about finding a good closer from a team with a good closer? Seems circular to me.

The fact of the matter is teams with good setup men tend to get more save opportunities for their closer. I’d say run a graph showing bullpen ERA vs saves, but I have a feeling we all already know what it looks like.

]]>fantasy players looking for saves should aim for teams with bad offenses. they may not win as often, so their are less leads to protect, but conversely they have fewer blowouts that are detrimental to save totals as well.

to put it another way, even the worst teams win 60/70 games… but of those 65 games, a larger percentage of those wins are saves

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