I have enjoyed many of the discussions from the last couple of weeks in response to my invitations into innovation. I’ve expressed my displeasure with one of fantasy baseball’s most notorious categories. Then, because the feedback was so good, I asked what else those who play our game would like to see done differently as far as categories are concerned. The reaction has implored me to collect the ideas and sift through them to see what we can come up with and then take the conversation to another phase. I have also preliminarily developed a couple of suggestions that are intriguing, at least to me.
I realized after I’d posted the second one that I’d left out something, however. I’d wanted to ask what opinionated, creative rotisserie and head-to-head baseball game players thought of saves. Aw hell, let’s include the indifferent and unimaginative ones, too! OK, some of your reactions addressed that topic. And if you really expressed your feelings on saves, then I might have to censor all the curse words.
We have talked about some simple substitutions. SV+HLD and SV-BS and categories of that sort are in our periphery. Specifically, however, I’m curious about what readers thought of possible replacements for the saves category about which I’ve read in my travels but which haven’t caught on. And we really couldn’t have expected them to catch on.
The first comes from former FanGraphs writer Steve Slowinski: “Shutdowns, Meltdowns and Saves.” He later pointed out that the dialog from which they emerged had origins elsewhere, as did the creation of those first two stats. His goal didn’t seem to have much to do with our game, but the idea is really interesting. The “new” pair has been around for several years. It’s derived from Win Probability Added. It’s a pretty simple, objective entry. It’s about the quality of the relief performance. It could in fact help use to derive a counterpart to the quality start or Pure Quality Start, such as the quality relief appearance.
The second comes from Todd Zola, one of my longtime industry colleagues at Mastersball. Todd called it “KNIP: the New Saves.” It’s K/9+IP (innings pitched), in essence. Some commenters on my two blogs have suggested innings pitched for the purpose of a replacement for W, but I haven’t seen this idea for relievers. As Todd notes in his piece from 2012 (keep that in mind when you examine his lists), “the telltale aspect of the K/9+IP list is the absence of a reliever until Craig Kimbrel at #36. Even more relevant is the subsequent order of relievers, which is a far better measure of the player’s skills and contributions.” Note that he removed starting pitchers from the lists displayed, but he explains why earlier in the post.
I think they’re interesting – good talking points. I hope to offer another idea, one that incorporates the use of inherited runners stranded, which I think is an invaluable if imprecise measure of a reliever’s ability. We have a couple of interesting, distinguished concepts here already. How much do they appeal to you?
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