Saturday, May 08, 2010

More Proof That Clippard's Good and that Bruney Sucks

I've casually been following the discussions breaking out amongst statheads (see here and here) about a better counting stat to evaluate relievers than saves/holds. Those two stats, for all sorts of reasons, don't necessarily tell you who the best pitchers are. They're like one of those game show puzzles where a picture slowly comes into focus. At a certain point you've got enough information in your eyes to make a guess about what's going on, but you don't have the complete picture.

I'm not entirely sure that Shutdowns and Meltdowns is completely crisp and high focus, but it's interesting.

Basically, they took WPA and assigned a threshold (in this case +/= 6%). WPA, as I'm sure I've bleated 100 times before, takes a measure of what's happened in the situation before an even and then the result of that event. So say a team has a 95% chance of winning when Brian Bruney comes in, and gives up 80-bazillion runs. Bruney's performance would've dropped the Nats' chances down to 0. His net WPA would be -95%.

Now for you sneerers out there, these numbers weren't pulled out of a calculator's digital ass. They're based upon real, actual, honest-to-god, human-beings-actually-played-in-these games. So Chad Cordero's built into the system. Ryan Zimmerman's walk-off is built into the system. Adam Dunn's taking 5 pitches, and getting yelled at by morons even though only one of them was actually a hittable pitch,at the end of a game is built in the system. If it happened on a field, it's in the database.

So, the long and short of it is that if you look at individual games and what players have added, Clippard's the best in the league.

His 10 shutdowns is tops. And his 0 meltdowns is, natch, tied for the league lead. This was highlighted, of course, by his 3-inning stint in the win against the Mets in early April.

On the other side, of course, is Brian "Rizzo Loves Bears" Bruney. He's got just 2 shutdowns in his 15 games, to go with 3 meltdowns. If it seems like he has more meltdowns than that, you're sorta right. He's had 4 other games where his outings have decreased the chances of the Nats winning. But keep in mind that he's also pitched in some pretty low leverage situations. After that initial flurry of ass-suckery, Riggleman sorta buried him in Batistaland, before trotting him back out to fail this past week.

Apparently having a World Series ring doesn't mean that a player doesn't suck? Odd. I was pretty sure the players would stand around in awe of Bruney's greatness. Or maybe they're just laughing at his Bedrosian-lite beard.

Finally, everyone's a-agitatin' for Storen to come up. Teh Zuck wrote an article yesterday talking about how the economics of the game mean we're not going to see him for a while. If so, that's fucking stupid.

Here's the thing. It's predicated on him sticking around for the next 6.5 seasons without once being demoted. We seem teams make roster decisions based on option status every single spring, and hardly anyone bats an eye. Why couldn't they call him up now -- when they clearly have a need -- and get back some of that service time next year or the following year.

Or if you want to look things negatively, what if he's not completely dominant? They're handling him under the best-case scenario that he's going to come up and instantly succeed. Maybe he'll struggle at some point in the next two years and need to be sent down to figure some things out. Maybe they'll need to option him at some point to bring in an emergency starter (as they're doing with Justin Maxwell.)

Basically, with a reliever, there are far too many variables for them to wait around. Chances are he's not going to be up for the next 6.5 years -- and I haven't even talked about how disposable most relievers are and how easy it is to chew 'em up, which'd mean they might not get 7 seasons out of him.

This isn't like the Strasburg decision where an early call-up means $15 million. He's not going to be closer this year. He likely won't next year. Maybe Capps is going to be here for four years or so? If so, then Storen's not going to be making big money in arbitration. Absolute worst case scenario for the Nats, the difference in Storen now versus Storen in a few weeks could be $5 million 6 years down the road. $5 million in 6 years is pocket change when you discount it.

For the want of a nail... or something like that.


  • I believe Storen's ready, but I also believe that that's the move of last resort. I maintain that Riggles needs another lefty so that he's comfortable with Burnett in the bullpen. Let's try English, maybe Garate in some kind of LOOGY role and say to Riggles, time to make Burnett your 7th inning guy and see how he does.

    Can't be worse than what we've got.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 5/08/2010 10:25 AM  

  • Blah blah blah UGG BOOTS.

    By Anonymous Aussie Gus, at 5/08/2010 8:55 PM  

  • Chris, I think you're assumption here is you seem to think $5 million over six years isn't a lot of money to Uncle Teddy Lerner and son Markie Mark. If you really believe that, you must really believe these low-lifes are the type who would skip out on a check or, worse yet, not pay their rent.
    Oh, wait a minute...never mind.

    When/if they bring Storen up, the Lerners just might require the guy to fly Southwest to BWI, and take the $3.10 Metrobus to the ballpark. And get the receipt, please.

    By Anonymous Sunshine_Bobby_Carpenter_Is Too_Pessimistic_for_Me, at 5/09/2010 9:10 PM  

  • Your post could have the alternative title "or why Pythag is irrelevant to the Nats." The Nats have outperformed their Pythag because they win the close games and lose by large margins. Or, because Clippard and game hold the fort in the clse games the Nats lead, while the gas-can crew make games the Nats are trailing worse. It's a function of the good pitchers pitching when the Nats are ahead and the bad pitchers pitching when the Nats are behind (that and Marquis pitching at all).

    By Blogger John O'Connor, at 5/10/2010 1:25 PM  

  • Last night Riggleman did what he had to do. Bruney "sucked" it up and got the job done. Dribble is still saying he will be all right. Maybe he will.

    By Anonymous Sec 204 Row H Seat 7, at 5/11/2010 8:52 AM  

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