Save Situation Leaders

Yesterday we took a cursory look at the splits of closers in saves vs. non-save situations.  Using a sample of 696 player seasons and 220 unique closers from 1980-2007 it was discovered that, yes, it appears closers perform worse in non-save situations.  The metrics discrepancies were not drastic to the tune of a 2.00 ERA vs. a 5.00 ERA, but they were statistically different via our paired samples t-test. 
For the next few weeks and months I will be looking into more aspects of this type of study, since sometimes the fanatical truism of “better in save vs. non-save” isn’t accurately representing what the fans desire to test.  Perhaps they mean low leverage vs. high leverage, which isn’t blind to save vs. non-save.  Perhaps they mean cheap saves vs. tough saves.  The list goes on and on.  Today, however, we will take a look at the leaders in stats during save situations from 1980-2007:
ERA

  • Jose Valverde, 2005: 0.00
  • Eric Gagne, 2003: 0.32
  • Doug Henry, 1991: 0.42
  • Dennis Eckersley, 1990: 0.47
  • Trevor Hoffman, 1998: 0.49

BOTTOM ERA

  • Keith Foulke, 2005: 11.07
  • Dan Plesac, 1990: 7.07
  • Jeff Russell, 1994: 6.94
  • Derrick Turnbow, 2006: 6.90
  • Mike Williams, 2003: 6.82

OPS AGAINST

  • Eric Gagne, 2003: .290
  • Doug Henry, 1991: .337
  • Goose Gossage, 1981: .358
  • Billy Taylor, 1996: .366
  • John Hudek, 1994: .376

BOTTOM OPS AGAINST

  • Keith Foulke, 2005: 1.136
  • Doug Henry, 1993: .984
  • Ambiorix Burgos, 2006: .953
  • Matt Herges, 2004: .914
  • Jorge Julio, 2006: .911

K/9

  • John Rocker, 2000: 16.39
  • Armando Benitez, 1999: 15.70
  • Eric Gagne, 2003: 15.47
  • Billy Wagner, 1999: 15.36
  • Brad Lidge, 2004: 14.90

BOTTOM K/9

  • Dan Quisenberry, 1981: 1.67
  • Rick Camp, 1980: 2.21
  • Tom Hume, 1982: 2.60
  • Dan Quisenberry, 1980: 2.66
  • Kent Tekulve, 1980: 2.70

BB/9

  • Dennis Eckersley, 1990: 0.31
  • Jay Howell, 1991: 0.39
  • Dennis Eckersley, 1991: 0.45
  • Jeff Reardon, 1992: 0.51
  • Dale Mohorcic, 1987: 0.53

BOTTOM BB/9

  • Rob Dibble, 1993: 9.60
  • Mitch Williams, 1992: 8.06
  • Mitch Williams, 1991: 7.69
  • Ryan Dempster, 2006: 7.59
  • John Rocker, 2000: 7.48

John Rocker has the highest K/9 in save situations since 1980 but also one of the worst BB/9, and both came in the same season.  In 2000, he fanned 16.39 batters per nine and walked 7.48 per nine with the game on the line.  Inversely, Dennis Eckersley finds himself in the lowest BB/9 top ten multiple times.  On the strikeout side, Dan Quisenberry’s K/9 make me laugh, and it’s equally interesting that all of the lowest K/9 came from the very early 1980s. 
This leaderboard also suggests Keith Foulke had a very bad 2005, that Eric Gagne’s 2003 is likely the greatest all time, and that Doug Henry could be really on or really off!

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One Response to Save Situation Leaders

  1. Matt Bandi says:

    Mike Williams was an All-Star in 2003. That’s sad.

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