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Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Batter as closer: juxtaposing Mariano Rivera and Barry Bonds, Mickey Mantle, Ted Williams.

What if a great hitter were used like a closer? You know, like Mariano Rivera.

Should Mariano Rivera be elected to the Hall of Fame? Tuesday, July 4, 2017

The premise here is that, although Rivera preformed his role very well, his role wasn't nearly as important as it was perceived during his career (1995-2013)...


The Myth of the Closer
By David W. Smith
Presented July 29, 2016
SABR46, Miami, Florida

1. The entry of a new pitcher to start the 9th inning has increased dramatically since 1980.

2. The presence of this new pitcher has had almost no effect on a team’s chances to win.

3. Ace closers bring slightly more wins than other 9th inning pitchers (92% vs 88%)

4. Performance of 9th inning pitchers is almost indistinguishable between closers and others.

5. Increased use 9th inning pitchers correlates with overall increase of relief pitchers.

6. Pitchers have had progressively shorter stints for over 100 years.

7. Current pattern of closer usage is not justified by their contributions to team wins.


Mariano Rivera, the last closer. Thursday, July 13, 2017

What if a batter were a closer?  In the 1960s when Mickey Mantle’s career was winding down and Yankee manager Ralph Houk needed to rest him, Mickey was used to pinch hit, usually in a game changing situation.  I wondered if it might not be more effective to hold Mickey out and wait for that one big moment when he could pinch hit and try to win the game in that one at bat.
But suppose you could find batting specialists, pinch hitters who were otherwise not great players?  Would you consider them for the Hall of Fame?
How about fielding specialists who enter late in games to protect a lead?  Would you consider them for the Hall of Fame?
Probably not.  Then why consider Rivera, no matter how well he performs his role?  That role is very limited and probably ill-defined.

Jack Curry: you're stupid if you wouldn't vote Mariano Rivera into the Hall of Fame. I guess I'm stupid. Monday, March 12, 2018

Mariano Rivera ... the most overrated "player" in at least half a century...

... Rivera is the all time great for a role that didn't really exist more than 30 years ago. And it's increasingly being diminished by the more avant-garde self appointed smarties...

Rivera pitched only a few more career innings than Babe Ruth: 1,283 to 1,221. Sandy Koufax had a short career but he had 2,324 innings, more than 1,000 more than Rivera. Koufax had seasons with these innings: 355, 323, 311...

... in none of his seasons did Rivera even come close to qualifying for the league lead in Earned Run Average (ERA): 162 innings. Would you vote for a batter who never had the 502 Plate Appearances to qualify for leading in Batting Average in a season? ...

Mariano Rivera pitched in less than five percent of his team's innings. How the heck much could he possibly contribute in so few innings? ...

I've long held that Rivera could have contributed at least as much by pitching the first inning in every other game. That would be 81 appearances and 81 innings. At least then he would be pitching to the top of the order, not a random part of the batting order...

I may expand on this in a future post but consider whether you would prefer for a season:
- Rivera pitching 70 innings in 70 appearances
Barry Bonds pinch hitting in all 162 games; not 2001 when he hit 73 home runs so as not to bias this, maybe 2004 when Bonds had On Base average .609.

If Bonds offends you, substitute Ted Williams 1941, On Base .553.
Rivera or Bonds/Williams? Pick one, Jack Curry. Show us how much of a slam dunk Hall of Famer Rivera is.

Joseph Maloney said...

... In the 1960's going into the 9th with a one run lead, a team had a .844 chance of winning that game, a team in the same circumstances in the 2000's has a .848 chance of winning. With a two run lead in the 1960's a .93 chance of winning, in the 2000's a .93, a team in the 60's with a three run lead had a .974 chance of winning, in the 2000's a .976. Before the closer, and even before the old fireman position was in full glory, a team that had a lead in the 9th was an overwhelming favorite to win the game, same as today. The numbers as a whole have barely moved over the years and are very consistent with the 70's, 80's and 90's ...

Rivera succeeded in 89% of his save opportunities.


Batting 8th607624588471131229101291525.
Batting 7th596617560421051101083371534.
Batting 6th59061257056108161751321474.
Batting 5th55358053949111211722311464.
Batting 9th55657153436116182394271405.
Batting 1st5155404993891133491271073.
Batting 4th508536487621302031251371092.95.267.323.394.71719211606124.317158
Batting 2nd494517483381041424145241164.
Batting 3rd478506459611201611583421032.45.261.325.399.723183621267.306160

Rank order of batting order positions to which Rivera pitched most often: 8, 7, 6, 5, 9, 1, 4, 2, 3. Teams tend to place their best hitter in the third or fourth spot in the batting order.

Mickey Mantle or Ted Williams before the designated hitter rule was introduced in the American League in 1973. Or Barry Bonds in the non DH National League. Suppose that you could have one pinch hit in each game by a batter of that caliber. Would you prefer that to Mariano Rivera doing his incomparable one inning wonder act: 70 single innings in 70 games in the 9th inning with a lead? Which would you prefer?

And if Mantle, Williams, Bonds made an entire career of it and never once came close to qualifying for the league lead in averages, would you consider them sure fire, first ballot, unanimous Hall of Fame selections? If they hung on for 20 years, they would have 3,240 plate appearances (PA). Half that if they only fulfilled the minimum requirement of ten seasons of non specific amounts of play: 1,620 PA. Hall of Famers they?

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