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Thread: Are analytics undervalueing elite relievers?

  1. #1

    Are analytics undervalueing elite relievers?

    I often read that anyone can relieve and the sabermetric community seems to think that you just Need to take a hard throwing SP prospect with fringy control and make him an elite reliever. while SP is of course still more important than RP, the Price of top relievers really has gone through the Roof. The industry thinks that relief pitching is more important than many analysts in the saber community think. even some very sabermetric organisations have paid high prizes.

    Aroldis chapman:
    for half a year cubs gave up a top 30 prospect and a top100 prospect

    craig kimbrel:
    two top50 prospects

    Ken giles (not even that elite, just one really good year):
    two top100 Kind of prospects (albeit Appell seems to be a bust)

    If you look at WAR vs the Surplus value of the prospects those are terrible deals. even in a fantastic season a top reliever will barely top 2.5 WAR and a top30 prospect might easily offer 50 millions of Surplus value.

    however the industry seems to think differently. Are they valueing them differently? or is that purely a sellers market Thing i.e. Teams wanting to get those relievers so that not somebody else gets them and beats you with the reliever?
    http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/the-c...lite-reliever/
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  2. #2
    From Jayson Stark's ESPN article Trading Chapman does not mean the Yankees are Selling:
    Trading Chapman, however, is eminently logical. Yes, he is a nice luxury to have, but as I pointed out when the deal was made, it was going to be nearly impossible to improve on the performance of the back end of the 2015 bullpen, when sans Chapman the Yankees' record when leading after six innings was 66-3, when leading after seven, 73-2, and after eight, 81-0.
    Last edited by four tool; 07-26-2016 at 03:20 AM.

  3. #3
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    It's a seller's market and we're dealing with more irrational people that cling to particular dogmas in that sport so much it seems to affect them psychologically. It's been clearly demonstrated by studies that it's not a good idea to use your best reliever at the end of the game, but instead in any high-leverage situation where they're most needed. Yet, management, media, players and even fans alike insist that if you upset the accepted order of things, everything goes wrong.
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  4. #4
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    Torres is the bauble the Yankees got for Chapman. McKinney kind of has the failed prospect stink starting to ooze off him. He was looking great in A ball and the future was rosy but he has not done well since moving up to AA ball.

    I personally think the Cubs overpaid for 20 or so innings but for whatever reason Theo and Co. have focused on the pen as a way to upgrade the team. In a way I get it. You aren't going to trade for a big time position player because the team is loaded up with them and getting a SP would cost a lot more. So what is left? The pen. Plus you had that bad stretch where the starters were not able to go deep and it severely taxed the pen as well.

  5. #5
    Yeah it is mostly about torres, mckinney doesn't seem to live up to the Hype. I never was that high on mckinney anyway. he has an advanced Approach at the plate which made his hit tool Play up at lower Levels but I think his Tools are not really MLB starter stuff. he has an OK hit tool but not great either and his defense and arm is not spectacular to make up for it.

    basically you have an average hit tool with below average power and defense suited for an OF Corner.

    Still torres is a high Price for half a year of a relief pitcher, you don't usually give up a top30 for that. of course chapman is not just a reliever but the hardest throwing guy in history and one of the most effective ever but for half a year that is still a very big Price.
    I now have my own non commercial blog about training for batspeed and power using my training experience in baseball and track and field.

  6. #6
    I read that you can use a higher percentage of relief innings in the postseason than in the RS, probably because there are more off days. I remember the Cards in 2011 often plugging the Starters early during their WS run.

    Maybe a reliever has extra value for a Team that is almost a sure Thing to make the postseason.
    I now have my own non commercial blog about training for batspeed and power using my training experience in baseball and track and field.

  7. #7
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    Am I mistaken in the assumption that historically any investment in a relief pitcher is a short term one?

    Except for a handful of players, closers usually do not remain elite for long.

    We focus on Rivera, Hoffman, and to a lesser extent the Wagners of the world (who I would argue was closer to Rivera than Hoffman), but the vast majority do not have that type of consistency and longevity. So that would be why teams are usually not willing to sell the farm for one.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by sturg1dj View Post
    Am I mistaken in the assumption that historically any investment in a relief pitcher is a short term one?

    Except for a handful of players, closers usually do not remain elite for long.

    We focus on Rivera, Hoffman, and to a lesser extent the Wagners of the world (who I would argue was closer to Rivera than Hoffman), but the vast majority do not have that type of consistency and longevity. So that would be why teams are usually not willing to sell the farm for one.
    Exactly. When Rivera leaves and is replaced by guys for several years who have just slightly worse save % - you can see why (smart) teams will not overpay. Most every team has a #3 starter in their minors that could be a good closer. You can invest the same amount of money on 10 AAA guys (and one will likely stick) as you would paying huge for a star reliever.
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  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by Bothrops Atrox View Post
    Exactly. When Rivera leaves and is replaced by guys for several years who have just slightly worse save % - you can see why (smart) teams will not overpay. Most every team has a #3 starter in their minors that could be a good closer. You can invest the same amount of money on 10 AAA guys (and one will likely stick) as you would paying huge for a star reliever.
    well Theo epstein gave away his no.1 prospect for chapman and cleveland tradad miller for their best prospect and another top100 guy.

    it is true that a good AAA prospect can give you solid relieving but most AAA prospects don't literally strike out half of the big league hitters they face even for one inning. I think the market for relievers has definitely changed, they certainly slightly overpaid for chapman and miller just using prospect Surplus value but they are not dumb and probably believe that this pays off (yesterday an AAA prospect might indeed have been better than chapman but more often than not he gets the Job done- there is a reason why he has the lowest FIP in MLB history).

    relieving of course inflates ERA+ but still not any MILB pitcher can mow down big league hitters even for one inning. of course over one inning BABIP Magic will yield you a scoreless inning more often than not even with an average pitcher but over a year a closer like chapman, Mo, hoffman or kimbrel probably does pay off especially because they do it for a Long time every year and not just 1-2 years like most relievers
    I now have my own non commercial blog about training for batspeed and power using my training experience in baseball and track and field.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by dominik View Post
    well Theo epstein gave away his no.1 prospect for chapman and cleveland tradad miller for their best prospect and another top100 guy.

    it is true that a good AAA prospect can give you solid relieving but most AAA prospects don't literally strike out half of the big league hitters they face even for one inning. I think the market for relievers has definitely changed, they certainly slightly overpaid for chapman and miller just using prospect Surplus value but they are not dumb and probably believe that this pays off (yesterday an AAA prospect might indeed have been better than chapman but more often than not he gets the Job done- there is a reason why he has the lowest FIP in MLB history).

    relieving of course inflates ERA+ but still not any MILB pitcher can mow down big league hitters even for one inning. of course over one inning BABIP Magic will yield you a scoreless inning more often than not even with an average pitcher but over a year a closer like chapman, Mo, hoffman or kimbrel probably does pay off especially because they do it for a Long time every year and not just 1-2 years like most relievers

    Kimbrel and Chapman's longevity and consistency still remains to be seen. There is such a small group that remained consistently dominant over a long period of time for modern closers.

    Rivera
    Wagner
    Hoffman
    Nathan (arguable)
    Papelbon (arguable)

    You hope you are getting one of these guys, but you could be getting an Eric Gagne or Heath Bell.

    (note: when I say modern the era I am speaking of is basically Rivera's career because Rivera seems to be the gold standard that closers are unfairly compared with)

  11. #11
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    As I've always said, LOL at paying big money to closers

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