Tuesday, June 6, 2017

You gotta know when to hold 'em

The hold is an unofficial stat designed more than 20 years ago by STATS Inc. to be for set-up men what the save is for closers. (I believe part of the motivation was a now-defunct fantasy game STATS offered at the time.)

The hold shares many of the same flaws as the save, but has one significant difference: managers don't run their bullpens to maximize holds the way they do saves. But like the save, the hold is completely subject to managerial discretion. I look at the figure less as to evaluate the pitcher and more to evaluate the manager. Which pitchers in his bullpen (other than the closer) does the skipper entrust with leads?

This is particularly of interest with the 2017 Twins, because Paul Molitor came into the season talking about not having standardized roles in his bullpen. In truth, Brandon Kintzler is closing. But there does seem to be a good bit of flux between the starters and Kintzler.

Here's everybody (other than Chris Gimenez) to have pitched in relief for the 2017 Twins and their holds:

Taylor Rogers, 13 (and 1 "blown save", or lost lead)
Matt Belisle, 9 (1 lost lead)
Tyler Duffey, 4 (0 lost leads)
Ryan Pressly, 4 (0 lost leads)
Craig Breslow, 0 (one lost lead)
Kintzler, 0 (15 saves, 2 lost leads)
Justin Haley, 0 (1 save, 0 lost leads)
Michael Tonkin, 0 (0 lost leads)
Buddy Boshers, 0 (0 lost leads)
Adam Wilk, 0 (0 lost leads)
Randy Rosario, 0 (0 lost leads)
Alex Wimmers, 0 (0 lost leads)
Drew Rucinski, 0 (0 lost leads)
Jason Wheeler, 0 (0 lost leads)

Kinda striking, isn't it? Haley's save was the almost obsolete three-inning type in a blowout and Breslow's blown save came during that disasterous series against the Astros when the bullpen disintegrated,  In reality, for all the shuffling of bodies in the Twins bullpen, Molitor has used only five guys to protect leads, and one of them has been demoted.

That Matt Belisle is, by this measure, one of Molitor's more trusted late relievers is ... startling.

1 comment:

  1. We attended the Astro fiasco, the day following the Twins 15 inning loss to Longoria's good day

    I think it is a bit unfair to blast that bullpen that day for two reasons: 1) overworked; and 2) it rained when the Twins were in the field. Santana, Pressly, Breslow all had trouble pitching in the rain.

    Santana got out of the jam in his last inning, but he struggled.