Tuesday, December 5, 2017

From the Handbook: Relief pitcher use

One of favorite segements of the annual Bill James Handbook in recent years has been the relief pitching breakdown, detailing how different relievers were used.

One of the running themes in the blog last season was Paul Molitor's handling of his always thin bullpen. He never seemed to have more than three guys he trusted -- and the identities of those three changed frequently.

The Handbook breaks down the usage of 12 Twins relievers -- the 12 with at least 10 relief appearances.

A few items:

The Twins reliever who inherited the most runners was Ryan Pressley, 38 -- one more than Tyler Duffey. Eleven of Pressley's inherited runners scored (29 percent). But 17 of Duffey's scored (46 percent, worst of the 12 listed). The best strand rate: Michael Tonkin, who has been sold to the Nippon Ham Fighters in Japan (10 inherited runners, one scored).

The reliever with the highest leverage index -- a measurement of the cruciality of the at-bats -- was Brandon Kintzler, the closer who was traded at the end of July and is now a free agent. His leverage index was 1.7. For context, 16 of the 30 major league teams had at least one qualified reliever with a higher leverage index.

Kinztler didn't get a lot of chances to pick up saves with Washington; Dusty Baker generally gave the ninth inning to fellow mid-season pickup Sean Doolittle. Kintzler's leverage index with the Nats was 1.8.

No real surprise here: The Twins reliever with the most consecutive days pitching was Taylor Rogers, 19. What is a surprise, to me at least: the next highest was Matt Belisle  with 13. I'll wager that the majority of them came after he ascended to the glory job after Kintzler was traded.

And the Twins reliever with the most "long" outings --  more than one inning -- was Duffey with 18, more than twice that of any other Twins.

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