- Dumb Luck Wins
- Tough Luck Losses
- Out Prevention Percentage
- Infield Outs Prevented
This Week In JunkStats: Week 3 Most Times Giving Up 8 or More Runs in a Game (Since 1947)
The Save is a stupid statistic. It means well, but really, it does a poor job of measuring what it intends to measure. A significant fraction of all saves are, to put it bluntly, not very valuable at all. The Cheapie Awards recognize these most undeserved of saves.
For the inaugural edition of the Cheapies, there will be seven categories:
- Most 3-Out, 3-Run, No Inherited Runner Saves
- Most Saves of Fewer Than 3 Outs
- Lowest WPA in a Save (less than 3 IP)
- Lowest WPA in a Save (3 IP or more)
- Fewest Pitches in a Save
- Easiest Batter to Retire in a 1-Out Save
- Closest to Blowing an Easy Save Without Actually Doing It
Without further ado, let’s get to the awards!
Most 3-Out, 3-Run, No Inherited Runner Saves
The most common Cheapie save involves bringing a closer in to start the 9th inning with a 3-run lead. There were 267
Honorable Mention: Francisco Cordero, (11 out of 40, 28%), Billy Wagner (11 out of 37, 30%), Kevin Gregg (12 out of 37, 32%),
Runner Up: Matt Lindstrom (12 out of 23, 52%… more than half his saves were Cheapies!)
And the Cheapie goes to… Heath Bell! Overall, 17 out of his 47 saves were 1-inning affairs with a 3-run lead (36%). That’s 5 more than anyone else. Bell’s saves were even more deserving of the Cheapie label because he played half his games at Petco Park, the toughest park for scoring runs in MLB; a 3-run lead at Petco is even easier to hold than a 3-run lead elsewhere.
Most Saves of Fewer than 3 Outs
Despite the standard usage of closers (1 inning, only with a 1-3 run lead), there were 103
Honorable Mention: Francisco Rodriguez (4 out of 25, 16%), Jonathan Papelbon (4 out of 37, 11%), Carlos Marmol (4 out of 38, 11%), Brad Lidge (4 out of 27, 15%)
Runner Up: Kevin Gregg (5 out of 37, 14%)
And the Cheapie goes to… Brian Wilson! Wilson had 6 saves of 1 or 2 outs, more than anyone in baseball. Sure, he also led baseball in overall saves with 48, but that works out to 13% of all his saves being less than an inning long.
Lowest WPA in a Save (less than 3 IP)
WPA (or Win Probability Added) simply measures how much a player increased (or decreased) his team’s chances of winning. If a player gets a save, he will have increased his team’s win chances at least somewhat, since he brought his team’s chances of winning to 100% by finishing the win. But while some saves are worth .300 to .400 WPA (30% to 40% increased win chances) or more, many saves are worth much, much less. This category includes only traditional, less than 3 inning saves.
Honorable Mention: Kevin Gregg (.011 WPA vs. the Yankees) and Brad Lidge (.011 WPA vs. the Mets)
Runner Up: Matt Guerrier (.011 WPA vs. the Royals, a particularly weak-hitting team)
And the Cheapie goes to… Brian Wilson! The Beard picks up his second straight Cheapie with this extraordinary feat: two separate saves of .011 WPA. That ties with the others mentioned above for the lowest WPA in a less-than-3-inning save. There were only 5 .011 WPA saves in 2010, and Wilson had two of them. He also had 3 other saves of less than .020 WPA
Lowest WPA in a Save (3 IP or more)
This category is for those weird saves in which a long reliever goes 3 innings or more to close the game. Since the size of the lead has no effect on such saves, you can have saves in games in which a team wins by 10, 12, or more runs. (Wes Littleton of the Rangers even got a save in their crazy 30-3 win over the Orioles a few years ago.) This leads to some spectacularly low WPAs.
Honorable Mention: Raul Valdes, .026 WPA, in this game
Runner Up: Sergio Mitre, .004 WPA, in this game
And the Cheapie goes to… Matt Harrison! In this game
Fewest Pitches in a Save
There were six conventional 1-pitch saves in 2010, but another 1-pitch save was even more of a Cheapie.
Runners Up: Koji Uehara in this gamethis game this game this game this game this game
And the Cheapie goes to… Jonny Venters! I know what you’re thinking. In this game
Easiest Batter Retired in a 1-Out Save
One problem with WPA is that it doesn’t take into account the quality of the hitters or pitchers. In reality, a dominant closer has a much easier time retiring a marginal bench player than a star regular. I sorted through the 1-out saves to find the worst hitters that a closer was asked to retire for the only out of a save. To give you an idea of how bad the hitter had to be to make this list, I eliminated Yuniesky Betancourt from consideration because he was too good.
Honorable Mention: Brad Lidge facing Jesus Feliciano in this gamethis game
Runner Up: Frank Hermann facing Jose Molina in this game
And the Cheapie goes to… Shawn Camp, for facing Cesar Izturis in this game
Closest to Blowing an Easy Save Without Actually Doing It
Sometimes, a closer is brought in to finish off a Cheapie save and still manages to almost blow it. This Cheapie is for all those saves that are undeserved based on both the situation and the performance.
Honorable Mention: Jonathan Papelbon in this gamethis game this game this game
Runner Up: Matt Capps in this game
And the Cheapie goes to… Matt Capps! Yes, him again (though on a different team). Capps entered this game
That’s it for this year’s Cheapies. I hope you enjoyed it. Congratulations to all the winners!
Tagged with: Brian Wilson cheap saves Cheapie Awards Cheapies Heath Bell Jonny Venters Matt Capps Matt Harrison Shawn Camp stupid stats
This blog is devoted to the invention and use of unusual baseball statistics. These Junk Stats are designed to reveal the not-so-meaningful quirks that make baseball so fascinating.
JunkStats is written by Jacob Peterson, who also writes for the Braves blog Talking ChopBeyond the Boxscore
For more about the site or the author, read the About page
What I’ve Done For You Lately
- The Braves Won 2 Straight Games With No RBIs
- The All-Time Labor Day Team
- Jason Vargas Could Make Home Run History
- The Most Runs Scored On A Small Number Of Hits
- Most Team Games Scoring Exactly __ Runs In A Season
- The 2012 Astros And The Longest Extra-Inning Loss Streaks
- The 2012 Orioles And The Longest Extra-Inning Win Streaks
- Most Doubles Allowed By A Pitcher In A Game
- Most RBIs While Driving In All Of A Team’s Runs
- Player Hits Three Homers, Team Scores Three Runs
GraffitiA's Albert Pujols bad pitching Billy Wagner Brad Lidge Braves Carlos Zambrano CC Sabathia Craig Kimbrel Diamondbacks Dodgers dumb luck wins Giants good bad games Greg Maddux Hank Aaron home runs Indians Kelly Johnson Kenny Rogers Livan Hernandez Mark Reynolds Mets names Phillies Pirates Prince Fielder Randy Johnson Rangers rare feats Reds relief pitching Roberto Clemente Roy Halladay Ryan Howard Sammy Sosa streaks strikeouts Theme Teams tough luck losses Twins walks week in JunkStats Willie Mays Yankees