- Dumb Luck Wins
- Tough Luck Losses
- Out Prevention Percentage
- Infield Outs Prevented
A while back, I looked at some pitchers who had thrown shutouts
Below is a list of the 6 pitchers with at least 40 career WAR and exactly 1 career save. A couple are still active, so while it seems rather unlikely that either will ever get another save, they could still drop off the list.
|Player||WAR||SV||GR||GS||Season||Date of Sv||Result||IP||H||R||BB||SO|
|Tom Seaver||105.3||1||9||647||2nd||7-7-1968||NYM 4, PHI 2||1.0||0||0||0||1|
|Roy Halladay||61.8||1||26||352||2nd||4-7-1999||TOR 9, MIN 3||3.0||0||0||1||3|
|David Cone||57.5||1||31||419||2nd||10-3-1987||NYM 7, STL 1||3.0||1||0||0||3|
|Frank Tanana||55.1||1||22||616||18th||8-2-1990||DET 6, NYY 5 (14)||0.1||0||0||0||0|
|Bret Saberhagen||54.7||1||28||371||1st||7-23-1984||KCR 7, TOR 2||3.0||1||0||0||4|
|Johan Santana||46.5||1||76||263||3rd||7-19-2002||MIN 5, DET 1||3.0||2||0||0||4|
As you can see, there are special circumstances behind each save. Four of the players recorded non-traditional 3-inning saves; Seaver and Saberhagen got their saves in the second games of doubleheaders; and Tanana’s save came in the 14th inning. In all 6 cases, these players were likely used because the regular relievers were tired.
What’s cool about this list is that there were no weak performances in this bunch. Combined, the 6 pitchers went 13.1 shutout innings, gave up just 4 hits and 1 walk, and struck out 15. They may have been slumming it a bit in relief, but they didn’t lessen their effort.
Probably the most unexpected player on the list is Seaver, who made just 9 relief appearances in his long and ridiculously awesome career. Those 9 relief appearances were spread out, too; only once did he make more than 1 in a season: 2 in 1985, his next-to-last year. He pitched out of the bullpen exactly once in each of his first 5 seasons, each time finishing a game. His lone save almost didn’t happen, either. Fellow young starter Jerry Koosman
Before Roy Halladay
The stories of David ConeBret Saberhagen Cy Young
All of the pitchers but Frank Tanana
Santana seems like the only unsurprising player on the list. After all, he did spend much of his early career in relief. However, by the time Santana recorded his only save, he had already had some noteworthy success as a starter. In fact, the save came in his first relief appearance of that season after 8 starts. In the middle 6 of those starts, Santana gave up 7 total runs and struck out 45 in 35 innings. But he was still inconsistent–his last start before the save was a disaster–and he spent the rest of 2002 bouncing between the bullpen and the rotation. Santana wouldn’t enter the rotation for good until July of the next season.
After Halladay and Santana, the next-best active pitchers with exactly 1 save are Zack GreinkeJon Garland
Tagged with: Bret Saberhagen David Cone Frank Tanana Johan Santana Jon Garland Roy Halladay saves starting pitchers Tom Seaver Zack Greinke
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
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