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April 12, 2000

Doctoring The Numbers

Consistent Relief, Brady Anderson and Gabe White

by Rany Jazayerli

Consistent Relief

John Wetteland's name has been dropped from discussions of the game's best closers, but his consistency in the most capricious role in baseball is still the standard for the new generation of relief aces. Wetteland has amassed 25 or more saves for eight straight seasons, and his low season of 25 saves came in strike-shortened 1994. The longest streaks of 25 or more saves:

Name                      Years

Lee Smith 13 (1983-95) John Wetteland 8 (1992-99) Dave Righetti 7 (1984-90) Dennis Eckersley 6 (1988-93) John Franco 6 (1986-91) Rod Beck 6 (1993-98) Bruce Sutter 6 (1977-82) Jeff Reardon 5 (1985-89) Gregg Olson 5 (1989-93) Jeff Montgomery 5 (1991-95) John Franco 5 (1994-98) Roberto Hernandez 5 (1995-99) Trevor Hoffman 5 (1995-99)

Wetteland's streak is a testament to his pitching as much as to his opportunity: last season was the first time in the streak that his ERA was above 3.00. Anyone looking to build a platform for Lee Smith's Hall of Fame chances should look closely: only two pitchers in history have a 25-save streak even half as long as the all-time saves leader.

Hell Yes, It Was a Fluke

Last season, Brady Anderson hit 24 home runs, which was a career-high...if you don't count his 50-homer explosion in 1996. Granting that his career isn't over yet, the difference between Anderson's two highest homer totals is the greatest in baseball history:

Name               HR (Best)  HR (2nd-Best) Diff

Brady Anderson 50 24 26 Davey Johnson 43 18 25 Roger Maris 61 39 22 Joe Charboneau 23 4 19 Ken Hunt 25 6 19 Willard Marshall 36 17 19 Terry Steinbach 35 16 19 Ned Williamson 27 9 18 Bob Cerv 38 20 18 Hack Wilson 56 39 17 Jay Bell 38 21 17 Andre Dawson 49 32 17

(Only active players with more than five seasons in the majors were considered, as otherwise Troy Glaus--29 homers as a sophomore, one as a rookie--would top the list.)

It's probably just a coincidence that Anderson's manager in 1996, Davey Johnson, formerly held the fluke-power title. But if Devon White lights the lamp 45 times this year, we'll dispatch a research team immediately.

Oh, He's Going to LOVE Colorado

Gabe White, the most recent pitcher to break down crying in his manager's office after being asked to change into a Rockies uniform, is already quite familiar with the gopher ball. While effective at keeping runners off base (just 11.23 BR/G for his career), White has given up homers to 15.1% of those baserunners, easily the highest percentage of any active pitcher (minimum 250 innings):

Name              HR      BR     HR/BR

Gabe White 47 312 0.151 Brian Anderson 111 855 0.130 Hideki Irabu 68 539 0.126 John Wasdin 74 593 0.125 Bob Wolcott 62 504 0.123 Rick Helling 110 935 0.118 Robert Person 69 604 0.114 Dennis Springer 103 911 0.113 Kevin Jarvis 57 507 0.112 Jose Lima 98 882 0.111

Rany Jazayerli is an author of Baseball Prospectus. 
Click here to see Rany's other articles. You can contact Rany by clicking here

Related Content:  Brady Anderson

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