Mike examines whether games-finished clauses are indicative of future save opportunties.
When I was a small child everything I knew about baseball came from either the back of a baseball card or what the local color guys for the Yankees and Mets told me on TV. During this impressionable age, I remember reading about Steve Stone winning the Cy Young Award in 1980 and how he earned a $10,000 bonus for his trouble. As an impressionable lad, I figured that for Stone to have this bonus in his contract he had to be an excellent pitcher. Some superficial research told me that this wasn’t the case at all; Stone was a solid-but-unspectacular pitcher. As I learned from the back of this particular baseball card, the bonus clause was put into the contract, but it was something the Orioles figured he’d never collect.
“It was like an insurance salesman telling you, ‘We’ll give you $50,000 if an elephant falls on you,’ because he knows darn well an elephant isn’t going to fall on you,” Stone said at the time.
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The tater trots from September 16 (and the weekend). Anthony Rizzo spoiled the Pirates day in a big way, Ryan Braun had his own big day.
After yesterday's games, there are now exactly two weekends of regular season baseball left. And, lucky for us, things are just now getting really interesting! With the recent poor play by Pittsburgh, Los Angeles, and St. Louis, we are on the verge of seeing three possible playoff teams choke in the final month of the season. Of course, a lot can happen in 17 games...
With all of the big-name free-agent closers off the market, how are things shaking out at the end of each team's bullpen?
Now that the Blue Jays have signed Francisco Cordero, all of the legitimate closer candidates are now off the free-agent market. As such, now makes for a good time to check out how things look now that the closer carousel has stopped spinning.
A look at the new-look Astros and the many unknowns currently inhabiting Minute Maid Park.
Since July 1, the Astros are 9-23 and have been outscored 109-163. At the trade deadline, they traded away their two most recognizable offensive stars, Hunter Pence and Michael Bourn. Even before the deadline, Jeff Keppinger was sent packing. The Astros were probably the worst team in baseball before the deadline and were certainly that after it. The obscurity of the Houston lineup caused Larry Granillo to ask how the team would stack up against the Peanuts gang. That may be a stretch, but it seems fair enough to ask how they would stack up against a middling Triple-A team. Given how long Baseball Prospectus authors and our fellow travelers have been calling for rebuilding in the Bayou City, however, it seems unfair to criticize their current futility. Instead, let us provide this introduction to the new-look(-away) Astros.
An Athletic and a Royal join the pack, while a late-inning Angel bids farewell.
Since I’m constantly suggesting that you can always find saves throughout the season and therefore shouldn’t spend too much in the draft to secure them, I thought I’d put my convictions to the test. In one of my main leagues, I’m leading the group in saves by a wide margin. Only one of my current relievers was acquired in the draft, Pittsburgh’s Joel Hanrahan, and though I’ve always been high on him, even he was a pretty late pick. Otherwise, I’ve been able to pick and choose with the names that have popped up in this column throughout the season, and it’s served me pretty well. I hope you’ve found value in it as well, but as always, feel free to speak up in the comments if there’s something we can do to serve you better.
Many relievers make their exit from the list, but Mike introduces a fantasy rarity: the non-closing reliever worth owning
I’m sure I’ve said this before, but every week in this space I search for hidden saves to help fantasy players win their leagues, all the while knowing that in the real world, the save is a basically meaningless stat that has often caused managers to improperly use their best relievers. There’s no better example of this than the fact that the two teams with the highest save percentage as of Wednesday are the Phillies and the Dodgers, despite each team being on at least their third closer due to injuries and ineffectiveness. Still, this was a good week for
Do early-season phenoms fade once the rest of the league learns to stop giving them pitches to hit?
Believe it or not, most of our writers didn't enter the world sporting an @baseballprospectus.com address; with a few exceptions, they started out somewhere else. In an effort to up your reading pleasure while tipping our caps to some of the most illuminating work being done elsewhere on the internet, we'll be yielding the stage once a week to the best and brightest baseball writers, researchers and thinkers from outside of the BP umbrella. If you'd like to nominate a guest contributor (including yourself), please drop us a line.
Mike Petriello looks at bullpen moves in Baltimore and Anaheim.
As the big names like Carl Crawford and Cliff Lee begin to fall off the board, now and in the coming weeks is when we'll really start seeing some movement on relievers as teams start to fill out their rosters. Three-year deals to non-closers seems to be the new trend, since Joaquin Benoit, Matt Guerrier, and Scott Downs have all picked up such multiyear commitments despite not being top-flight closers. Being a Dodger fan, the commitment to Guerrier kills me, but should the Angels be as concerned with Downs? Let's take a look.