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Bullpen Usage

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#1 StormJH1

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Posted 07 May 2012 - 10:02 AM

Of the 13 pitchers used by the Twins this year, Matt Capps has been used in the fewest innings (10.0). Alex Burnett has the most innings (15.2), presumably because he's the only guy of the pure relievers that can go for more than one inning.

I post this fact not to suggest that the bullpen has been the "reason" for the Twins struggles (it hasn't, the SP has), but only to point out the absurdity of closers and especially PAYING for closers. Matt Capps, along with Glen Perkins, were considered the "best" Twins relievers heading into this season. Whether you agree with that assessment or not, it is at least a fair assessment based on track record, etc. in an otherwise very inexperienced bullpen. We felt strongly enough about this to re-sign Capps and, in the process, forfeit another compensatory pick we might have received for "losing" him to free agency.

Except we all knew this team would be under .500. So now that the team is even worse than that, and our starters routinely are forced out of games early, how is it that our "best" reliever is the guy being used the least? Capps has pitched on pitched back-to-back days only ONCE this year (April 11-12). The average distance between appearances is approximately 3 days of rest, with one stretch where he wasn't used for 6 days (April 23-29).

Guys like Capps, Burton, and Perkins need to be used in the highest leverage situations, and they should be used more often than guy who are terrible. If you wait for the 9th every game with THIS team, the game will already be over. What exactly are we saving them for? Or, more accurately, what are we paying them for?

Edited by StormJH1, 07 May 2012 - 10:06 AM.


#2 Thrylos

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Posted 07 May 2012 - 10:50 AM

Guys like Capps, Burton, and Perkins need to be used in the highest leverage situations, and they should be used more often than guy who are terrible. If you wait for the 9th every game with THIS team, the game will already be over. What exactly are we saving them for? Or, more accurately, what are we paying them for?


Interestingly enough, Capps and Burton are used in the highest leverage situations :) Here is a link to the leverage table of the Twins' P page (sorted by highest Leverage) of baseball reference. Everything above 1 is High Leverage. The thing is that the Twins have not had many leverage situations. Their team average leverage is .839. Burton, Duensing and Capps all were used in Higher that average leverage situations. Perkins was not. Unfortunately Gardy and his staff think that 8th and 9th inning are the highest leverage situations. They are not.
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#3 CDog

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Posted 07 May 2012 - 11:16 AM

Basically what was already said. Teams (not just the Twins) tend to use their best relievers to hold leads or tie games, their worst relievers to pitch when the margin is wide in either direction but mostly when behind, and the middle scenarios for the others. The Twins have been way behind a lot because of the aforementioned poor starting pitching (and the less-than-enough-to-make-up-for-that hitting). So the "worst" pitchers have pitched the most.

#4 ashburyjohn

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Posted 07 May 2012 - 11:35 AM

Unfortunately Gardy and his staff think that 8th and 9th inning are the highest leverage situations. They are not.


In their slight defense, on a good team competing for a divisional title, the 8th and 9th are pretty high leverage, aren't they? If you turn out not-good and not-competing for a title, decisions costing a win or two are really at the margins anyway. So going into the season saying "here's what we need to have happen, in order to win" can result in this kind of usage, especially in the first month when results can be the most counter to expectations.

#5 Rosterman

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Posted 07 May 2012 - 11:41 AM

You usually SAVE the closer for SAVE opportunities, the possibility of back-to-back victories. If a team is playing poorly, you CAN have a closer by committee as you rebuild for the future, or a temporary closer. CAPPS is not necessary for the just the closer role,. Put ALL the relievers into a rotation.....

#6 ashburyjohn

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Posted 07 May 2012 - 11:45 AM

Here's an additional point. When you're a bad team, the only games you're going to win are the close ones. You can't blow anybody out; you will get blown out on occasion. Here are the scores of the seven Twins wins so far: 6-5, 10-9, 7-3, 6-5, 5-4, 7-4, and 3-2. Five one-run wins. I can't bear to list the losses, but they have lost both close and not-close. If you want to salvage what you can of the season, you kind of need to be ready to protect the few late one-run leads you do get.

#7 Thrylos

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Posted 07 May 2012 - 11:46 AM

In their slight defense, on a good team competing for a divisional title, the 8th and 9th are pretty high leverage, aren't they? If you turn out not-good and not-competing for a title, decisions costing a win or two are really at the margins anyway. So going into the season saying "here's what we need to have happen, in order to win" can result in this kind of usage, especially in the first month when results can be the most counter to expectations.


In a game, when you are up a run with 2 outs and bases loaded in the 7th, is a higher leverage situation than when you are up 2-3 runs with nobody on base starting the 9th inning...
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#8 ashburyjohn

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Posted 07 May 2012 - 12:06 PM

In a game, when you are up a run with 2 outs and bases loaded in the 7th, is a higher leverage situation than when you are up 2-3 runs with nobody on base starting the 9th inning...


This assumes pitchers operate like the backs of their baseball cards say.

#9 JB_Iowa

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Posted 07 May 2012 - 12:07 PM

"In a game, when you are up a run with 2 outs and bases loaded in the 7th, is a higher leverage situation than when you are up 2-3 runs with nobody on base starting the 9th inning... " Does anyone honestly want Capps to come in with runners on base?

#10 ScottyB

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Posted 07 May 2012 - 12:55 PM

Does anyone honestly want Capps to come in with runners on base?


I don't particularly want him to come in when no one's on base either.