For example, the practice of saving your closer for a save opportunity that he’s never going to get because you ran out a middle-reliever against the opponent's 3-4-5 hitters.
How about bringing in your second-best lefty reliever to face the opponent’s best left-handed hitter with two runners in scoring position in the seventh inning of a tied game?
Or how about warming your closer up to save a ball game, but then you score a run in the top of the ninth and since it’s not a save opportunity anymore, you quickly warm up a lesser reliever for to close out the game.
Dumb. Dumb. And more dumb.On Monday, FiveThiryEight.com’s Nate Silver introduced a new stat. He called it the Goose Egg. At its simplest, it applies a stat to getting out of high-leverage situations. I’m not going to get into the whole down and dirty of it. If you care to, you can read all about it here.
What it boils down to is this (taken from the article):
A relief pitcher records a goose egg for each inning in which:
- It’s the seventh inning or later;
- At the time the pitcher faces his first batter of the inning:
- His team leads by no more than two runs, or
- The score is tied, or
- The tying run is on base or at bat
- No runs (earned or unearned) are charged to the pitcher in the inning and no inherited runners score while the pitcher is in the game; and
- The pitcher either:
- Records three outs (one inning pitched), or
- Records at least one out, and the number of outs recorded plus the number of inherited runners totals at least three.
The 2016 results are a little surprising. For this exercise, I chose to focus on three sets of data: The Goose Eggs, The Broken Eggs (think blown opportunities for the Goose Egg) and GWAR (which is WAR, for relievers, using the Goose Egg stat).
What isn’t surprising is that Kintzler, who led the Twins with 17 saves, also had 17 Goose Eggs. He did this in 23 chances. His 74% success rate is very close to league average (75%). His GWAR (which is explained in the article) is .11, very close to replacement-level. Again, not a huge surprise.
Ryan Pressly, on the other hand, was a giant surprise. He led the club with 19 Goose Eggs. He also led the club with 9 Broken Eggs (68%) and measured last in GWAR at -0.75.
The best of the lot was Taylor Rogers, who was a perfect 13/13 in Goose Egg opportunities and paced the bullpen with a 1.83 GWAR.
Michael Tonkin was also a surprise. He was successful in five of six opportunities and posted a positive GWAR (0.32).
Trevor May, who probably wasn’t used in enough high-leverage situations, converted nine of 11 Goose Egg opportunities. His GWAR was .51. I also found Ryan O’Rourke to be surprising. He was perfect in four chances and had the second-highest GWAR on the team at 0.56.
But that’s last year. Let’s look at 2017.
The Twins have gotten a much better-than-expected first few weeks out of their pitching staff and that’s especially true of the bullpen. Kintzler leads the team with three Goose Eggs in three attempts. All of Rogers, Duffey and Matt Belisle are two-for-three. Rogers and Duffey were perfect until the seventh inning on Thursday. Trailing the pack, again, is Ryan Pressly, who had two opportunities for Goose Eggs, but has been done in by the long ball.
The sample size, of course, is small. And the Fighting Mollies have seemingly tried to buck the traditional bullpen trend by using the reliever ho appears to have the best “stuff,” Ryan Pressly, at high-leverage times.
At the end of the day, it’s a curious new stat to learn about and interesting to see if it’s embraced.
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