Baseball Crank
Covering the Front and Back Pages of the Newspaper
December 16, 2002
BASEBALL: Gooooose

If there's one reliever on this year's Hall of Fame ballot who deserves to be elected, it's Goose Gossage. One little useful fact: from 1977 to 1984, an 8-year span, the Goose's teams exceeded their "Pythagorean Projections" - the number of games they'd be expected to win based on their runs scored and allowed - by 21 games, almost 3 full games a year. The biggest effects came, generally, in some of the seasons when the Goose pitched the most - 1977, 1980, 1984. Dan Quisenberry has a similar, even more impressive record: for the six seasons of his prime, from 1980 to 1985, the Royals exceeded their Pythagorean record by 20 games. Bruce Sutter's teams exceeded their Pythagorean records by 19 games over 9 years (1976-84), although the biggest damage (+7) was done when he was a rookie setup man; the numbers break down to +16 for his first three seasons and +3 for the next 6 years when he was mostly used in save situations, albeit with a much heavier workload than the modern closer. Does this prove anything? Logically, you expect teams with great bullpens to win the close ones. It's noteworthy in Gossage's case that the biggest seasons were the ones when he was paired with other good relievers (Kent Tekulve, Ron Davis). I think some studies have shown a slight overall effect for teams with good bullpens (witness the Braves this year), but at a minimum, it's an extra feather in a guy's cap if his team won an unusual number of close games when he owned the 8th and 9th innings.

Lee Smith? -8 games from 1982 to 1995. I don't hold Smith responsible for that, but it's another fact suggesting that his impact on his teams was less significant than guys like Gossage and the Quiz who threw 100-135 IP a year with ERAs in the low 2s and the 1s.

Posted by Baseball Crank at 9:39 PM | Baseball 2002-03 | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)
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