Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Pitch Counts

For the few of you that follow this blog regularly (and thank you very much), you know that this writer is not a big Fan of pitch counts and all the pitching changes that occur on a daily basis. Rob Neyer is one of this writer's heroes and is very much admired. But his take on a piece by Bill James and Joe Posnanski is wrong. Neyer's statement: "(though the last I checked, leads were being blown roughly as often as they have always been blown)." As you read here in a recent post, blown saves are up sharply in the last two years.

Here is the data I compiled as of May 27. Granted, that was two weeks ago, but it is still relevant:

2005 - American League Save Percentage: 68%, National League: 68%. There were only two teams in the entire major leagues that had a save percentage less than 60%
2006 - American League Save Percentage: 68%, National League: 64%. There were five teams that had a save percentage less than 60%.
2007 - American League Save Percentage: 68%, National League: 67%. Again, there were five teams that were successful less than 60% of the time.
2008 - American League Save Percentage: 67%, National League: 62%. The number of teams that were successful less than 60% of the time jumped to eight.
2009 - American League Save Percentage: 63%, National League: 61%. An amazing 14 teams are currently under 60%. And four of those teams have been successful less than 50% of the time: Washington (37%!!), Houston (41%), Cleveland (47%) and Minnesota (46%).

This data seems to indicate that blown saves are on the rise and rethinking the magic number of 100 pitches is worth looking at.

2 comments:

Josh Borenstein said...

I think even sabermatricians are rethinking the pitch count now. The mollycoddling has to stop. It's why Roy Halladay is such a breath of fresh air. He's the Fergie Jenkins of the modern era.

eyebleaf said...

Josh is right: Roy Halladay rules!

And I'm glad to see there's a new debate about pitch counts.