Once again, this is just our “camera angle.” We do not purport to have rendered all other baseball analysis obsolete, nor do we claim to “prove” that one player is better than another. We are simply pointing out the interesting results that one gets when one examines the overlap of certain “non-random” results.
Relief pitchers are difficult to measure for a variety of reasons. First, they don’t face a huge number of batters, so there isn’t as much data (some would call this “small sample size”; I don’t but that’s just me; I call it “small amount of data”). Second, since the manager selects when they go into the game, they are more likely to pitch in situations that are favorable to their strengths.
So it’s not surprising that relief pitchers generally rank much higher than starters on our metrics, and these results don’t necessarily indicate that these pitchers would have the same level of success pitching as starters.
The minimum number of batters faced for ranking is 200.
10. Glen Perkins, Minnesota Twins
Obtaining non-random outs (PSA+): 164
Denying non-random offense (Conv+): 146
Thumbnail Commentary: Lefty Perkins was a first-round draft pick in 2004, and, in a two-year tryout as a starter, never managed more than 4.4 K/9. Moving to the pen obviously unleashed the beast, since he’s been at 9.5, 10.0 and 11.1 the last three seasons.
9. Danny Farquhar, Seattle Mariners
Obtaining non-random outs (PSA+): 157
Denying non-random offense (Conv+): 161
Thumbnail Commentary: Farquhar came a long way in a hurry after being considered a “warm body” obtained from the Yankee organization in the Ichiro trade. If you isolate only the 89 batters faced in the 9th inning, his composite goes up to 231.
8. Mark Melancon, Pittsburgh Pirates
Obtaining non-random outs (PSA+): 182
Denying non-random offense (Conv+): 150
Thumbnail Commentary: Another one-time Yankee, Melancon spent time in Houston and Boston before finding a home in Pittsburgh’s “Shark Tank” bullpen. And a fine home it was, although he struggled in the playoffs.
7. Trevor Rosenthal, St. Louis Cardinals
Obtaining non-random outs (PSA+): 175
Denying non-random offense (Conv+): 158
Thumbnail Commentary: No playoff letdown for Rosenthal, who struck out 9 of the 16 batters he faced in the World Series. The Cards snagged Rosenthal in the 21st round of the 2009 draft, in which they also drafted Shelby Miller and Matt Carpenter.
6. Jason Grilli, Pittsburgh Pirates
Obtaining non-random outs (PSA+): 178
Denying non-random offense (Conv+): 157
Thumbnail Commentary: Another journeyman who found the Shark Tank to his liking. Grilli missed most of the second half, but returned for September and the playoff series.
5. Craig Kimbrel, Atlanta Braves
Obtaining non-random outs (PSA+): 177
Denying non-random offense (Conv+): 172
Thumbnail Commentary: You can’t argue with Kimbrel, who’s been an absolute stud from the instant he stepped on an MLB mound in 2010.
4. Aroldis Chapman, Cincinnati Reds
Obtaining non-random outs (PSA+): 164
Denying non-random offense (Conv+): 187
Thumbnail Commentary: In the second category — the measure of “stuff” — Chapman led all major leaguers. No surprise there.
3. Kenley Jansen, Los Angeles Dodgers
Obtaining non-random outs (PSA+): 186
Denying non-random offense (Conv+): 168
Thumbnail Commentary: The righty from Curacao has been quietly building a resume that can go toe-to-toe with Kimbrel and Chapman.
2. Koji Uehara, Boston Red Sox
Obtaining non-random outs (PSA+): 203
Denying non-random offense (Conv+): 164
Thumbnail Commentary: Uehara really just did what he’s been doing since he moved to the pen in 2010. But the spotlight was a lot brighter.
1. Greg Holland, Kansas City Royals
Obtaining non-random outs (PSA+): 191
Denying non-random offense (Conv+): 180
Thumbnail Commentary: Holland cut his walk rate in half on his way to 47 saves. He didn’t quite have Uehara’s command, but he was second only to Chapman in not letting hitters get good contact with the ball, as he only allowed six doubles and 11 total XBH..