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Linear Saves 2008

by Keith Glab, BaseballEvolution.com
November 13, 2008

Page 1 Page 2 Page 3 LSV Intro

Last year, I came up with a simple new statistic called Linear Saves, which basically compares a closer's saves and blown saves to his peers'.  The result is then expressed in the number of saves above or below what the league's average closer would convert given the same number of opportunities. 

Perfect Closer Year SV LSV
Eric Gagne 2003 55 9.0
Brad Lidge 2008 41 6.6
Rod Beck 1994* 28 5.5
Mike Gonzalez 2006 24 3.8
Robb Nen 1994* 15 2.9
* Strike-shortened season

LSV= SV-(Opps*LgSV%)

The stat came up a bit short in its audacious goal of comparing closer productivity fairly across disparate eras.  It is, however, a stat that evaluates a reliever's aptitude for saving games far better than looking at saves or saves percentage alone.  The 2008 season gives us a terrific chance to see Linear Saves in action, as it featured a new single season saves leader in Francisco Rodriguez (62-for-69: 89.9%) and only the second instance ever of a pitcher with at least 30 save opportunities in a season converting all of his chances.

We knew that Brad Lidge would net more Linear Saves than K-Rod, but it would no doubt surprise many to learn that the all-time single-season saves king finished fourth in this counting stat measuring save efficiency.  Or maybe it wouldn't, given that each of those three relievers posted a noticeably better ERA than did Mr. Rodriguez.

2008 Linear Saves (Min 10 Saves):

Player W L WPct Sv BS SV% Linear IP H R ER HR BB K ERA
Brad Lidge 2 0 1 41 0 100.0% 6.6 69 1/3 50 17 15 2 35 92 1.95
Mariano Rivera 6 5 0.545 39 1 97.5% 5.4 70 2/3 41 11 11 4 6 77 1.40
Joakim Soria 2 3 0.4 42 3 93.3% 4.2 67 1/3 39 13 12 5 19 66 1.60
Francisco Rodriguez 2 3 0.4 62 7 89.9% 4.1 68 1/3 54 21 17 4 34 77 2.24
Jonathan Papelbon 5 4 0.556 41 5 89.1% 2.4 69 1/3 58 24 18 4 8 77 2.34
B.J. Ryan 2 4 0.333 32 4 88.9% 1.8 58 46 21 19 4 28 58 2.95
Brian Wilson 3 2 0.6 41 6 87.2% 1.6 62 1/3 62 32 32 7 28 67 4.62
Brian Fuentes 1 5 0.167 30 4 88.2% 1.5 62 2/3 47 22 19 3 22 82 2.73
Trevor Hoffman 3 6 0.333 30 4 88.2% 1.5 45 1/3 38 19 19 8 9 46 3.77
Bobby Jenks 3 1 0.75 30 4 88.2% 1.5 61 2/3 51 18 18 3 17 38 2.63
Jensen Lewis 0 4 0 13 1 92.9% 1.3 66 68 29 28 8 27 52 3.82
Joe Nathan 1 2 0.333 39 6 86.7% 1.2 67 2/3 43 13 10 5 18 74 1.33
Jose Valverde 6 3 0.667 44 7 86.3% 1.2 72 62 28 27 10 23 83 3.38
Troy Percival 2 1 0.667 28 4 87.5% 1.2 45 2/3 29 26 23 9 27 38 4.53
Mike Gonzalez 0 3 0 14 2 87.5% 0.6 33 2/3 26 21 16 6 14 44 4.28
C.J. Wilson 2 2 0.5 24 4 85.7% 0.5 46 1/3 49 35 31 8 27 41 6.02
Francisco Cordero 5 4 0.556 34 6 85.0% 0.4 70 1/3 61 28 26 6 38 78 3.33
Kerry Wood 5 4 0.556 34 6 85.0% 0.4 66 1/3 54 24 24 3 18 84 3.26
Todd Jones 4 1 0.8 18 3 85.7% 0.4 41 2/3 50 30 23 5 18 14 4.97
Brad Ziegler 3 0 1 11 2 84.6% 0.1 59 2/3 47 8 7 2 22 30 1.06
Brandon Lyon 3 5 0.375 26 5 83.9% 0.0 59 1/3 75 34 31 7 13 44 4.70
George Sherrill 3 5 0.375 31 6 83.8% 0.0 53 1/3 47 28 28 6 33 58 4.72
Brandon Morrow 3 4 0.429 10 2 83.3% -0.1 64 2/3 40 26 24 10 34 75 3.34
Takashi Saito 4 4 0.5 18 4 81.8% -0.5 47 40 14 13 1 16 60 2.49
Matthew Capps 2 3 0.4 21 5 80.8% -0.8 53 2/3 47 20 18 5 5 39 3.02
Salomon Torres 7 5 0.583 28 7 80.0% -1.4 80 75 35 31 6 33 51 3.49
Billy Wagner 0 1 0 27 7 79.4% -1.5 47 32 17 12 4 10 52 2.30
Dan Wheeler 5 6 0.455 13 5 72.2% -2.1 66 1/3 44 25 23 10 22 53 3.12
Jon Rauch 4 8 0.333 18 6 75.0% -2.1 71 2/3 69 36 33 11 16 66 4.14
Kevin Gregg 7 8 0.467 29 9 76.3% -2.9 68 2/3 51 30 26 3 37 58 3.41
Fernando Rodney 0 6 0 13 6 68.4% -2.9 40 1/3 34 22 22 3 30 49 4.91
Huston Street 7 5 0.583 18 7 72.0% -3.0 70 58 29 29 6 27 69 3.73
Jason Isringhausen 1 5 0.167 12 7 63.2% -3.9 42 2/3 48 28 27 5 22 36 5.70
Ryan Franklin 6 6 0.5 17 8 68.0% -4.0 78 2/3 86 34 31 10 30 51 3.55
Eric Gagne 4 3 0.571 10 7 58.8% -4.3 46 1/3 46 28 28 11 22 38 5.44
J.J. Putz 6 5 0.545 15 8 65.2% -4.3 46 1/3 46 20 20 4 28 56 3.88
Jonathan Broxton 3 5 0.375 14 8 63.6% -4.5 69 54 29 24 2 27 88 3.13
AVG 1.6 1.7 0.3 18.2 2.3 88.9% 0.0 34.2 28.4 12.8 11.5 3.1 12.2 34.1  

Lidge's season was truly a remarkable one.  We know that Lidge extended his record to 48-of-48 in the postseason (which would have been good for 7.7 LSV) while leading his Phillies to a World Championship.  Still, that regular-season mark of 6.6 is good enough for eighth best all-time.  Even more remarkably, this comes on the heels of a -4.0 LSV performance in 2007, marking both the largest gain in consecutive seasons (+10.6) and the only time a reliever has gone worst-to-first in this statistic. 

Continue to Page 2




Disagree with something? Got something to add? Wanna bring up something totally new? Keith resides in Chicago, Illinois and can be reached at keith@baseballevolution.com or found at the Baseball Evolution Forum

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