Cardinals 6, @Diamondbacks 1: After three 2-out walks by Jaime Garcia, Edward Mujica got the game’s biggest out, slipping a called strike three past Jason Kubel in the home 6th to preserve a 3-1 lead. The Cards promptly rang the Bell and pulled away. Garcia hasn’t gone past 6 innings in 3 starts against the Snakes, but he’s won them all. Here he allowed just 2 hits by Miguel Montero, including a HR.
(Click here if you missed Part 1.)
“Justify my WAR”
How can we reconcile John Hiller‘s high WAR value — 4th among career relievers, #2 on the 3-year and 6-year lists — with his 125 career saves, the fewest by far of the top 16 in reliever WAR? Saves don’t factor into WAR, of course, but there is a correlation for the top closers. Out of 9 RPs with 15+ WAR who can match his WAR-to-IP ratio, 8 had more than twice his saves.
(I’ve been at this one a while, and it’s just too long — so here’s Part 1.)
One name has been removed from these tables of relief WAR leaders. Most of you will twig it quickly, but let me be coy for now. Where would you rank this guy among the best relievers of all time? (All WAR figures are from Baseball-Reference, unless specified.) Read the rest of this entry
The year was 1989: In a 26-team universe, 25 men logged 20 Saves or more, goosing the year-old record by more than one-third, and topping the total of all individuals with a 20-Save season through 1964. Another mark was set as 10 reached the once-historic 30-Save plateau.
And lefties were in the vanguard of the closer revolution, setting southpaw records with seven 20-Save years and four of 30+. They nailed down the year’s highest total (with bonus hardware), along with nos. 3 and 5. One team even boasted two southpaws with more than a dozen Saves, a truly unique occurrence.
But time marches on. The big question now is … Will any lefty reach 20 Saves in 2013?
Since 1901, twenty-one pitchers have reeled off at least three straight years of 7+ rWAR. One pitcher has a chance to crash the list in 2013.
The 7-WAR “triples,” arranged by age:
I was looking up something else when this caught my eye. Among active players with at least 70 career home runs:
- The highest percentage of HRs hit at home belongs to Andre Ethier – 66% (85 of 129).
- The lowest percentage of HRs hit at home belongs to James Loney – 34% (25 of 73).
Both bat left-handed and have spent virtually all their careers with the Dodgers, both starting in 2006. (Loney played 30 games with Boston last year.)
But wait — there’s more!
As you’ve heard by now, the Mariners are close to a deal with Felix Hernandez on a 5-year extension. The deal would run from 2015-19, his ages 29-33, and is expected to make him the highest-paid pitcher ever, with an average salary of at least $25 million per season. (Initial reports of a $27.1 million AAV have been denied, but if I were a betting man….)
King Felix was already under contract for 2013-14 at about $20 million per.
I confess: I don’t really understand negotiating a top-of-the-pay-scale, 5-year extension for a pitcher two years before his free agency, when a mound of data suggests he’ll be declining by the time the contract kicks in, and quite possibly sooner. What does the club gain by doing this now?
Since the deal comes so far before his free agency, it’s worth guessing at what he might do not only during the deal, but also in the two years before it begins — two years that represent lost knowledge in Seattle’s decision-making process. Let’s see what we can learn from recent stars at a similar age.
Brandon Webb is retiring, nearly four years since he last pitched in the majors. Webb becomes the 27th modern pitcher to retire with 80+ wins before age 30, but none thereafter — and arguably the best of that bunch, based on WAR per 250 innings: