This will probably be a long rambling post about something I heard on Mike and Mike in the Morning. They were talking about closers in baseball and how someone thinks it would be better for Boston to use Papelbon as a starter instead of a closer.
The reasoning behind this being that statistics have shown that a team will almost always win a game in which they have a three run lead despite the closer. They used a bunch of different numbers on the site and even a quote from Trevor Hoffman. They turned the discussion into which is more important, a closer or a starter. To me, this should not even be a discussion, a starter is much more valuable, but this is not what I want to talk about.
At what point would Papelbon be more valuable as a starter? If he were a 4th or 5th starter getting maybe 10 wins, and they could pretty much plug in another starter and not see much difference, then he is much better as a closer. However, if he pitches anywhere near his ERA+ closing numbers, then he would be a phenomenal starter.
Unfortunately it is hard to tell if he could pitch at that level as a starter,most likely not (Santana’s best season ERA+ was 182), but even close to an above average year makes him one of the top starters in baseball. The elite starters in the league are pretty hard to come by.
Trust me, I am not saying that he would be that good, but if the Red Sox believe he could be, then they should seriously consider moving him to the starting rotation. Same with Joba Chamberlain. Oh and for those of you who have no idea what ERA+ means, check out this.
Speaking of closers…I have used the discussion that closers are underused. A few years ago the Red Sox tried to use their best relievers in optimal situations, which caused many fans to get pretty upset.
Without bringing up any specific Pirates games I want to toss this scenario out there. The Buccos are up 3-0 going into the 7th inning. Snell walks a batter, then gives up a single, runners on 1st and 3rd. The Pirates go to the bullpen with the heart of the order coming up (let’s use the Mets, since they have a very good lineup). Why would you bring in a bunch of subpar relievers, such as John Grabow or Marte to face guys like Wright, Beltran, Delgado? If Capps is your closer, the guy you rely on to “save” the game, is this not the moment when the game truly needs saved? Instead they bring in a righty, he gets an out, but a run scores. Then they bring in another reliever and another until they are out of the inning and the score is now 3-3. The Pirates get the run back and Capps come on to close the 9th facing the bottom of the order. Does that make much sense? Wouldn’t Capps have been better used back in the 7th?
Well it appears things that I have said to people in a drunken argument, actually have been studied and the results are sort of in my favor. If I am reading the article correctly. I hope that some of my friends who love baseball, or love statistics (that means you Ryan, Jason, and Jason) check this article out. Let me know what you guys think.