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 Shutdowns and Meltdowns, useful stats
Offbase
Posted: Apr 21 2011, 11:20 AM


Living Free in the Granite State


Group: Admin
Posts: 32,044
Member No.: 2
Joined: 9-December 06



From Fangraphs

Thanks to Pete Abraham for providing the link in this blog entry on Daniel Bard.

It's fun to see a player interested in the numbers, and I'll allow him the self promotion here, because it shows he really does understand his role and its value.





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The young Bill James rather famously wrote that he could not find any evidence that certain types of players could consistently hit better in the clutch – he still has not found that evidence. But unlike his younger self, he will not dismiss the idea of clutch hitting. He has been a consultant for the Red Sox for more than a decade, and he has watched David Ortiz deliver so many big hits in so many big moments, and he finds himself unwilling to deny that Big Papi does have an ability in those situations others don’t have.
Joe Posnanski
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rominer
Posted: Apr 22 2011, 02:55 PM


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Member No.: 168
Joined: 20-March 07



Interesting. Wasn't familiar with that one.

That said, I have to take issue with this from the Fangraphs article:

QUOTE
1) Shutdowns and Meltdowns are simple and intuitive. While a statistic doesn’t need to be simple and intuitive to be valuable or important – many of our saber stats are rather unintuitive (xFIP, anyone?) – confusing statistics are simply never going to catch on with the general public...

While there are numerous caveats and intricacies to the rules surrounding Saves, Shutdowns and Meltdowns can be summed up in a simple, important question: did a relief pitcher help or hinder his team’s chances of winning a game? If they improved their team’s chances of winning, they get a Shutdown. If they instead made their team more likely to lose, they get a Meltdown. Intuitive, no?


Intuitive? No. The Save has a somewhat convoluted definition, and maybe it's not entirely intuitive (who cares if a reliever pitches the last 3 innings of a game with a 10 run lead?) – but any idiot can reference that definition and tell pretty easily whether or not a pitcher should be credited with a save.

Not so with SD / MD. There is no fan who is going to sit there calculating WPA on the fly, and then apply the seemingly arbitrary +/- 6% threshold to a pitcher's performance and declare an official "Shutdown" or "Meltdown."

Still a useful concept...but I might like to see a bit more differentiation based on the actual situation. I don't know. Seems to me that a reliever whose team's win expectancy drops from 80% to 74% isn't really having a meltdown on par with the reliever whose performance drops win expectancy from 55% to 49% – any more than a run of the mill save with a 3 run lead is comparable to a 4 out save in where the closer gets out of someone else's 8th inning jam before pitching the 9th.


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Check it out. An avatar.
____

Fine.
Top
Offbase
Posted: Apr 22 2011, 04:40 PM


Living Free in the Granite State


Group: Admin
Posts: 32,044
Member No.: 2
Joined: 9-December 06



QUOTE (rominer @ Apr 22 2011, 03:55 PM)
Interesting. Wasn't familiar with that one.

That said, I have to take issue with this from the Fangraphs article:

QUOTE
1) Shutdowns and Meltdowns are simple and intuitive. While a statistic doesn’t need to be simple and intuitive to be valuable or important – many of our saber stats are rather unintuitive (xFIP, anyone?) – confusing statistics are simply never going to catch on with the general public...

While there are numerous caveats and intricacies to the rules surrounding Saves, Shutdowns and Meltdowns can be summed up in a simple, important question: did a relief pitcher help or hinder his team’s chances of winning a game? If they improved their team’s chances of winning, they get a Shutdown. If they instead made their team more likely to lose, they get a Meltdown. Intuitive, no?


Intuitive? No. The Save has a somewhat convoluted definition, and maybe it's not entirely intuitive (who cares if a reliever pitches the last 3 innings of a game with a 10 run lead?) – but any idiot can reference that definition and tell pretty easily whether or not a pitcher should be credited with a save.

Not so with SD / MD. There is no fan who is going to sit there calculating WPA on the fly, and then apply the seemingly arbitrary +/- 6% threshold to a pitcher's performance and declare an official "Shutdown" or "Meltdown."

Still a useful concept...but I might like to see a bit more differentiation based on the actual situation. I don't know. Seems to me that a reliever whose team's win expectancy drops from 80% to 74% isn't really having a meltdown on par with the reliever whose performance drops win expectancy from 55% to 49% – any more than a run of the mill save with a 3 run lead is comparable to a 4 out save in where the closer gets out of someone else's 8th inning jam before pitching the 9th.

I too had a bit of an issue with that claim of intuitiveness.

What's intuitive is the name. Shutdown tells you what the stat is about, as opposed to VORP, which is head scratcher from its name, to *what the heck is a replacement player*, to the secret sauce formula.

And the concept of improving or harming your team's chances of winning is also pretty easy to grasp. It's only the math that needs to be demystified.


--------------------
The young Bill James rather famously wrote that he could not find any evidence that certain types of players could consistently hit better in the clutch – he still has not found that evidence. But unlike his younger self, he will not dismiss the idea of clutch hitting. He has been a consultant for the Red Sox for more than a decade, and he has watched David Ortiz deliver so many big hits in so many big moments, and he finds himself unwilling to deny that Big Papi does have an ability in those situations others don’t have.
Joe Posnanski
Top
rominer
Posted: Apr 22 2011, 08:00 PM


Trashed.


Group: Members
Posts: 9,171
Member No.: 168
Joined: 20-March 07



The name is intuitive...I'm not sure that the Shutdown/Meltdown stats would always coincide with the general fan perception of what constitutes a shutdown or meltdown outing.


--------------------
Check it out. An avatar.
____

Fine.
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