In today’s stat-driven world there are any of a thousand ways to evaluate a player or team. But for all the Sabermetrics, maybe the most important stat for a relief pitcher is still the number of inherited runners they allow to score. Baseball is still about scoring runs and preventing runs and the toughest run for a pitcher to prevent is the one that is already on base.
Last year the Rays were the worst team in baseball at preventing inherited base runners from scoring. As a team they ranked last, allowing 41.8% (114 of 273) of inherited runners to score.
We all know the bullpen is improved in 2008, but by how much? Let’s take a look at this season’s numbers compared to last year.
Now let’s take a look at the individual contributors over the past two seasons…
Of the 5 pitchers that faced at least 20 inherited runners last season, only 1(!) allowed fewer than 40% of the inherited runners to score. This season, all 4 of the pitchers that have faced at least 20 inherited runners are below 20%.
It seems impossible that a team could improve their bullpen this drastically in one season. We are not talking about one or two pieces. We are talking about seven new pieces and all of them being better than any of the pieces in the bullpen last season.
Oh, Shawn Bleepin’ Camp…How we haven’t missed you.