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New Stats Needed

Posted on January 21st, 2011 by TheSportsVirus

I’m about as old fashioned as it gets when it comes to baseball statistics. In fact, I still focus on batting average, RBIs, pitcher’s wins, etc. when evaluating players.OPS? Yeah, I get it, but I’m still not on board yet.

However, I do think we need a new statistic for setup relief pitchers. I know we have holds, but nobody pays attention to them. You never see a holds leader board, do you? Did you know that Mike Stanton is the career holds leader with 266? Congrats to my friend Scott Eyre who is 8th on that list with 140.

My point is, that set up relievers need a new statistic that is universally recognized so we can judge them better. The hold isn’t even an official major league statistic. It is similar to a save in that the pitcher technically enters the game with an opportunity to save the game. He just doesn’t get the final out.

One problem with the hold is that since it is not an official statistic, the definition varies. As noted in Wikipedia, STATS, Inc. requires the pitcher to record at least one out for a hold (which I agree with), while  SportsTicker does not have this requirement.

This off-season more than any other, baseball has shown that there is great value in set up relief pitchers. Teams like the Angels and Yankees overpaid for relievers like Scott Downs and Rafael Soriano. The bridge to the closer has to be sturdy to withstand the rigors of a 162 game season plus playoffs filled with tight, tension-filled moments.

So, how about tweaking the hold stat a bit and giving it a new snappy name (I’m open to suggestions). Make only one player eligible for a hold per game. Currently, if a reliever comes in, gets one out and keeps a one run lead, but ¬†loads the bases and is pulled he is credited with a hold. The scorer should be able to eliminate that pitcher from eligibility for that game.

While we’re at it, how about a stat for batters that advance runners to 3rd base with less than two outs? If Derek Jeter hits a grounder to 2nd base and moves a Yankees teammate to 3rd he gets no credit, other than a high five in the dugout. How about a separate statistic called R3s? Runners to 3rd!

I’m open to any other new statistic suggestions so email thesportsvirus.com and we can debate it.

Check out TheVirus and TheDoctor podcast for more discussion on relievers, advancing runners and the upcoming 2011 baseball season.

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