Friday, 7 November 2014

Stranding Inherited Runners 2014: Highlighting Tigers

Matt Snyder at CBS' Eye on Baseball (the Home for All Baseball Fans, as I think Dayn Perry puts it) has once again generated a list using Baseball Reference's Play Index of relievers performance in 2014 at stranding runners on base. Because the Tigers' relief corps has been a matter of some controversy this season, I thought I'd highlight their performance. These are drawn from a list of 110 relievers who over the season added up to having at least twenty-five runners on base when they came into the game.
Player        IRS%     Rank
Hardy         27.6      62
Alburquerque  27.7      63
Coke          36.5      92
Krol          42.1     103
The Tigers' relievers were not particularly good at keeping runners from scoring. None of them are in the top half of the ranking, let alone in an elite zone like the top third or quarter. This isn't really a surprise to those who followed the games. We can surmise from this that Brad Ausmus' main options in a jam during the season were Phil Coke and Al Alburquerque, although Blaine Hardy seems to have taken over from Coke after he arrived to stay.

It does raise the question of why Ausmus changed his bullpen set-up in the playoffs, though. Alburquerque had the second-best percentage by not very much. But, then again, the 2013 table shows he was a much riskier proposition the year before, with a IRS% of 35%.

Even more astonishingly, that 2013 performance was still good enough for second-best on the team. (Phil Coke's 33.3% was the best.) The Tigers may have come in for a lot of criticism for their bullpen this season, but last season was worse. Dombrowski's efforts to improve that sector show he achieved something.

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