Friday, January 23, 2009

Brandon Lyon and clean outings

Nothing is official yet but it appears than Brandon Lyon is a Tiger. Thus, it's a good time to take a peek at one of my favorite new stats of the year. No, it's not WAR values. It's a lot less complicated than that. The statistic "Clean Outings" was introduced in The Bill James 2009 Handbook. A clean Outing is a game in which a reliever allows none of his own runs (earned or unearned) and also no inherited runners score. Going one step further, Clean Outing Percentage is the percentage of pitcher's games that were clean outings.

I like this measure because it's simple and I think valuable at the same time. It doesn't require a high leverage situation like the save statistic but it also doesn't allow for a game where a pitcher gives up runs but still gets a cheap save. It won't work as well for long relievers because it's unfair to compare a pitcher with a lot of multiple inning outings to a pitcher who is strictly a one inning pitcher. I think it serves as a good comparison of short relievers though.

In Table 1 below, Brandon Lyon is compared to current Tigers relievers plus Todd Jones in 2008. Lyon relieved 61 times last year and had 44 clean outings yielding a percentage of 72.1. That is 10 points better than Jones and 9 better than Fernando Rodney. It is better than any other current reliever on the Tigers other than Clay Rapada (76%).

Table 2 presents several free agent relievers who the Tigers didn't get or probably won't be getting plus J.J.Putz. Lyon stands up pretty well to most of them except Francisco Rodriguez (78.1) and Kerry Wood (76.9).

Table 1: Clean Outings for Tigers in 2008

Pitcher

G

Clean Outings

%

Clay Rapada

25

19

76.0

Brandon Lyon

61

44

72.1

Fernando Rodney

38

24

63.0

Todd Jones

45

28

62.0

Bobby Seay

60

35

58.3

Freddy Dolsi

42

24

57.1

Zach Miner

32

18

56.2

Joel Zumaya

21

11

52.4



Table 2: Clean Outings for other pitchers in 2008


Pitcher

G

Clean Outings

%

Francisco Rodriguez

76

60

78.1

Kerry Wood

65

50

76.9

Takashi Saito

45

33

73.3

Trevor Hoffman

48

35

72.9

J.J. Putz

47

34

72.3

Juan Cruz

57

41

72.3

Jason Isringhausen

42

28

66.7

3 comments:

  1. Kevin in Austin (now Dallas)January 24, 2009

    Hey Lee - Thanks for posting. Good stuff. Lyon is 10 points above Rodney, thus actually 14% better than Rodney and 16% better than Jones. Even more reason to like him.

    ReplyDelete
  2. That is correct Kevin. I'll fix it. Thanks.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Charles ListonJanuary 28, 2009

    I like this because it is easy to understand, and is actually a common-sense approach to measuring a reliever's success. As with any stat, not every "clean outing" will come with the same degree of difficulty...they won't all be with the bases loaded and none out, for example. And I guess if you come in with a man on first, walk the next two guys and get pulled, and your successor delivers a "clean outing", your ineptitude won't show up in the C.O. stats any more than it will in your ERA. But over the course of the season these should even out. It's a useful addition to the evaluation toolkit.

    ReplyDelete

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