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Yeah, setup men need not apply for the Rivera and Hoffman awards

Apr 9, 2014, 12:31 PM EDT

The report from this morning is now official: the MLB awards going to relievers will be named after Trevor Hoffman and Mariano Rivera. And, as I suspected, setup men need not apply. Get the voting committee for the award:

Most of us agree RBI is a flawed stat and thus basing awards on RBI totals is dumb. Well, save totals is a pretty flawed stat too, but I imagine it will be everything when it comes to this award. Closers have a different mentality, you see. Or so we’re told. And so those who save games tend to believe and pride themselves upon.

  1. elwaysagenius - Apr 9, 2014 at 12:38 PM

    The Trevor Hoffman/Mariano Rivera for superior human beings.

    The formula for said award: n + 1 = closer, where n = regular pitchers.

  2. sfm073 - Apr 9, 2014 at 12:39 PM

    I really doubt the award will just be given to the guy with the highest save totals.

    • scoutsaysweitersisabust - Apr 9, 2014 at 12:45 PM

      Really? People forget this is not a new award. They are simply renaming it. Point out one non-closer on the list.

      • sabathiawouldbegoodattheeighthtoo - Apr 9, 2014 at 3:25 PM

        I think you misread the comment you replied to.

      • clydeserra - Apr 9, 2014 at 3:42 PM

        I get your point, its going to a closer, which is silly, but many of those guys did not lead their league in saves.

      • scoutsaysweitersisabust - Apr 9, 2014 at 4:01 PM

        True, the award will likely not simply be handed out to the league leader in saves. However, the point of the article, and the point of my comment was that it would take a near act of the baseball gods to give the award to any player who is not near the league lead in saves. There are plenty of great pitchers who pitch the 6th, 7th, and 8th innings.

      • NatsLady - Apr 9, 2014 at 6:11 PM

        Clip, June 2012. I didn’t even have to look it up. He had an outstanding streak going, went like two months without giving up a run.

  3. scoutsaysweitersisabust - Apr 9, 2014 at 12:41 PM

    I’m not even sure Jim Johnson was the best reliever on his own team the past two years. Cough cough: Darren O’Day.

    • clydeserra - Apr 9, 2014 at 3:43 PM

      he isn’t the best closer on the team he is on this year (cough cough, everyone else)

    • clydeserra - Apr 9, 2014 at 9:19 PM

      Jim Johnson today: Comes in with 2 run lead. Hit, Walk Popped uped failed sacrifice bunt, walk, single (run) Pulled from game.

      Next pitcher, gets a pop up to right that scores the tying run. then a ground out.

      Jim Johnson=hold
      Next pitcher=Blown save.

  4. tfbuckfutter - Apr 9, 2014 at 12:48 PM

    They should make a Jack Morris Award, voted on by Jack Morris, and given out every year to the person who is the most Jack Morris.

  5. nymets4ever - Apr 9, 2014 at 12:52 PM

    It’s always funny watching Cheetos-encrusted basement-dwelling bloggers rant away on their keyboards about how easy it is to be a closer. Haha

    • Sign Ahead - Apr 9, 2014 at 12:59 PM

      Tired cliches about bloggers and a straw man. That’s bush league, son. Bush league.

      • dluxxx - Apr 9, 2014 at 1:12 PM

        Bush League is his middle name…

      • supersnappy - Apr 9, 2014 at 1:53 PM

        You forget the Ad Hominem attack. He’s got the Internet Troll hat trick

      • tfbuckfutter - Apr 9, 2014 at 2:40 PM

        You forgot the “Haha” at the end of his post.


      • sabathiawouldbegoodattheeighthtoo - Apr 9, 2014 at 3:26 PM

        Avocado guy, is that you?

    • billybawl - Apr 9, 2014 at 1:20 PM

      You actually could have tried to make your point (that closers have a tougher job than middle relievers) by finding quotes from those in the game that support your position. Instead, I just have a picture in my head of basement-dwelling bloggers and basement-dwelling trolls throwing cheetos at each other. Or was that your point?

  6. miguelcairo - Apr 9, 2014 at 1:08 PM

    How is RBI a flawed stat?

    • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Apr 9, 2014 at 2:09 PM

      Who had more RBI last year:

      A – .261/.310/.396, 92 OPS+, .338/.404/.469 with RISP
      B – .305/.435/.591, 154 OPS+, .291/.477/.455 with RISP

      • Bob Loblaw - Apr 9, 2014 at 2:50 PM

        The guy who HIT almost 50 points higher with runners in scoring position? What’s your point? If you HIT better when you come up with runners in scoring position, you will have more RBI. Explain the flaw.

      • grumpyoleman - Apr 9, 2014 at 3:09 PM

        The guy who drove in the most runs.

      • sabathiawouldbegoodattheeighthtoo - Apr 9, 2014 at 3:29 PM

        I wish they would at least use RBI/RBI Opportunies. It would still be a somewhat flawed stat, but it would at least normalize for differences in quality of teammates OBP.

        Sure, Phillips had over 100 RBI last year, but how many men did he leave on base? How many more would he have had if he were a better hitter? How many more runs would the team have scored if his OBP were 40 points higher?

      • raysfan1 - Apr 9, 2014 at 6:19 PM

        @Bob Loblaw–yeah, okay, I’ll go along with that. I was explaining to the other commenter what is meant by calling it a flawed stat, but I agree that the real flaw is in improper use and understanding of it and all other stats, whether old school or advanced metrics.

    • raysfan1 - Apr 9, 2014 at 2:48 PM

      Because it measures the player’s teammates ability to get on base as much as it does the player’s own ability to hit with runners on.

      Here is an extreme hypothetical example:
      “Batter A” is a .300 hitter and also hit 30 HRs–but nobody ever is on base when he comes up to bat. As a result, he has 30 RBI on the year.
      “Batter B” has the same batting average and HR total but miraculously always comes up to bat with the bases loaded. He has 120 RBI just on the home runs alone.

      Church’s real-world example is the Reds’ Brandon Phillips and Joey Votto–Phillips is not as good a hitter as Votto but had more RBI because of batting order. (Phillips benefitted from Choo and Votto getting on base a lot and so had a lot more RBI chances than Votto did.)

      • Bob Loblaw - Apr 9, 2014 at 3:01 PM

        RBI is NOT a flawed stat. Neither is the Save. What is flawed is the judging of players based on their RBI and Saves.

        The stats themselves are what they are. To call the stat “flawed” is just not right.

      • grumpyoleman - Apr 9, 2014 at 3:13 PM

        Pretty much every stat is “flawed” because they rely on somebody else doing something to enable you to do something. Agree with Bob.

      • chunkala - Apr 9, 2014 at 3:58 PM

        I would say the save is a flawed stat because you don’t necessarily need a great performance to achieve a save.
        Example: a reliever can allow 2 runs in only 1/3 IP every time and be awarded a save, thats a run average of over 54. Like Chris Perez.

      • raysfan1 - Apr 9, 2014 at 6:25 PM

        @ Bob Loblaw–actually I agree with you. Improper interpretation of any stat (old school or advanced metrics) is where error gets introduced. The stats themselves are just numbers. I was only attempting to explain why RBI gets called a flawed stat since the other commenter asked.

    • chunkala - Apr 9, 2014 at 3:53 PM

      Because crazy sabermetricians think that the universe just randomly assigns RBIs to players.

      A compromise would be RBIs as a % of runners on base/in scoring position. Opportunities like another post mentioned.

  7. tysonpunchinguterus - Apr 9, 2014 at 1:10 PM

    I think some of those guys might just recognize that pitching earlier in the game can often be as important or more important than pitching the 9th inning. It’s not like a guy like Goose pitched exclusively in the 9th inning. It’s part of the reason why save totals for the best relievers of that era are so much lower than you see now. Look at the number of guys with more saves than Gossage, Sutter, etc. There are quite a few names on there that were exclusively 9th-inning pitchers who are certainly not better than Gossage or Fingers.

  8. billybawl - Apr 9, 2014 at 1:17 PM

    Not to be confused with the separate “GIBBY” Awards for closers and setup pitchers and non-MLB awards like the Rolaids Relief Man Award, the Hilton Smith Legacy Award, the Sporting News Reliever of the Year Award and etc.

  9. Detroit Michael - Apr 9, 2014 at 1:39 PM

    We don’t need a committee to tell us who the best relievers were in each league. We’re avid baseball fans and can each decide for ourselves.

  10. coryfor3 - Apr 9, 2014 at 2:41 PM

    Maybe they could have included one of the many legendary setup men on the committee….oh wait..

    • coryfor3 - Apr 9, 2014 at 2:45 PM

      Wait- I’ve got it- a committee should have to include at least two of the following: Jesse Orosco, Brendan Donnelly, Hideki Okajima, Mike Stanton, Jeff Nelson and Arthur Rhodes.

  11. bronx77 - Apr 9, 2014 at 2:45 PM

    The RBI is a flawed stat because of the oppurtunity needed. You can’t control the guy in front of you to get on base. But I won’t cry if I had a couple guys on my team driving in 100 RBI’s.

  12. wjarvis - Apr 9, 2014 at 3:19 PM

    I think in most cases the closer is the best relief pitcher on the team, it’s just a damn shame they only get used in save situations instead of when the team needs their best reliever.

  13. sabathiawouldbegoodattheeighthtoo - Apr 9, 2014 at 3:36 PM

    For the most part, I think the best relievers eventually make it to the closer role. Now, with the volatility of relief pitcher performance, those excellent setup men might not be excellent long enough to become excellent closers. But most closers earned the opportunity by rising through the bullpen ranks, and keep the job through continued excellence.

    (Stop mumbling about Kevin Gregg and Matt Capps. There are exceptions to every rule)

  14. stlouis1baseball - Apr 9, 2014 at 4:34 PM

    Wow. That is one hell of a voting committee. Seriously. Look at those names!

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