Wednesday, July 23, 2008

All Hail the Vulture Kings?

As I mentioned yesterday, I've found the career leaders in vulture wins. Bopperland commented on my original vulture win post saying that blown save wins should be kept separate from other vulture wins. After thinking about it for a while, this makes sense. The idea behind a vulture win is that a reliever was in the right place at the right time (whether through a manager's trust in him or a random offensive explosion) to pick up the win. When a guy blows a save and then gets the win, he's essentially created his own win opportunity through failure, whereas other vulture wins are gained simply by coming into the game.

With that in mind, I've separated off blown save wins from my definition of vulture wins. Thus the new definitions look like this:
  • A pitcher is credited with a "vulture win" if he is the winning pitcher, has not blown a save in the game, and satisfies one or more of the following conditions:
    1. He enters a game in relief and pitches at most one inning.
    2. He enters a game in relief, pitches at least one complete inning, and gives up at least as many runs (earned or unearned) as complete innings pitched (i.e. 1 R in 1 2/3 IP, 2 R in 2 1/3 IP).
  • A pitcher is credited with a "blown save win" if he enters a game in a save situation, proceeds to blow the save, and ends up as the winning pitcher.
Although they're not vulture wins, blown save wins are another type of undeserved win. So, in addition to forming leaderboards for career vulture wins and career blown save wins, I've also made a career undeserved wins leaderboard combining the two.

Enough talk, let's turn to the boards!

Most Career Vulture Wins, 1956-2008
(through 7/22/08)
  1. Mike Timlin, 37
  2. Jesse Orosco, 36
  3. Paul Assenmacher, 34
  4. Gene Garber, 34
  5. John Franco, 32
  6. Mike Stanton, 31
  7. Rich Gossage, 29
  8. Rudy Seanez, 29
  9. Dave Weathers, 29
  10. Jeff Nelson, 28
  11. Felix Rodriguez, 28
  12. Willie Hernandez, 26
  13. Todd Jones, 26
  14. Curt Leskanic, 26
  15. Jose Mesa, 26
  16. Mariano Rivera, 26
  17. Trevor Hoffman, 25
  18. Mike Jackson, 25
  19. Dan Plesac, 25
  20. Jeff Reardon, 25
Most Career Vulture Wins by an Active Player, 1956-2008
(through 7/22/08)
  1. Mike Timlin, 37
  2. Rudy Seanez, 29
  3. Dave Weathers, 29
  4. Todd Jones, 26
  5. Mariano Rivera, 26
  6. Trevor Hoffman, 25
  7. Julian Tavarez, 23
  8. Doug Brocail, 22
  9. Tom Gordon, 22
  10. Eddie Guardado, 22
  11. Arthur Rhodes, 22
  12. Alan Embree, 20
  13. Bobby Howry, 20
  14. Scott Linebrink, 20
  15. Braden Looper, 20
  16. Russ Springer, 20
  17. Luis Vizcaino, 20
  18. Ray King, 19
  19. Guillermo Mota, 18
  20. Joe Nathan, 18
  21. Troy Percival, 18
Even with blown save wins separated from vulture wins, there are still a lot of closers and ex-closers on the active list. It's not surprising that there's a lot of setup men as well; they're the type of pitchers a manager would presumably feel safest putting into a tied game.

Most Career Blown Save Wins, 1956-2008
(through 7/22/08)
  1. Rich Gossage, 27
  2. Rollie Fingers, 26
  3. John Franco, 23
  4. Roberto Hernandez, 23
  5. Sparky Lyle, 22
  6. Kent Tekulve, 21
  7. Rick Aguilera, 20
  8. John Hiller, 20
  9. Lee Smith, 20
  10. Dave Righetti, 19
  11. Gary Lavelle, 18
  12. Jeff Reardon, 18
  13. Bruce Sutter, 18
  14. Dan Quisenberry, 17
  15. Mariano Rivera, 17
  16. John Wetteland, 17
  17. Clay Carroll, 16
  18. Bill Campbell, 15
  19. Dennis Eckersley, 15
  20. Doug Jones, 15
  21. Jeff Montgomery, 15
Most Career Blown Save Wins by an Active Player, 1956-2008
(through 7/22/08)
  1. Mariano Rivera, 17
  2. Tom Gordon, 14
  3. Todd Jones, 12
  4. Jason Isringhausen, 11
  5. Francisco Cordero, 9
  6. Trevor Hoffman, 9
  7. Mike Timlin, 9
  8. Billy Wagner, 9
  9. Bobby Howry, 8
  10. LaTroy Hawkins, 7
  11. Matt Herges, 7
  12. Joaquin Benoit, 6
  13. Joe Borowski, 6
  14. Arthur Rhodes, 6
  15. Scot Shields, 6
  16. Chad Bradford, 5
  17. Octavio Dotel, 5
  18. Alan Embree, 5
  19. Francisco Rodriguez, 5
  20. Rudy Seanez, 5
  21. Luis Vizcaino, 5
  22. Dave Weathers, 5
Unsurprisingly, closers dominate this list. Of course, they're generally the guys with the most opportunities to blow saves. The fact that setup men also can blow saves is reflected at the bottom of the active list. The last leaderboard will basically re-hash the names of the preceding lists, but that's okay. I've spiced it up a little by putting each player's career win total in parentheses next to their undeserved win totals.

Most Career Undeserved Wins, 1956-2008
(through 7/22/08)
  1. Rich Gossage, 56 (124)
  2. John Franco, 55 (90)
  3. Jesse Orosco, 49 (87)
  4. Roberto Hernandez, 46 (67)
  5. Mike Timlin, 46 (74)
  6. Rollie Fingers, 45 (114)
  7. Gene Garber, 45 (96)
  8. Paul Assenmacher, 44 (61)
  9. Sparky Lyle, 44 (99)
  10. Kent Tekulve, 44 (94)
  11. Jeff Reardon, 43 (73)
  12. Mariano Rivera, 43 (66)
  13. Lee Smith, 42 (71)
  14. Todd Jones, 38 (58)
  15. Gary Lavelle, 38 (80)
  16. Dan Plesac, 38 (65)
  17. Mike Stanton, 38 (68)
  18. Jose Mesa, 37 (80)
  19. Tom Gordon, 36 (138)
  20. Doug Jones, 35 (69)
  21. Jeff Nelson, 35 (48)
Most Career Undeserved Wins by an Active Player, 1956-2008
(though 7/22/08)
  1. Mike Timlin, 46 (74)
  2. Mariano Rivera, 43 (66)
  3. Todd Jones, 38 (58)
  4. Tom Gordon, 36 (138)
  5. Trevor Hoffman, 34 (54)
  6. Rudy Seanez, 34 (40)
  7. Dave Weathers, 34 (67)
  8. Bobby Howry, 28 (38)
  9. Arthur Rhodes, 28 (77)
  10. Troy Percival, 27 (34)
  11. Doug Brocail, 26 (48)
  12. Francisco Cordero, 26 (30)
  13. Eddie Guardado, 26 (42)
  14. Julian Tavarez, 26 (84)
  15. Billy Wagner, 26 (39)
  16. Alan Embree, 25 (36)
  17. Luis Vizcaino, 25 (33)
  18. Scott Linebrink, 24 (32)
  19. Braden Looper, 24 (55)
  20. Russ Springer, 23 (35)
I'll look at undeserved wins by team and league tomorrow, but suffice it to say that I don't think the AL having fewer vulture wins this year is a fluke.

2 comments:

Bopperland said...

Now THIS is much closer to my vision of what a Vulture Win is! You nailed the opportunistic aspect and wisely discounted the "made his own VW scenario" part.

Did you notice one thing about your tables that hit me right away (especially with the first ones)? You alluded to an AL dominance, which did not surprise me either. If you had taken it a step further, however, you might have noticed what team most of those leaders were associated with at some time in their career.

I see an awful lot of Yankees.

Can you imagine how contract negotiations would go for someone like a Timlin if the GM had these stats? He could listen to the agent laud his client's outstanding record, then devastate it with the Vulture Wins. Shades of Moneyball.

Good work, Theron!

Bopperland said...

There is one other aspect of the Vulture Win that you may want to ensure is reflected in your tables, as it did not really come out very clearly if it was.

In defining the "opportunistic" aspect of the VW, that means that another pitcher did most of the work and deserved the win. As a result, I would suggest that a VW would normally have to be in a game where a starting pitcher recorded a Quality Start.

That being said, would that new QS criteria discount the scenario where the SP only goes maybe an inning (due to either injury or getting bombed) and the next reliever goes for the bulk of the game (as if he was the starter) before yeilding to the VW pitcher? My personal opinion is that those games are few and far between, so the QS criteria may make more sense. The other concern I have about using QS is if the runs allowed exceed the QS threshold, but he still pitched a good game.

See if your stats hold up if the VW numbers you calculated were for QS games. That's a good measure of where the deserving part comes in.

In short, we've really nailed the "vulture" part, but we may need to nail down the "deserving" criteria. Frankly, the lists you currently generated have most of the VW culprits I already suspected.