Friday, July 03, 2009

Highest Leverage Index of All Time

...Or at least 1954, the years retrosheet has play by play files for.

I sorted my career pitcher log by career leverage index, which measures the volatility of a game (1 is average, 9th inning, 1 run lead is high, 7th inning, 12 run lead is low). Since there are some pitchers who came up for a cup of coffee, might have for some emergency found themselves in a crucial sitation, and never pitched again, I was expected to see a lot of 2-5 inning guys before I got to the real careers.

In reality, there are only a few of them. Bruce Sutter ranks 8th with a 2.0 leverage index, behind 7 guys who pitched no more than 3 innings each. A few pitchers come in at 1.9, K-Rod, Percival, John Franco, and Trevor Hoffman among them. Mariano Rivera is at 1.8.

Only one pitcher has a leverage index of 3.0, hitting that on the nose. Surprise is, it wasn't even a real pitcher, but catcher Brent Mayne for one inning on August 22, 2000. The game between the Rockies went 12 innings, and the Rockies had already used 9 pitchers before handing the ball to Mayne. I don't remember the whole story, maybe the last guy got hurt and Mayne had to pitch since there was nobody left. The 6 pitchers before him didn't work very hard, throwing between 3 and 12 pitches each.

Anyway, Mayne faced Tom Glavine and got a ground out. Walt Weiss flew out to center. This pitching stuff ain't that hard, is it? A single, wild pitch, and walk later, Mayne found himself staring down the reigning NL MVP, Larry Wayne Jones, who had already homered in the game. No big deal, Jones grounded out to third, the Rockies won the game in the bottom of the inning, and Mayne's legend as the most leverage pitcher of all time was established.

24 Comments:

At 2:49 PM, Blogger Matthew Cornwell said...

Lots of Questions!

Are the Hit+ columns showing runs vs. league (not considering defense) or runs vs. mates (considering defense)?

Also- Totalzone does not pick up on pitchers who are able to prevent hits by creating weak contact on GB and FB, right? It only considers trajectory, LD% and INFB%. Is this correct?

If a long-career pitcher did have the ability to prevent hits per GB or FB (say a Tom Glavine who has leage average LD and HR/FB rates, but a much better than league average and better than mate BABIP), then would it be accurate to take the number of runs he prevented in that fashion from the X column (which would be showing up as an unknown measure) and put it into the Hit+ column?

Do you give all GBDP credit to fielders (expressed in DEF), or some to pitchers (expressed in Hit+ or X)?

Finally, are the RAR numbers for the pitcher's offense the same as Runs above average? In other words, are they on the same scale as R+? If I wanted to know how many runs Clemens created and saved total, could I just add 737 RA+ to 5 RAR, or would I need to convert his 5 RAR to RAA and then add?

Thank you for your time. I have had a wonderful time looking over the top 500 rankings! I think WAR is one of the best uberstats created so far. Excellent work!

 
At 2:55 PM, Blogger Matthew Cornwell said...

Sorry- this was meant to go on the previous thread. Feel free to transfer it to the correct spot.

 
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