Tag Archives: rankings

SOEFA Sunday: Reliever Rankings Update (July 7, 2013)

Clip art illustration of a Cartoon Tiger with a Missing Tooth

You’ll recall last week we introduced are very own reliever rankings called SOEFA, which you can read about in detail here. For a brief refresher, it combines strand rate, expected OBP against, ERA-, and FIP- into a deviation from league average. Zero is average, and will generally range between -2.5 to 2.5. This includes all pitchers who have thrown at least 20 IP in relief. Should you wish to know the SOEFA for any other reliever, or on a day that isn’t Sunday, hit us on Twitter or in the comments section.

Rank Player Team SOEFA
1 Alex Torres Rays 1.33
2 Sergio Romo Giants 1.03
3 Joaquin Benoit Tigers 0.96
4 Neal Cotts Rangers 0.9
5 Drew Smyly Tigers 0.89
6 Mark Melancon Pirates 0.88
7 Jordan Walden Braves 0.84
8 Jason Grilli Pirates 0.83
9 Javier Lopez Giants 0.83
10 Greg Holland Royals 0.83
11 Kevin Gregg Cubs 0.79
12 Jesse Crain White Sox 0.78
13 Oliver Perez Mariners 0.77
14 Sam LeCure Reds 0.75
15 Glen Perkins Twins 0.75
16 Brett Cecil Blue Jays 0.73
17 Trevor Rosenthal Cardinals 0.72
18 Kenley Jansen Dodgers 0.71
19 Joe Thatcher Padres 0.68
20 Edward Mujica Cardinals 0.67
21 Preston Claiborne Yankees 0.66
22 Junichi Tazawa Red Sox 0.66
23 Shawn Kelley Yankees 0.63
24 Sean Doolittle Athletics 0.63
25 Casey Fien Twins 0.59
26 Tommy Hunter Orioles 0.58
27 Koji Uehara Red Sox 0.58
28 Edgmer Escalona Rockies 0.58
29 Josh Collmenter Diamondbacks 0.55
30 Francisco Rodriguez Brewers 0.54
31 Craig Kimbrel Braves 0.53
32 Scott Downs Angels 0.52
33 David Robertson Yankees 0.49
34 Ryan Cook Athletics 0.49
35 Andrew Miller Red Sox 0.48
36 Robbie Ross Rangers 0.47
37 Brian Matusz Orioles 0.47
38 Jim Henderson Brewers 0.45
39 Casey Janssen Blue Jays 0.44
40 Luis Avilan Braves 0.44
41 Aroldis Chapman Reds 0.44
42 Matt Reynolds Diamondbacks 0.44
43 Boone Logan Yankees 0.44
44 Jonathan Papelbon Phillies 0.43
45 Chad Gaudin Giants 0.43
46 Anthony Varvaro Braves 0.43
47 Dale Thayer Padres 0.43
48 Bobby Parnell Mets 0.42
49 Ernesto Frieri Angels 0.42
50 Seth Maness Cardinals 0.41
51 Rafael Soriano Nationals 0.4
52 Josh Outman Rockies 0.4
53 Matt Belisle Rockies 0.39
54 Paco Rodriguez Dodgers 0.39
55 Manny Parra Reds 0.39
56 Luke Gregerson Padres 0.38
57 Joel Peralta Rays 0.38
58 Brandon Kintzler Brewers 0.36
59 Addison Reed White Sox 0.35
60 Grant Balfour Athletics 0.34
61 Tom Gorzelanny Brewers 0.34
62 Tanner Scheppers Rangers 0.34
63 Jason Frasor Rangers 0.34
64 Darren O’Day Orioles 0.34
65 Brad Ziegler Diamondbacks 0.33
66 Alfredo Simon Reds 0.33
67 Luke Hochevar Royals 0.33
68 John Axford Brewers 0.32
69 J.P. Howell Dodgers 0.32
70 Vin Mazzaro Pirates 0.32
71 Joe Smith Indians 0.31
72 David Carpenter Braves 0.3
73 Steve Cishek Marlins 0.3
74 James Russell Cubs 0.28
75 Michael Kohn Angels 0.28
76 Tony Watson Pirates 0.26
77 Rafael Betancourt Rockies 0.25
78 Jerome Williams Angels 0.25
79 Antonio Bastardo Phillies 0.25
80 Steve Delabar Blue Jays 0.25
81 Nate Jones White Sox 0.24
82 Chad Qualls Marlins 0.24
83 Justin Wilson Pirates 0.23
84 Jamey Wright Rays 0.23
85 Tyler Clippard Nationals 0.23
86 Troy Patton Orioles 0.23
87 Pat Neshek Athletics 0.21
88 Matt Thornton White Sox 0.21
89 Jean Machi Giants 0.2
90 Mariano Rivera Yankees 0.2
91 Rex Brothers Rockies 0.19
92 Craig Breslow Red Sox 0.19
93 Cody Allen Indians 0.17
94 Aaron Loup Blue Jays 0.17
95 Greg Burke Mets 0.17
96 Charlie Furbush Mariners 0.15
97 Jose Veras Astros 0.15
98 Tim Collins Royals 0.13
99 Alfredo Figaro Brewers 0.13
100 Jesse Chavez Athletics 0.12
101 Bryan Morris Pirates 0.12
102 Tyson Ross Padres 0.11
103 Joe Nathan Rangers 0.11
104 Dane de la Rosa Angels 0.11
105 Al Alburquerque Tigers 0.1
106 Jose Mijares Giants 0.1
107 Darren Oliver Blue Jays 0.09
108 LaTroy Hawkins Mets 0.08
109 Joe Kelly Cardinals 0.08
110 Anthony Swarzak Twins 0.07
111 Fernando Rodney Rays 0.07
112 Carter Capps Mariners 0.07
113 Yoervis Medina Mariners 0.06
114 Aaron Crow Royals 0.06
115 Cesar Ramos Rays 0.03
116 Adam Ottavino Rockies 0.03
117 Andrew Bailey Red Sox 0.02
118 Jim Johnson Orioles 0
119 Matt Lindstrom White Sox 0
120 Ryan Pressly Twins -0.02
121 Ryan Webb Marlins -0.03
122 Jared Burton Twins -0.03
123 J.J. Hoover Reds -0.03
124 Drew Storen Nationals -0.03
125 Jerry Blevins Athletics -0.04
126 Tom Wilhelmsen Mariners -0.05
127 Kevin Jepsen Angels -0.05
128 Craig Stammen Nationals -0.06
129 Burke Badenhop Brewers -0.07
130 Brian Duensing Twins -0.07
131 Joe Ortiz Rangers -0.08
132 Wilton Lopez Rockies -0.08
133 Ross Wolf Rangers -0.08
134 A.J. Ramos Marlins -0.09
135 Danny Farquhar Mariners -0.09
136 David Hernandez Diamondbacks -0.1
137 Darin Downs Tigers -0.11
138 Jose Cisnero Astros -0.12
139 Bryan Shaw Indians -0.12
140 Tony Sipp Diamondbacks -0.14
141 Tim Stauffer Padres -0.15
142 Brad Lincoln Blue Jays -0.16
143 Wesley Wright Astros -0.16
144 Cory Gearrin Braves -0.16
145 Paul Clemens Astros -0.18
146 Nick Hagadone Indians -0.19
147 Vinnie Pestano Indians -0.19
148 Jake McGee Rays -0.2
149 Mike Dunn Marlins -0.2
150 Michael Gonzalez Brewers -0.2
151 Blake Beavan Mariners -0.21
152 Phil Coke Tigers -0.21
153 Joba Chamberlain Yankees -0.22
154 Matt Guerrier – – – -0.22
155 Heath Bell Diamondbacks -0.23
156 Jonathan Broxton Reds -0.24
157 Matt Albers Indians -0.24
158 Garrett Richards Angels -0.24
159 Alex Wilson Red Sox -0.26
160 Rich Hill Indians -0.28
161 George Kontos Giants -0.29
162 Scott Rice Mets -0.29
163 Josh Roenicke Twins -0.29
164 Chris Perez Indians -0.29
165 Logan Ondrusek Reds -0.3
166 Travis Blackley Astros -0.35
167 Kyle Farnsworth Rays -0.36
168 Hector Ambriz Astros -0.37
169 Mike Adams Phillies -0.39
170 Clayton Mortensen Red Sox -0.4
171 T.J. McFarland Orioles -0.4
172 Ronald Belisario Dodgers -0.44
173 Henry Rodriguez – – – -0.45
174 Brandon Lyon Mets -0.46
175 Esmil Rogers Blue Jays -0.51
176 Bruce Chen Royals -0.53
177 Adam Warren Yankees -0.57
178 Jeremy Horst Phillies -0.58
179 Jeremy Affeldt Giants -0.59
180 Kelvin Herrera Royals -0.68
181 Huston Street Padres -0.71
182 Michael Kirkman Rangers -0.71
183 Carlos Marmol Cubs -0.71
184 Anthony Bass Padres -0.94
185 Pedro Strop – – – -0.98
186 Shawn Camp Cubs -1.01
187 Hector Rondon Cubs -1.05
188 Brandon League Dodgers -1.62

Who Has An Ace Up Their Sleeve?

In baseball, we have this term “ace.” For those new to the game, it’s used in two ways. One is to refer to a team’s best pitcher. As in, “Justin Verlander is the Tigers ace.” The other way refers to the best pitchers in the league. As in, “Justin Verlander is an ace.”

This post concerns the latter category. Every team, by definition, has the first kind of ace, but not everyone sports an ace in the second sense.

Below I offer my list of baseball’s aces. Some notes before we get started. First of all, I limited my number to less than 30 because it’s impossible for pitcher #31 to be anyone’s ace in a world of equality where the Phillies don’t have three just for themselves. Second, 2012 matters, but it is not exclusive. This means that you can’t become an ace based on only 2012 and you can’t lose ace status based on only 2012. So Chris Sale isn’t an ace and Roy Halladay still is. Finally, the order is fluid. I ranked them because people like you take a stand, but is Ace #8 really any better than Ace #9? Tough call. Also, I’ve included some also rans, or guys I thought about and decided against or guys who are on the verge but haven’t earned it just yet. Enjoy and feel free to sound off.

The Aces

15. Adam Wainwright (RHP-St. Louis Cardinals): Wainwright was a borderline case for me but after two strong seasons in 2009 and 2010, he bounced back from missing the 2011 season with another good year. In those three seasons, he threw 662 innings, posted a 2.95 ERA and a 3.50 K/BB ratio to go along 9 complete games and four shutouts and his 53-32 record. The strikeout numbers are good and the 5.7, 6.1, and 4.4 WAR in those seasons make me comfortable placing Wainwright at the bottom of the elite group.

14. Tim Lincecum (RHP-San Francisco Giants): The Freak was another tough one, but if I committed to the 2012 Doesn’t Define You Rule© then he has to make the cut. The 2012 version of Lincecum walked a lot more hitters than normal and gave up more homeruns, but from 2008-2011, the list of better pitchers was short. In that time, he threw 881.2 innings and posted a 2.81 ERA next to 10 K/9. And if you’re old school, a 62-36 record while pitching for a team that the fans claim played baseball akin to “torture” because they scored so few runs. So while he’s on shaky ground, it’s hard not to remember how dominant the 28 year old was over the last few seasons.

13. James Shields (RHP-Tampa Bay Rays): Big Game James might not crack a ton of these lists, especially if you chase ERA, which has only been below 3.00 once in his career. What does it for me are the innings. From 2007-2012, he’s thrown 200+ innings every year with a K/9 above 8.1 for each of the last three years. I guess I’m blinded by what he did last season in my favorite pitching categories, complete games. He had 11. No one has had that many since 1999. That screams ace to me.

12. Matt Cain (RHP-San Francisco Giants): Cain is another one of those guys who doesn’t light up a stat sheet, but just goes out there and provides his team innings in a big way. He stays healthy and gives you 32-34 starts and 200+ innings every year and hasn’t had an ERA above 3.15 in five years. Plus he’s still in the prime of his career at 28 and tossed one of the best pitched games I’ve ever seen against Houston this summer in route to a perfect game.

11. Stephen Strasburg (RHP-Washington Nationals): So I may have cheated here because most of his resume comes from what happened this year, but I couldn’t ignore him. Over the course of three seasons, he’s started 45 games and thrown 251 innings. He hasn’t stayed healthy, needing Tommy John surgery (you may have seen some coverage of this!), but if you buy the success rate of the procedure these days, you have no reason to expect another long layoff. But let’s look at those 251 innings like they’re a little more than one full season. His K/9 for his career is 11.20. ERA under 3.00. WHIP under 1.10. Forget the stats, the guy is bonkers good. Just watch him pitch and try not to say things like, “Bu…wha????? Dude…” Ace.

10. Jered Weaver (RHP- Los Angeles Angels): So I’m not a fan of Jeff Weaver’s little brother. Last year after Weaver yelled at Magglio Ordonez, Carlos Guillen showed him up by pimping a homerun. And then Weaver came unhinged and tried to put a baseball in Alex Avila’s face. Alex Avila is one of the more diplomatic guys in the game and he was looking at a Weaver fastball because Weaver is, in layman’s terms, a child who can’t handle himself like an adult. But, he’s pretty good at pitching when he isn’t having a psychotic episode, so here he is. Good command, solid deception, stays healthy. I really just don’t want to say anything good about him, but also didn’t want to overly compromise my integrity by pretending he didn’t exist.

9. Zach Greinke (RHP- Los Angeles Angels): So this is how I react to looking a Greinke’s numbers from 2008-2012.

2008: Very solid. #2 starter. Kid’s got a future.

2009: HOLY $#@%!!!!!

2010: Pretty good year, a little unlucky maybe.

2011: Nice year, if he had been totally healthy, it would have been even better.

2012: Except for those first couple starts in LA, he was awesome.

So I’m not really sure how to quantify how that evens out, but I really like Greinke’s stuff and I think he sometimes gets a bad rap for being a reserved, introverted guy. He can flat out pitch. He’s also only 29. So watch for someone to pay him $11 zillion this offseason.

8. Cole Hamels (LHP-Philadelphia Phillies): Somehow, he’s the first lefty on this list. Actually he starts a string of five straight lefties. Hamels is a guy I really like and the higher I get on this list the less I believe I need to draw on statistics to tell you these guys are good. Hamels has been one of the better pitchers in the game for the last six seasons and his changeup would make Bugs Bunny proud. He’s done it in the playoffs and he’s done it in the regular season.

7. David Price (LHP-Tampa Bay Rays): In the four years that Price has been a full time starter his K/9 have improved every years, his BB/9 have declined, and his FIP have declined. The scary thing about Price is he’s only 27 and looks poised to enter his prime. The repertoire is impressive and he’s getting better. That should scare AL hitters.

6. Cliff Lee (LHP-Trading Block): Just kidding, he plays for the Phillies, but everyone is always trying to trade/trade for this guy. He’s been great in the playoffs and he’s great all the time. Since his reinvention after the 2007 season, Lee has been phenomenal. He’s averaged a 6.5 WAR and never walks anyone! His worst year was a 1.67 BB/9 and he’s been durable and the strikeouts are ticking up as well. His 2012 K/BB ratio was the best anyone has had since 2000 at a mind-blowing 10.28. Hard not to like what Lee does, even if it only got him 6 wins this season. Yeah, six. Hey! He’s six on this list too!

5. Clayton Kershaw (LHP-Los Angeles Dodgers): 24 years old. Career K/9 of 9.29. Career ERA 2.79. Walks coming down every year. Never made fewer than 30 starts in a full season. I don’t need to say much else except that I spent a lot of nights last summer staying up far too late to watch Vin Scully call games pitched by Kershaw on the west coast because he is Clear Your Schedule Good ©. Ace.

4. C.C. Sabathia (LHP-New York Yankees): 11 MLB seasons, never fewer than 28 starts or 180 innings. Lots of strikeouts and has seemed to get better against tougher competition in the AL East. He’s a work horse and pretty much any stat, sabermetric or traditional will tell you he’s great.

3. Roy Halladay (RHP-Philadelphia Phillies): If we had crafted this list before the 2011 season, I’d have put him #1. If we did it at the beginning of this season, I’d probably have put him at #1b. But this year he missed a lot of time and looked human, maybe even showed his age. But Halladay is brilliant. He’s a master craftsman at attacks the strike zone with surgeon like precision.

2. Felix Hernandez (RHP-Seattle Mariners): King Felix is awesome. I’m not even going to say anything else. He’s that good and he’s only 26. Seriously.

1. Justin Verlander (RHP-Detroit Tigers): Verlander has seven years of MLB experience under his belt and only failed to cross the 200 inning plateau when he was a rookie. Never missed a start. Four straight years with a WAR over 6.4. Three strikeout titles. MVP winner and should win his second Cy Young this year. Hard to say something that hasn’t already been said, but there’s poster of Verlander in every room of my apartment. So that should tell you something. His stuff is incredible and the results are awesome. You can’t turn away when he’s pitching. He has two no hitters and has come CLOSE three other times. Only four guys have three or more no-hitters and they’re all inner circle Hall of Famers (Ryan, Koufax, Young, Feller). He’s coming to join them.

In no particular order, here’s a list of guys I thought about for the list that didn’t make the cut: Gio Gonzalez, Yu Darvish, Johnny Cueto, RA Dickey, Max Scherzer, Jake Peavy, Madison Bumgarner, Dan Haren, Doug Fister, Chris Carpenter, Matt Garza, Jon Lester, Yovanni Gallardo, Chris Sale.

Pray for (no) rain!

%d bloggers like this: