Choose wisely

Which pitcher would you rather have on the mound in a key situation?

Pitcher IP H R ER HR BB SO BAA ERA ERA+
RHP A 72.0 59 24 22 7 30 70 .224 2.75 157
RHP B 57.3 50 22 19 3 15 21 .234 2.98 139

The first pitcher threw almost 15 more innings, but allowed only three more earned runs, just two more total, and had a far higher strikeout rate. The second pitcher had better control and allowed fewer homers. However, the first pitcher was pitching in a tougher part for a pitcher and was overall a little better. Given that the first pitcher is four years younger and has better peripherals, he’s a far better bet to remain successful.

The first pitcher is Juan Cruz, 2004. The second pitcher is Danny Kolb, 2004.

14 thoughts on “Choose wisely”

  1. I pick Juan Cruz. Did anyone else hear that the Braves tried to get Posednick (probably misspelled) along with Kolb in that deal?

  2. Mac, those statistics are quite telling. Juan Cruz is a very underappreciated pitcher. The fact that Kolb earned his numbers in save situations should be considered, though. NFL films calculated kicking statistics for game-winning situations and all other situations, finding that a kicker’s accuracy percentage declines dramatically during game-winning/tying situations from all ranges. The effect probably declines when you get multiple attempts to pitch a batter, but I’m sure the pressure effects a closer to some degree. It doesn’t hurt to have multiple relievers of this caliber, either. And Cruz might start this season as well. Regardless, I think you stat comparison is quite profound and indicative.

  3. Honestly, I feel that a lot of middle relievers are underappreciated in Atlanta during their division pennant run. Stanton, Mercker, Remlinger, Lightenberg, Cruz, Alphonseca, Hammond. Ok, so the more I write the more it seems they just became too expensive in JS’s eyes. And Cruz looked rough in the first month of 04. I think that tainted him in Cox’s eyes the rest of the year even though he was almost lights out near the end of the year.

  4. If Cruz can’t start,he should setup. If Cruz starts, I would really like Roman Colon to setup.

  5. Are you sure you are comfortable with Cruz closing? Cruz was pitching under non-stress situation last year while Kolb was a closer. If you throw all the stats away and just see how Cruz performed in pressured situation, you would have picked Kolb.

  6. This “comparison” is unfair to Kolb. Very unfair.

    Cruz put up his numbers as a setup guy, who pitched only in meaningless situations, so there was no pressure on him at all. Nor were the hitters all that motivated anymore. Kolb pitched under pressure all the time – it was his job to preserve the rare Brewers wins when the game was on the line. And the Braves defense behind Cruz was much better than the Brewers defense behind Kolb.

    Please take that into concern.


  7. Cruz put up his numbers as a setup guy, who pitched only in meaningless situations, so there was no pressure on him at all.

    There is absolutely way that you actually mean what you wrote here.
    Man, what a sucker am I to be sitting in my office doing work when I should be out there making way more money pitching those easy, meaningless middle innings that have no effect on the game and where the batters don’t try as hard to get on base.

  8. —-
    Man, what a sucker am I to be sitting in my office doing work when I should be out there making way more money pitching those easy, meaningless middle innings that have no effect on the game and where the batters don’t try as hard to get on base.
    —-

    Sarcasm aside, there is a HUGE difference pitching in blowoiuts and throw aways than in one run games in the ninth. Anyone who has pitched at any level would know this.

  9. I agree with Frank’s comments. Pitching during the seventh and eighth innings cannot even begin to compare with the pressure of trying to save the game in the ninth.

    It seems like everyone is down on Kolb and this trade, but the fact of the matter is they needed an ace, they got a solid closer to replace Smoltz, and they were able to keep Giles in the process.

  10. There’s no statistical evidence to quanitify the “pressure” of the setup role in comparison to the closer’s role. The only thing you can say is there are tons of pitchers who went from mediocre closers to lights out setup men or vice versa. Look at a couple of the pitchers in the Braves’ bullpen the past few seasons. Hammond, Holmes, and Alfonseca all were mediocre closers, but then became awesome setup men. I’m sure there’s more, and there’s living proof closing is no easy task.

  11. Everyone handles pressure different ways. I don’t need evidence to tell me it’s there. I know. What evidence will tell me is whether or not it affects a specifics person. Some people perform better under pressure, some worse, some aren’t affected at all. The point is, you can’t compare apples to oranges without recognizing they are different.

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