Examining the rate of inherited runners and saves

From John Autin at High Heat Stats on February 6, 2012:

Last season, Baltimore closer Kevin Gregg turned in a season unique in the annals of relief pitching:

 With 22 saves and 48 games finished, Gregg became the first pitcher to log 20+ saves and/or 25+ games finished without inheriting a single runner all year(Inherited runners have been tallied only since 1950, but I’ll personally guarantee that this never happened before that, either.)

There were 28 pitchers with at least 20 saves in 2011. As a group, they averaged 34 saves and 12 inherited runners; 16 of them inherited 10 runners or less. John Axford, the NL Saves co-leader, inherited just 1 runner all year, and that was in a non-save situation. (He stranded the runner, but lost the game in the next inning.)

Among 30-save men last year, the high in inherited runners was 17, shared by Mariano Rivera, Juan Oviedo (f/k/a/ Leo Nunez) and Carlos Marmol. Rivera inherited at least one runner in 6 of 49 save tries, Oviedo 9 of 42, and Marmol 7 of 44 save chances, for a combined rate of 16% of their save tries.

As shown in the following charts, the rate of inherited runners for closers has been declining since the mid-’70s. The rates are shown in two forms, Per 30 Saves and Per 60 IP (the average workload of a modern closer). Since closers of past eras tended to pitch more innings and record fewer saves than their modern counterparts, the rates Per 30 Saves tend to be much higher than Per 60 IP until the ’90s.

Read the full article here: http://www.highheatstats.com/?p=225

Originally published: February 7, 2012. Last Updated: February 7, 2012.