Rogers: How to save baseball’s save rule

From Phil Rogers at on December 15, 2015, with mention of SABR member John Thorn:

Before we get going here, I’d like to beg forgiveness from Mariano Rivera, Trevor Hoffman and Lee Smith, among other retired greats. Also Mark Melancon, Craig Kimbrel and Trevor Rosenthal, and most of all the late Jerome Holtzman, my former Chicago Tribune colleague, who pioneered the statistic that has been used to identify the best relief pitchers.

None of them would like what’s coming next.

As it’s written, the save rule no longer works, and it’s time to rewrite it. My solution? Use Win Probabability Added (WPA). More on that in a moment.

Point is, there are better ways to evaluate a reliever’s performance than by giving the glory to the guy who gets the last three outs, especially in games where the heavy lifting happened in the eighth inning. Or the seventh inning. Even the sixth inning.

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Originally published: December 16, 2015. Last Updated: December 16, 2015.