Were the Best Closers Just Failed Starters?

From Adam Darowski at Beyond the Box Score on September 16, 2011:

A couple days ago, our friend [and SABR member] Rob Neyer wrote a post about Mariano Rivera and his 600 saves. In the article, he references a post by Joe Posnanski where Poz states:

But [Mariano Rivera]’s also a failed starter.

Neyer quite eloquently debunked that thought.


It was an interesting approach—using numbers to show whether or not a pitcher actually was given the opportunity to fail. Neyer insists (and I agree) that Rivera never actually failed in the role. There may have been something about Rivera that made scouts believe he was better suited for closing (like that whole “one pitch” thing and perhaps some injuries). But when you get technical about it, he never actually failed.

A friend and I started looking at other closers to see if the numbers showed they were failed starters. The results were fascinating, so today I give you the top twenty relievers of all time by Baseball-Reference’s WAR, and whether or not they were ever given the opportunity to fail as starters

Read the full article here: http://www.beyondtheboxscore.com/2011/9/16/2428389/were-the-best-closers-just-failed-starters

Originally published: September 16, 2011. Last Updated: September 16, 2011.