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The best Yankee relievers at stranding inherited runners in 2013


Relievers are supposed to keep runners from scoring, but most of the time they didn't even put those runners there in the first place. We track ERA and FIP and strikeouts, but what about a reliever's ability to prevent guys from scoring who were already there when they came into the game? Those runners won't be reflected in their stats, but they should be. has come up with Relief Runs Average to measure a reliever's ability to hold runners while also weighing for outs and runner positioning when they come into the game. RAA believes that it's harder to prevent runs from scoring when there are less outs and runners are closer to home plate and easier when there are more outs and runners are further from home plate. It's not just about surrendering runs, but also in what context those runs were given up. RRA is scaled to ERA, so if you know what a good ERA looks like, you'll also know what a good Relief Runs Average is.

To determine how the Yankees did, you can follow along at home:

To calculate R.R.A.®, only use instances where there is at least one runner on base when that relief pitcher enters the game. To calculate R.R.A.®, take the following steps:

1) Determine the out factor (O), based upon how many outs there are when the pitcher enters the game:
If there are 0 outs, O = 2
If there is 1 out, O = 3
If there are 2 outs, O = 6

2) Determine the base factors (R1), (R2) and (R3) and (R) based upon which, if any, inherited base runner(s) scored:
If an inherited base runner from 1st base scored, R1 = 2.54. If not R1 = 0.
If an inherited base runner from 2nd base scored, R2 = 1.48. If not R2 = 0.
If an inherited base runner from 3rd base scored, R3 = 1.00. If not R3 = 0.
R = R1 + R2 + R3.

3) Multiply (O x R x 1.55) to calculate the pitcher's R.R.A.® for that game. 1.55 is a multiplier constant that it used to make R.R.A.® comparable to ERA. This provides statisticians and baseball fans a familiar and simple scale to understand and compare relief pitchers' abilities in situations with inherited runners.

If you wish to calculate a pitcher's R.R.A.® over multiple games, find the sum of all R.R.A.s® in that set of games and divide it by that number of games. For example, if a pitcher makes four appearances with inherited runners over the course of a season, with R.R.A.s® of 0.00, 1.00, 2.00, and 3.00, his R.R.A.® for that season would equal 1.50.

Using my superior math skills, I have calculated the RRA of the Yankees' 2013 relievers. The category of Appearances represents the amount of times a reliever came into the game with runners on base, not the total amount of games they pitched in.

Reliever RRA Appearance. Inherited Runners Inherited Runners Scored
Dellin Betances 0.00 7 2 0
Matt Daley 0.00 7 1 0
Cody Eppley 0.00 2 5 0
Shawn Kelley 1.00 27 39 4
David Huff 1.55 6 11 1
Cesar Cabral 1.72 4 8 1
Preston Claiborne 3.71 22 32 6
Boone Logan 4.27 34 55 17
Mariano Rivera 4.30 10 15 5
Adam Warren 6.54 6 12 5
Jim Miller 6.88 1 1 1
David Robertson 8.12 9 12 6
Joba Chamberlain 9.65 10 20 9

The great Mariano Rivera wasn't too great at keeping runners on. When a pitcher got into a jam, Joe Girardi wanted to go to his best option, but more often than he hoped that option didn't work out.

You would think that, as their best reliever, Robertson would rank highly, but that's not always how it works. He allowed 50% of his inherited runners to score, though he wasn't exactly put into a lot of those situations anyway. Still, that's not what you want to see out of your best reliever and potential closer.

Shawn Kelley was actually the best at preventing runners from scoring. As the team's true fireman, he came into 27 situations with men on base and only allowed four of them to score. That's insane. It will obviously be tough to repeat in 2014, but if the Yankees sign an eighth inning guy, Kelley can be freed up to use in big spots with runners on base.

Logan did not fair as well as he probably should have. As is the nature of a LOOGY, he came into the game with runners on more than any other pitcher on the team, since he was the one brought in for specific match ups. He didn't do so well, allowing 30% of his inherited runners to score. Now that he's gone, it will fall to Matt Thornton to do better in 2014.

Joba was absolutely horrible this year at pretty much everything, so it's no surprise that it was no different when it came to inherited runners. For some reason he was allowed to come into 10 situations with runners on base and ended up allowing 45% of them to score. That's some pretty bad management right there.

Preston Claiborne wasn't overly impressive after his first month in the majors, but at least he was effective against runners on base. The rookie only allowed 18% of his inherited runners to score and was the second best regular Yankee all season long. That could be a number to watch in 2014 if he wants to stick around.

Warren was one of the worst on the team at keeping inherited runners on base. He also had the least chances out of any of the regular members of the bullpen since he was usually used as to go several innings and wasn't really relied on in high-leverage situations

Huff and Cabral had limited playing time with the Yankees, but both performed well with men on base. If either want a chance to remain with the team, they'll have to show the ability to keep runners put, especially if they're lefties coming out of the pen. None of Betances, Daley, and Eppley allowed any inherited runners to score, but they also had some of the fewest chances. Meanwhile, Miller had only one inherited runner and he allowed him to score.