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The U Files # 59: The Bull in the Pen
The evaluation of a relief pitcher is complicated by the fact not all the runners on base for a reliever are his own, and he is not in control of the fates of all the runners he puts on base. This can make ERA unreliable in this area. A better way to look at bullpen arms is implemented by Baseball Prospectus and posted for free on their website, Adjusted Runs Prevented (ARP). It uses the number and bases occupied of inherited runners (and the outs) and the number and bases of runners left to the next pitcher, plus any runs scored, to generate a statistic which can be viewed as the number of runs saved above or below average for each pitcher. The average Major League bullpen in 2003 pitched 490 (and one ninetieth) innings to an RA of 4.52. The Mets bullpen logged 489.1 IP with an RA of 4.62. The Mets ranked 15th out of 30 teams in bullpen innings and 18th in bullpen RA. Three of the teams ranked below the Mets in bullpen RA had their statistics affected by playing home games in a...
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