Monday, October 04, 2010

Best A.L. Reliever: 2010

I'll continue looking at the best performers in Rotisserie and compare our benchmarks to those used by Fangraphs and Baseball Prospectus in attempting to determine the best of 2010. Tonight is American League relievers.

Top 10 2010 A.L. Relievers, Sorted by Patton $

1Rafael Soriano$252nd4th

2Joakim Soria$231st2nd

3Neftali Feliz$225th3rd

4Mariano Rivera$203rd5th

5Jon Papelbon

6Chris Perez$166th

7Andrew Bailey

8Kevin Gregg$14

9Joaquin Benoit$148th

10Jose Valverde$14

Other WARP1 Top 10:  Matt Thornton 7th, Darren O'Day 8th, Scott Downs 9th, J.J. Putz 10th.
Other Fangraphs Top 10: Matt Thornton 1st, Darren Oliver 6th, Bobby Jenks 7th, J.J. Putz 9th, Daniel Bard 10th.

Unlike the National League, there is a significant discrepancy in the three lists right from the get-go. Thornton ranks as Fangraphs best A.L. reliever, while Baseball Prospectus "only" has him 7th (he's the 13th best A.L. reliever in Roto. The top four fantasy earners all do fairly similarly in Roto and through valuation metrics, but then there is another significant shift.

I suspect there are significant differences in how Baseball Prospectus and Fangraphs assign value. We know that Fangraphs uses FIP, thanks to David Cameron's two excellent pieces on the subject. But if you're a Patton value follower, it's also pretty easy to discern that the ERA earning leaders aren't going to sync with the WARP1 and WAR leaders.

Top 10 2010 A.L. Relievers by ERA/WHIP

1Joaquin Benoit$14$4$6

2Rafael Soriano$25$4$4

3Daniel Bard$12$4$3

4Mariano Rivera$20$3$4

5Joakim Soria

6Darren O'Day$12$3

7Neftali Feliz

8Andrew Bailey$16$3$3

9Chris Perez$16$4$2

10Scott Downs$10$2$3

When you add WHIP into the equation, though, the list almost dovetails with the WARP1 list. Only Benoit and Bard miss. However, these are big misses. There is definitely a similar FIP-type calculation in the BP numbers. I suspect, though, that BP is doing what Baseball Reference is doing: making some kind of adjustment for luck vs. skill based on quality of pitch. I know Cameron is not comfortable doing it, but it is the right thing to do.

Anyway, I digress. I'm inclined to give Joakim Soria this hypothetical award. With a better defense behind him, that scarily low ERA could have been even lower, and the WHIP most certainly would have been lower. After Soria, I'll got Rafael Soriano and Neftali Feliz. It's somewhat radical that Rivera isn't in the top three, but it's close between Rivera and Feliz and I could have gone either way on this one.

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