Calculate Fan Save Value

Calculate a more accurate assessment of the save statistic based on the lead and the number of outs to pitch when the relief pitcher enters the game.

I (Ari Kaplan, the author of this hack) came up with the save value when I was with the Baltimore Orioles in 1990. Teams were bringing in relief pitchers with two outs in the ninth, with a two-run lead to get the save. The pitchers being pulled were usually doing just fine. The pitcher pulled most often was a middle reliever named Curt Schilling. My analysis revealed that he was a much better pitcher than his “standard” pitching statistics, such as win/loss, save, and ERA—it all depended on how he was being used by the team.

Relievers were, and still are, brought in, despite the risk that the new pitcher will have an off night. This was nothing more than padding standard statistics to look good to fans. It is illogical and sometimes counterproductive for winning games.


According to Section 10.20 of the official rules of Major League Baseball:


Credit a pitcher with a save when he meets all three of the following conditions: (1) He is the finishing pitcher in a game won by his club; and (2) He is not the winning pitcher; and (3) He qualifies under one of the following conditions: (a) He enters the game with a lead of no more than three runs and pitches for at least one inning; or (b) He enters the game, regardless of the count, with the potential tying run either on base, or at bat, ...

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