Wednesday 24 July 2013

Casey Janssen: Closer's Mentality

Not sure why this is coming up, but check it out.  First, I clicked on Casey Janssen's baseball-reference page, and then his 2013 game log.  I then sorted by decision (W, L, S, H, BS, BL).  Janssen has 2 wins, no losses, and 1 blown save in 2013, as well as a single hold that came somewhat recently when Steve Delabar was brought in a few weeks back to get the last out when Janssen got in a jam.

Save for that game, Janssen has been pretty lights out all year, especially in save situations.  Now, I'd like to point out that I'm not typically one for the glorification of the save statistic, or the notion that you've got a 9th inning guy, or that there's a certain mentality to closing out ballgames or whatever.  An out in the 9th inning is equal to an out in the 4th inning, just as a runner on base in the 9th is equal to a runner on base in the 4th.  Obviously the context is a little different, but it's not any more or less difficult to get a batter out based on what inning you're in.

Having said that, Casey Janssen is doing his damndest this year to prove me wrong (see: sample size, small).  Below is a small graph of Janssen's season stats, first in save situations, and then in non-save situations:

* There was a tie-game-and-therefore-non-save situation a few weeks back where Janssen threw 1 pitch and induced a weak grounder to 1B, which was subsequently botched by Josh Thole, leading to a team loss, but a Janssen ND. Should probably have been an out. Regardless, the run wasn't charged to Janssen there.  The NIBB column features an HBP in the non-save row, if that matters.

Much like everything I tend to write as of late, I don't really know if I have a point here.  Obviously half a season or so isn't a lot of data for anybody, much less a closer, but the point remains: Casey Janssen has been really good this year in non-save situations, but has turned it up a notch or two in high-leverage spots.

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