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Baseball Hacks by Joseph Adler

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Calculate Save Value

Calculate a more accurate assessment of the save statistic based on the lead, the number of outs to pitch, the outs in the inning, and the location of base runners when the relief pitcher enters the game.

For background information on the save statistic, its limitations, and the fan save value, see “Calculate Fan Save Value” [Hack #57] , where we examine why the save statistic is flawed. The fan save value is limited because it does not take into account whether there are base runners or which bases they are on when the pitcher enters the game. One fan save value with a pitcher entering the ninth with a two-run lead and the bases empty is counted the same as one fan save value with a pitcher entering the ninth with a two-run lead and the bases loaded. And the latter is a much more difficult situation (2.27 runs are expected to score with the bases loaded and no outs).

The Formula

The save value is the most accurate statistic for determining the value of the save relative to the effort needed to convert the particular situation into a save. This is straightforward to calculate, but it requires knowledge of the expected run matrix. Fans do not easily memorize the matrix, which is why I came up with the simpler fan save value:

	Save Value= 1.12 * X / ( L + Y – E )

Here’s how to read the equation:

  • X = outs left in the game (X = 5 for the eighth inning, 1 out; X = 1 for the 15th inning, two outs).

  • Y = number of run lead (1, 2, 3, 4, 5).

  • L = expected runs with no outs ...

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