I’m at it again – sorry. I just can’t seem to help myself, I guess. But it’s really not my fault, though; it’s more like a combination of two things: Chris Perez imploded again Tuesday night and a fantastic article by Bill Baer over at Crashburn Alley.
Using Leverage Index, Baer looked at how Phillies manager Charlie Manuel is using his bullpen, particularly closer Jonathan Papelbon. It’s a pretty fantastic read and it got me thinking. I wanted to see the breakdown of Perez’s 13.2 innings thus far in 2012.
First, though, a quick refresher course on Leverage Index, or LI.
According to Tom Tango, who developed the concept, LI is “the swing in the possible change in probability.” In a nutshell, it measures how pressure packed a situation is. Or another way to think about it is: how important is it to the team’s chances of winning. An LI of 1.0 is considered a neutral situation; 1.5 or greater is high leverage, this is where a game is potentially on the line, especially as the number escalates; and a sub- 1.0 is a low leverage situation.
One final note: the higher the LI, the better the pitcher should be. (For more LI, click here.)
OK, now on to Perez.
Chris Perez has made 15 appearances, only six of those –against the Blue Jays (4/7), Royals (4/14), Mariners (4/19), A’s (4/20), Angels (5/2), and White Sox (5/3) –have been one-two-three innings. However, Perez entered the latter two of those contests with an LI of 0.33 and 0.84, respectively. In other words: those were exceptionally easy environments where subpar pitchers should be used. I don’t care about those two.
The other four games, though, he entered in higher pressured situations; the LIs were 2.31, 1.85, 3.17, and 3.32. These are the type of games where a team wants needs one of its best relievers on the mound. I like these results. Too bad there aren’t more of them.
Now for the other eight games – I’m excluding his one out appearance against Oakland on 4/21; the LI, by the way, was 0.55.
In seven of those remaining eight games, Perez entered the game and immediately made things worse following the first hitter (i.e. the LIs went up) – the first hitter. And five of those games immediately went from being a low leverage situation to begin with to a high leverage situation. And last remaining game, the LI skyrocketed after the second hitter.
Here are two other interesting tidbits:
- Five times, or one-third of his appearances, Chris Perez left the game worse-off than when he entered.
- The LI was more than doubled at some point five times during his stints, two of those more than tripled.
Look, I realize I’m kind of beating a dead horse horsefly – trying to not upset the animal people – and this will probably be my last Perez post for while (hopefully). But he tight-rope-walks through too many of his appearances; it’s eventually going to catch up to him more than once or twice. And I know I’ve said this before, but I’ll say it again: he’s just not a good relief pitcher. He’s serviceable, sure, but he’s far, far from elite. And considering how his LIs tend to balloon after the first hitter, I’d consider him pretty lucky too.
The below chart is the breakdown of Perez’s LIs. The gaps in between the dots represent the start of a new game.
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