One and Done

When I wrote about Jack Spring a few weeks ago, reader Kurt Blumenau tweeted the following to me:

@dianagram I noticed Mr. Spring’s 1963 season — 45 G, 38 IP. Was he LOOGY before LOOGY was cool?

I was intrigued by this possibility, and searched the web for any existing analyses of this.  It turns out that The Hardball Times’ Steve Treder did an exhaustive (and wonderful) job on this back in 2005.

So, I decided to examine a smaller slice of the LOOGY pie, namely, the one-batter appearance. I first looked at the rate of one-batter appearances per game since 1969 (a convenient start point with the introduction of the save rule).

1-batter relief appearances per game  1969-2011
Year 1-batter apps Games Rate per game
1969 458 1946 0.24
1970 496 1944 0.26
1971 414 1938 0.21
1972 357 1859 0.19
1973 376 1943 0.19
1974 372 1945 0.19
1975 384 1934 0.20
1976 355 1939 0.18
1977 406 2103 0.19
1978 381 2102 0.18
1979 439 2099 0.21
1980 452 2105 0.21
1981 343 1394 0.25
1982 473 2107 0.22
1983 461 2109 0.22
1984 388 2105 0.18
1985 449 2103 0.21
1986 502 2103 0.24
1987 531 2105 0.25
1988 500 2100 0.24
1989 508 2106 0.24
1990 579 2105 0.28
1991 618 2104 0.29
1992 777 2106 0.37
1993 911 2269 0.40
1994 686 1600 0.43
1995 851 2017 0.42
1996 875 2267 0.39
1997 939 2266 0.41
1998 978 2432 0.40
1999 980 2428 0.40
2000 972 2429 0.40
2001 1033 2429 0.43
2002 994 2426 0.41
2003 998 2430 0.41
2004 1028 2428 0.42
2005 1038 2431 0.43
2006 1117 2429 0.46
2007 1167 2431 0.48
2008 1075 2428 0.44
2009 1118 2430 0.46
2010 1159 2430 0.48
2011 1218 2429 0.50

As you can see, there has been a steady increase over the past four-plus decades, with 2011 seeing one such appearance every two games.   (I can’t explain the big jump from 1991-1992 . . . that was the year PRIOR to the addition of expansion teams with their suspect pitching staffs, and there wasn’t a similar jump in the other expansion years).

Of course there can be many reasons for a pitcher to face one batter . . . a one out save, the last out of an inning before being pinch-hit for, a “situational” pitcher to face the single side in a R/L/R or L/R/L batting order, the failure to retire the batter (making the game situation worse for his team) etc.

Is it the chicken or the egg?  Are there more one-batter appearances because teams are carrying 11, 12 or even 13-men pitching staffs and can therefore afford to burn a reliever to get one batter, or are there 11, 12 or even 13-men pitching staffs because of the supposed NEED to have a LOOGY/ROOGY/one-batter guy?

Which pitchers have made the most one-batter appearances in their careers?  Here are the career leaders in one-batter appearances since 1919:

Player #Matching W L ERA SV IP H ER BB SO WHIP
Mike Myers 314 4 7 3.14 5 77.1 55 27 34 68 1.15
Jesse Orosco 235 7 1 2.20 21 65.1 35 16 18 56 0.81
Dan Plesac 175 7 3 2.40 16 48.2 23 13 14 66 0.76
Trever Miller 172 2 1 1.79 2 40.1 28 8 22 36 1.24
Buddy Groom 166 5 1 2.51 11 43.0 30 12 13 36 1.00
Tony Fossas 166 2 3 1.97 3 45.2 25 10 11 40 0.79
Mike Stanton 154 5 2 2.00 8 45.0 18 10 13 35 0.69
Paul Assenmacher 152 3 1 3.50 6 36.0 30 14 16 37 1.28
Ray King 147 5 4 2.45 1 40.1 29 11 10 27 0.97
Randy Choate 137 3 1 2.27 3 35.2 22 9 11 30 0.93
Dennys Reyes 136 3 0 1.65 2 32.2 21 6 18 32 1.19
Alan Embree 136 4 1 2.29 3 39.1 20 10 4 32 0.61
Steve Kline 131 4 6 3.21 3 33.2 22 12 13 33 1.04
Scott Eyre 131 4 1 1.73 2 36.1 13 7 9 35 0.61
Jamie Walker 127 2 1 2.27 0 31.2 25 8 8 31 1.04
Javier Lopez 122 2 1 3.41 2 31.2 15 12 16 28 0.98
Bob McClure 120 2 3 2.32 13 31.0 16 8 24 22 1.29
Brian Shouse 116 4 2 1.97 1 32.0 21 7 4 24 0.78
Will Ohman 116 4 1 1.36 2 33.0 10 5 7 40 0.52
Jason Christiansen 112 4 1 1.53 5 29.1 13 5 12 36 0.85
Ricardo Rincon 109 4 3 2.70 1 30.0 13 9 9 32 0.73
Mark Guthrie 108 4 3 2.93 1 27.2 21 9 14 27 1.27
Jim Poole 105 3 1 0.98 0 27.2 12 3 11 29 0.83
Mike Holtz 105 5 3 2.81 2 25.2 24 8 9 24 1.29
Tim Byrdak 104 2 1 2.42 2 26.0 13 7 10 29 0.88
George Sherrill 102 3 0 2.86 1 28.1 12 9 7 31 0.67
Eddie Guardado 101 4 2 2.84 7 25.1 16 8 11 25 1.07

And here are the pitchers with the highest percentage of one-batter relief appearances:

Finally, here are the champions of the “one and done” save . . . these are the stats of pitchers with ten or more career saves involving only one batter:

Player #Matching ERA IP H ER SO
Sparky Lyle 34 0.00 13.1 0 0 2
Jeff Reardon 32 0.00 11.1 0 0 6
Rollie Fingers 31 0.00 11.1 0 0 8
Todd Worrell 27 0.00 9.1 0 0 8
Trevor Hoffman 27 0.00 9.2 1 0 12
Dennis Eckersley 25 0.00 9.1 0 0 7
Lee Smith 23 0.00 8.2 1 0 6
Tippy Martinez 23 0.00 8.1 0 0 5
Roy Face 22 0.00 8.1 0 0 5
Mariano Rivera 21 0.00 7.0 0 0 6
Jesse Orosco 21 0.00 8.1 0 0 8
John Franco 21 0.00 8.0 1 0 2
Randy Myers 20 0.00 7.0 0 0 9
Don McMahon 19 0.00 7.0 0 0 8
Willie Hernandez 18 0.00 6.2 0 0 6
Rich Gossage 18 0.00 6.1 0 0 7
Dave Righetti 17 0.00 6.1 0 0 2
Lindy McDaniel 17 0.00 6.1 0 0 4
Bill Henry 17 0.00 6.1 0 0 8
Al Worthington 16 0.00 6.0 0 0 5
Kent Tekulve 16 0.00 6.1 0 0 3
Dave Smith 16 0.00 5.2 0 0 4
Dan Plesac 16 0.00 5.2 0 0 5
Dave Giusti 16 0.00 6.1 0 0 4
Armando Benitez 16 0.00 6.0 0 0 6
Elias Sosa 15 0.00 6.1 0 0 3
Ron Perranoski 15 0.00 6.1 0 0 0
Dave LaRoche 15 0.00 5.2 0 0 5
Darold Knowles 15 0.00 6.0 0 0 2
Wayne Granger 15 0.00 5.1 0 0 2
Tom Henke 14 0.00 5.0 0 0 4
Fred Gladding 14 0.00 5.2 0 0 1
Steve Bedrosian 14 0.00 5.0 0 0 3
Mitch Williams 13 0.00 4.1 0 0 6
Eddie Watt 13 0.00 5.0 0 0 3
Bruce Sutter 13 0.00 4.1 0 0 5
Bob McClure 13 0.00 5.0 0 0 3
Ron Kline 13 0.00 4.2 1 0 1
Bob James 13 0.00 4.1 0 0 2
Grant Jackson 13 0.00 4.1 0 0 6
Joe Hoerner 13 0.00 4.1 0 0 6
Gene Garber 13 0.00 5.0 0 0 1
Ted Abernathy 13 0.00 5.1 0 0 0
Hal Woodeshick 12 0.00 5.1 0 0 3
John Wetteland 12 0.00 4.0 0 0 6
Joe Sambito 12 0.00 4.2 0 0 2
Pete Richert 12 0.00 4.1 0 0 2
Gregg Olson 12 0.00 4.2 0 0 2
Tom Niedenfuer 12 0.00 4.0 0 0 7
Randy Moffitt 12 0.00 4.2 0 0 2
Tug McGraw 12 0.00 4.1 0 0 3
Bob Locker 12 0.00 5.1 0 0 2
Paul Lindblad 12 0.00 4.1 0 0 2
Gary Lavelle 12 0.00 4.0 0 0 3
Clem Labine 12 0.00 4.2 0 0 3
Al Hrabosky 12 0.00 4.2 0 0 5
John Hiller 12 0.00 4.1 0 0 4
Roberto Hernandez 12 0.00 4.0 0 0 3
Woodie Fryman 12 0.00 4.1 0 0 4
Bill Campbell 12 0.00 5.0 0 0 6
Tom Burgmeier 12 0.00 4.2 0 0 3
Rick Aguilera 12 0.00 4.0 0 0 3
Bobby Thigpen 11 0.00 4.0 0 0 1
Jeff Russell 11 0.00 3.2 0 0 3
Francisco Rodriguez 11 0.00 3.2 0 0 4
Sid Monge 11 0.00 4.1 0 0 1
Firpo Marberry 11 0.00 3.2 0 0 4
Johnny Klippstein 11 0.00 4.0 0 0 4
Todd Jones 11 0.00 4.0 0 0 4
Mike Henneman 11 0.00 4.1 0 0 2
Buddy Groom 11 0.00 4.0 0 0 3
Terry Forster 11 0.00 4.2 0 0 5
Turk Farrell 11 0.00 5.0 0 0 3
Tim Burke 11 0.00 4.1 0 0 1
Rod Beck 11 0.00 4.0 0 0 5
John Wyatt 10 0.00 4.0 0 0 1
Hoyt Wilhelm 10 0.00 3.2 0 0 4
Billy Wagner 10 0.00 4.0 0 0 5
Ugueth Urbina 10 0.00 3.1 0 0 7
Gerry Staley 10 0.00 4.0 0 0 2
Dan Quisenberry 10 0.00 3.2 0 0 0
Jeff Montgomery 10 0.00 4.1 0 0 2
Stu Miller 10 0.00 4.0 0 0 4
Roger McDowell 10 0.00 3.2 0 0 1
Frank Linzy 10 0.00 3.2 0 0 1
Michael Jackson 10 0.00 3.1 0 0 4
Ramon Hernandez 10 0.00 3.2 0 0 3
Terry Fox 10 0.00 3.2 0 0 2
Ed Farmer 10 0.00 4.0 0 0 1
Bill Caudill 10 0.00 3.1 0 0 1
Clay Carroll 10 0.00 4.0 0 0 0
Jim Brewer 10 0.00 3.2 0 0 5
Jack Aker 10 0.00 4.0 0 0 2
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 3/28/2012.
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