Cincinnati Reds Bullpen in Review: 2011 QAR


The season is now complete, so after spending more time than I expected compiling data, it is time to reveal the Cincinnati Reds Quality Appearance Ratio statistics for the 2011 season.  As we move through the off-season, I will periodically add more teams to the discussion until we have a complete picture of how consistent each reliever in the National League is.

As mentioned, today we will focus on our hometown Cincinnati Reds.  The Reds have offered a mixed bag.  If you followed our BRM NL Central Awards and in particular the piece I wrote about pitching in the Central you will recall two relievers were recognized for exceptional performance throughout the season.  Those two are closer Francisco Cordero and left handed specialist Bill Bray.  In addition, if you follow me on Twitter at all you know that I have been hyper critical of Nick Massett.  So today we will discover a few truths that may surprise.

First lets revisit what a Quality Relief Outing is.  When I first devised this statistic, I wanted to find a way to look objectively at relief pitchers.  We can look at Wins and Losses but they rarely tell any story regarding a reliever.  Strikeouts are great because they keep the ball from entering the field of play but they still don’t give a sense of how much trust a manager might have when bringing a pitcher in from the bull pen.  ERA is inconsistent because a reliever can be called from the pen 8 times for an inning a piece and allow no runs, but if he allows 5 earned runs in the 9th outing his ERA shoots to 5.

So here are the criteria I devised for a better look at the quality of a reliever:

Criteria for a Quality Relief Outing (QRO)

  1.   Reliever allows no inherited runners to score.
  2.   Reliever records at least one out.
  3.   Reliever allows no runs to score or maintains a 3.00 ERA in extended outings.

Criteria for a Failed Relief Outing (FRO)

  1. Reliever allows an inherited runner or runners to score.
  2. Reliever records no outs.
  3. Reliever does not maintain a 3.00 ERA for the relief outing.

Criteria for a No Decision Outing (ND)

  1. Reliever allows more hits/walks than outs but allows no runs to score.
  2. Reliever gives up unearned runs but no earned runs.

I use a number of abbreviations in the tables so they must also be defined:

  • RA   = Relief Appearances:  Total # of Relief Appearances
  • QRO = Quality Relief Outing:  # of Appearances where more outs are recorded than hits + walks and a 3.00 ERA is maintained for the relief appearance.
  • FRO  = Failed Relief Outing:  # of Appearances where earned runs are allowed, inherited runners score or no outs are recorded.  (See ERA allowance in the QRO description
  • ND =  No Decision.  Does not meet the criteria for a QRO or a FRO
  • QAR  = Quality Appearance Ratio:  QRO/RA
  • FAR   = Failed Appearance Ratio:  FRO/RA

Now that you have the basis for the discussion lets see how the Reds relief corps performed!

Cincinnati Reds 2011 Relievers

Pitcher RA QRO FRO ND QAR FAR
Jose Arredondo 53 33 17 3 62% 32%
Bill Bray 79 50 20 9 63% 25%
Jared Burton 6 5 1 0 83% 17%
Aroldis Chapman 54 39 11 4 72% 20%
Francisco Cordero 68 53 14 1 78% 21%
Carlos Fisher 17 11 6 0 65% 35%
Jeremy Horst 12 5 7 0 42% 58%
Mike Leake 3 1 2 0 33% 67%
Sam LeCure 39 26 13 0 67% 33%
Matt Maloney 6 4 2 0 67% 33%
Nick Masset 75 48 23 4 64% 31%
Logan Ondrusek 66 43 20 3 65% 30%
Chad Reineke 1 0 0 1 0% 0%
Jordan Smith 17 8 9 0 47% 53%
Daryl Thompson 1 0 1 0 0% 100%
Reds Staff Totals 497 326 146 25 66% 29%

The truth is when I made my selections for Central reliever of the year I decided not to use this data and rely on my intuition and the flawed numbers I referenced.  If I had I might have given more credit to Aroldis Chapman for one who turns out to be the most successful setup man on the team.  I would never have imagined that Nick Masset recorded a higher portion of successful outing than Bill Bray because Masset’s meltdowns were more brutal.  But when Dusty Baker looks to the bullpen, these percentages are the level of confidence he has for each of the pitchers.  Arrendondo, Bray, Masset and Ondrusek are all just 3 percentage points apart in their success rate.  None were as bad as we thought or as good as we wished them to be.  Francisco Cordero played as we should expect.  He had a few bad outings, 14 to be exact.  The one No Decision was actually his final miraculous save of the season when against all odds he walked 4 batters and allowed no runs.  But aside from giving me a sour stomach he allowed more hits/walks than outs 4-3.

Please comment on the formula.  I have tweaked this a couple of times based on input received.  This is by no means a definitive statistic as I did not include hit batters for instance, but I think it is a fair representation of the true quality of each pitcher this season.

Stay tuned for more QRO articles covering the NL Central first, then the National League.  If any trades occur during the off season that involve AL Relievers, I will analyze them as well.

Follow me on Twitter @JohnHeitz

Tags: Aroldis Chapman Bill Bray Carlos Fisher Chad Reineke Cincinnati Reds Daryl Thompson Francisco Cordero Jared Burton Jeremy Horst Jordan Smith Jose Arredondo Logan Ondrusek Matt Maloney Mike Leake Nick Masset QRO Quality Relief Outing Relief Pitching Sam LeCure

  • http://blogredmachine.com/ brian.k.hines

    I think Masset got such a bad rap because his bad outings were diabolically bad outings, as if the baseball gods were spiting Reds fans. I never would have guessed that he wasn’t the single worst relief pitcher on the team. Do you think after pouring over all those stats that the bullpen is salvageable or will it be a problem again next year without a half dozen upgrades?

  • http://blogredmachine.com/ brian.k.hines

    I think Masset got such a bad rap because his bad outings were diabolically bad outings, as if the baseball gods were spiting Reds fans. I never would have guessed that he wasn’t the single worst relief pitcher on the team. Do you think after pouring over all those stats that the bullpen is salvageable or will it be a problem again next year without a half dozen upgrades?

  • JohnHeitz

    Have to upgrade if for no other reason than the move of Chapman to compete for the Rotation. Without him and with contract issues pending for Cordero, attention must be paid here.

  • JohnHeitz

    Have to upgrade if for no other reason than the move of Chapman to compete for the Rotation. Without him and with contract issues pending for Cordero, attention must be paid here.

  • beeker

    Interesting how the middle of the packs ran about 2 quality to 1 failed outing. Also,

    I am surprised that Carlos Fisher and Sam LeCure are both right there with everyone else. I would have thought that Fisher was below average and LeCure was above. I guess it shows that labels stick despite the numbers.

    I would be curious to know how the numbers break down for starting an inning vs coming into a pressure situation with runners on. It seemed like Arredondo was good when he could start an inning, but frequently allowed runners to score when brought in with runners on. Unfortunately, I have no idea how you work that into the formula, especially for a long man like LeCure.

  • beeker

    Interesting how the middle of the packs ran about 2 quality to 1 failed outing. Also,

    I am surprised that Carlos Fisher and Sam LeCure are both right there with everyone else. I would have thought that Fisher was below average and LeCure was above. I guess it shows that labels stick despite the numbers.

    I would be curious to know how the numbers break down for starting an inning vs coming into a pressure situation with runners on. It seemed like Arredondo was good when he could start an inning, but frequently allowed runners to score when brought in with runners on. Unfortunately, I have no idea how you work that into the formula, especially for a long man like LeCure.

  • beeker

    @JohnHeitz Great point. Many will be paying attention to Votto and to LF, but improvements in the bullpen is undoubtedly the key to doing better in 2012.

  • beeker

    @JohnHeitz Great point. Many will be paying attention to Votto and to LF, but improvements in the bullpen is undoubtedly the key to doing better in 2012.

  • JohnHeitz

    Good question @beeker I will tally up the outings in which inherited runners scored and make a blog post either this evening or tomorrow. One of the things I also want to check is how many relievers entered the game with bases loaded and how the did. I won’t do this for every team but for the Reds it might shed additional light on our challenges.

  • JohnHeitz

    Good question @beeker I will tally up the outings in which inherited runners scored and make a blog post either this evening or tomorrow. One of the things I also want to check is how many relievers entered the game with bases loaded and how the did. I won’t do this for every team but for the Reds it might shed additional light on our challenges.