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Matchst1ck On Starting Vs. Relieving

At Lone Star Ball, Matchst1ck has a post on what’s more valuable: letting a pitcher embrace a ceiling of mediocre starting, or elite relieving?

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He compares pitchers — starters and relievers — by value created (and provides a nifty break down of pitch selection), and indicates elite relievers are more rare than even starting pitchers who at least approach average. It’s a fantastic chart worth checking out.

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His (I assume tenuous) conclusion, then, is that it’s more valuable to your club to have a pitcher become an elite reliever than it is to force him in to starting only to have mediocrity; something I agree with completely. Especially given how the leverage of a game — depending on how a manager uses him — can lead to an elite reliever putting up even more value than an average starting pitcher would, just by looking at a Wins Above Replacement estimate.

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Of course, there are many finer points in the comparison that could still be discussed, and Match opens up the comments for discussion — with prompts — for anyone who wants to debate/theorize/agree. I’d also suggest that, while it is an interesting topic to be sure, it may be something of a moot point for the Rangers, given that each of the starters being considered for the bullpen is probably generally agreed upon to have a ceiling higher than mediocrity as a starter.

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Check it out.

Photographs by jamesbrandon, jdtornow, phlezk, flygraphix, mcdlttx, tomasland, and literalbarrage used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.