Tuesday, January 31, 2012


1996 version of Rivera is ideal for relievers-FanGraphs

1/30/12, "Reliever Usage Redux: A Follow-Up," FanGraphs, Dave Cameron

"The ideal usage pattern is not simply increasing the number of innings thrown by the best relievers by allowing them to stay on the mound after a game has been decided, but in using them for as many high leverage innings as possible throughout a season. Stanley should not be held up as the model –

At age 26, Rivera appeared in 61 games and faced 425 batters, 269 fewer than Stanley faced in 1982. Still, at 6.96 batters faced per appearance, he was staying on the mound about 60 percent longer than a traditional ninth inning reliever. For comparison, Rivera faced 4.56 batters per appearance in 1997, the year he replaced John Wetteland as the Yankees closer, despite being just one season removed from showing he could handle a heavy workload

Rivera’s gmLI in 1996 was only 1.36, lower than that of Stanley. But because they essentially let him regularly work the 7th and 8th innings of close games, his pLI was 1.56, meaning that the situations got more important when he was on the mound. While Stanley came into close games, kept them close, and then racked up innings while the outcome was no longer in as much danger, Rivera was used almost exclusively in situations where the game was on the line. And, because of his ability to get everyone out, he racked up 107.2 innings, putting up a +4.4 win season

Now, I know that’s easy to just dismiss everything Rivera does as a massive outlier and write off anything that he’s done as impossible for other mortals to repeat. However, 1996 Rivera posted a FIP- of 40, which 13 relievers have matched or done better than in a season with at least 50 innings pitched since 1982. Rob Dibble maintained a FIP- of 38 while facing 384 batters in 1990. Duane Ward faced 428 batters in 1991, and his FIP- was 43. Even more recently, Eric Gagne (2003), Francisco Rodriguez (2004), and Craig Kimbrel (2011) have faced 300+ batters in a season while performing as well or better than 1996 Rivera did on a rate basis.

While Rivera’s 1996 season might be the best example of how a non-closer relief ace can be deployed to maximum value, he’s not the sole example of a pitcher who was able to carry a significant workload while performing at an extremely high level in critical situations. While asking a pitcher to be that dominant while facing 600 to 700 batters in a season appears unrealistic, we have evidence that elite relievers can succeed while facing 300 to 400 batters in high leverage situations during a single season.

Last year, the 30 pitchers with 15 or more saves averaged 262 batters faced and 4.04 batters per appearance. These usage patterns aren’t just limited to the closer’s role either; the top four relievers in baseball by ERA- last year – David Robertson, Eric O’Flaherty, Scott Downs, and Mike Adams – each faced fewer than 3.89 batters per game, despite the fact that each showed they could get out batters from both sides of the plate and didn’t need to be used as specialists. Still, the evolution of set bullpen roles has led to not only limits on how many batters the closer faces,


Goose Gossage: “"It's an insult to me to even be compared to Mariano Rivera, it really is."

Jan. 12, 2006, “Gossage Beyond Compare,” Denver Post, Jim Armstrong

Tuesday, January 24, 2012


Mariano Rivera at the Stadium for Jorge Posada retirement announcement

More Jorge Posada pictures, highlights and retirement announcement.

Above Rivera, Posada, Jeter at Posada's retirement with 5 World Series trophies, 1/24/12, reuters

Above Mo talks to media at Posada retirement event at the Stadium, 1/24/12, getty

Rivera, Posada, and Jeter with 5 World Series trophies at Posada retirement, 1/24/12, reuters

Sunday, January 22, 2012


Rivera enjoyed 'Who's on first?' routine at Baseball Awards dinner says attendee

1/21/12, 'Who's on first?' rendition at NY Baseball Writers Awards dinner in Manhattan enjoyed by Rivera, says Mets reporter. Not many make it to first v Mo says responder.

Andy McCullough (Mets Star-Ledger reporter)

"Two actors are on stage giving a rendition of
and Mariano Rivera's expression is priceless."


replies ↓
Thomas Ballinger

"Because when Mariano pitches
  • nobody makes it to first."

Mariano Rivera and David Robertson with their awards at NY Baseball Writers awards dinner, 1/21/12, photo from David Robertson twitter via Lohud Yankee. MLB.com article


Friday, January 13, 2012


Mariano Rivera mentioned in first sentence of NY Mayor Bloomberg's 2012 State of the City speech (after thank-yous)

1/12/12, "Mayor Bloomberg’s State of City Speech," Wall St. Journal blogs

"The prepared text of New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s 2012 State of the City, delivered Thursday at Morris High School in the Bronx.

Thank you. Mayors Koch and Dinkins, Speaker Quinn and Minority Leader Oddo, Public Advocate De Blasio, Comptroller Liu, Borough Presidents, District Attorneys, members of the City Council and State Legislature, my fellow New Yorkers – it’s great to be in the Bronx.

This is the birthplace of legends like Justice Sonia Sotomayor and the workplace of legends

And it’s also the home of future superstars like every member of The Celia Cruz High School Latin Band, the PS 32 Chorus and the Keltic Dreams Irish Dancers. Weren’t they fantastic?

In a city that is the ‘Capital of Innovation’ – this one borough has given us some of the world’s great authors, artists and architects, not to mention the pioneers of hip-hop and salsa....

“It’s an honor to be introduced by a teacher like Ishmael Kamara, what an inspirational story, and by Borough President Ruben Diaz, Jr., who we’ve been glad to work with on so many projects. And it’s a pleasure to be here at Gouverneur Morris High School Campus.

In case you don’t recall Senator Gouverneur Morris from American history class, he was a Founding Father from this section of the Bronx – hence ‘Morrisania’ – and he’s credited with drafting much of the U.S. Constitution, including the phrase that still defines the spirit of our great nation: We the people."...

Wednesday, January 11, 2012


Mariano Rivera coaches young pitchers at NJ clinic, voice is coming back

1/7/12, "During a pitching clinic for about 120 youth baseball players at the Frozen Ropes training facility in Pine Brook, he (Rivera) didn't seem to have an issue getting his message across.

Standing behind pitchers trying to replicate his smooth motion, Rivera offered encouragement and pointers to the players, many of whom came to the event donning the closer's No. 42 jersey. He later addressed several groups of players.

Rivera still can't raise his voice fully, though he said it is “getting better and better.”

Based on last season's performance alone, Rivera offered little indication of a slowdown, once again asserting himself as one of the game's elite closers. He saved 44 games for the Yankees while posting a 1.91 ERA in 61 1/3 innings."...

[Ed. note: It's extremely misleading when discussing a pitcher's endurance to leave out his post season work. In the case of Rivera's 2011 it was only 1.1IP but these add up as his post season total is 141IP. By habitually leaving post season out you cheat him of about 2 years' worth of pitching. Not to mention being inaccurate on the important topic of durability. Most baseball writers wouldn't like to be cheated out of their work.]

(continuing, Star-Ledger): "At an age that normally brings about significant decline, Rivera upped his strikeout total from the previous season, while also cutting down on his already slim walk rate. As a result, the closer turned in his best strikeout-to-walk ratio (7.50) since 2008.

Rivera has said he might know by spring training whether he intends to keep pitching when his contract expires after this year. But he declined to offer a preview of which direction he's leaning.

Said Rivera: “We'll see.”

1/7/12, "Yankees closer Mariano Rivera making progress after throat surgery," Marc Carig, NJ Star-Ledger. photo above by Mr. Carig


Above Rivera with young pitcher at Frozen Ropes, 1/7/12, photo by Dominick Paoli, via Montclair Times, 1/11/12, "Sideline Chatter: Rivera, Tebow and Herbin are unique figures for secular age," Montclair Times


1/10/12, "Mariano Rivera Preps Pitchers in Pine Brook," Montville Patch, Jake Remaly

"For 10-year-old Montville ballplayer Michael Monetti, meeting Yankees closing pitcher Mariano Rivera on Saturday was "absolutely amazing."

Rivera conducted a two-hour clinic at Frozen Ropes training center on Hook Mountain Road in the Pine Brook section of the township about developing healthy throwing arms.

About 125 players attended the clinic, center owner Bob Pigozzi said. The cost of the clinic, $395 per player, included an autographed baseball. Pigozzi said he limited invitations to players and groups he works with to avoid creating a scene.

Frozen Ropes, a baseball and softball instruction company with locations across the U.S., features Rivera on an instructional DVD.

"He's our model for pitching," said Pigozzi, a Kinnelon resident who has owned the Montville Township facility for the past two years. Pigozzi owned another Frozen Ropes facility in Connecticut, where Rivera also came for a clinic, prior to purchasing the facility in Pine Brook.

Rivera broke the MLB record for saves on Sept. 19. He told players on Saturday how, growing up, he used a rock wrapped in tape as a baseball and a milk carton as a glove, Monetti said. Rivera also stressed the importance of being a team player

photo by Montville Patch

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