March 9, 2010 by Post Team
Joe Nathan:Over the past six seasons with the Twins have not had to think in the ninth. If you had an advantage in a close game, Joe Nathan was there to ensure victory. In only 25 of 272 cases, did not fail to deliver. This year, however, the Twins probably will have to resort to another person. News this morning that Nathan has torn his UCL and will undergo surgery before the season starts. He is waiting two weeks to see if rehabilitation is an option, but at this point we can safely assume Tommy John surgery is in their immediate future.
In RotoGraphs, Eno ran for possible replacements for Nathan. The options at home are fairly obvious: Jon Rauch, Pat Neshek and Matt Guerrier. None of them have a good opportunity to switch from producing reliable Nathan, but the effect on the function more in itself is not the biggest problem the Twins. As Matt Klaassen has been saying all morning, they will lose perhaps two victories there. There are broader implications, however, as the absence of Nathan cascades through the Twins’ bullpen.
For most positions, defines the replacement level as the production of a player called AAA to the majors. Not for closers. Replacement level for this position is the next best team reliever. When reliever that moves in the next best the closer’s role, everyone else in the bullpen moves up, too. Relievers further down the depth chart to play a more prominent role. The biggest effect, then, comes on the back of the bullpen, where the player is shown the replacement level.
The teams, for the most part, you can avoid the use of relief session on its staff in high leverage situations. But what about the seventh reliever ex? He is now the sixth and reliever will be forced into more active. Such is the curse of chaining bullpen. About a year ago, Sky explained the process. Their model agrees with two wins Klaassen estimate, but also involves closer with an ERA of 3.00. The closest they came to Nathan was 2.70, and that happened five years ago. Clearly unless one of the replacements at home is really needed for the role, as Nathan did when the Twins traded him, the greater the effect.
No doubt the Twins will miss Nathan reliable performances ninth. What I miss most, however, is that guys like Guerrier, Neshek, acting and Rauch configuration. Moving in the hierarchy, they are allowing others arms, possibly less in the bullpen mix. That hurts more than the mere fact of lowering the ninth.
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