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Best closer/relief seasons by Angels


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Posted (edited)

In the Gameday thread, I mentioned that I haven't felt this confident in the Angels closer since 2008, Francisco Rodriguez's last year. @AngelsLakersFan suggested that Iglesias might be the best closer we've ever had, to which I said for a single season, I'd probably take Bryan Harvey in 1991. @Slegnaac brought up F-Rod's 62 save season, although I mentioned his 34 walks in 68.1 IP.

So I thought I'd do a bit of research. WAR is obviously problematic, especially for pitchers - but I actually like it for relievers, because it--or the Fangraphs version--is based on FIP, which means it mostly weighs strikeouts, walks, and HR.

Anyhow, here are the top 15 relief seasons by Angels pitchers:

image.png

Frankie is on top - but notice that was his first full year, when Percival was still the closer (similarly, Percy's best season was also his first, when he was setting up for Lee Smith).

Harvey in 1991 is actually the best Angels closer season (at least according to fWAR), and then you have Frankie in 2006, Donnie Moore (RIP) in '85, and Percival in '96. Again, these are full seasons as a closer.

Iggy's 2021 is 15th, and hopefully this year will rise up the ranks. 

By the way, the top two closer seasons by fWAR are both from Bruce Sutter, in 1977 (5.2) and '79 (4.8). But that was back when relievers often pitched over 100 IP - He was just over that both times. The best modern day closer season was, unsurprisingly, Eric Gagne in 2003, when he had 4.7 WAR in 82.1 IP. He was so good there for a few years. No other reliever has had a 4 WAR season in the 21st century, although Liam Hendricks was close in 2019 with 3.8.

Like Frankie and Percy, Mariano Rivera's best season by WAR was also his first (4.3 in 1996), when he was setting up for John Wetteland. 

Harvey's '91 season is all the way down at #66 - but that's among all reliever seasons. Frankie's 3.7 WAR 2004 season is #17.

Edited by Angelsjunky
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1 hour ago, HanfordGuy said:

So according to fWAR, because a lights out set up reliever usually logs more innings, he is better than a lights out closer numerically?

Yes, WAR takes into consideration playing time because it's a season long stat that measures how much more valuable the player is over the course of the season over a "replacement player."   Think of it this way, for 2021 R. Iglesias's season, over the 70 IPs, he himself helped win 2 more games because of his performance over the average reliever during those Games/Innings pitched.  Since set up relievers get into more games and pitch more innings over the course of the season, they sometimes produce more WAR than closers.   

 

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10 hours ago, Angelsjunky said:

In the Gameday thread, I mentioned that I haven't felt this confident in the Angels closer since 2008, Francisco Rodriguez's last year. @AngelsLakersFan suggested that Iglesias might be the best closer we've ever had, to which I said for a single season, I'd probably take Bryan Harvey in 1991. @Slegnaac brought up F-Rod's 62 save season, although I mentioned his 34 walks in 68.1 IP.

So I thought I'd do a bit of research. WAR is obviously problematic, especially for pitchers - but I actually like it for relievers, because it--or the Fangraphs version--is based on FIP, which means it mostly weighs strikeouts, walks, and HR.

Anyhow, here are the top 15 relief seasons by Angels pitchers:

image.png

Frankie is on top - but notice that was his first full year, when Percival was still the closer (similarly, Percy's best season was also his first, when he was setting up for Lee Smith).

Harvey in 1991 is actually the best Angels closer season (at least according to fWAR), and then you have Frankie in 2006, Donnie Moore (RIP) in '85, and Percival in '96. Again, these are full seasons as a closer.

Iggy's 2021 is 15th, and hopefully this year will rise up the ranks. 

By the way, the top two closer seasons by fWAR are both from Bruce Sutter, in 1977 (5.2) and '79 (4.8). But that was back when relievers often pitched over 100 IP - He was just over that both times. The best modern day closer season was, unsurprisingly, Eric Gagne in 2003, when he had 4.7 WAR in 82.1 IP. He was so good there for a few years. No other reliever has had a 4 WAR season in the 21st century, although Liam Hendricks was close in 2019 with 3.8.

Like Frankie and Percy, Mariano Rivera's best season by WAR was also his first (4.3 in 1996), when he was setting up for John Wetteland. 

Harvey's '91 season is all the way down at #66 - but that's among all reliever seasons. Frankie's 3.7 WAR 2004 season is #17.

2003 was KRod first full season, not 2004.  

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1 hour ago, stormngt said:

2003 was KRod first full season, not 2004.  

Ah yes, true - my bad. He started transitioning to closer in 2004, which was Percy's last year as an Angel (and last good year) - but was still mostly the set-up guy, 12 saves to Percy's 33.

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I think maybe you'd have an argument to blame me if this thread was about Iglesias, but it ain't. 

I mean, if I write a thread on the greatest center field seasons and Trout strikes out four times, is that my Sith powers? 

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