At this point in my baseball blogging career, the hardest part of writing an article is performing statistical triage. Coming up with post ideas isn't nearly as difficult as it's made out to be; just chatting with a friend or three can provide a slew of potentially interesting avenues to explore. The difficult bit is figuring out how hard an article will be to write before any actual writing takes place. Sometimes I get 75% of the way to a conclusion and then realize that I have to go manually generate an enormous spreadsheet. Sometimes I get 90% of the way through manually generating an enormous spreadsheet and then realize that I should've included two more columns' worth of data. As a result, my sabermetrically inclined articles are almost always posted a day or two after their original schedule dates. On a related note: this post was originally about Yoervis Medina.
My problem, I think, is that I can't bring myself to do anything in half-measures. Want to find velo/movement/release point comps for Jeremy Bonderman's pitches? Build a giant database of PitchF/X data by trying to merge Fangraphs stats with Brooks Baseball player cards! Want to write a post about Yoervis Medina? Make it a series profiling every reliever in the Mariners' bullpen! Want to write two question/answer pairs with parallel structure? Make it three question/answer pairs with parallel structure! You get the idea. I'm too ambitious for my own damn good.
So, here begins a series of posts that will exhaustively profile the Mariners' relievers with every bullpen-evaluating statistic known to Lookout Landing. We're talking PitchF/X comps, contact and swing rates, platoon split and walk rate estimators, batted ball profiles, man-on-base splits... the works. If you've got any ideas of your own, you can leave them in the comments. The goal here is to learn about baseball statistics by evaluating and analyzing the Mariners' relief corps, so there'll be a lot of methodology-explanation going on, and hopefully by the end of the series we'll all have a much better grasp of relief pitcher evaluation.
Still, before we can set off into the great analytical beyond, we have to figure out where we're starting from. To that end, I've included some polls for you all to fill out, the results of which will be used in the series proper. Have at it. Here's hoping you'll enjoy the upcoming pitcher profiles!
1) Who is the best reliever in the Mariners' bullpen?
2) Who is the worst?
3) Would you rather build a bullpen of platoon specialists or a bullpen without big splits?
4) What statistics do you find useful in reliever evaluation?
5) What would you like to learn more about with regards to the Mariners' bullpen?