The Marlins’ Shutdowns and Meltdowns


This week, a conversation was started about the uselessness of the save by fellow BtBer and friend of the Maniac Jeff Zimmerman. By the way, Jeff eloquently (and angrily, based on the tone he used) said exactly what I hope all of you Maniacs feel: the save as it is written up is a useless statistic that tells us nothing about value or future performance. Apparently that rant caught the eye of Tom Tango of the The Book Blog, who wondered whether a WPA-based statistic could be a better indicator of how a reliever’s performance helped his team, while still giving people something to count. After a little discussion about the name, the terms “shutdowns” and “meltdowns” were settled upon, and FanGraphs quickly added them to their growing list of awesome stats.

OK, that’s just the introduction. Let’s define the stats and look at our Marlins.


From the horse’s mouth:

"A Shutdown is when a reliever accumulates greater than or equal to 0.06 WPA in any individual game.A Meltdown is when a reliever’s WPA is less than or equal to -0.06 in any individual game."

As you know, WPA is Win Probability Added. The stat measures the average change in win expectancy for each team’s events, and credits the pitcher and hitter/runner accordingly. Now, this means that pitchers are not being separated from defense, but Shutdowns and Meltdowns are not supposed to be awesome analytical stats. Rather, they are cool pictures of how a relief pitcher did, pictures that are better than saves/holds.

OK, so how did the Marlins do?

Well, first of all, you can find all of it here. Here are some quick observations:

– Unsurprisingly, Leo Nunez leads the team with five Shutdowns (SD) and only two Meltdowns (MD).

– Equally unsurprisingly, Dan Meyer and Jose Veras looked equally bad, putting up no SD and two MD.

– As good as Burke Badenhop has been for us, he has an even SD/MD count, with four each. At least the Marlins are using him better, sticking him in plays with an average entering LI of 1.59, third on the team.

– As you might expect from the Marlins’ pen, the team has 17 SD and 16 MD. We’re tied for the sixth most MD in the majors. In something that I’m sure will give Kings of Kauffman’s Wally Fish fits, the Royals lead baseball with 24 MD. The Royals also have the worst differential between SD and MD, at four more MD than SD.

What about last year?

– Nunez went 27-13 in SD-MD last season. The next best reliever was likely either Meyer or Matt Lindstrom with 20-10 and 17-6 records respectively.

Renyel Pinto had a 15-12 mark. Renyel Pinto, you’re not helping.

– The Hopper pitched 72 inning last year and had four MD. Luis Ayala pitched 7 2/3 innings for us and got four MD. Luis Ayala, you’re not helping.

And finally, a historical note:

Jorge Julio pitched 9 1/3 innings for us in 2007 and recorded five Meltdowns. Wonderful job.

Braden Looper and Ugeth Urbina combined for 46 SD and 14 MD. Looper himself went 29-10 and Urbina went 17-4 in his extremely short time with us.

Enjoy SD and MD, and keep an eye on it as we go through the season. I may indeed make mention of it if they are recorded in our Fish Cap games.