Saves vs. Holds
Every off-season, Peter Kreutzer (aka Rotoman), who plays a huge role in organizing the Tout Wars drafts and overseeing the leagues throughout the year, opens the floor for rule change suggestions. The Tout Wars LLC has final say in whether or not to implement a rule change, but most of the time, proposals do not even reach that stage, as the majority of owners tend to favor the status quo. The most recent exceptions have been the switch from AVG to OBP and the change from a modified Vickrey FAAB system to a straight Vickrey format.
Anyway, here’s one category-related suggestion that Ray Flowers of SiriusXM shared with the group (in his own words):
“Replace saves with Solds (saves + holds). Chasing saves on draft day or on waivers gets tiring. Why not try to set it up to reward the talent of the relievers versus the role the manager puts them in?”
Cory was quick to second this idea, but I had to chime in with this:
“The only time I want to hear the word ‘Sold’ is at the auction. I hate holds as a category as all you need is one out. There are enough instances where a save is not deserved (1 IP, 4 H, 2 ER etc.) Holds are even worse. They are simply too easy to get.”
After a few more owners added their input, Cory answered:
“Zach’s original reply, and subsequent replies from others, got me to thinking about the relative value of Saves vs. Holds. My initial reaction was in favor of Ray’s suggestion to use SV+HLD, because I don’t think chasing saves demonstrates any meaningful skill as a fantasy player. But, I’m a numbers guy, so what do the numbers say?
Well, it’s a mixed bag. In looking at 2014 MLB regular season stats, pitchers who earned Saves did in fact pitch longer and better than those who earned Holds, so there is definitely some higher level of skill reflected there.”
CAT NO. OUT/G ERA WHIP K/9
SV 1264 3.03 1.02 0.80 10.33
HLD 2309 2.56 1.34 0.90 8.94
(OUT/G is outs per game, or IP*3.)
“This fairly well dispels the notion that adding Holds would allow us to reward skills more than roles. On the whole, those earning the Saves were also the better pitchers, performance-wise.
Also, I divided up all Saves into three roughly equal groups, ranked by the Bill James game score (minus the bonus for complete innings after the fourth, and the 50-point base), then did the same for all Holds, then compared the bottom thirds in each category. These results clearly support the notion of a “cheap” Hold being much cheaper, and more damaging, than a cheap Save.”
CAT NO. OUT/G ERA WHIP K/9
SV 422 2.84 3.23 1.76 6.95
HLD 771 2.03 5.02 2.13 5.26
“This seems to me to argue against another motivation for adding Holds, that doing so would dilute the value of lower-tier closers. Lower-tier relievers earning Holds are far more damaging.
(Admittedly not every save nor every hold would be “rostered”, but I think these numbers are still instructive.)
On the other hand, as noted above there were almost two Holds earned for every Save, so presumably the cost of acquiring relievers in general would be diminished as a result, allowing Tout owners to spend more of their draft and FAAB money elsewhere rather than in the bullpen. That may be a good thing.
This last point still carries my vote, but I’m not as firmly committed as I was a couple of hours ago. Take these results with the usual grains of salt and do with them what you will.”
Zach back with you:
Since Cory conducted his study, there have been plenty more e-mails regarding the issue, and it’s looking like we’re going to stand pat with the current 5×5 setup (with OBP again replacing AVG), but this is one of many examples of the Tout Wars off-season discussions.
The 411 welcomes your comments!