Tuesday, September 13, 2011
“Beauty of style and harmony and grace and good rhythm depend on simplicity.” Those are the words of Plato but the ways of Mariano.
Such is the simplicity of Rivera that he has reached the precipice of a major all-time record—most career saves—while spending his entire career with the famed New York Yankees and somehow been taken for granted. He is, at age 41 and at 599 saves, just three away from breaking the record held on a short lease arrangement by Trevor Hoffman
Because the save stat is somewhat flawed, and has seemingly led managers to change how they use relievers, I don’t really care about Mo breaking the “all-time saves record” as such. What will be cool will be that it will give us a chance to think about how fortunate we’ve been to have him on our favorite team for so long.
I don’t know if Rivera’s lost something this year. He’s allowed a higher BABIP against than his career rate, and his highest since 2007 which was his worst relief season. Because of that he hasn’t appeared as dominant, but his BB/BF (removing IBB) and K/BF are both better this year than last year (3.26% BB/BF and 24.65% K/BF in 2011 vs. 3.48% BB/BF and 19.57% K/BF in 2010). His average velocity is actually a hair higher this year (91.6 mph vs 91.3 mph in 2010). Since I do think Rivera’s ability to suppress BABIP is a skill, I do think the higher BABIP is more than just “bad luck”, but he’s pretty clearly still one of the top tier closers in the game, and I’m not sure there’s one I’d take over him right now over the rest of this season and into the postseason. If by some miracle the Yankees got to the postseason.
Except for Rafael Soriano. Luckily we don’t have to choose, we can enjoy both.