Shutdowns and Meltdowns: A review of Twins Relief Pitchers Since 2005

Last week, FanGraphs debuted a two stats on their player pages to better evaluate relief pitchers, outside of Holds and Saves: The "Shutdown" and the "Meltdown". Rather than attempt to explain how they're calculated, Steve Slowinski explains it better on FanGraphs blog:  

But how do we determine if a relief pitcher helped or hurt his team? Using Win Probability Added (WPA), it’s very easy to tell exactly how much a specific player contributed to their team on a game-by-game basis. If a player increased his team’s win probability by 6% (0.06 WPA), then they get a Shutdown. If a player made his team 6% more likely to lose (-0.06), they get a Meltdown. These cutoff points put Shutdowns and Meltdowns on a similar scale as Saves and Holds, meaning that 40 shutdowns is roughly as impressive as 40 saves.

Follow the jump for some the "Twins specific" analyis

For these calculations I looked only at relief pitchers who had more than 25 IP or were midseason acquisitions. Additionally, the ratio between Shutdowns (SD) and Meltdowns (MD) was calculated to help gauge how often great relief appearances occurred. (As an example from the FanGraphs article linked above, Rafael Soriano led the league SD/MD of 10.25 last year). The league average in Shutdowns and Meltdowns were 13 and 7 respectively. (Leading to a SD/MD of 1.85)


Looking at the 2010 numbers, Rauch, Duensing, Perkins, Capps and Crain were all above average. I'm also willing give Guerrier the benefit of the doubt since he had 74 appearances. It's not real surprising to see Mr. Cheezburger, Flores and Burnett as having more meltdowns than shutdowns, since all three appeared struggle throughout the year. The big surprise to me is Mahay having just as many shutdowns as meltdowns. I'm betting this is a lot of remembering the bad and forgetting the good.


Hello there Joe Nathan, it's good for you FanGraphs hasn't found a way to Sabermetrically quantify giving heartattacks in relief appearances. Also, it's obvious 2009 was when the Crainwreck meme was at its peak. For some reason I don't remember Mijares or Keppel being that good in '09. Rauch definitely succeeded after the Twins acquired him.


Outside of Nathan, the Twins appear to lack a stellar bullpen. Not really a surprise, but my mind is really foggy when it comes to that season (probably because I spent almost no time following the team due to school).




2005-2007 Nathan dominated these stats again again, while 2007 is the Year of the Neshek. It's good to see that feeling calm watching Rincon coming into the game in 05 and 06 wasn't all that unwarranted. Besides this I'm really lacking on giving any extra analysis for these seasons because I'm completely failing at remembering anything about these seasons outside of the fact that 2006 was a division title year sandwiched between two seasons where division rivals made it out of the ALDS.

Finally, below are some career numbers of notable Twins relievers of the recent past.


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