Overseas Fan Spring Training - Pitching Stats for Closers

Eric D. Schabell
Contributing Writer

The sport of baseball is filled with statistics, with numbers, and with abbreviations for all these mystical elements that can cause some confusion for the average Overseas Fan.

Today we take a look at some pitching statistics, namely the three you will hear discussed around the closer position. We will use as an example our closer Koji Uehara and present his statistics in the three areas based on his performance in 2013.

The three most often quoted statistics when a closer is brought into the game are their Earned Run Average, how many Saves they have recorded, and what their Walks and Hits per Inning Pitched ratio is.

Earned Run Average (ERA)

This statistic is an indication of how many runs a pitcher allows over a nine inning period, or single game. An earned run is any run that is scored without the help of fielder errors and is subjective based on the official game scorer rulings.

To determine the ERA of any pitcher, take the number of earned runs and divide them by the number of innings pitched, then multiply that by nine.

ERA = (ER / IP) * 9

In the regular 2013 season Koji Uehara had a 1.09 ERA over 74.1 innings pitched, ranking him 28th in MLB for the season. In the 2013 postseason he had an amazing 0.66 ERA, making him a closer that pretty much meant lights out when he took the mound to close out games.

Save (SA)

The closers are the pitchers that are graded on how many saves they record. This is the guy that comes in to close the door on the opponent and pitch to the last few batters. A pitcher saves a game when the following conditions are met.
  • he is the last pitcher of the game in which his team won
  • he did not record the game win
  • he pitched at least 1/3 of an inning (recorded at least one out)
  • he fulfills one of the following conditions:
    • he enters the game with no more than a three run lead and pitches for at least one inning
    • he enters the game with game-tying run in on-deck circle and finishes the game
    • he pitches for at least three innings
Sounds like a problem to sort that out, but watch closely the next time that Koji Uehara comes into the game. It will be a save chance if the rules above apply.

In the 2013 season he notched 21 saves, which ranked him 27th for all of MLB for the season.

Walks and Hits per Inning Pitched (WHIP)

This gives an indication as to how many batters get on base per inning when this pitcher is pitching. You add the walks and hits given up, then divide by the number of innings pitched.

WHIP = BB + H / IP

If we look at Koji Uehara's numbers over 2013 we see that his WHIP was 0.565 over 74.1 innings pitched, 12th in all of MLB for the season.

Stay tuned for more interesting bits of baseball and feel free to poke me with something you really would like to see covered in one of these articles.

You can catch up on some of the past articles in this series.
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