Worst Reliever Awards

The Fireman of the Year Award is a rather meaningless award designed to promote some sponsor of major league baseball while simultaneously honoring the game’s best closer or relief pitcher. While the Academy Awards have the Razzies, this Fireman award does not have a reverse award designated to honor the league’s worst relievers. Yesterday, we took a look at the five worst starting pitchers of 2008, and today we will look to those in the bullpen. While WPA/LI was used to evaluate the starters, I decided to use both the leveraged and unleveraged WPA to check out the relievers. Here are the bottom five relievers via WPA/LI:

Brad Hennessey, -1.36: 13 g, 17.1 IP, 40 H, 8 BB, 12 K, 2.77 WHIP, 12.46 ERA
Jamie Walker, -1.36: 59 g, 12 HR in 38 IP, 1.68 WHIP, 6.87 ERA
Joel Peralta, -1.23: 40 g, 1.33 WHIP, 5.98 ERA, 15 HR in 52.2 IP, 14 BB, 38 K
Bob Howry, -1.23: 72 g, 1.46 WHIP, 5.35 ERA, 13 HR in 70.2 IP, 13 BB, 59 K
Gary Majewski, -1.19: 37 g, 1.90 WHIP, 6.53 ERA, 15 BB, 27 K in 40 IP

From these five, it is pretty remarkable that Hennessey accrued such negative impact in just 13 games, which portends that he might be able to dethrone Brandon Backe as the worst pitcher in baseball. Walker has given up plenty of home runs relative to his innings pitched, and Majewski does not really have anything positive working for him either. Peralta’s walk and strikeout numbers look solid, as he is right around the corner from a 3.00 K/BB, but he has given up a ton of home runs in just 52.2 innings. Howry’s K/BB is over 4.00, but he gives up a lot of hits and home runs. Next up, the bottom five by WPA:

Jason Isringhausen, -2.96: 42 g, 1.64 WHIP, 5.70 ERA
Luis Ayala, -2.85: 81 g, 1.45 WHIP, 5.71 ERA
Jamie Walker, -2.41: SEE ABOVE
Mark Lowe, -2.24: 57 g, 1.76 WHIP, 5.37 ERA
Masa Kobayashi, -2.19: 1.42 WHIP, 4.53 ERA, 2.50 K/BB

Two things should stand out from these five pitchers. First, Jamie Walker is the only reliever to bottom out in both WPA and WPA/LI, and secondly, Kobayashi does not look that bad. He has 14 walks and 35 strikeouts in his 57 appearances, but his hits allowed have raised the WHIP. He is actually the only reliever of the nine listed here with a sub 5.00 ERA. ERA might not be the best evaluator for relievers, but his controllable skills look better than most of the rest.

So, I will leave the votes in your hands for the Anti-Fireman of the Year Award. Does it go to Jamie Walker, who showed poor skills whether the plate appearances counted as one or more plate appearances? To Hennessey, who stunk it up so badly in just 13 games that he actually posted the worst WPA? Or maybe Majewski, who had literally nothing positive working for him or to fall back on?

Eric is an accountant and statistical analyst from Philadelphia. He also covers the Phillies at Phillies Nation and can be found here on Twitter.

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13 years ago

Should the Anti-Fireman Award be called the Gasoline-Thrower Award, since they’re making the fire worse?

Wow, Kobayashi was really that bad?