Pittsburgh Pirates: Baseball Goose Eggs
What are goose eggs in baseball? Do the Pittsburgh Pirates get them?
Nate Silver, who is the founder and editor in chief of FiveThirtyEight, wrote today about a new concept that he created. A way to better judge relievers overall ability. Win Probability Added, or WPA, is one metric to use, and Sky Kalkman added in his variation of WPA, but Silver’s metric is easy to use, and more importantly, calculate by hand if you want to*.
We all know saves don’t really tell the value of a reliever. Andrew Miller and Dellin Betances rank first and third in fWAR since 2015, they hold a combined 69 saves, or one more than closer Cody Allen. Individually Miller is 15th, most coming with the Yankees in 2015, and Betances is 34th, one higher than Tony Watson. So what did Silver create? It’s called Goose Eggs.
Silver defines goose eggs as,
"“A relief pitcher10 records a goose egg for each inning in which:It’s the seventh inning or later;At the time the pitcher faces his first batter of the inning:His team leads by no more than two runs, orThe score is tied, orThe tying run is on base or at batNo runs (earned or unearned) are charged to the pitcher in the inning and no inherited runners score while the pitcher is in the game; andThe pitcher either:Records three outs (one inning pitched), orRecords at least one out, and the number of outs recorded plus the number of inherited runners totals at least three.”"
It’s easy to calculate, unlike WPA or Kalkman’s adjusted WPA. It rewards pitchers who aren’t closers and rewards pitchers entering the game in high leverage situations with runners already on base and not allowing them to score. Of course, there are also Broken Eggs, defined as
"“A relief pitcher records a broken egg for each inning in which:He could have gotten a goose egg if he’d recorded enough outs;At least one earned run is charged to the pitcher; andThe pitcher does not close out the win for his team.”"
And there are mehs, which are those that are not classified as such. So let’s look at a few examples.
Top 10 Goose Egg Leaders Pirates History- Single Season
- 1977 Goose Gossage, 74
- 1979 Kent Tekulve, 71
- 1982 Kent Tekulve, 64
- 1978 Kent Tekulve and 1983 Kent Tekulve, 51
- 1988 Jeff Robinson, 50
- 2014 Tony Watson, 57
- 1963 Al McBean and 1984 Don Robinson, 46
- 1974 Dave Giusti, 44
Top 10 Goose Egg Leaders Pirates History- Career
- Kent Tekulve, 395
- Roy Face, 376
- Dave Giusti, 263
- Tony Watson, 170
- Mark Melancon, 143
- Al McBean, 141
- Don Robinson, 139
- Grant Jackson, 126
- Mike Williams, 105
- Stan Belinda, 103
2015 Mark Melancon got off to a rocky start… he finished the season with the second most amount of Goose Eggs, 43, which was one spot below Betances, 44. Of course, Melancon only had two Goose Eggs and six mehs, and Betances had seven Broken Eggs and nine mehs. Nate also calculated a replacement level and because of this created gWAR, or Goose Egg Wins Above Replacement, which you can find in his FiveThirtyEight article. Mark Melancon led the league at 5.07, which was 0.73 wins higher than second place finisher Wade Davis.
Next: Pirates Make Minor Trade
That season, Arquimedes Caminero had 18 Goose Eggs, five Broken, and two mehs. His 0.52 gWAR ranked 100th in all of baseball, there were 627 pitchers on the list. Caminero also finished seventh on the team. Caminero for closer, right?
Last season the team finished with 123 Goose Eggs (sum of each individual) tied fifth most in the league, their 34 Broken Eggs finished tied tenth least, and they and they had the least amount of mehs. Their gWAR finished sixth best, with Melancon, Neftali Feliz, and Watson having the highest three and Felipe Rivero, Caminero, and Cory Luebke the lowest three.
These are Goose Eggs, numbers easy enough for everybody to calculate, and more rewarding to relievers than just saves.
*I downloaded the data here and just used excel to sort and customize the data
**I can pull any reliever if have a specific one in mind just leave in the comments