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Turnbow an All-Star?

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As you may have noticed by the sidebar poll, Ned thinks D-Bow should be an All-Star:

"And it's stupid, but I think [Derrick] Turnbow should go, too," Yost said.

"You look at [Cordero's] 27 saves, it's because Turnbow holds it and gives him a chance," Yost said. "I don't think it's going to happen, but he's deserving of it."

Adam trots out the statistical "defense" of that claim:

Turnbow entered the Brewers' weekend showdown with the Cubs owning a 3.79 ERA that Yost believes is not indicative of Turnbow's performance. He has a 38.57 ERA in the four games in which he suffered a loss or blown save, and a 1.35 ERA in his other 35 appearances. Opponents were hitting .183 against Turnbow this year, and he had 46 strikeouts in 35 2/3 innings. His 21 "holds" were tops in the Major Leagues, two more than outstanding Angels setup man Scot Shields and four more than the Dodgers' Jonathan Broxton.

My first reaction to that was, "Huh?  That IS stupid!"  After thinking about it for a few minutes, I'm not so sure.  Here's why:

  • There's no good reason that set-up men shouldn't be considered, and if we judged Derrick by the standards we use for closers (saves/blown saves, etc.) he'd be great.  Cordero, who may be the best reliever in baseball this year, has now blown three games, while D-bow has blown four.  I don't like the "1.35 ERA in games he didn't suck in" stat, but if he were putting up exactly the same numbers as a closer, we'd be strongly considering him.

  • I wish I had the time to come up with the numbers to back this up, but I can't believe the number of times this year that Turnbow has chewed through the middle of somebody's order in the 8th, leaving Cordero with the 6-7-8 hitters in the 9th.  Maybe I'm not remembering all the times when it was the other way around, but if I had to guess, I'd say D-Bow has had the tougher season.  Combine that with my previous point, and you have one heck of a performance.

  • Here's a list of top NL relievers by WXRL, the BP uber-stat that takes into account leverage, opposition quality, and the number of beers drunk in the bullpen:

    1. Takashi Saito
    2. Tony Pena
    3. Billy Wagner
    4. Rafael Soriano
    5. Matt Capps
    6. Brandon Lyon
    7. Heath Bell
    8. Kevin Gregg
    9. Trevor Hoffman
    10. Scott Linebrink
    11. Jose Valverde
    12. Jesus Colome
    13. Jason Isringhausen
    14. Carlos Villanueva
    15. Ryan Franklin
    16. Ryan Dempster
    17. Derrick Turnbow
    18. Coco Cordero

    There's no way All-Star selections will (or should) be made purely in accordance with this list, but it does suggest that Turnbow (and Villanueva!) are just about as good as any closer.  Knock out a few guys from this list who have no chance of making the team (Villy, Colome, Bell, Franklin) and D-Bow is right up there.  The stats (this stat, anyway) don't put him on the team, but they do suggest that putting him there wouldn't be at all "stupid."
Update [2007-6-30 13:13:20 by Jeff]: Thank you, BP. Regarding my second point, it looks like my memory serves correctly. This is a ranking of Milwaukee pitchers by opponent OPS. Turnbow has had the toughest season, with an average opponent OPS of .761. Cordero is way down the list, in 10th at .727. Turnbow's opponent OPS is 6th toughest in the NL among pitchers with 20+ innings.