Setup man

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George Sherrill was a setup man for the Seattle Mariners, Baltimore Orioles, and Los Angeles Dodgers. George Sherrill 2008.jpg
George Sherrill was a setup man for the Seattle Mariners, Baltimore Orioles, and Los Angeles Dodgers.

In baseball, a setup man (or set-up man, also sometimes referred to as a setup pitcher or setup reliever) is a relief pitcher who regularly pitches before the closer. They commonly pitch the eighth inning, with the closer pitching the ninth. [1] [2]

As closers were reduced to one-inning specialists, setup men became more prominent. [3] Setup pitchers often come into the game with the team losing or the game tied. [4] They are usually the second best relief pitcher on a team, behind the closer. After closers became one-inning pitchers, primarily in the ninth inning, setup pitchers became more highly valued. [5] A pitcher who succeeds in this role is often promoted to a closer. [6] Setup men are paid less than closers and mostly make less than the average Major League salary. [7]

The most common statistic used to evaluate relievers is the save. Due to the definition of the statistic, setup men are rarely in position to record a save even if they pitch well, but they can be charged with a blown save if they pitch poorly. The hold statistic was developed to help acknowledge a setup man's effectiveness, [8] but it is not an official Major League Baseball (MLB) statistic.

Historically, setup men were rarely selected to MLB All-Star Games, with the nod usually going to closers with large save totals. [9] From 1971 through 2000, only six relievers with fewer than five saves at midseason were selected as All-Stars. There were 10 such players from 2001 through 2009. [10] In 2015, the majority of the American League's All-Star relievers were not closers, outnumbered 4–3. [11] Setup men who have been named All-Stars multiple times include Justin Duchscherer, Tyler Clippard, [12] Dellin Betances, and Andrew Miller. [13]

Francisco Rodriguez, who was a setup pitcher for the Anaheim Angels in 2002, [14] tied starting pitcher Randy Johnson's Major League Baseball record for wins in a single postseason after recording his fifth victory in the 2002 World Series. [15]

Tim McCarver wrote that the New York Yankees in 1996 "revolutionized baseball" with Mariano Rivera, "a middle reliever who should have been on the All-Star team and who was a legitimate MVP candidate." [16] He finished third in the voting for the American League (AL) Cy Young Award, [17] the highest a setup man has finished. That season, Rivera primarily served as a setup pitcher for closer John Wetteland, typically pitching in the seventh and eighth inning of games before Wetteland pitched in the ninth. Their effectiveness gave the Yankees a 70–3  win–loss record that season when leading after six innings. [18] McCarver said the Yankees played "six-inning games" that year, with Rivera dominating for two innings and Wetteland closing out the victory. [16]

Illustrating the general trend, both Rivera and Rodriguez were moved to closer soon after excelling as setup men. On January 22, 2019, Rivera became the first unanimously elected baseball hall-of-famer having been inducted his first eligible year on the ballot.

Related Research Articles

Save (baseball) Credited to a pitcher who finishes a game for the winning team under certain circumstances

In baseball, a save is credited to a pitcher who finishes a game for the winning team under certain prescribed circumstances. Most commonly a pitcher earns a save by entering in the ninth inning of a game in which his team is winning by three or fewer runs and finishing the game by pitching one inning without losing the lead. The number of saves or percentage of save opportunities successfully converted are oft-cited statistics of relief pitchers, particularly those in the closer role. The save statistic was created by journalist Jerome Holtzman in 1959 to "measure the effectiveness of relief pitchers" and was adopted as an official MLB statistic in 1969. The save has been retroactively measured for pitchers before that date. Mariano Rivera is MLB's all-time leader in regular-season saves with 652, while Francisco Rodríguez earned the most saves in a single season with 62 in 2008.

Mariano Rivera Panamanian-American baseball player

Mariano Rivera is a Panamanian-American former professional baseball pitcher who played 19 seasons in Major League Baseball (MLB) for the New York Yankees, from 1995 to 2013. Nicknamed "Mo" and "Sandman", he spent most of his career as a relief pitcher and served as the Yankees' closer for 17 seasons. A thirteen-time All-Star and five-time World Series champion, he is MLB's career leader in saves (652) and games finished (952). Rivera won five American League (AL) Rolaids Relief Man Awards and three Delivery Man of the Year Awards, and he finished in the top three in voting for the AL Cy Young Award four times. He was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame as part of its class of 2019 in his first year of eligibility, and was the first player ever to be elected unanimously by the Baseball Writers' Association of America (BBWAA).

Relief pitcher A baseball or softball pitcher that enters a game to pitch after a starting pitcher

In baseball and softball, a relief pitcher or reliever is a pitcher who enters the game after the starting pitcher is removed due to fatigue, ineffectiveness, injury, ejection, or for other strategic reasons, such as inclement weather delays or pinch hitter substitutions. Relief pitchers are further divided informally into various roles, such as closers, setup men, middle relief pitchers, left/right-handed specialists, and long relievers. Whereas starting pitchers usually rest several days before pitching in a game again due to the number of pitches thrown, relief pitchers are expected to be more flexible and typically pitch in more games with a shorter time period between pitching appearances but with fewer innings pitched per appearance. A team's staff of relievers is normally referred to metonymically as a team's bullpen, which refers to the area where the relievers sit during games, and where they warm-up prior to entering the game.

Goose Gossage American baseball player (born 1951)

Richard Michael "Goose" Gossage is an American former baseball pitcher who played 22 seasons in Major League Baseball (MLB) between 1972 and 1994. He pitched for nine different teams, spending his best years with the New York Yankees and San Diego Padres.

Francisco Rodríguez (Venezuelan pitcher) Venezuelan baseball player

Francisco José Rodríguez, Sr., nicknamed "Frankie" and "K-Rod", is a Venezuelan former professional baseball pitcher. He played in Major League Baseball (MLB) for the Anaheim Angels / Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, New York Mets, Baltimore Orioles, Milwaukee Brewers and Detroit Tigers.

Lee Smith (baseball) American baseball player (born 1957)

Lee Arthur Smith is an American former professional baseball pitcher who played 18 years in Major League Baseball (MLB) for eight teams. Serving mostly as a relief pitcher during his career, he was a dominant closer and held the major league record for career saves from 1993 until 2006, when Trevor Hoffman passed his total of 478. Smith was elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame as part of the class of 2019 by the Today's Game Era Committee.

John Wetteland American baseball player

John Karl Wetteland is an American former baseball pitcher who played 12 seasons in Major League Baseball (1989–2000). He pitched for four teams: the Los Angeles Dodgers, Montreal Expos, New York Yankees, and Texas Rangers. A relief pitcher, Wetteland specialized as a closer, recording 330 saves during his career. With the Yankees, he won the 1996 World Series over the Atlanta Braves and won the World Series Most Valuable Player Award for saving four games in the series. After his playing career, he served as a coach for the Washington Nationals and Seattle Mariners. In 2019, Wetteland was arrested and indicted on charges of sexually abusing a child under the age of 14.

Brad Lidge American baseball player

Bradley Thomas Lidge nicknamed "Lights Out" is an American former professional baseball pitcher. Lidge played 11 seasons in Major League Baseball (MLB), from 2002–2012. He played for the Houston Astros, Philadelphia Phillies, and Washington Nationals. As a relief pitcher Lidge saved 225 games during his career. He was a two-time All-Star, and in 2008 won the Delivery Man of the Year Award and the National League (NL) Rolaids Relief Man Award. Lidge is currently a host on SiriusXM's MLB Network Radio.

Trevor Hoffman American baseball player (born 1967)

Trevor William Hoffman is an American former professional baseball relief pitcher who played 18 years in Major League Baseball (MLB) from 1993 to 2010. A long-time closer, he pitched for the Florida Marlins, San Diego Padres, and Milwaukee Brewers, including more than 15 years for the Padres. Hoffman was the major leagues' first player to reach the 500- and 600-save milestones, and was the all-time saves leader from 2006 until 2011. He was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 2018. Hoffman currently serves as senior advisor for baseball operations for the Padres.

Joe Nathan American baseball player

Joseph Michael Nathan is an American former professional baseball pitcher. He played 16 seasons in Major League Baseball (MLB) for the San Francisco Giants, Minnesota Twins, Texas Rangers, Detroit Tigers, and Chicago Cubs. Nathan started out his baseball career as a shortstop in high school and in college for Stony Brook, but converted to a pitcher after being drafted by the Giants. He worked his way through the minor leagues, alternating between spots in the rotation and the bullpen.

Rafael Soriano Dominican baseball player

Rafael Soriano is a Dominican former professional baseball pitcher. He played in Major League Baseball (MLB) for the Seattle Mariners, Atlanta Braves, Tampa Bay Rays, New York Yankees, Washington Nationals, and Chicago Cubs.

300 save club Group of pitchers with 300 or more regular-season saves in their careers

In Major League Baseball (MLB), the 300 save club is the group of pitchers who have recorded 300 or more regular-season saves in their careers. Most commonly a relief pitcher earns a save by being the final pitcher of a game in which his team is winning by three or fewer runs and pitching at least one inning without losing the lead. The final pitcher of a game can earn a save by getting at least one batter out to end the game with the winning run on base, at bat, or on deck, or by pitching the last three innings without relinquishing the lead, regardless of score. The statistic was created by Jerome Holtzman in 1959 to "measure the effectiveness of relief pitchers" and was adopted as an official statistic by MLB in 1969. The save has been retroactively measured for past pitchers where applicable. Hoyt Wilhelm retired in 1972 and recorded just 31 saves from 1969 onwards, for example, but holds 228 total career saves.

Tyler Clippard American baseball player

Tyler Lee Clippard is an American professional baseball pitcher in the Washington Nationals organization. He has played in Major League Baseball (MLB) for the New York Yankees, Nationals, Oakland Athletics, New York Mets, Arizona Diamondbacks, Chicago White Sox, Houston Astros, Toronto Blue Jays, Cleveland Indians, and Minnesota Twins.

Jim Johnson (baseball, born 1983) American baseball player

James Robert Johnson is an American former professional baseball relief pitcher. He has played in Major League Baseball (MLB) for the Baltimore Orioles, Oakland Athletics, Detroit Tigers, Atlanta Braves, Los Angeles Dodgers and Los Angeles Angels. Johnson was an All-Star in 2012 and won the Rolaids Relief Man Award that year while leading MLB in saves. In 2013, Johnson became the first American League (AL) pitcher ever to have recorded back-to-back seasons of 50 saves or more. Johnson and Éric Gagné are the only two MLB pitchers to accomplish this feat.

Closer (baseball) Baseball relief pitcher who specializes in finishing close games

In baseball, a closing pitcher, more frequently referred to as a closer, is a relief pitcher who specializes in getting the final outs in a close game when his team is leading. The role is often assigned to a team's best reliever. Before the 1990s, pitchers in similar roles were referred to as a fireman, short reliever, and stopper. A small number of closers have won the Cy Young Award. Eight closers have been inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame: Dennis Eckersley, Rollie Fingers, Goose Gossage, Trevor Hoffman, Mariano Rivera, Lee Smith, Bruce Sutter and Hoyt Wilhelm.

The 2008 New York Yankees season was the 106th season for the New York Yankees franchise. The Yankees hosted the 2008 All-Star Game at Yankee Stadium on Tuesday July 15, 2008. It was the 83rd and last season at the Old Yankee Stadium prior to the team's move to a new ballpark just north of the current stadium. It also marked the first season since 1993 that the Yankees failed to make it to the playoffs. Also, it would also be the first under a new team skipper, former team catcher Joe Girardi, who assumed the managerial role in the offseason.

David Robertson (baseball) American baseball player

David Alan Robertson, nicknamed D-Rob, is an American professional baseball pitcher for the Chicago Cubs of Major League Baseball (MLB). He previously played in MLB for the New York Yankees, Chicago White Sox, Philadelphia Phillies, and Tampa Bay Rays.

2009 World Series American baseball championship series

The 2009 World Series was the championship series of Major League Baseball's (MLB) 2009 season. As the 105th edition of the World Series, it was a best-of-seven playoff contested between the Philadelphia Phillies, champions of the National League (NL) and defending World Series champions, and the New York Yankees, champions of the American League (AL). The Yankees defeated the Phillies, 4 games to 2, winning their 27th World Series championship.

Ryota Igarashi Japanese baseball player

Ryota Igarashi is a Japanese former professional baseball pitcher. He has played in Nippon Professional Baseball (NPB) for the Tokyo Yakult Swallows, Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks and Major League Baseball (MLB) for the New York Mets, Toronto Blue Jays and New York Yankees.

Drew Storen American baseball player

Drew Patrick Storen is an American former professional baseball relief pitcher. He played in Major League Baseball (MLB) for the Washington Nationals, Toronto Blue Jays, Seattle Mariners, and Cincinnati Reds.

References

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  2. Felber, Bill (2006). The Book on the Book: An Inquiry Into Which Strategies in the Modern Game Actually Work. St. Martin's Griffin. p. 102. ISBN   978-0-312-33265-5 . Retrieved January 5, 2011.
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  4. Zimniuch 2010, p.169
  5. Zimniuch 2010, p.163
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  7. Zimniuch 2010, p.169
  8. Zimniuch 2010, pp.169–70
  9. Rancel, Tommy (June 24, 2013). "Set-up guys who would be worthy All-Stars". ESPN.com. Archived from the original on October 19, 2014.
  10. Kay, Joe (July 13, 2015). "All Star Game could be decided by setup men". The Star. Associated Press. Retrieved October 12, 2018.
  11. Jennings, Chad (July 13, 2015). "Yankees' Betances leading wave of standout setup men". The Journal News. Retrieved October 12, 2018.
  12. Kilgore, Adam (July 14, 2014). "2014 MLB All-Star Game: For Nationals reliever Tyler Clippard, a perfect setup". The Washington Post. Retrieved October 13, 2018.
  13. Crasnick, Jerry (June 23, 2018). "Eight under-the-radar relievers who deserve All-Star consideration". ESPN.com. Retrieved October 13, 2018.
  14. Curry, Jack (October 11, 2002). "Rodriguez Is a Fantasy Player Like No Other". The New York Times. Archived from the original on October 21, 2014.
  15. Johnson, Chuck (February 20, 2005). "Rodriguez set to close for Angels". USA Today. Archived from the original on October 16, 2014.
  16. 1 2 Zimniuch 2010, p.221
  17. "1996 Awards Voting". Baseball-Reference.com . Sports Reference LLC. Retrieved January 9, 2012.
  18. Zimniuch 2010, pp.219–221