St. Louis Cardinals 2010 Reliever of the Year

St. Louis Cardinals 2010 Reliever of the Year

Ryan Franklin is The Cardinal Nation/Scout.com's top relief pitcher on the Major League roster for the second consecutive year.

Naming any team's closer as its top reliever does not require much risk-taking. But when starting the effort to select the St. Louis Cardinals' top ninth-inning man, the conclusion was not pre-determined. The numbers point to Ryan Franklin as The Cardinal Nation's Reliever of the Year.

Starting with the most basic stats, Kyle McClellan led the club with 68 appearances after having 66 and 68 the prior two years. McClellan also led the Redbirds with 75 1/3 innings pitched in relief. While the ERAs of the nine primary relievers are listed, there are better measures of effectiveness, such as Fielding Independent Pitching or FIP. That is how the list below is ordered.

In this case, whether using ERA or FIP, the name at the top of the list is the same, Jason Motte. FIP, which is intended to eliminate everything a pitcher cannot control but still uses the same scale as ERA, vaults Franklin past McClellan into second on the list. Franklin added a bullpen-high six wins. (All numbers that follow are in relief roles only – starting stats are excluded unless noted.)

G IP W L ERA FIP
Motte 56 52 1/3 4 2 2.24 3.29
Franklin 59 65    6 2 3.46 3.83
Boggs 61 67 1/3 2 3 3.61 3.88
McClellan 68 75 1/3 1 4 2.27 4.07
Miller 57 36 0 1 4.00 4.08
Reyes 59 38    3 1 3.55 4.26
Salas 27 30 2/3 0 0 3.52 4.35
MacDougal 17 18 2/3 1 1 7.23 4.36
Hawksworth 37 48 2/3 1 4 4.25 5.12*
* SP+RP

Over the course of the year, lefty Trever Miller was called on to take the ball with more runners already on base than any other reliever. The veteran was most dependable, with just seven of 41 crossing the plate on his watch. That 17.1 percent mark was seventh-best among all major leaguers this past season.

Among the other relievers, Franklin edged Motte for second place. The margin was so thin that had Motte allowed one fewer inherited runner to score, he would have moved up.

Inh Run Scored Pct
Miller 41 7 17.1%
Franklin 16 4 25.0%
Motte 34 9 26.5%
McClellan 17 5 29.4%
Reyes 37 11 29.7%
Boggs 33 11 33.3%
Hawksworth 8 3 37.5%
Salas 8 4 50.0%
MacDougal 8 6 75.0%

The next set of basic numbers includes strikeouts and walks. This is where Franklin really shines. Not considered a strikeout pitcher by any stretch, he still fanned over four batters for every free pass issued. That mark stands head and shoulders above the other relievers. As such, Franklin also had the lowest WHIP, walks and hits per innings pitched, on the staff.

Lefties Miller and Dennys Reyes each yielded just two opposing home runs all season, while McClellan and Blake Hawksworth (as a reliever) served up nine each. Motte and McClellan both held opposing hitters to a sub-.220 batting average, best among all the relievers. Mike MacDougal was the least effective reliever on the staff by most any measurement chosen.

K BB K/BB HR OBA WHIP
Franklin 42 10 4.2 7 0.237 1.03
Motte 54 18 3.0 5 0.217 1.13
McClellan 60 23 2.6 9 0.214 1.08
Hawksworth 33 14 2.4 9 0.301 1.50
Salas 29 15 1.9 4 0.245 1.40
Boggs 52 27 1.9 5 0.240 1.29
Miller 22 16 1.4 2 0.228 1.28
Reyes 25 21 1.2 2 0.241 1.45
MacDougal 14 12 1.2 1 0.304 1.88

No one other than Franklin received more than four save opportunities. Even so, none of them were perfect. Both Motte and McClellan blew one of three chances given them. Franklin's conversion rate of 93.1 percent was second in the National League, trailing only San Diego's Heath Bell (94%).

Holds Saves Opps Sv Pct
Franklin 0 27 29 93.1%
McClellan 23 2 3 66.7%
Motte 13 2 3 66.7%
Reyes 7 1 4 25.0%
Miller 15 0 1 0.0%
MacDougal 0 0 1 0.0%
Boggs 9 0 0 NA
Hawksworth 4 0 0 NA
Salas 1 0 0 NA

A very important measure for a reliever is to retire his first batter faced. Franklin was superior to the all the other Cardinals relievers, setting down over 71 percent of his initial hitters all season long. A bit surprisingly, Hawksworth was the only other bullpenner better than 70 percent.

Ret'd 1st Bat'r Pct
Franklin 40 56 71.4%
Hawksworth 26 37 70.3%
McClellan 45 65 69.2%
Motte 38 55 69.1%
Boggs 42 61 68.9%
Miller 37 56 66.1%
Salas 15 23 65.2%
Reyes 32 59 54.2%
MacDougal 8 17 47.1%

Putting all this together, Ryan Franklin is The Cardinal Nation/Scout.com St. Louis Cardinals Reliever of the Year for the second consecutive summer with Jason Motte and Kyle McClellan receiving very honorable mentions.

Note: Link to article with all award winners across the system as well as 2010 team recaps, exclusively for subscribers!



Brian Walton can be reached via email at brian@thecardinalnationblog.com. Also catch his Cardinals commentary daily at The Cardinal Nation blog. Selected TCN content appears at FOXSportsMidwest.com. Follow Brian on Twitter.

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