Tommy Hunter is on the DL and it’s made me a calmer person. He’s been lousy this year, and not just when he blows a save, which he’s done four times; he’s been pretty terrible in the games he does save, seemingly always letting guys on and coming within a hair of blowing the game. My heart can’t take much more. Is it just my imagination? Or does Tommy Hunter really have more near-misses than other pitchers? Well, here’s one thing you could check; if Hunter is constantly letting a few guys on but then buckling down and getting the big out when he needs it, you’d expect him to be a much better pitcher with runners in scoring position than he is in general. (In general, batters gain about 10 points of OPS when batting with RISP.) Here’s where baseball-reference’s amazing Play Index comes in. You can rank all pitchers in MLB history by “OPS against with runners in scoring position – OPS against overall.” You can restrict to people who’ve faced at least 400 batters with RISP in order to get rid of small samples. And you know who baseball’s all-time leader is in this stat? Yep — Tommy Hunter. Here’s the top 21.
Do any of these other pitchers have the same reputation as guys who destroy your nerves by constantly getting into jams and somehow wriggling out?