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Ben and Sam answer listener emails about Andrelton Simmons, finishers who can’t close, pitcher injuries, and more.


  • Surprises in defensive tracking data
  • Timing of pitcher injuries
  • Games finished without a save
  • Ryan Webb and Matt Albers
  • Choosing elite pitchers or hitters


  • Ted Williams hit .460 in 1941.
  • Sam thinks that 406 is "the most significant baseball number still standing". They wonder when hitting .406 became significant.

Email Questions[]

  • Kyle: "The movie Fanboys ends with the gang sitting down in the theater to watch Star Wars Episode I for the first time. The main character turns to his friends and asks, 'What if this movie sucks?'. On the Braves preview Ben stated that he's glad that the defense tracking system will be set up in Andrelton Simmons' lifetime so "we can preserve whatever he does for posterity". My question is what if the data says Andrelton Simmons sucks at fielding?"
  • Matt: "Last March I had an email exchange with a handful of BP staffers about the seasonality of pitcher injury risk. Specifically I was asking about a friend's theory that if you get through spring training healthy you have a pretty good shot at staying that way all year. Max did some digging through the DL database and indeed April had a way higher rate of attrition than all the other months of the season, especially for elbow injuries. Some of that is explained by carryovers, guys who had gotten hurt the previous year and just needed to be re-added to the rolls of the disabled, but Doug and Cory both talked about very real issues of mechanical efficiency and shaking off the rust that could play a role in that phenomenon and our conclusion was that for a myriad of reasons it really is likely that a team that enters a season with a healthy staff will keep it. If that's true should we be factoring it into our predictions and projections for a season more than we do? Most people already prefer to pick a team without injured pitchers to one with injured pitchers but maybe the gap should be even greater since the evidence seems to suggest that the former will stay relatively injury free throughout the year. Also, do you think this is one reason teams tend to wait out camp and see whether a pitching shortage crops up or not and act accordingly rather than amassing depth that could be unneeded and expensive?"
  • Matt: "Ryan Webb has finished 74 of his 266 career games, but he has zero saves. That seems very strange to me in the modern era of bullpen usage. Play Index request: what's the record for games finished, let's say since 1990, without a save? I imagine it blows Webb away but I'm interested."
  • Matthew: "Which would you rather have: a team where you could choose whoever you want on your pitching staff but could only have replacement level position players, or you could choose the best offensive players at each position but only replacement level pitching? Which team would win more games?"

Play Index[]

  • Sam answers Matt's question about the record for pitcher careers with the most games finished and zero saves.
  • Matt Albers is the leader at 82 games completed without a save. This is the longest such streak for any pitcher since 1990.
  • Sam then searches for the pitcher with the highest career percentage of games pitched in that they finished.
  • Kazuhiro Sasaki is the all-time leader, having finished 88% of the games he appeared in.


  • Sam notes that if pitcher injuries are much more likely to happen in the spring, then it is especially advantageous for teams to trade for a pitcher in July.
  • This is the first episode of Effectively Wild to feature discussion of the Ryan Webb and Matt Albers streaks for games finished without a save.
  • Both Ben and Sam think Ryan Webb has a chance to get a save during the 2014 season (he did not).
  • Sam thinks that you would want to select a team that has better position players.