You don’t have to look very far to find a major reason why the Brewers are struggling this year: The bullpen. In fact, blown saves, like the one we saw last night in the 3-2 loss to the Cardinals, are sending the Brewers further away from a legitimate chance at a playoff berth. Last year, the Brewers had 19 blown saves; they already have 16 this year.
The Brewers this season have 18 saves in 34 opportunities, a 52.9 success rate, ranking them 29th of the 30 MLB teams. The Rockies have the worst save percentage with only 16 conversions in 33 save opportunities, a 48.5 percentage. The Brewers 16 blown saves are second to the Rockies 17.
Last year, the Brewers ranked eighth in the majors in saves success. The Brewers had 47 saves in 66 opportunities, a 71.2 percentage. That means the Brewers save success percentage has dropped from 71.2 last year to 52.9 this year, a drop of 18.3. That 18.3 percentage drop is the third highest in the majors this year. Leading the way are the Philadelphia Phillies, another MLB disappointment in 2012. The Phillies topped the majors in 2011 with an 85.5 percentage save success rate; this year they have converted 20 of 32 save opportunities, a 62.5 percentage, and a drop of 23 percentage points. In fact, the Phillies have more blown saves already this year, 12, than they did all of last year, eight.
Following are the 10 MLB teams that have had the biggest drop in save success percentage over last year.
Team, save percentage in 2011/save percentage in 2012, difference
Philadelphia: 85.5/62.5 -23.0
Detroit: 83.9/64.5 -19.4
Milwaukee: 71.2/52.9 -18.3
Colorado: 64.1/48.5 -15.6
Arizona: 81.7/68.8 -12.9
(Notice anything about four of the five teams above? Philadelphia, Detroit, Milwaukee and Arizona were playoff teams in 2011!)
Chicago White Sox: 67.7/58.8 -8.9
Seattle: 70.1/64.3 -5.8
St. Louis: 64.4/58.8 -5.6
L.A. Dodgers: 75.5/70.6 -4.9
Boston: 69.2/64.7 -4.5
The Houston Astros have had the biggest gain in save success percentage; they were at 50% last season and are at 69% this year, a gain of 19 percentage points.
The Cleveland Indians and Tampa Bay Rays top the category this year by converting just under 85 percent of their save opportunities. Both teams have saved 28 in 33 chances, an 84.8 percentage. Texas is at 84.6 percent to rank third, and the Pittsburgh Pirates top the National League with 30 saves in 36 opportunities, an 83.3 percent success rate.
Just in case you’re wondering, the major league average save percentage is 69% this year.
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