The One Stat About Ryan Madson Everyone Must Know

As expected, Brad Lidge is back on the disabled list. That, of course, means Ryan Madson will be getting some save opportunities. With that, expect many Phillies fans to express their disdain with Madson in the ninth inning. They’ll cite his psychology, but they’ll cite his ninth-inning failures as well. The truly dedicated will have both in their arsenal.

Madson has 24 blown saves in his career, which sounds like a lot for someone who hasn’t been asked to close many games. Think about the save statistic first. How does one earn them? One cannot earn a save in any inning except the one prior to the end of the game, which is the ninth inning the majority of the time. However, one can earn a blown save in the seventh, eighth, ninth, and extra innings.

Here’s the breakdown of Madson’s blown saves:

  • Before the ninth inning: 17 of 24 (71 percent)
  • Ninth inning or later: 7 of 24 (29 percent)

Only about one-third of Madson’s blown saves are “real” blown saves.

Additionally, of his 24 blown saves, only 13 (54 percent) have been earned since the start of the 2008 season, when Madson became a key cog in the Phillies’ bullpen. 13 blown saves in three seasons is an average of about four per season, which sounds pretty normal if you ask me.

Finally, here’s another interesting statistic just to leave you feeling full:

Despite pitching mostly 8th innings, Madson has faced the heart of the lineup as much as Lidge. Since 2008, the #3-6 hitters have accounted for 45.2 percent of batters Madson has faced; Lidge faced the #3-6 hitters 44.5 percent of the time. Last year, Madson held the middle of the order to a .681 OPS.

I’m fine with Madson in the ninth inning. You should be, too.

Leave a Reply



  1. Brian

    March 25, 2011 11:04 AM

    I’m fine too, in fact I think he will thrive over the long haul. I hope to see him as the Phillies closer next year.

  2. Paul Boye

    March 25, 2011 11:14 AM

    I’m fine with Madson in whatever inning that middle of the order comes up. Leave the 7-8-9 spots in the ninth to Romero if you’ve got to; use Madson where and when it counts, not as a matter of regimented routine.

  3. Brian

    March 25, 2011 11:31 AM

    I also like Madson getting the chance to close, especially since he’ll more than likely be the closer in 2012 with Lidge due to be a free agent.

    Good stuff on the blow saves, another one of those numbers people throw out w/o really looking at it too hard.

    I wish we could somehow dispel the “mental makeup” ridiculousness. Maybe something like this.

    Madson’s Opposing Batter Stats by Leverage (2008-10)

    Low: .232 AVG, .294/.336/.631, 3.0 K/BB
    Med: .289 AVG, .335/.433/.768, 3.4 K/BB
    High: .225 AVG, .283/.321/.604, 4.5 K/BB

    So, his best AVG, OBP, SLG, OPS & K/BB are all in high leverage situations.

    Sample Sizes:
    Low – 358 PA
    Med – 196
    High – 323

  4. Sanjay Hurry

    March 25, 2011 11:39 AM

    What of the Contreras factor?

  5. Jon

    March 25, 2011 11:40 AM

    As stated above, I would take Madson in any inning. I actually feel better with him than I would with Lidge

  6. J W

    March 25, 2011 11:54 AM

    I don’t like the concept of _a_ Closer!

    If nobody expects to see a righty put in to face more than a batter or two when playing against a predominantly left handed batting order in the first 8 innings, why does it suddenly make sense in the 9th inning to expect the right-handed Closer to be able to get 3 outs regardless of who is coming up to bat?!?! Continue to use the best pitcher available to beat the opposition!

    I want all of my pitchers to be able to get the last out some of the time, but I don’t expect them to be able to beat any batter at any time!

  7. JB Allen

    March 25, 2011 12:15 PM

    I think Brian nails it. Stress/anxiety can be a factor, but comparing leverage situations is a much more effective way of considering the mental side than what inning the pitcher is pitching in.

  8. Scott G

    March 25, 2011 02:35 PM

    Ryan Madson: Always be Closing.


    I agree with you as would most of the outside the box readers at Crashburn. However, few if any of the managers in MLB think like this. There “needs to be a closer”. It’s ridiculous.

  9. Bill Baer

    March 25, 2011 05:25 PM

    Not sure. I don’t think that Madson will regress much, if at all. His 2.55 ERA was actually higher than his 2.49 SIERA. The K-rate did jump significantly but K-rate is one of the biggest predictors of next-year ERA and is remarkably stable. He didn’t get lucky on BABIP or strand rate or HR rate; he induced a bunch of ground balls and walked hardly anyone.

    If there’s a reason to expect Madson to be considerably worse in 2011, I haven’t seen it.

  10. awh

    March 26, 2011 01:06 AM

    I posted this before, but if Madson has blown 7 ninth inning saves, that means he’s 20 for 27 in “true” save situations, for a 74% success ratio.

    I was told the average successful save percentage by “closers” is about 84%. If so, that means Madson has been “below average”. But, had he been successful a mere 3 more times out of the 27, then he’d be up over 85%.

    My point is the sample size is so small it’s really ridiculous to try to extract anything meaningful from it, especially anything about Madson’s “mental makeup”.

    Do 3 blown saves – the difference between Madson and average – prove anything?

    IMHO, no.

    I’ll take Madson in the 9th. He’ll be just fine.

  11. Surprising_Kendrick

    March 26, 2011 08:59 AM

    Great bullpen you guys assembled up there in Philly. Better hope your starters go 9 every time out.

  12. Bill S

    March 26, 2011 11:39 AM

    “Only” 13 blown saves in the last 3 seasons?? HAHA yea in 29 save opportunities!! That’s not good. Leave Ryan where he’s comfortable and dominates, that’s the 8th. I’ll try something new since we know he doesn’t have the mental makeup to close.

  13. Ken45

    March 26, 2011 12:26 PM

    Relative to “save situations” (which essentially includes holds and occasional relief wins), Lidge has just slightly better blown save percentages than Madson in his career (13% vs 15%) and since 2008 (14% vs 15%).

    Here are Madson’s and Lidge’s Blown Save Percentages (BSv/SVSit) with BSv = blown save and SVSit = Save Situation defined by Baseball Reference dot com.

    Year BSv% BSv SVSit
    2003 #DIV/0! 0 0
    2004 11% 1 9
    2005 18% 7 39
    2006 18% 2 11
    2007 11% 1 9
    2008 10% 2 21
    2009 14% 6 43
    2010 20% 5 25
    Career 15% 24 157
    08-10 15% 13 89

    Year BSv% BSv SVSit
    2002 #DIV/0! 0 0
    2003 15% 5 34
    2004 8% 4 50
    2005 9% 4 46
    2006 14% 6 44
    2007 24% 8 34
    2008 0% 0 41
    2009 26% 11 43
    2010 16% 5 32
    Career 13% 43 324
    08-10 14% 16 116

  14. hk

    March 26, 2011 12:59 PM

    Bill S,

    If 71% of his blown saves came prior to the 9th inning, what makes you think he’s more comfortable and dominant in the 8th inning? Over the past three seasons, Madson has 59 K’s and 12 BB’s (nearly 5 K/BB) pitching in the 9th inning of games and 103 K’s and 29 BB’s (slightly better than 3.5 K/BB) in the 8th.

    This seems like another case where the masses are letting some combination of Eskin, LA, Sarge, Wheels and Missanelli form their opinions for them.

  15. Moose

    March 26, 2011 03:31 PM

    On an unrelated note, but in response to another article, my dad had the sports radio on and I overheard the hosts discussing their predictions for Phillies wins. One sane host said 91, appaling and drawing the ire of the other, who said he had them down for at least 101, and he mentioned someone who had them down for 111! These people are out of their minds and need to disappear. They forget that baseball has more than one aspect, yet the focus just on one (pitching, hitting, or defense). And it seems they change over the course of the years but when that happens they forget entirely about the aspect they used to be focused on. Its crazy

  16. awh

    March 27, 2011 12:55 PM

    Bill, I disagree. It’s too early to really make any kind of prediction because we don’t know when or if Utley will be back. Sure you could make a ‘contingent’ prediction, but as I’ve crudely demonstrated here before, the loss of Utley will cost them about 5 wins if he’s out for the year. For every 30 games he plays he’s worth about one more win – if he’s reasonably effective.

    So, any prediction I would make would have at least a 3-5 game “swing” in it based on teh uncertainty of Utley’s health status.

  17. Daisy

    March 29, 2011 04:52 PM

    I love Madson. As far as I’m concerned he can pitch anywhere and I’ll take my chances with him any day. The unfortunately thing is he has Boras as an agent, so you can be sure Madson won’t be back next year because he will be in demand and his price is going to be out of this world since Soriano got that huge deal from the Yankees. Boras hardly lets any of his players return to the same place. That’s why Jayson hired him and that’s why he isn’t our right fielder. It was all about the money for Boras…he doesn’t think of the player.

  18. Bill Baer

    March 29, 2011 05:14 PM


    Boras was Madson’s agent when he signed the very team-friendly three-year, $12 million contract extension in January 2009.

    I wouldn’t expect Madson to get a significant raise unless he spends a lot of time closing out games for the Phillies this year. Given recent news, that’s unlikely.

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