2008 Season JAM ratings preview: Who are the pitchers who are the best at getting out of a jam?
JAM rated pitchers can dominate non Clutch Hitting rated batters with runners in scoring position and 2 out and in close and late situations in DYNASTY League Baseball. They also are the kryptonite to otherwise terrorizing Clutch hitters by neutralizing their Clutch hitting ability.
Pitchers in DYNASTY League Baseball are awarded a JAM situation rating based on their performance primarily with RSP/2 and in Close and late situations with RSP/2 weighted more heavily.
I asked Dennis Martinez in our previous interview why he pitched so well in JAM situations and the answer seems to be in part being able to bear down in those situations. Great pitchers with great stuff more often than not perform exceptionally well in jam situations.
NL Cy Young winner Tim Lincecum is a great example.
Lincecum has made a meteoric rise to best pitcher in the NL. I love watching this guy pitch. Lincecum is a fast working pitcher who absolutely attacks the batter with a blazing fastball. In RSP/2 situations, Lincecum allowed a BA and SLG of .200/.311.
After having a mediocre year in 2007 and failing to get a JAM rating, Mariano Rivera came back with a vengeance in 2008. Rivera had a 1.40 ERA for the Yankees and a dominating RSP/2 BA/SLG of .045/.045. Your eyes are OK and it isn’t a typo: .045
This years biggest surprise at not getting a JAM? AL Cy Young winner Cliff Lee. Lee had a tremendous season, but not in JAM situations where his RSP/2 BA/SLG was .289/.382. What Lee did do well was keeping lead off runners off base and was awarded an off situation rating (off ratings awarded to pitchers who rarely walk the lead off batter).
Here is a guy I hate to see pitching vs. either of my favorite teams the Cardinals and Brewers. My lasting memory of Roy Oswalt was during Game 6 of the 2005 NLCS. Albert Pujols had just launched a Brad Lidge pitch onto the railroad tracks at Minute Maid Field in Game 5 to save the Cardinals season and send the series back to old Busch Stadium. Oswalt faced off vs. Mark Mulder as I watched from my center field bleacher seat. The momentum was all with the Cardinals as Cardinal fans were sky high and Astro fans were deflated. Everyone hoped this would not be the last game at Busch Stadium, but Oswalt ended the Cardinals season and Busch Stadium in a completely dominating performance.
Oswalt was as tough as ever in 2008 with RSP/2 BA/SLG of .189/.243.
The Red Sox pitching staff, even without the injured Curt Schilling who perennially is as tough in JAM situations as any pitcher, still came through exceedingly well in the JAM situation awards.
Lead by “Dice K” Matsuzaka, the Red Sox staff has four JAM rated pitchers for 2008. Daisuke Matsuzaka blew away hitters with RSP/2 with a BA/SLG of .153/.222. Jonathan Papelbon, Josh Beckett and emerging lefty ace Jon Lester join Matsuzaka for Baseball’s most dominating pitching staff in JAM situations.
Smashing the All-Time single season saves record held by Bobby Thigpen in 1990, Francisco Rodriguez recorded an amazing 62 saves in 2008. In both Close and late .194/.264 and RSP/2 situations .208/.292, K-Rod excelled at getting out of jams.
48 batters stepped to the plate with RSP/2 and 20 of them went down in smoke to K-Rod.