Best of The San Francisco Giants: Top 10 Relief Pitching Seasons (UPDATED)

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EDITOR’S NOTE: This ranking is being updated due to a mathematical error which, well, screwed up the results the first time around. 

With spring training upon us, Golden Gate Sports is going to spend the next few weeks looking at some of the best single-season performances in the history of the Oakland Athletics and San Francisco Giants, by position.

Today we look at the 10 best seasons by relief pitchers in the history of the Giants, dating back to their arrival in San Francisco in 1958.

The series will alternate teams each day, concluding with the best players by position in the history of each franchise.

The qualifications for this list were a minimum of 50 relief appearances in a season, which was not prorated for the strike-shortened seasons of 1981 or 1994.

This position might have been the most difficult to quantify, both because of how the role of the reliever has changed through the years and because of there being so many questions about just how to evaluate relievers. Is it saves? Is it a low ERA? Is it strikeouts? In the end, the save stat was not really considered; instead, the body of work and how much the relief pitcher contributed to the team’s success won out. Saves have become one of the most overrated statistics in baseball—perhaps the most overrated stat—because of the way managers strategize to the stat.

I mean, what’s the tougher job for the reliever: Coming in with runners at second and third with no one out protecting a one-run lead in the seventh inning? Or coming in with a three-run lead and a clean slate to start the ninth?

Before you turn the page, here are the five seasons that just missed the cut:
15. Frank Linzy, 1965
14. Jeff Brantley, 1991
13. Scott Eyre, 2005
12. Greg Minton, 1980
11. Rod Beck, 1992


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Tags: Felix Rodriguez Gary Lavelle Greg Minton Jeff Brantley Robb Nen Rod Beck San Francisco Giants Scott Eyre Stu Miller

  • Nomisnala

    Did you forget about Sergio Romo? Just to mention one guy.

    • Phil Watson

      I looked at every reliever the Giants had who made at least 50 relief appearances in any year over a 56-season span. Romo didn’t make the cut.

      • Nomisnala

        How about Lindsey McDaniel, or Don McMahon?

        • Phil Watson

          Romo’s best season by the metrics I used was 2011, which ranked 22nd (out of 152, so that’s still really good). Lindy McDaniel’s 1966 season was 35th and Don McMahon’s 1970 season was 38th.