Tag Archive | "Philadelphia"

Random, Possibly Intriguing, Mostly Useless Information

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Random, Possibly Intriguing, Mostly Useless Information

Posted on 19 September 2012 by Will Emerson

The Major League Baseball season is winding down and as I was thinking about what to write I was drawing a bit of a blank. So, as I often do when I am bored, I started looking through baseball statistics. Yeah, I’m a baseball nerd and I wholeheartedly admit and accept this. One of the things I love about baseball is that there are just so many stats. So many in fact that some of them are not really even that meaningful. So many that you can even bend stats to your will and make a player seem better or worse than another player by the way you use the stats. Or make him just seem worse than he is. For instance: Player A’s ERA has gone up almost 18% over last season and his WHIP is a little over 14% higher than last season. Yeah, well that seems bad as his number are worsening at a hihgish rate. Well, that player is Justin Verlander and the ERA has risen to 2.82 and the WHIP is up to 1.05. Still impressive numbers, wouldn’t ya say? That was rhetorical. So, hopefully you get the point here. Now I’m gonna save the blind player comparisons I know you all enjoy and love for another day. Instead, this article will feature some random stats and information that I found possibly intriguing. Oh yeah, and they may be mostly useless. Yeah, it was not just a clever title folks! So on with the show!

Pittsburgh Pirate Jose Tabata has the honor of being one of only two players this season that has been caught stealing ten or more times, but has also managed to be successful less often than not. As in he has has been caught stealing more than he has been successful at swiping bases. The other person to accomplish this at this point in the season, since I know you are wondering, is the Diamondbacks Willie Bloomquist. Another note here, the Pirates are the only team in baseball that have more than one player who has been caught stealing more than 10 times. The other player is some no-name fella by the name of McCutchen. In fact the Pirates have the worst stolen base success rate in the majors at 56.8%. Kind of strange that Pirates would be so bad at stealing, am I right? Jack Sparrow would be ashamed!

While we’re on the topic of stolen bases, Howie Kendrick has the pleasure of being the only player in the bigs thus far this season with double digit stolen bases that has also grounded into over 20 double plays. in fact only Miguel Cabrera has grounded into more double plays than Howie. Generally you would think a guy getting a fair amount of steals would be able to avoid double plays. Granted he does not have 20 or 30 steals or anything, he is at 12, but still. It looks like he has an outside shot at this elusive 20-20 mark, but don’t hold your breath. Maybe he needs to do a better job when he puts the ball on the ground, sort of like Austin Jackson.

A-Jax is hitting .380, best in the majors, when he puts the ball on the ground. This is almost 20 points higher than number two on that list. Maybe Jim Leyland should go all Lou Brown on Jackson and make him do pushups every time he puts the ball in the air, since keeping it on the ground is clearly getting the job done like nobody’s business! Of course this will not quite work for everyone.

Take Pirate Pedro Alvarez, for instance. He is hitting .381 when he gets the ball in the air, as opposed to a meager .208 when he puts it on the ground. When he hits line drives, he is hitting .741, for those of you scoring at home. Of course many power hitters are going to have similar numbers, I just guess none of those hitters are in the current Giants lineup.

Over the last 30 days the Giants have 13 home runs, one less than Adrian Beltre in that same time span. Now Beltre is having a great last 30 days, but the fact that nine hitters are within five home runs of the Giants in that time span, is not so spectacular from San Fran’s perspective. I mean it’s as if they’re facing Kris Medlen, superstar, every time out!

Medlen has been absolutely brilliant as a starter! Brilliant! In his eight starts he has only allowed more than one earned run on one occasion. In that start he allowed an eye-popping two earned runs. He also had a streak of 39 consecutive innings where he did not allow an earned run. Not quite in Hershiser range, but impressive nevertheless! Also impressive? The Reds rotation.

Something you don’t see much these days; the Reds rotation of Johnny Cueto, Mat Latos, Bronson Arroyo, Homer Bailey and Mike Leake have started all but one game for the Reds this season. That’s right, ONE! Now that’s reliability folks! The Mets, on the other hand, have used 12 different starting pitchers this season. Not sure that Reds-like reliability would have helped Houston, however.

The Astros, aptly nicknamed the Disastros this season, are actually picking up the pace with an 8-7 start to September. Those 8 wins in the first two weeks of September, ties their win total for July and August….combined. For July and August they were 8-46, a paltry .148 winning percentage. If they played that pace over an entire 162 game season they would have won 24 games. Yikes! Expansion teams can do better than that! Maybe the ‘Stros need a guy like Tim Collins in their bullpen?

Little Timmy Collins has the honor of being the only relief pitchers in the majors this season with 90 or more strikeouts, and no saves. Only three other relievers who have not been their team’s regular closer for any sort of extended period of time this year have more than 80 strikeouts- David Hernandez (90), Steve Delabar (85) and Jason Grilli (84). All four pitchers have been very effective posting solid K/BB ratios. The same cannot be said for Ricky Romero however.

Romero has a league low K/BB rate, amongst qualifying starting pitchers, of 1.20 which is probably a major reason for his big fall off this season. Second worst K/BB rate in the majors? That would be his rotation mate Henderson Alvarez with a 1.22 rate. Which would probably help explain why the Jays starters have the worst K/BB ratio in the majors at 1.74. Of course Gavin Floyd sure made a valiant effort to catch these two in that category.

A bit in the past, but in July Gavin Floyd posted a K/BB rate of .44 for the month. Now this was over 25.2 innings, but that is still impressively awful. His K/9 that month was 2.81 and his BB/9 was 6.31. What is even more weird, or impressive depending on how you look at, is Floyd still managed a 2.45 ERA for that month. Go figure, right?

Alright, so I ran out of cheesy, barely good, segues, so this one is just out of left field I guess. The Bronx Bombers are, naturally, looking to head to the playoffs, but they haven’t come this far by tripling. See, no segue whatsoever! I have no shame. Anyways, Angel Pagan of the Giants has 13 triples on the season, one more than the entire Yankees team! All of them! Every single Yankee combined! Good work Angel!

Well, there you have it, some random, possibly intriguing, but useless information for you. I hope you enjoyed this little slice of baseball nerdery and don’t you worry, I will certainly find more, and better, obscure, quite random, possibly intriguing, mostly useless information for you for next time. Until then, good day and godspeed.

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Buy and Sell: Contract Year Players

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Buy and Sell: Contract Year Players

Posted on 27 February 2012 by Dennis Lawson

(image courtesy of Topps)

Contract year.  Walk year.  Opt-out year.  Whatever the year, we have it covered for anybody having trouble keeping score at home.  Some really big name players may very well be playing their final seasons with their respective teams, and you just might find that information useful.  If you happen to play in a keeper league (or 6), then you may find that information especially useful when thinking long term.  Here is a list of 10 players who are potentially just months away from free agency.

  1. Cole Hamels – Hamels just turned 28, and he is coming off of arguably his best season ever (2.79 ERA and 0.986 WHIP).  While most sources in the rumor mill have Hamels staying put in Philadelphia, just the thought of him moving to a team that does not win 90+ games every season may be a concern for some fantasy players.  Then again, there are some who are already penalizing Hamels for the loss of Ryan Howard at 1B.  Seems like a terrible way to run a railroad, but it is not my railroad.
  2. Daisuke Matsuzaka – If Dice is completely healthy and has all of his pitches, then he could be both a comeback story and a late round pickup with a lot of upside.  The problem with this scenario could be that Dice has not a top shelf guy since 2008.  Maybe a contract year will motivate him enough to do all the little things that some people previously stated that he was disinterested in doing.  At 31, he could certainly have a few good years left.
  3. Jose Valverde – Imagine having a top 10 closer in the final year of a 3 year deal that pays him $9M for 2012.  Then imagine that your closer will turn 34 shortly before the season starts, and he could reasonable ask for a $10M/season deal after 2012.  If the Tigers fail to sign him, then you can bet that someone will.  Then again, Valverde seems like pretty much the same guy whether he cashes huge paychecks or relatively small ones.
  4. Yadier Molina – Molina has reportedly set the asking price at 5 years / $50M which seems expensive, unless he and one of his brothers are offering some 2-for-1 special on Molinas.  On the other hand, Molina did explode offensively last year (by Molina standards) for a 3.9 WAR year.  A couple more years like 2011 would certainly make him worth the asking price.  What are the odds that he has another 3.0+ WAR season?  Hard to say, but he has shown up at spring training dropping the “BSOML” line on everybody within shouting distance.  That “BSOML” stands for “best shape of my life”.
  5. Brandon Phillips – Phillips is just about to start the final year of a contract that pays him $38M over 5 years, and this final year is worth $12M.  Consider the extension that Rickie Weeks signed with the Brewers as a starting point for Phillips.  To earn that kind of deal, he may have to duplicate his 2011 numbers at the plate.  With something like $10M+ per season as potential motivation, I cannot imagine that Tony Plush won’t at least try to deliver an encore performance in 2012.
  6. Matt Cain – The Giants are built around great pitching and the hope that Barry Zito‘s contract expires eventually.  Cain is an integral part of that plan, but imagine his open market value in free agency.  At age 27, Cain has compiled a career ERA of 3.35 and a 1.196 WHIP while pitching 200 or more innings every season for the last 5 years.  For 2012, Cain is playing out the back end of a 3 yr / $27.25M contract that was back loaded with a $15M salary for 2012.  Unless Cain falters, that might be the starting point in discussions for a guy who may command a 6-7 year deal.
  7. Ubaldo Jimenez – Tricky situation.  If Ubaldo returns to his old form, his $5.275M option for 2013 is a no brainer.  If he doesn’t look good, then the $1M buyout would be money well spent.  Here is the catch, though.  Jimenez should be motivated both in 2012 and 2013 to see that option exercised and to possibly see his $8M option for 2014 picked up as well.  Will the additional motivation of job and contract security be enough to get him back to the dominant force he once was.  Maybe.  Keep in mind that he’s only a few years removed from being a  top 3 Cy Young candidate.
  8. Zach Greinke – Greinke posted a ridiculous 10.5 strikeouts per 9 innings rate in 2011.  If any of his other numbers improve to that level, he will be able to basically hold a press conference, show his stat line, and drop the mic as he walks off the stage.  The problem is that his ERA+ for the past 2 years is 102 and 100 respectively.  Greinke held his WHIP to 1.200 in 2011, but that is actually lower than his career WHIP.  The issue is not about how good Greinke can be.  The issue is whether or not he can catch lightning in a bottle again.
  9. Shaun Marcum – If somebody told you that Shaun Marcum had outpitched Greinke for the past 2 years, would you believe them.  Well, you are being told right now.  Marcum 2010 numbers (115 ERA+, 1.147 WHIP, 3.84 SO/BB) and 2011 numbers (110 ERA+, 1.156 WHIP, 2.77 SO/BB) compare favorably to Greinke’s numbers over the same time period.  Greinke’s 2010 numbers (100 ERA+, 1.245 WHIP, 3.29 SO/BB) and 2011 numbers (102 ERA+, 1.200 WHIP, 4.47 SO/BB) are obviously not quite as good.  While I may be guilt of cherry picking the stats here a bit, I am fairly confident that you will not find too many counting stats that make Greinke look like the winner of this match race.  If you are not convinced, then maybe the 6.9 WAR to 4.0 WAR advantage for 2010-11 held by Marcum will convince you.  Marcum really is good, and he deserves to be paid like the solid front line starter that he is.
  10. Josh Hamilton – Hamilton may not break the bank with his next deal due to concerns about his age and ability to stay on the field, but he is not likely to be an afterthought, either.  Hamilton once posted a 1.536 OPS against the Yankees (2010 ALCS).  That alone might be enough reason to keep him in Texas, although the 20.2 WAR in 5 seasons does not hurt, either.

Obviously, not every player on this list will have a “career year”, but at least most will be motivated to have a great season right out of the gate.  You could say that is the case for all players, but we already know that is not exactly true.

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