Throw It Like a Ballplayer

providing baseball commentary and ponderings since April 2010

One Month In: Fun with Odd Numbers

Posted by dannmckeegan on May 3, 2010

For a lazy Monday, here’s a quick rundown of a few interesting and/or curious stats through Month One of the 2010 MLB season:

1.  On Sunday, May 2, Washington Nationals OF Nyjer Morgan was caught stealing by Ronny Paulino of the Marlins.  This was Morgan’s 5th Caught Stealing of the young season against 6 successful steals.  Someone left his Thieves’ Guild badge in Pittsburgh…

2.  The Toronto Blue Jays finished the weekend with a .233 team batting average, good for 29th out of 30 MLB teams.  The Jays have a .500 record, however, and are 12th in baseball in runs scored.  How are they doing this?  With a .453 team slugging percentage, giving the team a .220 ISO (isolated power).  Of their 204 hits, 113 (55.39%) have gone for extra bases.

3.  The San Francisco Giants lead MLB with 17 successful sacrifice bunts, with the Cubs lagging one behind.  The Arizona Diamondbacks are thelowest-ranked NL team, tied with the Yankees for 26th place in baseball with only 4.  The Kansas City Royals in 9th (11), the Texas Rangers in 11th (10), and the Cleveland Indians in 14th (9) each have more sacrifices than some National League teams, despite having the DH rather than a two-way pitcher.  Individually, Cubs P Ryan Dempster leads the pack at 6, with Asdrubal Cabrera, Scott Podsednik and Zach Duke nipping at his heels.

4.  The St. Louis Cardinals have officially lapped the field in intentional walks in the early going, amassing 18 to the second-place Dodgers’ 9.  The Astros and Yankees have each drawn but 1 IBB (for inverse reasons, I’m sure), while 10 other teams are still under 5 IBBs each.  Albert Pujols‘s 8 double up the second place Adrian Gonzalez, while Cards regulars Colby Rasmus, Yadier Molina, and Brendan Ryan are all in double figures.  The Yankee was Curtis Granderson; Jeff Keppinger was the Astro.

5.  Only San Diego, Toronto (11 each), Philadelphia and the Dodgers (12 each) have grounded into fewer than 15 double plays so far.  Toronto has their low average and high ISO to credit for that number.  The Padres’ combo of low OBP (.328) and good speed (MLB-leading 29 steals) is a likely culprit.  No single number jumps out for the balanced Phillies, though they do possess decent overall team speed (as evidenced by the hustle Jaime Moyer displayed tonight trying to score from second).  The Dodgers also have decent team speed (minus Manny) and Torre’s style that keeps things moving.

5b.  The White Sox (29), amazingly, have 4 regulars in the top 35 in all of MLB for GIDP: Paul Konerko has 5, while Mark Teahan, Juan Pierre and Carlos Quentin each have 4.  Only the Twins (32) and Giants (31) have more as a team.  For San Fran, though, an impressive 8 belong to the Kung Fu Panda alone; Mark DeRosa has 5.  Cuddyer‘s 7 pace Minnesota, while J.J. Hardy and Delmon Young are doing their part with 4 apiece.

6.  The hapless Orioles bring up the rear in SB% at 42.86% (6/14), joined by the 9/16 Marlins (56.25%) as the only teams under 60%.  The Milwaukee Brewers, known for their power, lead the way at 94.7% (18/19).  The Padres (29/35) and White Sox (28/38) lead each league in total SB.  Only 12 MLB teams actually meet the 75% cutoff for stolen base percentage that most pundits claim should dictate whether a specific player should be trying.  The White Sox (73.68%) and Cubs (71.43%, 10/14) are the closest on the short side.  The Phillies’ 9 team SB attempts (8/9, 88.89%), largely attributable to Jimmy Rollins’ absence and leg issues, are the fewest in baseball.

7.  The top two OPS in MLB belong to the New York Yankees (.830) and the Arizona Diamondbacks (.825).  Their counterparts on the bottom of the leaderboard are the Houston Astros (.605) and Seattle Mariners (.641).  The differences between the top and bottom of each league, then, are .189 in the American League and, in the NL, .220.

8Orlando Cabrera of the Cincinnati Reds already has 5 sacrifice flies to his credit.  That is greater than or equal to 13 entire MLB teams.  I guess those 13 teams have read the sabermetrics bibles and have learned that one run never is really that important.  Surprisingly, it’s STL on the bottom with just 2.

9.  While the Diamondbacks are the only team to have seen over 4,000 pitches as an offense thus far, the Astros have managed to see a mere 3,151.  That’s a difference of about 35 per game, or 1 per plate appearance.  That’s a little bit sad.  The hitters in MLB to have seen the most pitches?  Oakland’s Daric Barton (515), Derrick Lee (505), and Dustin Pedroia and Denard Span (495 each).

That all four leaders’ first names start with “D” is a clear outlier that is unsustainable over the course of the season.  Expect regression to the mean of “MN” by mid-season.  Nick Markakis is a good bet to overtake them before too long.  Unless they all change their first names, in which case the data is blown all to hell.

10.  To close this out with something a little more simple, here are the leaders in XBH and the Three Misleading Outcomes so far in 2010:

Player Team
Double V. Wells & J. Werth, 12 Detroit & Toronto, 71
Triple N. Morgan, 5 Washington & New York (N), 11
Home Run P. Konerko, 12 Arizona & Toronto, 38
Three “True” Outcomes Mark Reynolds, 52.83% Arizona, 36.97%

That’s all for now.  I’m cleaning up some numbers and text for tomorrow about Dr. Jekyll, Mr. Hyde, and what might prove to have been an ill-advised and quite costly transaction from mid-2009.

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