10 Things I Didn’t Know 10 Minutes Ago

Dave · April 25, 2006 at 1:43 pm · Filed Under Mariners 

Yes, I’m stealing Dave Studeman’s column idea, but it’s a good one, and he’s a good guy, so I don’t think he’ll kill me. And, besides, a lot of these things I didn’t know came from browsing the new THT stats database. If you were around last year, you know that I love the THT pitching stats, and the new updates make a good thing even better.

Anyways, on to the things I didn’t know.

1. King Felix, who was Bad Felix more oftan than Good Felix, ranks 2nd in the AL in xFIP, 3rd in GB%, and 1st in strikeout rate among starting pitchers. While overcoming some issues with slighlty decreased velocity, a lack of command, and some apparent conditioning problems, he’s still been about as good a pitcher as you’ll find in the American League. All hail the King.

2. Jose Contreras and Mark Buehrle are each stranding 91 percent of the runners they put on base. That’s absurd. It’s also totally unsustainable. If they don’t start missing a few more bats, they’re going to see those ERA’s rise in a hurry.

3. Joel Pineiro’s inducing groundballs from 56.4 percent of the batters he faces, good for 8th in the AL. Groundball machine Jake Westbrook, who was the only pitcher in the AL to post a GB% higher than 56.0 in 2005, is right behind him at 56.0 percent. Pineiro’s 47.3 GB% last year wasn’t bad, and points out that this is probably not going to continue, but if he can sustain a GB rate near 56 percent, he’ll be significantly improved over the Pineiro we saw last year.

4. J.J. Putz has been something like the best reliever in baseball so far. Seriously. 1.7 BB/G, 15.8 K/G, 62.5% of his batters faced hitting ground balls leading to a 1.58 FIP and a ridiculous 1.32 xFIP. Twins uberprospect Francisco Liriano is the only guy in the AL who is even close to Putz so far.

5. You think the M’s offense has been frustrating? The A’s are hitting .223/.302/.393 as a team, despite Eric Chavez finally showing up to play in the first month of the year. Ickity ick.

6. The top 5 outmakers in the American League to date: 1. Ichiro 2. Lopez 3. Sexson 4. Beltre 5. Peralta. Yes, the four guys who have made the most outs in the AL so far all play for the hometown nine. Fantastic.

7. Think Adrian Beltre’s been frustrating? Casey Kotchman, who many analysts (including me) have been heaping praises on for years, is hitting .155/.210/.172. As a first baseman. Then there is Rondell White, who at 10 for 67, is hitting .149/.157/.164.

8. Albert Pujols has 22 hits. 12 of those are home runs, another 4 are doubles, and only 6 are singles. Thus, he’s slugging .969. He’s also only struck out 7 times in 83 at-bats. He’s off to the kind of start that leads to one of those best-five-seasons-of-all-time kind of performances.

9. Only 19.3% of Cliff Lee’s batters faced are hitting groundballs to end their at-bats. That’s an absurdly low number. Despite that, he’s not giving up home runs. There’s no way he can continue to give up that many fly balls and keep them all in the yard.

10. Julio Mateo: 13.9% GB rate, 26.3 LD%, 5.1 BB/G, 4.4 K/G. He’s not throwing strikes, missing bats, and almost every ball hit off him is a fly ball or a line drive. Everyone wants to talk about Eddie Guardado being finished, but I’m not sure Julio Mateo is ever going to be an effective major league pitcher again. He’s done.


41 Responses to “10 Things I Didn’t Know 10 Minutes Ago”

  1. kenshin on April 25th, 2006 1:48 pm

    Now if only the king would stop smiting my fantasy team.

  2. bob montgomery on April 25th, 2006 1:49 pm

    11 bad innings and he’s done?

    Call me cautious, but I’ll wait until he’s faced a few more batters before writing him off. Unless you’ve seen something beyond the stats…?

  3. bob montgomery on April 25th, 2006 1:50 pm

    Er, that was referring to Julio Mateo if it wasn’t clear.

  4. Dave on April 25th, 2006 1:52 pm

    If you look at Mateo’s track record, the decline is obvious everywhere except ERA. His strikeout rate has been nosediving since arriving in the majors, and his ERA last year was clearly a fluke. He’s basically been a command guy who allows an awful lot of fly balls and gets bailed out by Safeco, but if his command isn’t spot on perfect, he’s going to get torched. His velocity is down, his stuff isn’t moving, and he’s not throwing strikes.

    He’s done.

  5. deltwelve on April 25th, 2006 2:02 pm

    For someone like Felix, shouldn’t FIP be a slightly better indicator than xFIP, since, due to his extreme groundball tendancies, he’s likely to have a true HR/FB a bit higher than what the norm would be?

    Still, his 29% HR/FB rate definitely skews the ERA and FIP a bunch right now, but in the long run xFIP might overcorrect his HR/FB.

  6. Dave on April 25th, 2006 2:10 pm

    Sure, if we’re looking for a precise measure of Felix’s true talent, xFIP isn’t perfect.

    But the general point was that Felix has pitched really well so far, compared to every other pitcher in the AL, and for a wide point like that, precision isn’t necessary. Vague point, vague tool.

    But yea, if I was trying to argue that Felix is better than Johan Santana or something, I wouldn’t use xFIP.

  7. Mr. Egaas on April 25th, 2006 2:11 pm

    I would have loved to see the M’s deal Mateo this past offseason. It seems like teams after a reliever would have preferred Mateo to anybody else we have. His value will be nothing in no time.

  8. adamt on April 25th, 2006 2:22 pm

    I was looking into it earlier because Beltre & Pujols were both NL MVP Candidates in 2004:

    Pujols’ OBP is higher than Beltre’s OPS!

  9. cml on April 25th, 2006 2:33 pm


    Where did you find the baserunners stranded numbers for Buehrle and Contreras? Using a rough estimate, Buehrle has given up 24 hits and walks while 6 have come around to score (75% stranded) and Contreras has given up 26 hits and walks while giving up 5 (80% stranded).

  10. lokiforever on April 25th, 2006 2:35 pm

    Hopefull this is not too far off topic. Given Putz’s recent success, and the addition of the splitter – would pitching more than a single inning degrade his effectiveness. When 2 or more right handed batters are coming up in the 9th, does it have to be Eddie? Could either Putz or Soriano, having pitched already in the 8th, be effective for another inning?

  11. Dave on April 25th, 2006 2:36 pm

    The stranded numbers are THT’s LOB%, defined here.

  12. deltwelve on April 25th, 2006 2:38 pm

    you can find stranded numbers at fangraphs.com. On each pitcher’s stat page you can see the LOB% (left on base). While you’re there, check out his .193 babip!

  13. Brian Rust on April 25th, 2006 2:49 pm

    While it’s still a sad reflection on our out-meisters’ poor OBPs (and walk ratios), it’s worth noting that the M’s have 21 games under their belts, at least one and as many as four more than any other AL team.

  14. dw on April 25th, 2006 2:53 pm

    I was there live to see King Felix on Sunday, and the main difference between him now and him at his first game appear to be:

    — His velocity is down
    — The little issue with him “falling off the mound” seems to be getting worse and needs to be addressed
    — He has no idea how to defeat patient hitters

    Otherwise, he’s clearly getting better, start by start. Rivera’s inability to catch killed him, but when he started using the fastball to set up the Royal Curve? Devastating.

    That little falling off thing really needs to be addressed soon, though.

  15. billT on April 25th, 2006 2:55 pm

    His velocity is down

    His velocity Sunday was much better than it was in Cleveland – where I saw him throw a few up there at 91mph. Sunday he hit 97 several times, 96 several times, and was settled in at 94-95 for most of the game.

  16. dw on April 25th, 2006 2:56 pm

    On Mateo, if Guardado’s hangers are getting driven out of the park, why are Mateo’s just turning into routine fly balls? Ichiro caught that last one on the warning track last night, but otherwise he’s been able to keep the ball in the park. Is he just that lucky while Guardado is unlucky?

  17. Mr. Egaas on April 25th, 2006 2:57 pm

    Keep in mind the shin splints held him back a bit in Spring Training. This is about the time where Felix will finally be at peak shape and can start letting it go.

  18. dw on April 25th, 2006 2:59 pm

    His velocity Sunday was much better than it was in Cleveland

    I was comparing him to last August. He was 96-98 most of that game, touching 99 once I believe.

    But it’s good to know that the velocity is improving. He spent most of Sunday throwing 95 and accurately. Compare that to Verlander not able to come near the zone with anything above 97. That 101 could have killed someone.

  19. MarinerDan on April 25th, 2006 3:03 pm

    Interesting stat on Cliff Lee — unbelievably low GB%. That being said, Dave, do you think Lee is a good bet to become a top-of-the-rotation type starter or do you think his low GB% will doom him?

  20. eponymous coward on April 25th, 2006 3:10 pm

    Power pitchers regularly struggle early- and I would imagine a power pitcher who gets shut down for the last half of spring training would struggle even more so. Felix will be fine.

    As for Piñeiro… is it possible he’s the guy who’s most taken Chaves’s tutoring on the two-seamer to heart? it would sure explain why his fastball velocity is down and his groundballs are up. Wonder what happens if his good four-seamer at 94 ever shows back up.

  21. Evan on April 25th, 2006 3:38 pm

    Pineiro’s reinvention as a junkballer may well render stats from 2004 and earlier useless in projecting him.

  22. terry on April 25th, 2006 3:43 pm

    Lets trade Mateo to the Reds….. 😛

  23. Zero Gravitas on April 25th, 2006 3:43 pm

    I’m really pleasantly surprised at how well our pitchers have done this year, with the exceptions (non-surprsing) of Mateo and Guardado, who were already declining, and Meche, who’s a rolling disaster. Jamie in particular has been fun to watch even though he’s not getting the W’s. Piniero has been effective, the bullpen looks really good, etc. I can’t believe at this point the problem is lousy hitting, after all the offseason assumptions about certain players progressing, Kenji upgrading at C, Beltre can’t be as bad as last year, etc. Our hitters are really letting us down here. I can’t wait for the correction, assuming it comes, that brings our bats back to normal levels.

  24. AMarshal2 on April 25th, 2006 3:49 pm

    Do any of you have an explanation for Putz’s unexpected break-out?

    Nice post.

  25. mrkenny on April 25th, 2006 3:53 pm

    maybe his brother dying and missing half of spring training may have something to do with his bad april.

  26. Thingray on April 25th, 2006 4:02 pm

    I don’t understand why some people think we need everyone to throw 95 MPH to be effective.

    I was watching Baseball Tonight last night, and saw plenty of pitchers blowing 87, 88 and 89 MPH fastballs past some very good hitters.

    It seems to me that movement, location, pitch selection and (especially) varying speeds is more important than MPH.

    I’m not claiming that being a flamethrower can’t help you, but there have been plenty of very good (or even great) pitchers who didn’t throw extremely hard.

  27. dickpole on April 25th, 2006 4:10 pm

    What is most frustrating with this team and what truly makes them not good is the fact that the M’s are terribly inconsistent in nearly every discipline. Hitting, fielding, bullpen, starters, baserunning could all be good one game then abysmal the next. That’s baseball, of course, but in the M’s case this patter is even more conspicuous.

  28. dickpole on April 25th, 2006 4:11 pm


  29. Steve T on April 25th, 2006 5:34 pm

    I think that 1-2-3-4 in outs stat is very telling. Ichiro is always pretty high up on that list, because he hits leadoff, plays every day and thus is among the league leaders in PA, and has a relatively low OBP (i.e., 1-OUT %). But 1-4, that’s awful. And until Beltre got moved down, that’s four of our first five hitters. Nice way to kill a rally. Outs are the most precious thing there is.

  30. Steve T on April 25th, 2006 5:42 pm

    Actually, that must be a few days old. I just checked BP, and according to them the current outs leaders in the AL are: Lopez, Sexson, Ichiro, Peralta, Sizemore, Figgins, Loretta, Wilkerson, White, and Ibanez. Beltre’s 13th. That’s worse, actually, because that’s FIVE batters in the top 13.

    Ichiro, for the record, has finished 9th, 13th, 6th, 11th, and last year FIRST in outs in his career here.

  31. msb on April 25th, 2006 5:46 pm

    something I didn’t know, Jason Puckett of KJR is congenitaly unable to pronounce the name Vaquez. Every single update we hear about the Sox starter tonight, Javier Vass-kwez…

    petty, I know, but how hard is it to look it up, or heck, just ask someone.

  32. Rain Delay on April 25th, 2006 5:48 pm

    Actually msb, it is Vazquez. So he’s getting it right, according to the Seattle Mariners website.

  33. msb on April 25th, 2006 5:51 pm

    sorry, typo on my part– my objection is that it is correctly pronounced Vaskez, not Vaskwez…

  34. Rain Delay on April 25th, 2006 5:52 pm

    ahh gotcha. 🙂 That drives me nuts too, I’m in radio and if I don’t know how to pronounce something, I find someone who does so I don’t go and sound like a complete moron. lol

  35. msb on April 25th, 2006 6:04 pm

    I don’t know that the media guides include pronunciations, but I know the ESPN player cards do, as they can provide much entertainment…

    ee-chee-row suh-ZOO-key
    joe-el Pih-nair-oh

  36. Rain Delay on April 25th, 2006 6:15 pm

    The Media guides should, if they don’t the sheets they put out for the media on game day should.

    There is no excuse for mispronouncing a name, when your working for the media be it radio or television. It makes me want to pull out what little hair I have left sometimes. Like this whole Joh debacle with his name. None of them say it the same way twice.

  37. Aaron on April 25th, 2006 6:18 pm

    The A’s are hitting .223/.302/.393 as a team

    Tell me about it. Crosby has probably been my worst fantasy draft pick so far, but Swisher’s pounding the ball.

  38. GroverMustGo on April 25th, 2006 6:38 pm

    #24 AMarshal2 said:
    Do any of you have an explanation for Putz’s unexpected break-out?

    He’s finally been using his off-speed pitches so that the hitters can’t wait on his fastball. It’s as simple as that — even though he typically doesn’t throw his off-speed pitches for strikes, if they’re close and look like strikes, they’ll fool hitters and they won’t be able to sit back on the fastball…

  39. JAS on April 25th, 2006 6:38 pm

    I think the idea that Pineiro is a junkballer is bit off the mark. 90+ with movement is not junk. Offspeed is smart. When Pineiro was not pitching well, he was missing both location and movement. Having both doesn’t mean he doesn’t have velocity as well. He doesn’t have superstar movement + heat, but not many do.

  40. John Moltz » Blog Archive » Deep Hurting on April 26th, 2006 1:16 pm

    […] A painful stat from U.S.S. Mariner: The top 5 outmakers in the American League to date: 1. Ichiro 2. Lopez 3. Sexson 4. Beltre 5. Peralta. Yes, the four guys who have made the most outs in the AL so far all play for the hometown nine. Fantastic. […]

  41. Evan on April 26th, 2006 4:43 pm

    JAS – But when Pineiro’s actually throwing at 90+, he’s crap. He’s a much more effective pitcher when he’s a junkballer, and he’s been a junkballer most of his starts this year.

    If only he’d realise that he’s a better junkballer than he is power pitcher, he’d stop throwing those powerful pitches.

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