10 Things I Didn’t Know 10 Minutes Ago
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.