Small Sample Size Craziness
Note – none of these numbers mean anything. They have zero predictive value, and you shouldn’t draw any conclusions from them at all. Seriously, don’t believe that there’s any information in here that should change your opinion about anything. It’s just interesting to me. These numbers come The Hardball Times and Fangraphs, by the way.
Edwin Jackson, in his two starts so far, has allowed 18 flyballs. 14 of those 18 flyballs have been infield flies. That’s a 77% IF/F rate. Last year, the major league leader in IF/F rate was Bronson Arroyo – 15.4% of his flyballs were infield flies.
It’s not just Edwin Jackson, either. The league average IF/F rate is 18% in the American League and 13% in the National League. While it’s almost certainly early season random variation, that AL infield fly rate is absurdly high, and is probably one of the main reasons offense is down across the league.
Fausto Carmona has thrown 13 innings, walked 9, and struck out 7 in his two starts so far. He has a 0.69 ERA. A 78% ground ball rate covers a multitude of sins.
The San Francisco Giants, as a team, are hitting .230/.276/.331. That’s a .607 OPS. As a team. Willie Bloomquist’s career OPS is .642, and in his worst season, it was .613. The San Francisco Giants, as a team, are hitting like a slumping Willie Bloomquist. That’s what you get for having a Molina hitting cleanup.
Speaking of the Giants, Jonathan Sanchez has the best strikeout rate in the majors through two starts. In fact, his season line of 10 IP, 10 H, 1 HR, 4 BB, and 18 K suggest that he’s been one of the more dominating starters in baseball so far. His ERA is 6.30. 6.30! Yet another reason why ERA is useless as any kind of predictor of things to come.
Okay, one more reason ERA is pathetic. Steve Trachsel couldn’t be any less effective if he tried – 12 innings, 6 walks, 3 strikeouts, and a 36% GB rate. He’s not throwing strikes, missing bats, or getting groundballs. He’s doing exactly zero things that lead to sustained success. He has a 6.32 xFIP during the part of the season when team’s aren’t scoring runs. His ERA? 3.00.
The average velocity on Barry Zito’s fastball in 2008 – 82.7 MPH. Seriously, Bill Bavasi should send chocolates to Brian Sabean every day for the rest of his life for outbidding him for that disaster of a contract. Zito is teetering on the edge of replacement level, and the Giants are on the hook for $18 million per season. This is the cost of not learning the lesson of the uselessness of ERA.
And, I’m off my soap box now. Go M’s.