Friday, August 31, 2007

But...the box is the

This can never be a good sign for an umpire (and/or Gameday):

Red circles are strikes and green are balls. Pitches 1 & 3 were swinging strikes.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Trying Is The First Step Towards Failure

Here's a list of the top 11 (just how the numbers fall) all-time seasons of most times caught stealing without a single stolen base.
  1. Pete Runnels, 10, 1952 (I like the irony in his name)
  2. Oscar Robles, 8, 2005
  3. Jose Offerman, 8, 2000
  4. Chet Lemon, 7, 1983
  5. Manny Trillo, 7, 1978
  6. Mike Vail, 7, 1977
  7. John Milner, 7, 1976
  8. Ted Simmons, 7, 1976
  9. Ron Theobald, 7, 1972
  10. Denis Menke, 7, 1966
  11. Dick Gernert, 7, 1953

Since I like their site and I'm a man of modest means, I decided to sponsor a cheap page. While I did think about sponsoring Whitey Alperman because I like his abysmal walk rate in 1909, I decided instead on this former Brewers player. Why does this deserve its own post? I don't know, but there it is.

Daily Tracker, 8/29

It's the 29th of August and all's updated:
  • Ryan Braun Update:
    • Today in the box score: 1-4, 2B, R, 2 RBI, 2 K
    • Current line on season: .332/.376/.641 (370 PA)
    • Line adjusted for leaderboards: .298/.340/.575 (409 PA) - I believe I had his slugging average wrong last time, my apologies.
    • Leaderboard ranks: 17 (+1)/50 (-2)/ 6 (+1)
    • PA/G needed to qualify for leaderboards (502) without adjustment at end of season: 4.40
    • Current PA/G since call-up: 4.40
    • MIL Average PA/G for #3/#4 spot in lineup: 4.48/4.35
    • PA's projected lost if in #4 instead of #3 for rest of season: 4
    • Projected PA at end of season if in #3/#4 spot for MIL: 504.5/500.5

  • Johnny Estrada Swing Index:
    • Plate Appearances: 404
    • Times Swung at First Pitch: 204
      • Swung at First Pitch Percentage: 50.5%
    • Times Made Contact with First Pitch: 178
      • Contact Percentage for First Pitch Swings: 87.3%
    • First Pitch Put Into Play: 98
      • First Pitch Contact Put Into Play Percentage: 55.0%
      • First Pitch Overall Put Into Play Percentage: 24.3%
    • Double Play Opportunities: 73
      • Double Plays Resulting: 15
        • DP Rate: 20.5%
      • Double Plays Ended by Two-Hop Throws to First: At least one

  • Ryan Langerhans went 2-3 with a sacrifice for AAA Columbus.
    • MLB numbers: 54 TB, 74 SO, 196 AB
    • AAA numbers: 8 TB, 8 SO, 27 AB
    • Total numbers: 62 TB, 82 SO, 223 AB

  • Joe Borchard was 1-4 with a RBI, a strikeout and one time picked off for AAA Albuquerque.
    • MLB numbers: 56 TB, 60 SO, 179 AB
    • AAA numbers: 50 TB, 9 SO, 55 AB
    • Total numbers: 106 TB, 69 SO, 234 AB

  • Jimmy Rollins was 2-4 today. His season pace is now at 205 hits and 707 at bats.

  • Cubs catchers:
    • Tonight in the box score: 1-4
    • Through June 19: 290 PA, 264 AB, 62 H, 8 HR, 30 RBI, 20 BB, 46 K, 98 TB, .235/.287/.371, .658 OPS
    • Since June 19: 245 PA, 215 AB, 47 H, 3 HR, 29 RBI, 23 BB, 40 K, 70 TB, .219/.299/.326, .625 OPS
    • Season Line: 535 PA, 479 AB, 109 H, 11 HR, 59 RBI, 43 BB, 86 K, 168 TB, .228/.293/.351, .643 OPS

  • Brewers catchers:
    • Tonight in the box score: 1-4, K
    • Through June 19: 298 PA, 283 AB, 77 H, 6 HR, 28 RBI, 9 BB, 32 K, 113 TB, .272/.300/.399, .699 OPS
    • Since June 19: 252 PA, 237 AB, 61 H, 4 HR, 29 RBI, 12 BB, 32 K, 85 TB, .257/.290/.359, .648 OPS
    • Season Line: 550 PA, 520 AB, 138 H, 10 HR, 57 RBI, 21 BB, 64 K, 198 TB, .265/.295/.381, .676 OPS

  • 2007 MLB Average Catcher's Line: .253/.315/.389, .704 OPS

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Final Line for [insert name here], 0.0 IP...

We've all seen it happen before: a team's manager plays the percentages and calls on his left-handed specialist to face the other team's lefty slugger. The new pitcher promptly gives up a hit, walk, or otherwise fails in his task and is removed before recording an out. His line in the box score then looks like "0.0......0....1...." and so on. Let's look at the season and career leaders for 0.0 IP appearances. As usual with play by play reliant searches, this spans 1957-2007.

Most 0.0 IP appearances in a season by a lefthanded pitcher:
  1. Sean Runyan, 1998, 17
  2. George Sherrill, 2006, 15
  3. Bob McClure, 1977, 15
  4. Mike Myers, 2001, 13
  5. Mike Myers, 1997, 13
  6. Jason Christiansen, 2004, 13
  7. 11 tied with, 12
Most 0.0 IP appearances in a career by a lefthanded pitcher:
  1. Mike Myers, 127
  2. Jesse Orosco, 80
  3. Paul Assenmacher, 76
  4. Bob McClure, 65
  5. Wedsel "Buddy" Groom, 65
  6. Mike Stanton, 61
  7. Steve Kline, 59
  8. Dan Plesac, 58
  9. Tony Fossas, 54
  10. Ray King, 51
  11. Mike Holtz, 51
Alright, as established, these guys tend to get lifted because they are called upon to face one batter. I would think it's tougher to be taken out without recording at least 1/3 inning if you're righthanded. Let's look at those leaders.

Most 0.0 IP appearances in a season by a righthanded pitcher:
  1. Jeff Nelson, 1993, 10
  2. Horacio Pina, 1971, 9
  3. Turk Lown, 1960, 7
  4. Cecilio Guante, 1988, 7
  5. Kevin Gryboski, 2003, 7
  6. Bob Anderson, 1962, 7
Most 0.0 IP appearances in a career by a righthanded pitcher:
  1. Jeff Nelson, 49
  2. Paul Quantrill, 28
  3. Kent Tekulve, 27
  4. Don McMahon, 27
  5. Hector Carrasco, 26
Now let's look to see what years featured the most 0.0 IP appearances, regardless of handedness, because we can:
  1. 1999 - 487
  2. 2000 - 482
  3. 2006 - 474
  4. 2005 - 473
  5. 1998 - 472
  6. 1997 - 465
  7. 2003 - 456
  8. 2004 - 452
  9. 2002 - 448
  10. 2001 - 447
Surprise, surprise, managers have been more willing to yank guys quickly since bullpens have specialized. For the curious, 2007 has already seen 364 such appearances, through yesterday. The highest appearances total for any season before 1990 was 324 in 1987. The lowest total? 128 in 1958.

Finally, let's see what teams had a manager with a quick hook:
  1. 2004 San Francisco Giants, 43
  2. 2007 Cincinnati Reds, 29
  3. 1995 Chicago Cubs, 29
  4. 1971 Washington Senators, 28
  5. 2003 Toronto Blue Jays, 28
  6. 2002 Texas Rangers, 28
  7. 1993 Seattle Mariners, 28
  8. 1963 Los Angeles Angels, 28
  9. 2000 Colorado Rockies, 28
  10. 1998 Chicago Cubs, 28
It's interesting to me that the 2nd and 3rd place teams didn't (yet) get the benefit of a full season. Obviously 2007 is still going on and 1995 had a weird 144-game schedule due to the players' strike of 1994-5.

The pitchers involved in the 2004 Giants record-shattering campaign: Jason Christiansen, David Aardsma, Kevin Walker, Jim Brower, Felix Rodriguez, Wayne Franklin (ha!), Matt Herges, Scott Eyre, Tyler Walker, Dustin Hermanson, and Dave Burba. Eleven, count 'em, eleven guys. That's almost twice the number of relievers on a given team at a given time.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Daily Tracker, 8/27

Today features an abbreviated post because a number of teams had the day off. The guys that did play are below and the rest of the players' numbers can be found here.

  • Ryan Braun Leaderboard Ranks: 18 (+3) / 49 (+1) / 7 (--)

  • Ryan Langerhans went 2-6 with a double, walk and three strikeouts for AAA Columbus in the team's doubleheader today.
    • MLB numbers: 54 TB, 74 SO, 196 AB
    • AAA numbers: 6 TB, 8 SO, 21 AB
    • Total numbers: 60 TB, 82 SO, 217 AB

  • Joe Borchard had an 0-3 day with a walk and a strikeout for AAA Albuquerque. He was also named PCL Offensive Player of the Week for hitting .520 (13-25) with 4 HR and 14 RBI.
    • MLB numbers: 56 TB, 60 SO, 179 AB
    • AAA numbers: 48 TB, 8 SO, 47 AB
    • Total numbers: 104 TB, 68 SO, 226 AB

  • Jimmy Rollins was 2-5 today. His season pace is up to 203 hits and 707 at bats.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Gimme That Old Time Contact Hitting

Today some records involving guys who didn't strike out at all in a season. I set the parameters for this search to be the years 1913-2007 since some (or maybe all) teams are missing batting strikeouts totals for previous years (though, oddly, they have pitching strikeouts recorded).

First up, we need guys to get on base. Let's look at the most walks by anyone who didn't strike out. I'd do OBP, but there aren't many plate appearances in these seasons, but we'll get to that.
  1. Lloyd Waner, 12, 1941
  2. Manny Mota, 10, 1977
  3. Merl Combs, 9, 1949
  4. Davy Jones, 9, 1913
  5. Steve O'Neill, 8, 1928
Since it's the olden days of baseball, we'll need someone to bunt our leadoff guy into scoring position. Let's look at the sacrifice hits leaders. Not surprisingly, there's a number of pitchers at the top, though third baseman Manuel Cueto is up there too:
  1. Johnny Sain, 10, 1946
  2. Manuel Cueto, 5, 1914
  3. Oscar Zamora, 4, 1975
  4. Jim Middleton, 4, 1921
  5. 14 tied with 3
Now we want a guy with a little pop in his bat. Doubles sounds like a good way of measuring that, huh?
  1. Lloyd Waner, 5, 1941
  2. Bill Sherdel, 5, 1925
  3. Biff Pocoroba, 4, 1979
  4. Eddie Murphy, 4, 1919
  5. 10 tied with 3
Our cleanup hitter should be able to smack one out of the park. The list is a little skimpy but here it is nonetheless:
  1. Terry Steinbach, 2, 1986
  2. Carson Bigbee, 2, 1926
  3. 61 tied with 1
Okay, so the chances of a home run are not so good. Maybe our fifth batter should be a guy who is good at knocking runs in. How about those RBI-men:
  1. Johnny Sain, 17, 1946
  2. Johnny McCarthy, 12, 1941
  3. Lloyd Waner, 11, 1941
  4. Willie Jones, 10, 1947
  5. Bill Rariden, 10, 1920
Let's be goofy and say we want speed from the six spot. Here's our stolen base kings:
  1. Larry Lintz, 31, 1976
  2. Herb Washington, 29, 1974
  3. Don Hopkins, 21, 1975
  4. Matt Alexander, 13, 1979
  5. Matt Alexander, 10, 1980
Surprise, surprise, the designated runners of the 1970's top the list. Ah, well, maybe they can swing the bat, too. Assuming they do get on base, who do we want to make sure they run in front of? Let's look at the GIDP leaders:
  1. Bob Garbark, 5, 1938
  2. Dave Hajek, 3, 1996
  3. Al Richter, 3, 1951
  4. Willie Jones, 3, 1947
  5. Stan Galle, 3, 1942
  6. Lloyd Waner, 3, 1941
  7. Red Lynn, 3, 1939
Our eight hitter needs to get on base to clear the pitcher's spot. Let's look at hits leaders:
  1. Lloyd Waner, 64, 1941
  2. Johnny Sain, 28, 1946
  3. Bill Rariden, 25, 1920
  4. Tony Lupien, 17, 1945
  5. Roy Spencer, 17, 1926
  6. Eddie Murphy, 17, 1919
Finally, rather than looking up pitchers, let's look up why these lists tell us next to nothing about the talents of the men therein. Plate appearances leaders:
  1. Lloyd Waner, 234, 1941
  2. Bill Rariden, 108, 1920
  3. Johnny Sain, 104, 1946
  4. Bill Sherdel, 79, 1925
  5. Carson Bigbee, 72, 1926
So maybe the no-strikeout squad would be pretty bad, after all.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Daily Tracker, 8/26

Sunday means the work week is just around the corner. To distract you from that dreary fact, some updated data:
  • Ryan Braun Update:

    • Today in the box score: 2-4, HR (25), 3 RBI, K
    • His 25th home run ties him for 16th all-time among first-season players with Orlando Cepeda, Eddie Mathews, Joe Gordon, Dale Alexander, and Del Bissonette.
    • Current line on season: .334/.378/.648 (362 PA)
    • Line adjusted for leaderboards: .298/.340/.576 (403 PA)
    • Leaderboard ranks: 21 (+3)/50 (--)/ 7 (+1)
    • PA/G needed to qualify for leaderboards (502) without adjustment at end of season: 4.38
    • Current PA/G since call-up: 4.41
    • MIL Average PA/G for #3/#4 spot in lineup: 4.49/4.35
    • PA's projected lost if in #4 instead of #3 for rest of season: 4
    • Projected PA at end of season if in #3/#4 spot for MIL: 506/502

  • Johnny Estrada Swing Index: Did not play today.

    • Plate Appearances: 396
    • Times Swung at First Pitch: 200
      • Swung at First Pitch Percentage: 50.5%
    • Times Made Contact with First Pitch: 176
      • Contact Percentage for First Pitch Swings: 88.0%
    • First Pitch Put Into Play: 98
      • First Pitch Contact Put Into Play Percentage: 55.7%
      • First Pitch Overall Put Into Play Percentage: 24.7%
    • Double Play Opportunities: 72
      • Double Plays Resulting: 14
        • DP Rate: 19.4%

  • Ryan Langerhans went 0-3 with a walk and two strikeouts for AAA Columbus.
    • MLB numbers: 54 TB, 74 SO, 196 AB
    • AAA numbers: 3 TB, 5 SO, 15 AB
    • Total numbers: 57 TB, 79 SO, 211 AB

  • Joe Borchard had the day off, along with his teammates on AAA Albuquerque.
    • MLB numbers: 56 TB, 60 SO, 179 AB
    • AAA numbers: 48 TB, 7 SO, 44 AB
    • Total numbers: 104 TB, 67 SO, 223 AB

  • Jimmy Rollins was 2-4 today. His season pace is up to 202 hits and 706 at bats.

  • Cubs catchers:

    • Tonight in the box score: 1-5, 2B, K
    • Through June 19: 290 PA, 264 AB, 62 H, 8 HR, 30 RBI, 20 BB, 46 K, 96 TB, .235/.287/.371, .658 OPS
    • Since June 19: 238 PA, 208 AB, 44 H, 3 HR, 29 RBI, 23 BB, 40 K, 66 TB, .212/.295/.317, .613 OPS
    • Season Line: 528 PA, 472 AB, 106 H, 11 HR, 59 RBI, 43 BB, 86 K, 164 TB, .225/.291/.347, .638 OPS
    • 2007 MLB Average Catcher's Line: .253/.315/.389, .704 OPS

Who Needs A Bullpen?

A few days ago I looked at pitchers who had trouble getting through five or more innings per start in a season. Today I want to do the opposite. In order to differentiate between innings as a starter and reliever in the same season, I limited the search to the years 1957-2007. Here's the list of every pitcher to make more than 20 starts in a season and average eight or more innings per start.

Bob Gibson196935314.08.97
Bob Gibson196834304.78.96
Rick Langford198033287.78.72
Gaylord Perry197437322.38.71
Bob Gibson197034294.08.65
Mark Fidrych197629249.38.60
Juan Marichal196838326.08.58
Gaylord Perry197240341.78.54
Juan Marichal196636306.08.50
Jim Palmer197538322.38.48
Frank Tanana197634288.38.48
Steve Carlton197241346.38.45
Steve McCatty198122185.78.44
Catfish Hunter197539328.08.41
Gaylord Perry197341344.08.39
Mickey Lolich197145376.08.36
Ferguson Jenkins197139325.08.33
Nolan Ryan197339323.78.30
Juan Marichal196936298.78.30
Catfish Hunter197636298.78.30
Gaylord Perry196939323.38.29
Bert Blyleven197636297.78.27
Mike Caldwell197834281.08.26
Gaylord Perry197537305.78.26
Denny McLain196841336.08.20
Luis Tiant197438311.38.19
Bob Gibson196536294.78.19
Jim Palmer197739319.08.18
Bob Gibson197234278.08.18
Tom Seaver197135285.78.16
Larry Dierker196937301.38.14
Rick Langford198124195.38.14
Sandy Koufax196541333.78.14
Bert Blyleven197340325.08.13
Nolan Ryan197737299.08.08
Greg Maddux199425202.08.08
Ron Guidry198331250.38.08
Nolan Ryan197441331.08.07
Tom Seaver197036290.38.06
Vida Blue197637298.38.06
Tom Seaver197336290.08.06
Mario Soto198334273.78.05
Ferguson Jenkins197236289.38.04
Don Drysdale196440321.38.03
Bill Lee197333265.08.03
Vern Law195933265.08.03
Phil Niekro196720160.38.02
Gaylord Perry197041328.78.02
Camilo Pascual196331248.38.01
Bob Gibson196635280.38.01
Jim Colborn197336288.38.01
Warren Spahn195836288.38.01
Ferguson Jenkins197039312.38.01
Ferguson Jenkins197441328.38.01
Vida Blue197139312.08.00
Steve Carlton198038304.08.00

That's a lot of innings pitched! It's interesting to me that of the 56 seasons listed, 39 of them took place in the decade from 1968-1977. A number of guys had more than one season on the list: Bert Blyleven (2), Bob Gibson (6), Catfish Hunter (2), Ferguson Jenkins (4), Gaylord Perry (6), Jim Palmer (2), Juan Marichal (3), Nolan Ryan (3), Rick Langford (2), Steve Carlton (2), Tom Seaver (3), and Vida Blue (2) were the multiple entrants. Greg Maddux is the only pitcher since 1983 to appear on the list. I doubt another guy will show up on it anytime soon. Say the average starter makes 33 starts per year now; he would have to pitch 264 innings in those starts to make the cut.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Bullpen Uniform Numbers

This is totally pointless but I've always had a sort of admiration for baseball players wearing high numbers. Unlike football, where high numbers are expected, baseball players generally go no higher than the fifties. Sure, there's exceptions like So Taguchi (#99) and Joe Beimel (#97), but usually high numbers are reserved for fringe guys on the 40-man roster and spring training flunkies. Whether they are career minor leaguers, guys wearing a number in tribute, or guys who like gimmicks, I enjoy seeing a number in the 70's, 80's or 90's. The place you usually see higher numbers is off the field of play, in the bullpen. With that in mind, I decided to look at the uniform numbers of players currently in MLB bullpens (with the aid of Yahoo! Sports' MLB rosters and's lists of probable pitchers) to see which teams had the highest and lowest average uniform number for a reliever.

Here's the list in its entirety, sorted from highest to lowest:
  1. Milwaukee Brewers, 50.1
  2. Cleveland Indians, 49.8
  3. Detroit Tigers, 49.7
  4. Chicago White Sox, 49.6
  5. Los Angeles Angels, 49.5
  6. Houston Astros, 49.3
  7. Chicago Cubs, 49.1
  8. Los Angeles Dodgers, 48.7
  9. Atlanta Braves, 48.5
  10. Boston Red Sox, 47.4
  11. Florida Marlins, 46.0
  12. Philadelphia Phillies, 45.6
  13. Kansas City Royals, 45.6
  14. Cincinnati Reds, 45.1
  15. Washington Nationals, 44.7
  16. Arizona Diamonbacks, 44.4
  17. Texas Rangers, 44.3
  18. Oakland Athletics, 43.7
  19. San Francisco Giants, 43.4
  20. New York Yankees, 43.1
  21. Colorado Rockies, 41.7
  22. Tampa Bay Devil Rays, 41.6
  23. Minnesota Twins, 41.4
  24. Toronto Blue Jays, 41.0
  25. San Diego Padres, 39.4
  26. Seattle Mariners, 39.3
  27. New York Mets, 37.7
  28. Baltimore Orioles, 37.7
  29. Pittsburgh Pirates, 37.0
  30. St. Louis Cardinals, 34.4
Obviously those numbers change with every roster move and some may change soon. For example, the Phillies will likely dump one of their eight relievers to make room for Adam Eaton and the Brewers will do the same to make room for Ben Sheets. With that in mind, here's the guys making up the highest and lowest averages:

Milwaukee Brewers:
  • Matt Wise, #38
  • Chris Capuano, #39 (recently removed from rotation)
  • Manny Parra, #43
  • Francisco Cordero, #48
  • Brian Shouse #51
  • Seth McClung, #52
  • Derrick Turnbow, #59
  • Scott Linebrink, #71
St. Louis Cardinals:
  • Tyler Johnson, #19
  • Ryan Franklin, #31
  • Randy Flores, #34
  • Russ Springer, #36
  • Todd Wellemeyer, #37
  • Troy Percival, #40
  • Jason Isringhausen, #44
Wellemeyer just came back from an injury to replace #48, Brad Thompson, knocking the team's average down from 36.0 even further. To lose their spot atop the board, the Brewers would have to send down Derrick Turnbow or DFA Scott Linebrink when Ben Sheets is activated. In other words, another team will have to take the title from them.

Here's looking at you, Seth McClung

The man mentioned in the title of this post has thrown all of 2 2/3 innings in the major leagues this season. Why is he special enough to merit being mentioned in the title of a random blog post? Simply for the fact he has yet to strike anyone out, walk a batter, or give up a home run. Since that struck me as odd, I decided to look up the all-time leaders for innings pitched in a season with zeros for each of those categories. As expected, the innings totals are very low (there's only been 260 such seasons since 1901), so here's the eight guys who managed to avoid strikeouts, walks and home runs. I guess you could call them zero true outcome pitchers.
  1. Jesse Petty, 9.0 IP, 1921
  2. Sam Mertes, 8.0 IP, 1902
  3. Tom Grubbs, 5.0 IP, 1920
  4. Bill Friel, 4.0 IP, 1902
  5. Jim Merritt, 3.2 IP, 1975
  6. Jack Savage, 3.1 IP, 1987
  7. Craig Mitchell, 3.1 IP, 1976
  8. Jim Pierce, 3.1 IP, 1955
Now McClung is sure to walk, strike out or give up a homer to the first hitter he faces next time out.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Not So Sweet Relief

Here's a list of the longest streaks of giving up one run (whether earned or not) or more in relief appearances. Starts may be in between relief appearances for some of these guys.

  • Players to give up at least one run in 14 consecutive appearances
    • Benj Sampson, 6/12/1999 to 8/19/1999
  • Players to give up at least one run in 13 consecutive appearances
    • Tanyon Sturtze, 6/9/2004 to 8/31/2004
    • Sammy Stewart, 4/30/1983 to 6/11/1983
  • Players to give up at least one run in 12 consecutive appearances
    • Steve Shields, 9/18/1985 to 7/5/1986
    • Dave Lemanczyk, 9/16/1978 to 6/29/1980
    • Allen Ripley, 7/7/1979 to 9/16/1979
  • Players to give up at least one run in 11 consecutive appearances
    • Tanyon Sturtze, 7/17/1997 to 4/25/2000
    • John Davis, 5/8/1988 to 7/17/1988
    • Steve Baker, 4/21/1979 to 4/7/1983
    • Bryan Clark, 7/3/1982 to 8/21/1982
    • Shane Rawley, 7/14/1978 to 8/18/1978
    • Steve Dunning, 8/13/1973 to 6/11/1976
    • Claude Raymond, 7/9/1964 to 8/16/1964
    • Jack Meyer, 6/19/1959 to 8/21/1959
  • Players to give up at least one run in 10 consecutive apperances
    • Marty McLeary, 8/22/2004 to 5/19/2007 (active)
    • Joaquin Benoit, 7/13/2003 to 6/13/2004
    • Travis Miller, 8/1/1997 to 8/7/1998
    • Danny Graves, 8/31/1997 to 5/17/1998
    • Carl Willis, 9/26/1986 to 5/8/1991
    • Dave Gumpert, 9/28/1986 to 5/29/1987
    • Jon Matlack, 7/8/1978 to 7/19/1982
    • John Verhoeven, 6/28/1980 to 8/2/1980
    • Paul Reuschel, 8/8/1978 to 7/29/1979
    • Jim Shellenback, 5/23/1974 to 9/10/1977
    • Don Kirkwood, 6/20/1977 to 8/14/1977
    • Dave Pagan, 5/7/1977 to 7/4/1977
    • Bill Butler, 4/11/1975 to 7/20/1975
    • Craig Anderson, 8/19/1962 to 5/19/1964
    • Ray Daviault, 4/13/1962 to 7/15/1962
    • Wally Burnette, 5/12/1957 to 7/25/1957
I wonder if Benj Sampson knows he's a record-holder?

Daily Tracker, 8/22

Baseball on Wednesday:

  • Ryan Braun Update:
    • Tonight in the box score: 0-4, 3 K
    • Cooling down? He's 3 for his last 28 and 0 for last 13 - just set a career high for consecutive hitless games with 3 (that's kind of neat, actually).
    • Current line on season: .332/.378/.643 (349 PA)
    • Line adjusted for leaderboards: .291/.335/.563 (394 PA)
    • Leaderboard ranks: 25 (-3)/53 (-1)/ 8 (--)

  • Johnny Estrada Swing Index: I hope the new format looks nice.

    • Plate Appearances: 387
    • Times Swung at First Pitch: 197
      • Swung at First Pitch Percentage: 50.9%
    • Times Made Contact with First Pitch: 173
      • Contact Percentage for First Pitch Swings: 44.7%
    • First Pitch Put Into Play: 97
      • First Pitch Contact Put Into Play Percentage: 56.1%
      • First Pitch Overall Put Into Play Percentage: 25.1%
    • Double Play Opportunities: 70
      • Double Plays Resulting: 14
        • DP Rate: 20.0%

  • Ryan Langerhans cleared waivers and was sent outright to AAA Columbus. Incidentally, Matt Chico started for the Clippers today, making my comment about him threatening an IP/GS in the previous entry look kind of dumb. Oops.

  • Joe Borchard went 3-4 with a HR (5), a BB, 2 RBI and a SF for Albuquerque in the team's 20-12 loss to Memphis. The teams combined scored almost as many as the Rangers in the first game of that team's doubleheader!

    • MLB numbers: 56 TB, 60 SO, 179 AB
    • AAA numbers: 31 TB, 6 SO, 34 AB
    • Total numbers: 87 TB, 66 SO, 213 AB

  • Jimmy Rollins was 1-3 with a double tonight. He's now on pace for a 205 H, 706 AB season.

  • Cubs catchers: The numbers have been changed slightly to reflect only stats as a catcher (i.e., pinch-hit numbers and Koyie Hill's time in right field are removed) and to correct an error in through June 19 stats (5 PA, 5 AB, 2 H, 1 K, 2 TB were missing somehow but now everything squares with Baseball Reference). My apologies for not catching all that until now.

    • Tonight in the box score: 1-4
    • Through June 19: 290 PA, 264 AB, 62 H, 8 HR, 30 RBI, 20 BB, 46 K, 96 TB, .235/.287/.371, .658 OPS
    • Since June 19: 221 PA, 191 AB, 39 H, 3 HR, 29 RBI, 23 BB, 37 K, 59 TB, .204/.295/.309, .604 OPS
    • Season Line: 511 PA, 455 AB, 101 H, 11 HR, 59 RBI, 43 BB, 83 K, 157 TB, .222/.291/.345, .636 OPS
    • 2007 MLB Average Catcher's Line: .253/.314/.389, .703 OPS

  • Finally, just when you thought it couldn't get any worse in Houston, something like this happens. Hey, isn't there a Bud Light Real American Heroes commercial about that?

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Anatomy of a Record

How do I go about finding these obscure, pointless records? Well, the brief answer is by tinkering with the Baseball-Reference Play Index (B-R PI) until it spits out the answer I seek. However, I feel like taking you on a tour of my thought process throughout.

The first step is deciding just what record to look up. There's been some agitation in Milwaukee recently about the Brewers' staff having trouble pitching six full innings in an average start, so how about we look up what pitcher holds the record for least IP/GS in various numbers of starts? Now that that's settled, we've hit our first potential roadblock: starters that don't last very long likely won't remain starters all year. The first option is to just look at guys who started every game they appeared in. That's the easiest method, though a lot of guys would likely fall through the cracks. The other option is to investigate game logs for each of the guys who may have had a worse IP/GS average, though that would limit us to players since 1957 (the extent of the database). The solution, in my mind, will be to look up first the guys who started every game they appeared in and then see if any guys who were bumped to the bullpen midseason threaten their mark.

Then there's the decision of how many starts I want to set as the minimum category. While seasons like Kevin Ritz's 1990 are fun to look/laugh at, I find it more interesting to see mediocrity spread out across most of a season. With that in mind, I think starting at 20 starts and increasing at 5 start intervals makes sense.

Firing up the Pitching Season Finder at the B-R PI and setting it to the predetermined conditions (20 starts, 100% of games pitched as starts, sorted by IP in ascending order), we get this list:
  1. Kirk Rueter, 92.1 IP, 20 GS, 1994
  2. Pascual Perez, 95.2 IP, 22 GS, 1985
  3. Kip Wells, 98.2 IP, 20 GS, 2000
  4. Oliver Perez, 103.0 IP, 20 GS, 2005
  5. LaTroy Hawkins, 103.1 IP, 20 GS, 1997
It's not hard to see that Pascual Perez will hold the record for this category, as his innings pitched is second in two more starts than anyone around him. His 95.2 IP in 22 starts works out to 4.35 IP/GS, meaning he was good for 13 outs. Here's his game log for 1985. For anyone to be worse, here's the innings they'd have to throw in increasing numbers of starts:
  • 20 GS: 86.2 IP
  • 21 GS: 91.0 IP
  • 23 GS: 100.0 IP
  • 24 GS: 104.1 IP
  • 25 GS: 108.2 IP
It continues, obviously, at a increase of about 4 1/3 IP for each start. Skimming down the list, the first 23 game starter (Kevin Appier, 2003) tossed 111.2 IP, so that won't cut it. No one else came close in any larger number of starts, either.

Now, like I said earlier, it's time to make things harder and attempt to find any starter/relievers that might have done worse in 20+ starts. Resetting the Pitching Season Finder to reflect the new conditions (1957-2007, 20+ starts, sorted by IP in ascending order), here's the list of guys who had at least one relief appearance mixed in their starts:
  1. Steve Avery, 21 G, 20 GS, 99.0 IP, 1990
  2. Mike O'Connor, 21 G, 20 GS, 105.0 IP, 2006
  3. Tomokazu Ohka, 22 G, 21 GS, 107.0 IP, 2001
  4. Ismael Valdez, 21 G, 20 GS, 107.0 IP, 2000
  5. Josh Beckett, 23 G, 21 GS, 107.2 IP, 2002
  6. Randy Jones, 28 G, 20 GS, 107.2 IP, 1982
  7. Steve Arlin, 27 G, 22 GS, 107.2 IP, 1974
  8. Doug Drabek, 23 G, 21 GS, 108.2 IP, 1998
  9. Shawn Chacon, 26 G, 20 GS, 109.0 IP, 2006
  10. Scott Scudder, 23 G, 22 GS, 109.0 IP, 1992
Referring to our chart of maximum innings for the various numbers of starts, I think it's safe to say that none of the 1-2 relief appearance guys on the list broke the record. That cuts it down to Randy Jones, Steve Arlin, and Shawn Chacon. Luckily, a quick look at their splits page (here's Jones') lets us determine whether or not they did set the record. Jones had 93.1 IP in his 20 GS, so not bad enough. Arlin's 99.2 IP in 22 GS and Chacon's 98.0 IP in 20 GS also miss the cut. Ignoring the fact there may be someone from before 1957 or a freak of nature throwing 5+ IP relief outings among his horribly short starts, it's pretty safe to say Pascual Perez's 4.35 IP/GS in 1985 is worst among starting pitchers with 20 or more starts.

Let's increase the minimum to 25 or more starts. Rather than make you read how I determined all this again, I'll just post the results. First, for guys that only started:
  1. Ramon Martinez, 27 GS, 127.2 IP, 4.73 IP/GS - 2000
  2. Sean Bergman, 28 GS, 135.1 IP, 4.83 IP/GS - 1995
  3. Aaron Sele, 25 GS, 121.2 IP, 4.87 IP/GS - 2003
  4. Colby Lewis, 26 GS, 127.0 IP, 4.88 IP/GS - 2003
  5. Joe Niekro, 25 GS, 125.2 IP, 5.03 IP/GS - 1986
Now including the guys that started and relieved:
  1. Ramon Martinez, 27 GS, 127.2 IP, 4.73 IP/GS - 2000
  2. Sean Bergman, 28 GS, 135.1 IP, 4.83 IP/GS - 1995
  3. Pete Redfern, 28 GS, 135.2 IP, 4.85 IP/GS - 1977
  4. Ryan Vogelsong, 26 GS, 126.0 IP, 4.85 IP/GS - 2004
  5. Aaron Sele, 25 GS, 121.2 IP, 4.87 IP/GS - 2003
Duly increasing the minimum now to 30 starts, here's the table of both starters and guys with at least one relief appearance:
  1. Bobby Witt, 31 GS, 157.2 IP, 5.09 IP/GS - 1986
  2. Jeriome Robertson, 31 GS, 159.0 IP, 5.13 IP/GS - 2003
  3. Dick Drott, 31 GS, 159.0 IP, 5.13 IP/GS - 2003
  4. Tony Armas, 30 GS, 154.0 IP, 5.13 IP/GS - 2006
  5. Ken Cloude, 30 GS, 155.1 IP, 5.18 IP/GS - 1998
With the minimum at 35 starts, we get these guys:
  1. Dennis Lamp, 37 GS, 198.2 IP, 5.37 IP/GS - 1980
  2. Claude Osteen, 37 GS, 204.1 IP, 5.52 IP/GS - 1975
  3. Steve Bedrosian, 37 GS, 206.2 IP, 5.59 IP/GS - 1985
  4. Jim McGlothlin, 35 GS, 195.2 IP, 5.59 IP/GS - 1969
  5. Sterling Hitchcock, 35 GS, 196.2 IP, 5.62 IP/GS - 1996
Finally, while I know it's not likely we'll see a 40-start pitcher anytime soon, let's look at those guys:
  1. Stan Bahnsen, 41 GS, 248.2 IP, 6.07 IP/GS - 1972
  2. Jim Kaat, 42 GS, 262.1 IP, 6.25 IP/GS - 1965
  3. Johnny Podres, 40 GS, 255.0 IP, 6.38 IP/GS - 1962
  4. Jim Bibby, 41 GS, 264.0 IP, 6.44 IP/GS - 1974
  5. Tom Bradley, 40 GS, 260.0 IP, 6.50 IP/GS - 1972
Well, that was fun. To recap, here's the leaders at each minimum set:

Minimum StartsNameYearIP/GS
20Chris Knapp
25Ramon Martinez20004.73
30Bobby Witt19865.09
35Dennis Lamp19805.37
40Stan Bahnsen19726.07

No one's really threatening any of these marks this year, though Matt Chico might come close to the 35 start mark if he has ten more starts. He's currently at 5.29 IP/GS through 25 starts. Edwin Jackson could threaten the 30-start mark, as he's at 5.07 IP/GS through 23 starts, though he'd have to start struggling again.

EDIT: Zeyes correctly points out that Chris Knapp in 1980 managed only 4.3 IP/GS in 20 starts, making him the all-time leader in duration futility. He also points out Ron Bryant's 1974 featured 23 starts at 4.38 IP/GS.

Passing Unfortunate News Along

I know a lot of people who check here are from Brew Crew Ball and many folks there are from Wisconsin, so you may have heard of the flooding throughout the southwest part of the state. Gregg Hoffman, the man behind Midwest Diamond Report and Old School Collectibles, among many other things, has posted a flood notice on his Driftless Writers Blog; he and his properties are fine, but many folks in the area are not as lucky.

Here's the post in full:
Please read and pass on the following email that we received from the Kickapoo Valley Association (KVA). The VSN will be coordinating clean-up and relief efforts with KVA over the next several weeks. During this time of need please help us assist our friends and neighbors who have been affected by recent flooding. If you are interested in volunteering please contact me at the VSN office [(608) 637-3615] as we are currently organizing volunteer efforts. In addition, we will keep you updated by email regarding volunteer opportunities. In the meantime, please make a food contribution to your local collection center mentioned in the email below.

August 21, 2007
Food Needed For Kickapoo Flood Victims
As you probably know by now, it is estimated that 90% of the homes in Gays Mills and an unknown number in Soldiers Grove have been damaged by flood waters. Additional damage abounds. The Kickapoo Valley Association has been in contact with the Crawford and Vernon Counties Emergency Management representatives and is assisting in a food collection for the flood victims. We have set up several food collection points in the valley. Please bring non-perishable food only to these locations. We will then collect it and deliver it to the distribution points. We need your contribution by 5:00 PM on Friday, August 24.

Please forward this message to as many friends and family as you can or phone them so we can accumulate as much food as possible.

The collection points we currently have are:
  • Peoples State Bank, Soldiers Grove;
  • Bluedog Cycles, Viroqua;
  • Cashton Mercantile, Cashton;
  • George Wilbur Attorney/Celeste Gibson Office, LaFarge;
  • Crooked River Resort, Readstown;
  • Westby House, Westby;
  • L & M BP, Wauzeka.

Valley Stewardship Network

Our Mission:

Valley Stewardship Network encourages, promotes and helps create opportunities for pro-active stewardship efforts in the Kickapoo River Watershed through education and awareness efforts and by promoting community pride, positive land use, compatible development and communication and coordination among groups in the watershed.

Explore our site.

Learn more.

Become a Member.
If nothing else, keep the people out there in your thoughts, as it's supposed to keep raining (thunderstorms likely) at least through Friday. Thanks!

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

2007 Three-Inning Saves

Carlos Villanueva picked up the thirteenth three-inning save of the 2007 season last night. Here's the complete list:
  1. Kevin Gregg, 4/22, Florida vs. Washington
  2. Brandon Duckworth, 4/28, Kansas City at Seattle
  3. Willie Eyre, 5/4, Texas vs. Toronto
  4. Aquilino Lopez, 5/12, Detroit at Minnesota
  5. Brian Shouse, 6/15, Milwaukee at Minnesota
  6. Chad Durbin, 6/24, Detroit at Atlanta
  7. Ryan Madson, 7/8, Philadelphia at Colorado
  8. Ron Mahay, 7/17, Texas at Oakland
  9. Sean Gallagher, 7/18, Chicago vs. San Francisco (4 innings)
  10. Matt Wise, 7/19, Milwaukee vs. Arizona
  11. Joel Peralta, 7/29, Kansas City vs. Texas
  12. J.D. Durbin, 8/7, Philadelphia vs. Florida
  13. Carlos Villanueva, 8/20, Milwaukee at Arizona
There's generally 15-30 of those saves per year.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

FIP in the NL

A little over a month ago, I put a diary on Brew Crew Ball comparing the Brewers' starters to the rest of the NL using ERA. My method in determining those numbers were inspired by two articles at The Hardball Times (THT) written by Brew Crew Ball author and general sabermetric maven Jeff Sackmann. You can find the first article here and the follow-up article here. I found that, through July 11, using ERA as a benchmark, the Brewers' staff had a #1 starter (Ben Sheets) and 4 #3/#4 guys.

Today, for a fun exercise, I want to do the same type of examination using FIP as the measuring stick. For those unfamiliar with FIP, it stands for Fielding Independent Pitching. I am taking the definition for FIP from The Hardball Times Stats Glossary:

Fielding Independent Pitching, a measure of all those things for which a pitcher is specifically responsible. The formula is (HR*13+(BB+HBP)*3-K*2)/IP, plus a league-specific factor (usually around 3.2) to round out the number to an equivalent ERA number. FIP helps you understand how well a pitcher pitched, regardless of how well his fielders fielded. FIP was invented by Tangotiger.

For the league-specific factor, I used a flat 3.2 to make things simple (and because I don't know how THT determines it). Let's look at the numbers for all the NL teams:

NL Rotation Spots by FIP
San Diego Padres2.502.923.634.595.633.70
Los Angeles Dodgers2.993.493.934.325.173.91
San Francisco Giants3.653.914.334.595.004.28
Cincinnati Reds3.714.344.434.565.064.36
Milwaukee Brewers3.944.234.414.475.174.43
Pittsburgh Pirates3.914.004.444.625.814.46
Arizona Diamondbacks3.064.024.745.346.114.54
Atlanta Braves3.083.134.975.357.414.55
New York Mets4.254.294.444.755.524.60
Colorado Rockies4.044.354.604.965.544.66
Chicago Cubs4.104.534.654.755.534.68
Houston Astros3.723.895.225.395.764.74
Philadelphia Phillies3.884.404.835.305.974.80
St. Louis Cardinals3.914.464.775.036.164.81
Florida Marlins3.774.774.825.135.964.83
Washington Nationals4.274.975.635.886.235.34
NL Averages3.674.114.624.945.754.54*
*Using sum of all IP, HR, BB, K, and HBP

So what does this mean? Well, in short, the average NL pitcher has a FIP of 4.54. The pitchers closest to that individually are Paul Maholm of the Pirates and Aaron Cook of the Rockies. Here's who matches up closely to the average rotation spots:
  1. 3.67 FIP ~ Tim Lincecum, Aaron Harang, Sergio Mitre (interesting), Roy Oswalt
  2. 4.11 FIP ~ Cole Hamels, Jeff Francis, Ted Lilly
  3. 4.62 FIP ~ Brett Tomko, Russ Ortiz, Carlos Zambrano
  4. 4.94 FIP ~ David Wells, Kyle Kendrick, Barry Zito
  5. 5.75 FIP ~ Livan Hernandez, Matt Chico
When you think of top 5 starting rotations this season, you probably don't think of the Giants, Reds and Brewers. Nevertheless, when looking solely at those teams' pitchers in terms of HR, K, HBP and BB (taking defense out of it), they are better than ERA gives them credit for.

What's wrong with this screenshot?

So, does Yahoo! get paid for referencing as many teams as possible in their box scores? :)

Chris Capuano

Anyone following the Brewers lately has surely heard about Chris Capuano's unfortunate streak: the team has lost his last 15 starts. Thanks to the Baseball Reference Play Index and Retrosheet, we can come up with the list of all the players who have started 15 or more consecutive games their team lost since 1957.

Here we go:
  • Mark Redman, 16 starts for Pittsburgh and Kansas City from 7/30/2005 to 5/19/2006
  • Geremi Gonzalez, 16 starts for Tampa Bay and Boston from 8/24/2003 to 5/2/2005
  • Jim Lonborg, 16 starts for Boston from 6/13/1969 to 9/16/1969
  • Chris Capuano, 15 starts for Milwaukee from 5/13/2007 to 8/14/2007
  • Matt Beech, 15 starts for Philadelphia from 9/17/1996 to 8/2/1997
  • Bobby Munoz, 15 starts for Philadelphia from 8/2/1994 to 4/20/1997
  • Rick Honeycutt, 15 starts for Los Angeles and Oakland, 5/18/1987 to 9/13/1987
  • Jerry Reuss, 15 starts for Los Angeles and Cincinnati, 5/18/1986 to 6/12/1987
As you can see, a Brewers loss tomorrow means Capuano ties the record since 1957. The truly unfortunate thing is he's not this bad a pitcher and, from everything I've heard, a really great guy. Hopefully, for his sake, he gets the monkey off his back and posts a win tomorrow.

UPDATE: The Brewers lost, meaning Capuano now has tied the record for most consecutive starts without a team win.

UPDATE #2: Capuano heads into 2008 with his streak active at 18 consecutive starts.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

More on Double Play Rates

Last Monday I had a post about double play rates that you can read here. Today I've got some more data and charts and other fanciness.

I looked at the Baseball Reference Play Index's log of plate appearances and double plays from 1970 to 2006 to get the data; the B-R PI itself culls information from Retrosheet.

To recap, the opportune situations for double plays are:

0 Out, 1--
0 Out, 12-
0 Out, 1-3
0 Out, 123
1 Out, 1--
1 Out, 12-
1 Out, 1-3
1 Out, 123

Between 1970 and 2006, batters came up a staggering 1,129,812 times in those eight situations combined. A double play resulted 137,745 times, or at a 12.2% rate. Last Monday I noted that from 1997-2006 the rate was 12.0%; it would seem that's pretty close to standard. To wit, a chart:

(click to enlarge)

That chart shows the overall double play rate from 1970-2006, along with the rates of 0 out and 1 out situations. It looks pretty constant, though slightly elevated in the early 1980's. The overall rate is closer to the 1 out rate and with good reason: there were 657, 387 PA in those situations with 1 out compared to 473, 172 with nobody out. For the curious, the DP rate across all years with 0 out was 11.2% (52766/473172) while the rate with 1 out was 12.9% (85064/657387).

Before I get to three very hard to read charts, let's look at some relevant numbers in table form:

Outs:0 Out1 OutTotal
Bases Filled:PADPRatePADPRatePADPRate

Alright, with that in mind, here's three hard-to-read charts of each situation year-by-year. The order is Overall situations, 0 out situations, 1 out situations.

Finally, here's easier-to-read charts of each situation on the bases with DP rates for 0 out, 1 out, and both combined. Note 1977 on the Bases Loaded chart; that is the only time the 0 out DP rate ever exceeded the 1 out DP rate in any situation. The order of the charts is 1--, 12-, 1-3, 123.

Free Image Hosting at Free Image Hosting at Free Image Hosting at Free Image Hosting at

I hope this wasn't too tedious.

Daily Tracker, 8/17

As they say in the suburbs, what are the haps, dude? Well, here are the haps:

  • R.J. Braun (seriously, that could be a catalog) Update:

    Tonight in the box score: 1-4, CS
    Current line on season: .344/.388/.662 (330 PA)
    Line adjusted for leaderboards: .297/.339/.571 (378 PA)
    Leaderboard ranks: 21/49/8

  • J.P. Estrada Data:

    Plate Appearances: 373
    Times Swung at First Pitch: 191
    Times Made Contact with First Pitch: 168
    First Pitch Put Into Play: 93
    Swung at First Pitch Percentage: 51.2%
    Contact Percentage When Swinging at First Pitch: 88.0%
    First Pitch Contact Into Play Percentage: 55.4%
    First Pitch Put Into Play Overall Percentage: 24.9%

    Double Play Opportunities: 68
    Double Plays Grounded Into: 14
    DP Rate: 20.6%

  • R.D. Langerhans struck out (surprise!) in his only at bat tonight, giving him 74 SO and 54 TB in 196 AB.

  • J.C. Rollins was 3-6 with two doubles, a strikeout, an an RBI. This brings his pace for the season up to 206 hits in 711 at bats, keeping him on track for the at bats and lowest batting average with 200+ hits in a season records.

  • Cubs Catchers:

    Tonight in the box score: 0-3, K
    Through June 19 (Barrett Era): 285 PA, 259 AB, 60 H, 12 2B, 0 3B, 8 HR, 30 RBI, 45 K, 96 TB, 1 SH, 4 SF, 20 BB, 1 HBP, .232/.285/.371
    Since June 20: 211 PA, 183 AB, 37 H, 9 2B, 1 3B, 3 HR, 27 RBI, 37 K, 56 TB, 1 SH, 3 SF, 22 BB, 2 HBP, .202/.290/.306
    Season Total: 496 PA, 442 AB, 97 H, 21 2B, 1 3B, 11 HR, 57 RBI, 82 K, 152 TB, 2 SH, 7 SF, 42 BB, 3 HBP, .219/.287/.344
    MLB Average Catcher's Line: .254/.315/.390

Friday, August 17, 2007

Ridiculously Low Walk Rates

Given the upswing in popularity of stats like on-base percentage over recent years, I thought it'd be fun to look at guys for whom a base on balls was anathema, or worse.

Only six players have managed to take only one walk in 150+ PA in a single season:

Andy Kosco1970228
Kim Batiste1994214
Doc Powers1906192
Al Cuccinello1935173
Walter Schmidt1922156
Gus Getz1909153

Only nine players have ever managed to amass more than 200 PA in a single season with only two bases on balls:

Whitey Alperman1909442
Rob Picciolo1980281
Shawon Dunston1999255
Jack Slattery1903228
Oscar Azocar1990218
Gus Getz1914218
Ivan Murrell1973216
Todd Greene2003210
Boss Schmidt1910207

Five guys have taken three walks in over 250+ PA:

Ossee Schreckengost1905429
Rob Picciolo1979363
John Warner1901305
Pat Hynes1904264
Tommy Thevenow1933262

Three players took four walks in 300+ PA: Alfredo Griffin in 441 PA in 1984, Bill Killefer in 375 PA in 1913, and Art Hoelskoetter in 330 PA in 1906.

Rounding out the list of guys with five or less walks, three players have taken five walks in 350+ PA: Hal Lanier had 401 PA in 1964, Boss Schmidt had 371 in 1907, and Ellis Valentine did it in 350 PA in 1982. Ivan Rodriguez currently has 5 BB in 2007 in 396 PA.

Let's look at the worst walk rates in those tables.

NameYearPA per BB
Andy Kosco1970228
Whitey Alperman1909221
Kim Batiste1994214
Doc Powers1906192
Al Cuccinello1935173

What about those pesky folks with a walk rate of zero? Here's the eight seasons of over 100 PA with no bases on balls:
  1. Craig Robinson, 1973, 148
  2. Alejandro Sanchez, 1985, 133
  3. Ernie Bowman, 1963, 131
  4. Rob Picciolo, 1984, 128
  5. Harry Bemis, 1909, 126
  6. Champ Osteen, 1908, 115
  7. Bert Adams, 1917, 111
  8. Gus Getz, 1916, 102
Finally, what about those guys who couldn't help but have a walk rate over zero? Here's the top 5 seasons by PA with the only walks being of the intentional variety:
  1. Jose Morales, 1976, 165 (3 IBB)
  2. Nelson Santovenia, 1991, 102 (2 IBB)
  3. Junior Noboa, 1991, 96
  4. Felix Millan, 1966, 93 (2 IBB)
  5. Leo Sutherland, 1980, 92

LA Chicks Dig the Small Ball...

or, A Difcufsion of the Home run in 2007 Baseball offenfes, As of Auguft 16.

I've seen the Milwaukee Brewers criticized for relying too much on the home run to power their offense, resulting in weaker numbers overall. Let's look at the data.

Alright, that table is sorted by the percentage of runs scored on home runs. The Brewers are atop the list and the Reds are the only team anywhere close. Surprisingly, the team with the second-fewest runs in all of major league baseball is third in relying on the home run to provide what runs they do get. Conversely, it's interesting that the Dodgers, Angels, and Royals are all so far below the rest of the teams. I guess small ball is en vogue in Los Angeles.

To underscore how it doesn't really matter how a team scores runs as long as they do score runs, let's look at a scatter plot of total runs scored vs. HR runs %:

Click to enlarge in new window.

There is no correlation between HR R % and total runs scored.

You'll notice the final column in the table is R/HR. Interestingly, while the NL relies more on home runs for runs than the AL does, they also score less per home run. The best team in the majors at hitting home runs with runners on is Baltimore, by a fairly large margin (1.78 to Washington's 1.72). The worst teams are Tampa Bay and Pittsburgh with 1.46 and 1.45, respectively. Knowing that, it would behoove us to presume there's not much correlation between R/HR and total runs scored, but let's get a chart to make sure.

Click to enlarge in new window.

Once again, there's no correlation between runs scored and runs per home run.

So what does this mean? Basically, as long as your team scores, it doesn't matter how they do it. So the Angels have scored 600 runs on only 84 home runs; they wouldn't be any better (or worse) off if they'd taken Atlanta's approach and hit 124 home runs. Similarly, if the Brewers bunted guys over and used all the other small ball tactics to amass their 571 runs, they wouldn't have used any better of an approach than what they have actually done.

The next time you want to berate your favorite team for failing to play small ball, keep in mind they might just be playing to their strengths rather than limiting themselves.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

0 BB, 0 K Complete Games

I've focused a lot on the offensive side of things so far, so let's look at the men on the hill. Since 1957, there have been 61 complete games in which a pitcher has neither walked nor struck out a single batter. Here's the most recent five; the dates link to the box score and play-by-play of the game:
  1. Joel Piniero, 5/1/2006, 9.0 IP, 9 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 1 HR, 106 pitches, 77 strikes
  2. Pedro Astacio, 4/24/1994, 9.0 IP, 7 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 HR, 108 pitches, 67 strikes
  3. Tom Glavine, 6/15/1993, 9.0 IP, 6 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 HR, 79 pitches, 53 strikes
  4. Bill Wegman, 7/11/1992, 9.0 IP, 13 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 HR, 134 pitches, 84 strikes
  5. Bill Gullickson, 5/26/1992, 9.0 IP, 6 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 HR, 84 pitches, 55 strikes
The entire list can be found by clicking here. It's interesting that they happened at least once a year from 1957-1994, except for 1960, 1970, and 1984 and then there was a twelve year break between 1994 and 2006. Have bullpens specialized that much more since thirteen years ago?

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Maybe They Chew "---mint" gum

Today's list is the top single seasons by PA with no doubles since the inception of the National League (1876) to the present:

Herman Pitz3901890
Rafael Belliard3211988
Choo Choo Coleman2771963
George Twombly2661914
Joe Stanley2581906
Bill Holbert2451879
Ozzie Virgil2411957
Hughie Critz2271935
Jersey Bakely2211888
Jim Donahue1991886

Monday, August 13, 2007

Double Play Rates

I think this is pretty cool. First, let's assume the opportune double play situations are as follows:

0 Outs, Runner on 1st
0 Outs, Runners on 1st and 2nd
0 Outs, Runners on 1st and 3rd
0 Outs, Bases Loaded
1 Out, Runner on 1st
1 Out, Runners on 1st and 2nd
1 Out, Runners on 1st and 3rd
1 Out, Bases Loaded

Any other situations take some fluky plays to turn into DP's. Between April 1, 1997, and the end of 2006 batters strolled to the plate 354,609 times in those eight situations combined. They started a double play 42,436 times for a DP rate of 12.0%. The highest rate for a season in that stretch was 2005, where 4357/35121 = 12.4%. The lowest rate was 1999, where 4316/37003 = 11.7%

When is there the highest chance of starting a double play? Between 1997-2006, batters in a 1 out, bases loaded situation have had the highest rate of double plays. It's 2531/18173 = 13.9%. Every year was above 13.2% with the fluky exception of 2000, where the highest number of opportunities (1949) combined with the lowest number of DP's (231), to give an 11.9% rate.

The lowest chance of a double play came in the 0 out, 1st and 3rd situation. Batters there had 10010 PA but only 1013 DP's, resulting in a 10.1% rate. 2006 was the most providential year for offense, as only 82 double plays resulted from 970 plate appearances (8.5%). The worst year was 2000, where 11.3% was the DP rate (120/1066).

If you're scrolling through games and see one of those eight situations, impress your friends by saying there's a one in eight shot of a double play.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Never Attempting a Stolen Base

Rickey Henderson is revered as the single-season and career stolen base king. Maury Wills, Lou Brock and Vince Coleman all were famous for their stolen base prowess. Heck, Herb Washington made a career out of it. But not every player in baseball history has been blessed with stolen base speed and/or instincts. Cecil Fielder took his time swiping even his first bag. But you can't say Cecil didn't try; he was caught stealing five times before his first steal.

Here's the position players with the most plate appearances who never recorded a stolen base [Note: SB records unavailable prior to 1883]:
  1. Russ Nixon, 2714
  2. Aaron Robinson, 2189
  3. Johnny Estrada, 2086
  4. Al Ferrara, 1573
  5. Ryan Howard, 1542
  6. Jason Phillips, 1537
  7. Matt Lecroy, 1519
  8. Jose Morales, 1428
  9. Bob Schmidt, 1426
  10. Javier Valentin, 1407
Four players on that list have played so far this year, and Matt Lecroy was in the majors as recently as 2006. Now, let's spice it up a little and look for the positions players who amassed the most plate appearances while never stealing a base or being caught stealing. [Note: The NL did not keep CS records until 1951, with a brief exception from 1915-1916. The AL has kept CS records since 1914 with 1917-1919 excepted. I have used only the data from when both leagues kept records, i.e., 1951-present. Blame the NL's statisticians if this upsets you.]
  1. Johnny Estrada, 2086
  2. Javier Valentin, 1407
  3. Chuck Essegian, 1140
  4. Dave Ross, 1078
  5. Jerry Narron, 926
  6. Sal Butera, 911
  7. Doug Camilli, 836
  8. Robert Machado, 694
  9. Billy Ashley, 688
  10. Jim Price, 676
Again, three of the players on this list are currently active, so it's subject to change. However, Johnny Estrada is far ahead of the pack. Perhaps not coincidentally, the three active players are all catchers. Traditionally the slowest players in baseball, let's see what happens when we cut them out of the list.

First, your top 10 non-catcher position players to never steal a base:
  1. Al Ferrara, 1573
  2. Ryan Howard, 1542
  3. Richie Scheinblum, 1392
  4. Coco Laboy, 1374
  5. Adrian Gonzalez, 1353
  6. Jeff Hamilton, 1273
  7. Sam Horn, 1185
  8. Chuck Essegian, 1140
  9. Dan Johnson, 1123
  10. Manny Jimenez, 1116
Howard, Gonzalez and Johnson are currently active. Here's the top 10 non-catcher position players with 0 SB and 0 CS:
  1. Chuck Essegian, 1140
  2. Billy Ashley, 688
  3. Kevin Kouzmanoff, 413
  4. Damon Minor, 334
  5. Mario Ramirez, 333
  6. Randy Johnson, 296 (the early-80's DH)
  7. Rich Severson, 293
  8. Bobby Etheridge, 281
  9. Willis Otanez, 231
  10. Jack Pierce, 225
Kouzmanoff is the only active player on the list, though Billy Butler is trying hard to join with 199 PA in his young career.

Now you know more than you ever wished to about the base-cloggers among big leaguers.

Midwest Diamond Report

I'm honored to report my blog has warranted a link at Midwest Diamond Report, Gregg Hoffman's current Midwest baseball and baseball history blog. For those perhaps unfamiliar with his name, Mr. Hoffman is a Milwaukee journalist with nearly four decades of experience. He can usually be found in the press box at Brewers home games. He also is the author of multiple books, not least of which is Down in the Valley, chronicling the 48-year history of Milwaukee County Stadium. He also runs Old School Collectibles, a website specializing in sports memorabilia and other items from halcyon days gone by.

Please give his sites a gander and a big thank you goes out to Mr. Hoffman for dropping the first link to my site out there on the Internet.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Walking a pitcher

One thing that's a cause of endless frustration to fans is when an opposing team's pitcher walks at the plate. This happened to the Brewers tonight, as Jeff Suppan walked Wandy Rodriguez and gave up a one-run double to Craig Biggio. Here's the 2007 season numbers for the player batting immediately after a pitcher walks:

133 PA, 130 AB, 30 H, 9 BB, 2 HBP, 2 SH, 1 SF, 31 RBI (34 total runs scored), 15% of baserunners scored, .238 AVG, .321 OBP

It's a pretty meaningless sample, but I would have figured batters hit a little better than .238/.321 immediately following a pitcher walking.

200+ Hits, Batting Average below .300

This is another recycled Brew Crew Ball post, so visitors from there please bear with me. In all of baseball history, only 46 times has a player put up more than 667 at bats and more than 200 hits in a single season. Matty Alou (2), Dave Cash (2), Juan Pierre (3), Pete Rose (2), Ichiro Suzuki (5), and Michael Young (3), are the only players to do it multiple times. The reason I set those parameters is simply because going 200 for 667 results in a .29985 batting average, slightly below .300 (without rounding).

Only nine (now ten) players have ever put up a batting average less than .30000 with over 200 hits in that season. When you trim that to a rounded off average of .300 or less, you can add a tenth (now eleventh). Here's the players:

Name Year Hits At Bats AVG OBP SLG
Jo-Jo Moore 1935 201 681 .29515 .353 .429
Maury Wills 1962 208 695 .29928 .347 .373
Lou Brock 1967 206 689 .29898 .327 .472
Matty Alou 1970 201 677 .29690 .329 .356
Ralph Garr 1973 200 668 .29940 .323 .415
Dave Cash 1974 206 687 .29985 .351 .378
Buddy Bell 1979 200 670 .29851 .327 .451
Bill Buckner 1985 201 673 .29866 .325 .447
Alfonso Soriano 2002 209 696.30029 .332 .547
Juan Pierre 2006204 699 .29185 .330 .388
Jimmy Rollins2007212716.29609.344.531

Juan Pierre has the worst batting average of any of the players ever to do this, by a relatively wide margin. He's right in the middle of the pack for on-base percentage, however, which is unsurprising given how little you must walk to even get 667 AB in the first place. A player at every position except catcher (and they probably shouldn't count, since even the best don't play every game) has done it.

EDIT: Jimmy Rollins made the list for 2007 with 212 hits in 716 at bats, good for a .29609 average.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Daily Tracker, 8/10

The daily tracker posts will be a clearinghouse for various trends or curiosities I've noticed and think are interesting. Simply because I follow the team much more closely than others, more often than not it will be Brewers players featured, though I'm certainly open to suggestions.

Without further ado, the first thing I've been tracking is the offense of the Chicago Cubs' catching staff since June 20, the day Michael Barrett was traded to the San Diego Padres. More recent acquisition Jason Kendall has been on a tear lately (.360/.467/.560 in August, coming into tonight) and that continued in the Cubs' 6-2 win over the Rockies. Kendall went 3-4 with a walk and 2 RBI, bringing his line since joining the Cubs to .317/.414/.417 with 8 RBI in 18 games (71 PA). While that hot streak won't continue forever, he's showing that he can still swing the bat. The Cubs' catching staff's overall stats since June 20:

186 PA, 161 AB, 32 H, 8 2B, 1 3B, 2 HR, 23 RBI, 34 K, 48 TB, 1 SH, 3 SF, 19 BB, 2 HBP, .199/.286/.298

According to Brew Crew Ball, the 2006 league average catcher put up a .269/.329/.416 line to give you an idea just how bad they've been since trading Barrett. To their credit, however, Barrett has actually done worse, so you could argue trading him helped the team offensively. Of course, that's kind of like switching from pouring salt on a wound to pouring sugar. It's less painful, but it doesn't really help matters.

Now for the Brewers I've been keeping an eye on. First, there's been a big deal made about how often Johnny Estrada swings at the first pitch. Here's his relevant data, updated to include tonight's victory over the Astros in 11 innings.

Plate Appearances: 357
Times Swung at First Pitch: 184
Times Made Contact with First Pitch: 162
First Pitch Put Into Play: 88
Swung at First Pitch Percentage: 51.5%
Contact Percentage Swinging at First Pitch: 88.0% (fouls and balls put into play)
First Pitch Contact Into Play Percentage: 54.3%
First Pitch Put Into Play Overall Percentage: 24.6%

So, roughly one out of every two plate appearances sees him hacking at the first pitch and seven out of every eight first pitch swings result in contact. Of those swings, five out of nine are hit into play. Overall, about a quarter of his plate appearances have lasted one pitch. He has a dramatic split relating to this:

First Pitch Put in Play or Taken for Ball: .324/.358/.458 (191 PA)
After 0-1: .239/.241/.380 (166 PA)

It's too small to really say much and I don't know how it holds up over his career, but it's interesting nonetheless. Credit goes to TAPmoney at Brew Crew Ball for suggesting that angle.

The final note I have relates to Brewers rookie third baseman Ryan Braun. For the season, he's now at .345/.390/.655 after his 1 for 6 showing tonight (complete with cheap bloop single). Since being called up, he's amassed 305 plate appearances, leaving him 55 short of qualifying for league leaderboards (3.1*116 Brewers games = 359.6, so 360 PA is the minimum). Thus, when hitching an 0 for 55 collar to his numbers, you get his "leaderboard" line:


Coming into today, that line would have put him 11th in the league for slugging average. Pretty impressive for a guy taking his first crack at the big leagues.

SO > TB, Minimum 200 AB

One of the first quirky things I ever wanted to investigate was the number of players who managed to have a "strikeout percentage" above their slugging percentage in a season. I also wanted to make sure the list only consisted of players who stuck with a team for a significant part of the year, so I set a minimum of 200 AB. I figure that makes up at least half a season for a bench/platoon player. The initial results of this study were posted by me on Brew Crew Ball, so any visitors from there may be familiar with this.

These are all the players from 1901 to 2007 who have accomplished the feat.


Bill Bergen1911BROC227.132.183.1543542(4)
Billy Consolo1954BOSSS242.227.324.277676959
Billy Consolo1959BOS/WSHSS216.213.331.269585967
Ernie Fazio1963HOU2B228.184.273.281647065
Jerry Kindall1963CLE2B234.205.266.295697158
Dave Nicholson1964CHWLF294.204.329.36510712696
Chris Cannizzaro1965NYMC251.183.270.231586046
Don Zimmer1965WSAC226.199.284.252575955
Ray Oyler1966DETSS210.171.263.252536248
Jerry Zimmerman1967MINC234.167.243.192454926
Ray Oyler1968DETSS215.135.213.186405920
George Scott1968BOS1B350.171.236.237838840
Dick Tracewski1968DETSS212.156.239.236505143
Al Weis1968NYMSS274.172.234.204566332
Darrel Chaney1969CINSS209.191.278.234497542
Ray Oyler1969SEPSS255.165.260.267688049
Jim Mason1975NYYSS223.152.228.211474927
John Hale1978SEARF211.171.283.265566456
Leroy Stanton1978SEALF302.182.265.248758047
Bobby Bonds1980STLLF231.203.305.316737472
Tom Donohue1980CALC218.188.216.243536327
Reggie Jackson1983CALRF397.194.290.34013514074
Gary Pettis1987CALCF394.208.302.25910212453
Jody Davis1989ATLC231.169.246.242566139
John Shelby1989LADCF345.183.237.229799236
Jeff Kunkel1990TEXSS200.170.221.280566640
Rob Deer1991DETRF448.179.314.38617317592
Hensley Meulens1991NYYLF288.222.276.319929765
Gary Pettis1991TEXCF282.216.341.277789175
Andujar Cedeno1992HOUSS220.173.232.277617147
Jack Clark1992BOSDH257.210.350.311808782
Billy Ashley1995LADLF215.237.320.372808890
Benji Gil1995TEXSS415.219.266.34714414760
Kimera Bartee1996DETCF217.253.308.304667757
Archi Cianfrocco1997SDP1B220.245.328.355788085
Mark Johnson1997PIT1B219.215.345.315697873
Ryan McGuire1998MON1B210.186.292.243515546
Greg Vaughn2002TBDLF251.163.286.315798260
Mark Bellhorn2005BOS/NYY2B300.210.324.35710711281
Mark Bellhorn2006SDP3B253.190.285.344879066

Kimera Bartee holds the record for highest batting average among the players listed with .253 in 1996. Jack Clark's .350 in 1992 is the OBP leader. Rob Deer, unsurprisingly, has the slugging record with .386 in 1991. Deer's .700 is the highest OPS, as well. When you use OPS+, however, Dave Nicholson is the leader, with 96 in 1964. Go figure, none of these guys was an average offensive player. Interestingly, Bill Bergen's 1911 campaign scores a -4 OPS+.

Billy Consolo, Ray Oyler and Gary Pettis are the only multiple offenders. Rob Deer (25), Reggie Jackson (14) and Dave Nicholson (13) were the only players with double-digit home runs in their seasons. Bobby Bonds and Dick Tracewski were only one strikeout away from having the same total bases and strikeouts. Darrel Chaney had 26 fewer total bases than strikeouts in 1969 and actually had the same number in both categories in 1973. The only two batters to record over 400 AB in the season were Rob Deer and, of all people, Benji Gil.

There are a few players this season who have a shot at finishing with total bases than strikeouts in over 200 AB.

  • Ryan Langerhans has 189 AB with 54 TB and 71 SO and could potentially become the first player to perform the feat while playing for three teams during the year.
  • Joe Borchard has 179 AB with 56 TB and 60 SO, but he was recently designated for assignment by Florida.
  • Ryan Shealy has 172 AB with 53 TB and 53 SO though he probably won't be called up to get the final 28 AB he needs to make the cut.
  • Wily Mo Pena has 59 TB and 56 SO in 151 AB, but he doesn't play often enough to become a serious contender.

If your team is already out of the running or you just need a distraction from the stress of a pennant race, you now have something to check out.