Sunday, April 28, 2013
Top stats to know: Tigers at Braves
By Jeremy Lundblad
Five stats you’ll likely hear quite a bit more about on tonight’s telecast of the Atlanta Braves and Detroit Tigers at 8 pm ET on ESPN.
1-- Justin Upton has 12 home runs in his first 23 games with the Braves. That’s two shy of the record for most home runs in April (shared by Alex Rodriguez and Albert Pujols).
The Elias Sports Bureau notes that the only other player with that many home runs in his first 23 games with a franchise was Glenallen Hill (also 12) with the 2000 Yankees after being acquired shortly before the deadline.
Upton has seven two-strike homers this season. He had six in 2012.
The Braves have reaped the benefits of power this season. They are 15-1 in games in which they homer, 0-7 when homerless.
2-- Tigers starter Doug Fister (3-0) looks to be the 6th Tigers pitcher in the past 90 years to finish April 4-0 or better. Fister has a 2.10 career ERA in April, the lowest among any active pitcher with at least 90 career innings pitched for the month.
3-- After posting a 6.20 ERA over the first 3 months of the 2012 season, Braves starter Mike Minor has turned it around significantly. Including this season, he has a 2.08 ERA since the 2012 All-Star Break. Only teammate Kris Medlen (1.50) has a lower ERA among starters in that span.
4-- Miguel Cabrera is looking to be the third right-handed hitter to win 3 straight batting titles, joining Honus Wagner (four straight from 1906 to 1909) and Rogers Hornsby (1920 to 1925). Since the start of 2008, Cabrera ranks tied for second in the majors in home runs, first in RBI, and second in OPS.
5-- Braves shortstop Andrelton Simmons might be the best defensive shortstop in baseball. He played in only 49 games last season, but his defensive impact was so great, he ranked second among SS in Defensive Runs Saved with 19 in only 426 innings.
Simmons is part of a new wave of shortstop prospects hailing from the tiny island of Curacao (pop. 142,180). That’s about the population of Dayton, Ohio. He and Didi Gregorious of the Arizona Diamondbacks currently have starting jobs.
Three more Curacao-born shortstops (Jurickson Profar, Xander Bogaerts and Jonathan Schoop) rank among Keith Law’s Top 50 minor league prosepcts.