Stats & Info: Dennys Reyes

Call to the 'pen: D'Backs rattle opponents

April, 8, 2011
A team already off to a good start in the relief department has been the Arizona Diamondbacks. After posting the 6th-worst relief ERA in the Divisional Era (since 1969) according to Elias, the Diamondbacks bullpen has turned it around early in 2011. Arizona relief pitchers lead baseball with a 10.38 strikeout per 9 innings ratio and have a combined ERA of 2.77. In three of five games they have not allowed an earned run.

Newcomer and closer J.J. Putz has not allowed a baserunner in his two appearances, and according to Inside Edge, is throwing his first pitch for a strike 83 percent of the time. There are areas of concern however. Relievers are allowing a .288 batting average, with a WHIP of 1.62.

The Boston Red Sox terrible start to the season has been well documented to this point, and the bullpen should bare a huge portion of the blame. Through the first week of play, Red Sox relievers have posted the highest ERA in baseball (8.04) and have allowed only two fewer runs than they’ve scored as an offense.

Much of the problem stems from Boston’s newcomers, Dennys Reyes and Dan Wheeler. Granted, it’s still very early, but the two have been less than effective thus far. Reyes’ primary pitch is the fastball, but he’s only converting it into a strike 33 percent of the time this season according to Inside Edge, down from 57 percent in 2010. Reyes has since been designated for assignment.

Meanwhile Dan Wheeler had been one of the best middle relievers in baseball for the Tampa Bay Rays over the last three seasons. His .195 opponent batting average was tied for 3rd among relievers with 20 or fewer saves and at least 150 innings pitched according to Baseball Reference. But this year, Wheeler has already allowed two home runs in his first three outings, both off of his fastball. Last year, Wheeler gave up seven home runs all season. That is a concern, as Fangraphs tells us that his ground ball-fly ball ratio has been under 1.00 in every season since 2005. As a pitcher that relies on fly-ball outs, Wheeler may struggle in a park like Fenway, which had an ESPN Park Factor of 1.083 last year (a rate higher than 1.000 favors the hitter), 7th-highest in baseball.

Tyler Clippard
The underrated bullpen performer of this past week is arguably Tyler Clippard of the Washington Nationals. After a rough start to his career with the New York Yankees, Clippard has found a home in Washington. This past week he didn't get credited with a run allowed in six innings of relief. In each of his four appearances, Clippard entered the game with runners in scoring position. Twice he allowed a runner to score but both were via outs. So far only two of the 11 batters to face him with runners in scoring position have reached base and both were via a walk.
Today’s Trivia: Can you name the only two players with 50+ home runs for both the Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees?

Quick Hits: Let’s take a look at some fast facts regarding the Red Sox-Yankees rivalry and what the fresh faces might mean for 2011.

• The Red Sox and Yankees have split the season series 9-9 in each of the past three seasons. That includes 2009 when the Red Sox took the first eight games against New York.

• Joe Girardi took over in 2008, so that makes him an even 27-27 against Boston while with New York. Including the postseason, Terry Francona is 67-69 against the Yankees as Boston manager.

• According to Elias, this will be the 28th time that the Red Sox have had their home opener against the Yankees. Boston has won the last six and in 14-13 overall.

• The last time the Red Sox faced the Yankees while on a six-game losing streak. According to Elias, it was in the midst of a nine-game streak in 2001. The last time the Red Sox snapped a six-game losing streak against the Yankees? May 1998.

• Mark Teixeira hit eight home runs against the Red Sox last season. That’s the most by a Yankees hitter since Mickey Mantle clubbed nine in 1958. Oddly, Teixeira hit just .237 against Boston in 2010.
Adrian Gonzalez

• Adrian Gonzalez has never beaten the Yankees, though he’s only had had three chances. Friday is also the Fenway Park debut for the hitter who has the most opposite field home runs in the majors since 2008.

• By contrast, Carl Crawford has almost a full season of data against New York. With a .301 lifetime average, he has 171 hits in 138 games. Among active players, only Manny Ramirez and Vernon Wells have more hits against New York, who is actually tied with David Ortiz for third. In 2005, Crawford tallied 35 hits against the Yankees, the first person to do that since Dale Mitchell in 1952.

• Since 2009, Dan Wheeler has made 10 appearances against the Yankees, but only lasted 5⅓ innings while allowing six home runs. His ERA in that span? 20.25. The Yankees are hitting .467 with a 1.634 OPS.

• It looks like Dennys Reyes won’t quite get to experience the rivalry, as he was designated for assignment Friday. If this is it for Reyes in a Boston uniform, he will go down as the only pitcher in Red Sox history with more hit batsmen (2) than innings pitched (1⅔).

• Russell Martin has faced the Red Sox in three games, and is just 1-for-11 (.091).
Rafael Soriano

• Rafael Soriano has been excellent against the Red Sox in his career with a 2.61 ERA and .178 opponent batting average. He had five saves against Boston last season, the most for a pitcher since Francisco Rodriguez in 2008.

Trivia Answer: Johnny Damon and Mike Stanley are the only players with 50+ HR with both the Yankees and Red Sox. Babe Ruth? He only had 49 homers with Boston.
Our weekly statistical review of MLB moves focuses on notables who joined the AL East.

Vladimir Guerrero
How does Vladimir Guerrero have the potential to help the Baltimore Orioles? Let’s take a closer look.

Guerrero boosts the Orioles in multiple areas in which they were deficient last season. Baltimore slugged .358 against left-handed pitching, fourth-worst in baseball last season and the team’s worst since 1988.

In adding Guerrero, Derrek Lee and Mark Reynolds, the Orioles netted three players whose combined slugging percentage vs lefties last season was .495. Guerrero slugged .536.

In all three spots in the lineup (DH, first base, third base), the Orioles have a player whose numbers vs lefties were better than the primary player used by Baltimore last season.

The other thing that comes with Guerrero is that Baltimore gets the same version of Guerrero when there are runners in scoring position as when there aren’t.

Guerrero has hit .300 or better in those situations in 12 of the last 13 seasons. His .321 batting average with runners in scoring position is a near match for what he hit in those situations last year (.320) and his career batting average overall (.320).

The Orioles hit .246 with runners in scoring position last season, fourth-worst in baseball.

Guerrero also figures to maintain his power in a hitter-friendly park.

While Rangers Ballpark was slightly favorable to right-handed batters over the last three seasons, with a home run park factor of 114 (according to The Bill James Handbook), Camden Yards is even more friendly, boosting homers for righties by 21 percent in that span, tied with Coors Field for the fourth-highest mark in the major leagues.

Lastly, though this won’t necessarily impact wins and losses, Guerrero still possesses a “wow” factor to his home run hitting. According to data compiled by our video review crew for, Guerrero averaged a distance of 408.14 feet per home run. That was 12 feet better than the big league average and eighth-best among the 47 players with at least 25 home runs in 2010. New teammate Reynolds ranked second.
-- Mark Simon, Katie Sharp, Derek Czenczelewski

Ramirez/Garcia battle worth watching
Manny Ramirez

The moves of Freddy Garcia (New York Yankees) and Manny Ramirez (Tampa Bay Rays) to the AL East increase the likelihood that the two will face off for the first time since 2006.

Ramirez has been Garcia’s kryptonite. A check of shows Ramirez has the highest OPS (1.559) and slugging percentage (1.042) among batters Garcia has faced at least 20 times (including postseason).

Ramirez has three homers, two doubles and a single over his last six at-bats versus Garcia, though they may go five years in between meetings.
--Katie Sharp

Reyes an unusual lefty in 2010
New potential Boston Red Sox lefty Dennys Reyes had some of baseball’s most unusual splits last season. Typically a lefty specialist, Reyes had far better success against right-handed hitters (.177 opponents batting average) than lefties (.307).

Dennys Reyes
The discrepancy was wider when looking only at when contact was made. Within the small samplings faced by a lefty reliever, right-handers hit .418 when making contact, lefties just .193, both numbers out of sync with major league norms.

Reyes may have caught a couple of breaks against right-handers. Inside Edge, which tracks every major league pitch, has its video scouts chart “well-hit balls.” It is an opinion-based rating, but with parameters emphasizing line drives and long fly balls.

Right-handers who had a "well-hit ball" against lefties got a hit 66 percent of the time last season. But against Reyes, they were 6-for-16 (.375). Three or four more hits would have significantly impacted his numbers.

Reyes faced 75 right-handed hitters last season and did not allow a home run, third-most among lefties in the major leagues.
--Mark Simon