Wednesday, April 6, 2011
Fun and quirky: Early meaningless stats!
By David Schoenfield
One of the fun aspects of the first week of the season is the quirky results we see. No, the Royals are not better than the Red Sox, but you gotta love the Royals playing exciting baseball and going 4-1.
So, here's a random scroll through some of the numbers -- mostly meaningless, of course -- that we've seen so far. All stats are entering Wednesday's games.
Follow David Schoenfield on Twitter at @dschoenfield. Follow the SweetSpot blog at @espn_sweet_spot.
- Jonny Gomes leads the majors with seven walks. Gomes walked just 39 times in 573 plate appearances in 2010 (with 123 strikeouts), so I'm not sure where this plate discipline is suddenly coming from. He drew three walks off Shaun Marcum, a pitcher who had the fourth-best walk rate in the AL last season.
- Ryan Howard is hitting .412, but has zero walks. The year he hit 58 home runs (2006), Howard drew 108 walks. He drew 107 the following season, giving him a career high 17.5 percent walk rate. That fell all the way to 9.5 percent last season. His OBP, once as high as .425, was only .353 in 2010. Do pitchers simply not fear him as much anymore?
- Colby Rasmus has five walks, two strikeouts. Sticking with the plate discipline theme, Rasmus has shown positive improvement so far. He had a 148/63 SO/BB ratio last season, striking out 27.7 percent of the time. If he cuts down the strikeouts, he's going to be a big-time weapon.
- Nick Hundley leads the majors with a .533 average. Hundley actually isn't that bad of a hitter for a catcher. His 2010 line of .249/.308/.418 was pretty good for Petco Park and gave him an above-average adjusted OPS. He could be a 15-homer guy if the Padres make him an everyday catcher.
- Alex Gordon is hitting .375 with a 1.067 OPS. The former No. 2 overall pick has fizzled at the major league level and this is probably his last chance in a K.C. uniform. It's unlikely everything has suddenly clicked, but it's nice to see him off to a good start.
- The Royals lead the majors with 32 walks. In 2009, the Royals were next-to-last in walks drawn in the AL. In 2010, under new hitting coach Kevin Seitzer, they climbed to ninth. So far in 2011, Seitzer has them showing continued patience. This is good news for Royals fans, especially with more talented hitters soon arriving.
- Royals have four wins, all in their final at-bat. According to Elias, the Royals are the third team in 20 years to win their first four games in such fashion, joining the 2010 Reds and 2003 Reds. The 2010 Reds actually won their first six in their final at-bat. Hope, Royals fans, hope.
- Starlin Castro has yet to swing and miss at a pitch. He has 34 swings, according to ESPN Stats and Information. Next-best: Alberto Callaspo with 23.
- There have been 20 blown saves. That's all blown saves, not just ninth-inning ones. There have been 61 games played, so we're averaging a blown save every three games. There have been 34 saves, a ratio of 1.7 saves for every blown save. In 2010, we had 2.2 saves for every blown save, so the bullpens have been shaky early on.
- The Dodgers have hit one home run in five games. Now, four of those games came against the Giants (and the Dodgers won three of them anyway), but L.A. was 15th in the NL in homers a year ago.
- The Rays are hitting .138. They have 17 hits and have scored six runs in four losses. Manny Ramirez and Johnny Damon are a combined 2-for-27.
- Orioles pitchers have allowed a .152 batting average. Well, duh, they played Tampa Bay.
- The Phillies are 21st in the majors in ERA. Greatest rotation ever? Absurd. (Just kidding, Phillies fans! Just a joke. Take it easy. Your team is 3-1. They're fine. The rotation is superb.)