Mmm Mmm Good!
May, Monday, Miscellany. With apologies to Minnesota Mining & Manufacturing (as well as to my Mom--Happy Mother's Day!), these are my 3M for the day. Pieced together by Scotch Tape, I hereby convert my Post-it Notes into today's column.
For those readers who missed the announcement at the end of April, we have been updating the league leaders in the four QUAD categories and the top three in strikeouts per 100 pitches every Sunday morning. The stats are always through the end of play on Saturday.
To show you how well Albert Pujols has performed during the first month-and-a-half, look no further than the bottom of our sidebar on the left. Pujols is leading the National League in on-base percentage, slugging average, times on base, and total bases. Should the reigning MVP keep this pace up, he will become only the 18th player in modern history to earn The Quad Award by leading his respective league in all four Quad categories. He would become the first player to achieve this rare distinction since Todd Helton in 2000 and only the third National Leaguer (Mike Schmidt being the other) since fellow Redbirds star Stan Musial captured such honors in 1943 and 1948.
Over in the American League, Jason Giambi sits atop the leaderboard in OBP and TOB. He relinquished bragging rights in SLG this week to Jim Thome, who is the early favorite to win Comeback Player of the Year and may be a good reason why Kenny Williams could earn the title of Executive of the Year.
On the pitching side, Pedro Martinez and Johan Santana jumped to the top of the K/100P stat. Martinez leads the majors with 7.60 Ks per 100 pitches. Santana leads the AL (7.09). The southpaw led all starting pitchers last year with 7.14 K/100P.
I love pitchers who combine strikeouts with groundouts but Pedro and Johan are proof positive that flyball types can succeed, too. However, such pitchers need to be able to punch out batters or else the tendency to give up flyballs will come back to haunt them. To wit, Dave Williams has the third-worst K/100P (2.40) among qualifieds and the lowest G/F ratio (0.67). It should be no surprise that he has one of the worst ERAs (6.32). Paul Byrd also sports a low strikeout (2.69)/high flyball (0.88) combination that virtually guarantees trouble (6.52 ERA).
Brew Crew Ball has created a Minor League Splits Database, a valuable resource for situational statistics that have never been readily available before. The information is gathered from play-by-play logs and includes lefty-righty and home/road splits, batted-ball data, and stats specific to certain base/out situations.
Let's say you want to look up a player's stats like...oh, Jered Weaver. You can get his AVG/OBP/SLG, BABIP, WHIP, BB/9, K/9, HR/9, and batted ball types vs. LHB and RHB, home, road, with 0-1-2 out, none on, men on, and RISP.
Speaking of Weaver's splits, you can see for yourself that he is handling left-handed batters just fine despite claims to the contrary. (The Brew Crew numbers don't include Weaver's last outing on 5/11 and his AVG/OBP/SLG stats are all materially lower than what is shown.) I have rarely, if ever, seen a pitcher who is held to a higher standard than all others as I have with Weaver. "Doesn't have good enough stuff" becomes "Gives up too many flyballs" becomes "Can't get LHB out." If it's not one thing, it's something else.
All I know is that the guy is 3-1 with a 2.79 ERA in Triple-A. He is also striking out batters at a rate of 10.71 K/9, 30.5% of batters faced, and 7.68 K100P.
IP H R ER BB SO BF PIT ST BA G F
4/08 @ TUC 7 2 1 1 0 8 24 83 62 21 5 8
4/13 @ LV 5 9 4 4 0 6 23 91 63 28 1 7
4/19 vs TUC 6 5 0 0 2 6 25 102 64 38 3 8
4/24 @ POR 5 7 5 5 2 6 23 95 58 37 2 7
4/29 @ TAC 6 4 2 2 1 12 23 90 64 26 2 4
5/06 vs TAC 6 5 1 1 1 8 24 101 70 31 5 5
5/11 @ OMA 7 3 0 0 0 4 22 89 64 25 6 10
TOTALS 42 35 13 13 6 50 164 651 435 206 24 49
Interestingly, like Martinez and Santana, Weaver is another example of a pitcher who can do just fine by giving up more flyballs than groundballs. Would I like to see Jered induce more grounders? Sure. But, as long as Weaver keeps his K rate up, he will succeed no matter where he pitches.
For more on Weaver, be sure to check out Eric Neel's human interest article on Jered and Jeff online (subscription required) or in the May 22 edition of ESPN The Magazine.