Baseball BeatMay 21, 2006
Weekly Stats Leaders
By Rich Lederer

The QUAD and K/100P leaders have been updated at the bottom of our sidebar. Albert Pujols maintained the lead in slugging average (.803), times on base (80), and total bases (114), but fell to second place in on-base percentage (.447, behind Barry Bonds' .479).

Pujols is actually leading MLB in those three departments, bettering the AL leaders in SLG (Jim Thome, .685), TOB (Derek Jeter, 82), and TB (Miguel Tejada, 103). Jason Giambi tops the junior circuit in OBP (.476). After giving way to Thome in SLG last week, Giambi dropped into a tie for third in TOB (79).

Thome and Travis Hafner are clearly having the best seasons offensively in the AL. Thome is first in SLG, fourth in OBP (.434), T3 in TOB (79), and T2 in TB (98). Hafner is third in OBP (.435) and SLG (.645), second in TOB (81), and T2 in TB (98). Both players are on teams in the AL Central, hit left-handed, and serve as DHs. Thome was drafted by the Cleveland Indians in the 13th round of the 1989 amateur draft and hit .287/.414/.567 with 334 HR and more than 900 runs, RBI, and BB during a span that covered 1991-2002.

Speaking of leaders, how much money could you have won for picking Brad Ausmus to rank fourth in OBP at this juncture of the season? Believe it or not but the man with a lifetime OBP of .328 has been getting on base at a clip better than 43% of the time thus far in 2006. Ausmus is hitting a relatively hollow .336 but has walked more often than he has struck out (16 to 15).

Bill Hall is also exceeding expectations. His .635 slugging average tops everyone in the NL other than Pujols and Matt Holliday (.643). Had someone told you that two Colorado players whose last names start with the letter "H" were in the top 10 in the Quad categories, is there one person outside Holliday's and Brad Hawpe's families who would not have guessed Todd Helton would be one of them? Holliday is second in SLG and TB (108), while Hawpe is sixth in OBP (.422), fifth in SLG (.625), T10 in TOB (73), and T4 in TB (95). Pretty heady stuff.

With respect to surprises, how about Casey Blake and Alexis Rios ranking second in the AL in OBP (.440) and SLG (.664), respectively? I know there were a lot of skeptics who thought Blake was a weak link in Cleveland's offense and that Rios was better suited to be a fourth outfielder despite his tools.

* * * * *

On the pitching side, Pedro Martinez and Johan Santana once again are leading their leagues in strikeouts per 100 pitches. Martinez has the best K/100P in the majors with a phenomenal 7.84, or 0.70 better than Santana's MLB-leading rate last year.

At the request of a reader, I am providing the entire rankings (from 1-99) for K/100P. Among qualified pitchers, the league average is 4.18 and the median is 4.07.

PLAYER           TEAM   K/100P
Pedro Martinez    NYM    7.84
Johan Santana     Min    7.49
Chris Capuano     Mil    6.45
Cory Lidle        Phi    6.31
Jeremy Bonderman  Det    6.30
Carlos Zambrano   ChC    6.28
Aaron Harang      Cin    6.02
Mike Mussina      NYY    5.86
Dave Bush         Mil    5.83
Scott Kazmir      TB     5.81
John Smoltz       Atl    5.63
Jake Peavy        SD     5.35
Curt Schilling    Bos    5.22
Chris Carpenter   StL    5.12
Cliff Lee         Cle    5.08
Tom Glavine       NYM    5.06
John Lackey       LAA    5.04
Chan Ho Park      SD     5.00
Sean Marshall     ChC    4.88
Brandon Webb      Ari    4.85
Bronson Arroyo    Cin    4.85
Vicente Padilla   Tex    4.84
Kelvim Escobar    LAA    4.84
Greg Maddux       ChC    4.82
Javier Vazquez    CWS    4.71
Scott Baker       Min    4.70
Dan Haren         Oak    4.70
Kevin Millwood    Tex    4.68
Brett Myers       Phi    4.67
Tim Hudson        Atl    4.67
Ervin Santana     LAA    4.66
Ted Lilly         Tor    4.59
Brandon Claussen  Cin    4.57
Chris Young       SD     4.57
Andy Pettitte     Hou    4.56
Brad Penny        LA     4.54
Ian Snell         Pit    4.53
Jon Lieber        Phi    4.50
Josh Beckett      Bos    4.48
Jason Schmidt     SF     4.46
Miguel Batista    Ari    4.44
Matt Clement      Bos    4.34
Jeff Francis      Col    4.31
Jason Jennings    Col    4.28
Nate Robertson    Det    4.26
Gil Meche         Sea    4.23
Randy Johnson     NYY    4.20
Roy Halladay      Tor    4.10
John Thomson      Atl    4.09
Tim Wakefield     Bos    4.07
Barry Zito        Oak    4.00
Clay Hensley      SD     3.95
Roy Oswalt        Hou    3.94
Tony Armas        Was    3.92
Wandy Rodriguez   Hou    3.91
Mark Mulder       StL    3.85
Zach Duke         Pit    3.83
Brett Tomko       LA     3.81
Victor Santos     Pit    3.81
Jamie Moyer       Sea    3.80
Livan Hernandez   Was    3.72
John Koronka      Tex    3.71
Kenny Rogers      Det    3.60
Rodrigo Lopez     Bal    3.60
Justin Verlander  Det    3.60
Erik Bedard       Bal    3.53
Jamey Wright      SF     3.52
Dontrelle Willis  Fla    3.51
Brad Radke        Min    3.50
Doug Davis        Mil    3.47
Jeff Suppan       StL    3.46
Jake Westbrook    Cle    3.45
Jeff Weaver       LAA    3.41
Freddy Garcia     CWS    3.41
Steve Trachsel    NYM    3.39
Jose Contreras    CWS    3.32
Paul Maholm       Pit    3.30
Josh Towers       Tor    3.20
Derek Lowe        LA     3.16
Kris Benson       Bal    3.14
Josh Fogg         Col    3.14
Joe Blanton       Oak    3.13
Seth McClung      TB     3.10
Aaron Cook        Col    3.08
Paul Byrd         Cle    3.04
Mike Maroth       Det    2.98
Jon Garland       CWS    2.97
Matt Morris       SF     2.90
Jarrod Washburn   Sea    2.83
Joel Pineiro      Sea    2.78
Kameron Loe       Tex    2.76
Mark Buehrle      CWS    2.72
Chien-Ming Wang   NYY    2.72
Scott Elarton     KC     2.67
Jason Marquis     StL    2.59
Jason Johnson     Cle    2.48
Ramon Ortiz       Was    2.09
Carlos Silva      Min    1.92
Casey Fossum      TB     1.87

The White Sox have four starters with below-average K/100P. Only Javier Vazquez sports a respectable rate. The team's strong pitching is more a testament to its outstanding defense as well an ability to keep the ball in the yard. It may also be a function of the fact that CWS starters are allowed to pitch deeper into games than any other staff. The Pale Hose are first in the Beane Count, ranking no worse than fifth in the league in walks and home runs, offensively and defensively.


Thanks for the complete list of pitchers, Rich!

You're welcome, Jurgen.

Just out of curiosity, what's the minimum IP to qualify right now? King Felix has been pitching more like a Joker, but I have him at 5.75 K/100p. Meche makes the list, and Felix is only 3 IP behind him.

Felix just missed out. I had actually noticed that when I put up the rankings, but I didn't want to fudge the "rules" just for him.

In order to qualify, a pitcher needs to average one inning per game. Through Saturday, Hernandez had pitched 43 1/3 IP and Seattle had played 44 games. Felix started on Sunday and went six and now has thrown 49 1/3 innings.

Your calculation is correct. With 51 Ks and 887 pitches, Hernandez is averaging 5.75 K/100P. That would be good for 11th in the majors and 5th in the AL.

Felix is still whiffing batters and getting them to hit groundballs. Those are the good signs. However, his BB and HR rates are both up. Those are the bad signs. The fact that his BABIP is the highest in MLB at .349 might eventually work in his favor, if one believes in the likelihood that it should regress toward the mean.