Weird Stats of 2007
Unusual baseball stats are one of my addictions. Mention Enzo Hernandez's 12 RBI in 549 at-bats in 1971, and I'm all ears. There's always Alfredo Griffin's four walks in 419 AB (.241 BA, .250 OBP) in 1984 when a quick fix is needed.
So what are some of baseball's oddest numbers as the season approaches the halfway point? Here are my picks.
No leader: After the first 55 games of the season, seven Cardinals each had two stolen bases. No one had more, and no one had a lone steal. At this plodding pace, the Redbirds would have had a seven-way tie at the end of the season, with the "leaders" swiping a measly six bags apiece.
Since then, the race has narrowed to a three-way tie between So Taguchi, Adam Kennedy and Scott Rolen. With four steals apiece, none of the trio is on a double-digit pace. Whatever happened to Whitey Herzog's running Redbirds?
A pair of 20s?: Sticking with the Cardinals, starting Kip Wells (3-11, 6.45) and Anthony Reyes (0-10, 6.40) are both on pace for a 20-loss season.
From wild hacker to Mr. Picky: Brewers outfielder Kevin Mench had no unintentional walks and a single intentional free pass as of June 28. The Delaware native had a .273 batting average to go with his nearly identical .274 OBP.
It looks like Mench is now auditioning for Billy Beane, as he picked up three walks - including two in consecutive plate appearances - against the Cubs on June 29 and 30.
No doubles? No problem!: Lance Berkman led the National League with 55 two-baggers in 2001. It's been a completely different story for Fat Elvis this year.
Berkman had a lone double in his first 187 ABs. A recent surge (relatively speaking) has pushed that total up to six as of June 30.
Earn your way on: Opposing hitters better come up swinging against Paul Byrd, as the Indians right-hander has given up just five walks in 86.2 IP. On the negative side, the soft-tossing Byrd has surrendered 120 hits. He is 7-3 with a 4.67 ERA.
Dominating in any language: Dodgers closer Takashi Saito is 1-0 with a 1.38 ERA and 22 saves in 23 opportunities. He has 42 strikeouts and just three walks in 32.2 IP. The middle-aged (37) veteran of Japanese baseball arrived in the U.S. with little fanfare last year. In a season and a half, the righty has gone 7-2 with a 1.86 ERA, 46 saves and 149 strikeouts in just 111 IP.
Making every hit count: Red Sox shortstop Julio Lugo has 34 RBI and is 20 for 20 in stolen bases. Those are pretty good numbers for a .190 (53 for 279) hitter.
Ignore that last number: Indians closer Joe Borowski is 22 for 24 in save opportunities this season, and just about every team would take that ratio. A couple of wretched outings account for Borowski's 5.70 ERA.
A pair of anti-Rickeys: Part-time leadoff men Ivan Rodriguez and Scott Hatteberg do little to inspire memories of Rickey Henderson.
With just four walks in 268 ABs this season, Pudge's .293 OBP is just a shade higher than his .280 batting average. Hatteberg is the rare first baseman who sometimes bats leadoff. The Moneyball poster boy has the patience (.296 BA/.385 OBP) to get on base, but three steals in 10 attempts over 4016 career at-bats means catchers don't need to worry about Hatteberg after a single or a walk.
No Home Run Derby in San Diego: Jake Peavy (9-2, 2.14) has coughed up a single gopher ball in his first 105 innings. Teammate Chris Young has also been exceptionally stingy, as he has allowed just three homers in 96.2 IP.
The entire Padres staff has been pretty allergic to the long ball, with just 40 allowed in the team's first 78 games. Spacious Petco Park definitely helps keep that number down, but the Padres have an incredibly deep bunch of pitchers.