Change-UpMay 01, 2008
April's In the Books
By Patrick Sullivan

In an effort not to further anger the estimable Buzz Bissinger, I think I am going to go with some straight data presentation today and steer clear of any opinion or interpretation. We are one month into the season, a fun point in time to look at the leaderboard, store it away and then revisit it once again in a few months and then again at the end of the season.

There are pretty much exactly six months in a MLB season. At the end of the year, it's fun to look at how teams and players fared on a month-to-month basis. A hot or cold June often goes unnoticed because it is just a portion of that team or player's productivity. June is no different than April, or at least it shouldn't be. What makes it different in terms of perception, however, is that one's April stats, on May 1, are his stats.

Anyway, just for fun, here are some miscellaneous leaders through the first month of the 2008 season.

==========

Offense

AL Team Runs

Detroit    142
Boston     136
LA Angels  134
White Sox  134
Oakland    134

NL Team Runs

Cubs       171
D-Backs    165
Dodgers    137
Cards      135
Phillies   133

AL OPS

DET  .792
TEX  .778
BOS  .774
LAA  .767
CHW  .749

NL OPS

CHC  .828
ARI  .813
STL  .788
PHI  .780
ATL  .778

AL Individual OPS

Quentin   1.052
Hinske    1.046
M. Ramrz  1.029
Kotchman   .999
Hamilton   .970

NL Individual OPS

Utley      1.195
C. Jones   1.145
Burrell    1.126
D. Lee     1.118
Pujols     1.117

AL Individual Isolated Power

Hinske      .347
Quentin     .321
M. Ramrz    .276
Crede       .269
Thome       .261
Hamilton    .261 

NL Individual Isolated Power

Utley       .405
Burrell     .348
Berkman     .347
D. Lee      .318
McLouth     .315

==========

Pitcing / Defense

AL Team ERA

OAK  3.22
TB   3.68
TOR  3.75
CHW  3.78
CLE  4.06

NL Team ERA

ARI  3.25
STL  3.41
LAD  3.56
NYM  3.66
ATL  3.68

AL K/BB

OAK  2.30
MIN  2.24
KC   2.12
TOR  2.02
CHW  1.98

NL K/BB

CIN  2.49
ARI  2.24
STL  2.19
LAD  2.18
HOU  2.03

AL Individual ERA

C. Lee      0.96
Greinke     1.25
Saunders    2.08
King Felix  2.22
E. Santana  2.48

NL Individual ERA

Volquez     1.23
Sheets      1.64
Lincecum    1.73
Webb        1.98
Peavy       2.09

AL Individual K/BB

Lee        16.00
Baker       5.40
Halladay    4.43
Beckett     4.14
Vazquez     3.70

NL Individual K/BB

Cueto     5.50
Santana   4.88
Wandy     4.80
Smoltz    4.50
Haren     4.14

AL Defensive Efficiency

BAL   .740
TB    .730
DET   .721
OAK   .718
BOS   .715

NL Defensive Efficiency

ARI  .737
PHI  .723
STL  .723
CHC  .722
ATL  .721

=========

What sticks out for me is just how much the cream has risen to the top in the National League early on while the AL leaderboard almost certainly does not look like what it will in September.

How about you? Who is for real? Who will fade?


Comments

Minor bookkeeping note, Angels have 140 runs, A's have 135.

So...does this mean that you guys were all wrong about the Cardinals?

Oh and do you still think it's true that the NL Central is baseball's worst division?

Well, based purely by watching him play live and the sense I got that he was highly doubted with the DBacks, I think Carlos Quentin will be a good player the whole year through. No, he won't sport an 1.052 OPS the whole year and lead the league... He's good though, and it's time for people to recognize that.

maybe.

I am afraid you might indeed have further antagonized the "estimable" Buzz(ard). After all, you are considering all sorts of new-fangled statistics and nary a bow to BA or RBIs or pitcher Wins.

I think the Rays' position in run prevention is for real. It may not remain as highly ranked all year, but I do think it will continue to be significantly improved from last year and among the better defenses in the league.

It's interesting to me that the both players involved in the Cincinnati/Texas deal -- Edinson Volquez and Josh Hamilton -- show up on the April leaderboard. My instinct at the time of the trade was that it was going to be a very even deal for both sides, and that it could be tough to grade immediately (and 5 years down the road), but mostly because I didn't think Volquez was going to be so good so fast.

I think everybody's pulling for J-Hammer, but Volquez's performance makes the story even more compelling.

"So...does this mean that you guys were all wrong about the Cardinals?"

Probably not. Several guys who aren't as good (as measured by their track record) as they've played so far, especially on the pitching staff, and not much room for improvement with others to make up for the inevitable backslide to planet Earth by guys like Lohse and Ludwick. The Orioles have perfected the "great start, then revert to what everyone expected" move over the last few years, I suspect the Cards are going to go the same way.

So why is it that the Braves, who are 5th in league OPS, 5th in league ERA, and 5th in league defensive efficiency are three games under .500 as we leave April?

Why, it's that 0-9 record in one run games!

Here's looking forward to May. >_

The Braves' luck in close games have been horrible for awhile now. guess it might be all the good fortunes of years pasts comming back to haunt them a bit.

Most people doubted Quienten's health, not his bat. he's proving that he can indeed hit when healthy, but there's still a little more to go before he proves he can actually do the later part on a consistent basis.

A few general thoughts on some of the teams so far.

Yankees: what is it with them and slow starts? they've been off to bad or really bad starts 3 of their last 4 year now. and in the year that they didn't start horriblly ( 06) they lost both corner OF by early in the season to major injuries. still though, there's a lot of things to be scared here. that their 2 best hitters on on the shelf. that their kids are imploding. that their bullpen is even more taxed. they figure to rebound . and Boston hasn't ran away (yet) but boy have this month been making many fans wanting to drink Vodka or DDT.

Tigers: they're offense came back strong, but there's still a lot to worry there. the pitching staff is pretty shaky. espically if Verlander's early struggles and lost of velocity is for real.

O's : not happening ... mirage of the biggest perportion.

Rays: may be for real here. though I still don't think they make it all the way. should easily set new franchise win record though (when it's 70 games that's not exactly a huge accomplishment though)

D-backs: for real, Upton and Jackson and some of their pitchers are due for a slight regression at this point, but they always had the highest upside, I worried that they hit a little regression this year before the start of the season considering their ugly pythag last year and all their sophmores. but looks like it was too much worry

Cards: no , not happening. if they make it they need to give a Nobel Prize to Dave Duncan though.

White Sox: don't see it ... yet.... though if Dank / Floyd continue their good start I'll change my mind. their legit talents. but for Floyd he took so long to put it together that i was giving up a bit on him, and for Danks he simply never dominated anywhere. though that might be a Texas thing. still though I have a bad feeling about their team health and depth. we'll see how that goes.

Utley .405
Jesus, that's Ruthian right there.

As a fellow BoSox fan, I'd be curious to know how much their batting stats have slipped in the last 5 games since they are hitting about a buck fifty in their last 50 innings or so.

"White Sox: don't see it ... yet.... though if Dank / Floyd continue their good start I'll change my mind. their legit talents. but for Floyd he took so long to put it together that i was giving up a bit on him, and for Danks he simply never dominated anywhere. though that might be a Texas thing. still though I have a bad feeling about their team health and depth. we'll see how that goes."

Floyd is a BABIP fluke. Danks could be more for real. Consider that Buehrle and Vazquez are on the bad side of BABIP luck right now though (though Floyd is a way-out outlier). I still think they're a .500 team and I'm a fan, but there's at least some hope of contention right now. I can see it happening, but they'll need to stay healthy and Contreras has to be Good Contreras instead of Evil Contreras. You just can't know what to expect from him.