Monday, October 03, 2011

Did you know...


Carl Pavano allowed 262 hits this year – which is the 169th time someone has allowed 262 hits or more since 1961. None too impressive, right? Yet it is just the fifth time since 2000 that someone has allowed 262 hits or more – mostly because of the inning allotment necessary in addition to the patience required by the front office to allow that sort of punishment to continue. The others on that list are Sidney Ponson (265 , 2004), David Wells (266, 2000), Livan Hernandez – twice (266, 2001, 268, 2005) and Tanyon Sturtze (271, 2002). Excellent company.

Speaking of Pavano, his fastball was the second-worst in baseball last year. According to Fangraphs.com’s pitch value statistic, his fastball was 24.5 runs below average (or approximately two and a half losses). Interestingly, his regularly battery mate, Drew Butera, also proved to be quite inept when it comes to fastballs. He found himself at 23.9 runs below average when hitting against fastballs (or approximately two and a half losses). This was the worst mark in the American League.

Pavano’s 42% chase rate on his offspeed pitches was the best in the American League and second in baseball behind some guy named Roy Halladay (45%).

Ben Revere led all of baseball in grounders with a 68.5 percent ground ball rate. This has been the highest rate of bouncers hit (outside of Roadhouse of course) in Fangraphs.com’s batted ball warehouse. Fangraphs.com’s data starts in 2002. Likewise, Revere also holds the lead for fewest fly balls hit (11.6%) as well.

What’s more is that his strength was not pulling the ball this season: Revere’s .389 OPS on balls that he pulled is the lowest in baseball. Part of the reason for this is because he was terrible at making solid contact when being pitched inside. According to Inside Edge, Revere’s well-hit average on pitches inside was .036 – the fourth-worst in baseball.

Revere put 60% of the fastballs thrown to him in to play – the second-highest rate in baseball behind San Francisco’s Jeff Keppinger (61%).

Alexi Casilla (6.8%) saw fewer sliders than anyone else in baseball with a minimum of 250 plate appearances.

Michael Cuddyer’s .993 OPS versus left-handed pitching was the sixth-best in baseball.

Don’t throw Cuddyer a change-up (like many left-handed pitchers did), he crushed them to the tune of 9 runs above average (roughly one win). Overall, his .341 batting average on offspeed pitches was the fifth-best in baseball.

Nobody squared up on right-handed pitching like Joe Mauer did. His 27.7% line drive rate against righties led the majors. On the other hand, his backstop mate, Drew Butera, held baseball’s lowest OPS against righties at .403.

If you threw anything to Mauer over the midsection of the plate (horizontal), the chances are that it was thwacked pretty hard. The often-injured catcher/DH/first baseman/right fielder held a .273 well-hit average on pitches in the zone. The next closes was Boston’s David Ortiz at .217.

Drew Butera’s .449 OPS narrowly missed being the worst in Twins history thanks to a 4-for-8 outburst in the final week of the season. The honors for worst offensive season with a minimum of 250 plate appearances still belongs to Jerry Zimmerman and his .436 OPS in 267 plate appearances. For what it’s worth, Butera joins the blessed Twins hall of sub-.500 OPS members including Houston Jimenez (1984), Danny Thompson (1970), Ron Clark (1968), Al Newman (1991) and, of course, Zimmerman (1967).

The Twins had two of the three worst hitters for pitches down in the zone. Butera led all players with a .032 well-hit average while Tsuyoshi Nishioka was the third-worst at .040.

Butera’s .142 batting average on fastballs was the worst in baseball.

Battle of the soon-to-be free agents: Jason Kubel had the fifth-highest batting average on line drives in play (.817) while Cuddyer had the eleven-lowest batting average on line drives in play (.603). One thing this could tell potential suitors is that Kubel’s 2011 season was on the lucky side while Cuddyer was not nearly as charmed.

Denard Span and Jim Thome both chased after just 10% of non-competitive pitches (those well out of the strike zone) – tied for third-best in baseball.

Francisco Liriano’s ability to get strike one was horrendous this year. His 49.4% first-pitch strike rate was the sixth-worst in a season since 2002. He also threw his fastball for a strike just 53% of the time – the worst among starters.

Nearly 30% of the batters Liriano faced went to three ball counts (27% vs 20% league average). That was the highest mark among qualified starters.

When Liriano does hit the strike zone, he’s clearly hard to hit. Liriano’s 21% swinging-and-miss percentage on strikes was the second-highest in baseball trailing only Atlanta’s Brandon Beachy in that department.

Just 16% of runners Scott Baker put on base scored. That was the third lowest rate among starters.

Kevin Slowey lost 8 starts in a row. The most recent time that happened was by Boof Bonser in 2007. Oddly enough, in their respective losing streaks, they both worked 44.2 innings, allowed 59 hits each and had 36 runs scored on them.

7 comments:

TT said...

Did you know ... innings aren't "allotted". They are a measure of the number of outs a pitcher gets.

Did you know ... a fastball can't be legitimately measured in "runs".

Numbers are just numbers. But when people don't understand them, its easy to attach all sorts meaning to them.

Twins Fan c.1981 said...

@TT:

Did you know...I think you are completing misunderstanding my use of "allotment". What I was suggesting is that starting pitchers have worked fewer innings per season in the past few decades hence fewer overall hits.

What the "runs" metric does is simply fancy up a pitcher's performance on a specific pitch. I'll agree with you, the math is not clean but, for the most part, it agrees with a lot of the raw data. For a more straightforward convention measurement, Pavano's fastball had a 890 OPS against it, the worst in baseball.

Lake Country Blogger said...

" What I was suggesting is that starting pitchers have worked fewer innings per season in the past few decades hence fewer overall hits."

Did you know ... you just repeated the same fallacy. Pitchers don't "work innings" or, at least, that's not what innings pitched measures. It measures how many outs they got while working.

The only measures of how much "work" pitchers did are either innings pitched or batter's faced. In this case, batters faced would indicate the opportunities hitters had to get hits.

"Pavano's fastball had a 890 OPS against it, the worst in baseball."

That's kind of hard to believe. Pavano threw around 100 pitches per game, most of them fastballs. Most were either balls or strikes that didn't have any immediate effect on OPS.

I suspect what you means is the OPS of hitters where the last pitch they faced was a fastball. I'm not sure that has any meaning at all. If he threw six strikes, the last four foul balls, three curves for balls and then walked the guy on a fastball, the walk can be attributed to his fastball? I don't think so.

Twins Fan c.1981 said...

@Lake Country Blogger

"Did you know ... you just repeated the same fallacy. Pitchers don't "work innings" or, at least, that's not what innings pitched measures. It measures how many outs they got while working."

Did you know...I wasn't referencing the intricacies of what "innings" are actually comprised of but simply stating the fact that starting pitchers have worked, thrown, compiled, etc fewer innings totals so THAT'S WHY MOST PITCHERS IN THE PAST 10 YEARS HAVEN'T HAD MORE THAN 260+ HITS IN A SEASON. Is it really that complicated?

"That's kind of hard to believe. Pavano threw around 100 pitches per game, most of them fastballs. Most were either balls or strikes that didn't have any immediate effect on OPS."

Right, the concluding pitch of each series. Mostly it tells us that his fastball was hit hard as we do know that Pavano walked a very low number of individuals in 2011.

I understand your reservations about the statistics -- particularly regarding the walk scenario -- but the walk or hit was committed on that particular pitch.

Did you know...hitters slugged .512 off of his fastball?

TT said...

"I think you are completing misunderstanding my use of "allotment". What I was suggesting is that starting pitchers have worked fewer innings per season in the past few decades hence fewer overall hits"

What you were suggesting, and clearly continue to suggest, is that innings pitched is a measure of the amount a pitcher pitched. It isn't. Its a measure of how many outs they got while pitching. In other words, its a measure of a specific achievement that is very important in the game of baseball.


"the fact that starting pitchers have worked, thrown, compiled, etc fewer innings totals so THAT'S WHY MOST PITCHERS IN THE PAST 10 YEARS HAVEN'T HAD MORE THAN 260+ HITS IN A SEASON"

That's absurd. You are arguing that the reason pitchers have given up fewer hits is that they have got fewer outs. You might at well make the argument that the reason why pitchers have pitched fewer innings (i.e. made fewer outs) is that they have given up fewer hits.

Twins Fan c.1981 said...

@TT --

*FACEPALM*

"You are arguing that the reason pitchers have given up fewer hits is that they have got fewer outs."

No, no...no, no, no...no, no.

The argument is that starting pitchers have thrown fewer innings (or recorded fewer outs, however you want to phrase it) because of various reasons like the five-man rotation and larger bullpens that have reduced the starting pitcher's workloads (outs, innings, batters faced, whatever floats your boat). Hence, fewer pitchers are allowing over 260+ hits in a season.

I understand what you are driving at (and are correct in that respect) but your direction is misguided in this case. I am not now nor was I in the original piece, using innings as a measurement.

Is this seriously that hard for you to understand?

TT said...

"the five-man rotation and larger bullpens that have reduced the starting pitcher's workloads (outs, innings, batters faced ..."

.. strikeouts, walks, earned runs, home runs... Of course, none of those measure "workloads", nor are they "allotted", nor are they the reason "why" pitchers haven't given up more hits. Neither is innings pitched.

I agree with you, reduced workloads do result in reduced totals for all counting stats. Including both innings pitched and hits.