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.