News, Analysis & UpdatesSeptember 25, 2004


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More Fun with Numbers

By Arlo Vander

Grounders and triples and pick-offs, oh my! It’s time for another excursion into the wonderful world of stats. How is Colorado’s premiere ground ball pitcher doing? What’s up with Tigers hitters in the late innings? Who’s been piling up the most runs batted in lately? Let’s take a look…

Hitting .400 When It Counts
Just give White Sox hitters a bases-loaded situation and they turn into a veritable Murderers’ Row, hitting an astonishing .404 this season. The next-best team, the Marlins, is a full 54 points behind at .350; looking toward the bottom of the list, the Mets have only managed to hit .212. Interestingly, White Sox pitchers facing the same situation have posted the second-worst WHIP among all major league teams at 1.68; only Milwaukee’s moundsmen have fared worse with the bases full (1.78).

Doing His Share to Keep Game Times Down
Unless you’ve just returned from a vaction on Saturn, you’re probably aware that Greg Maddux has won at least 15 games for the 17th straight season. How does Maddux do it? Being efficient certainly helps: the crafty veteran only needs 13.6 pitches to get through an average inning, the lowest number in the majors.

Wasn’t This Guy Supposed to be Washed Up?
Since the All-Star break, no player has driven in more runs than Montreal’s Tony Batista (67, four more than runner-up Miguel Tejada). Thanks to his .246 average, Batista has spent the season on the waiver wire in many shallower fantasy leagues.

But They’re a Force in Oakland
The Athletics are the only division leader with a losing record on the road (39-40). All others are at least eight games over .500.

Maybe Wakefield Taught Him the Knuckler
Red Sox Tim Wakefield (33) and Derek Lowe (31) lead the majors in stolen bases allowed. That Wakefield’s name heads this list should come as no surprise: the knuckleballer has given up 30+ steals in four of the last six years, averaging 29 SBA over that span. Lowe, on the other hand, had never previously allowed more than 19 SB in a season. It’ll be interesting to see if this trend continues next season. Meanwhile, start your speed merchants when Wakefield’s on the mound.

Keeping the Infielders Busy
Speaking of Derek Lowe, Boston’s righty leads all starters with a 3.41 ground out/air out ratio. At 3.29, Brandon Webb is the only SP to come close; all others are below 2.80.

OK, So This Isn’t Guaranteed to Work
And speaking of GO/AO, it’s often been said that an extreme ground ball pitcher might be able to have success at Coors Field. Don’t look to Shawn Estes for proof of that point, however. Estes ranks sixth in the majors with a 2.06 GO/AO ratio (which, incidentally, goes to show just how truly unique Lowe is), yet his home ERA is a lofty 6.22…

Crawford, Figgins, Pierre … and Jack Wilson?
Unless you’re in a roto league with triples as a category, you might not have noticed that Pittsburgh’s Jack Wilson is tied with Juan Pierre for third in the majors in three-base hits with 12, trailing only speedsters Carl Crawford (17) and Chone Figgins (15). Wilson has only eight stolen bases on the season, with a success rate of just 67%.

Maybe They Just Get Tired Easily
As a team, the Detroit Tigres are hitting .290 in the first six innings of games, the second-best mark in the big leagues (behind Anaheim at .294). Beyond the sixth inning, the Tigers’ bats cool off mightily; their .244 average ranks 26th out of 30 teams. This means something.

Free Passes
Barry Bonds has more intentional walks than any player except Lance Berkman (125), Todd Helton (122), Bobby Abreu (118) and JD Drew (114) has total bases on balls. Philadelphia’s Jim Thome is second in IBB with 26, less than a quarter of Bonds’ total.

Pick-offs: Hitting the Mark
Marks Buehrle (9), Redman (9) and Mulder (8) top the majors in runners picked off.

Late-season Fade? Maybe Not
Some were worried that Twins ace Johan Santana would wear down at the end of this season, having never thrown more than 2536 pitches in a season before. At 3354 pitches, it’s probably time to cast those worries aside.

Defense Behind the Plate
Giants catchers have only made two errors all year (in 1063 total chances). Yes, errors aren’t a great way to judge defensive ability, but that’s still fairly impressive.

Think They’re Considering Moving the Fences Back In?
No team has hit fewer home runs at home this year than the Kansas City Royals, who have knocked just 52 balls into the Kauffman Stadium seats.

 
Arlo Vander fell in love with stats the minute he opened his first pack of baseball cards, a long, long time ago.

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