Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Great Individual Months (Hitting)

.350+ BA, 20+ RBI

Josh Hamilton (Rangers)
David Wright (Mets)
Paul Konerko (White Sox)
Adrian Gonzalez (Padres)

David Ortiz (Red Sox)
Jonny Gomes (Reds)

Ryan Braun (Brewers)

.400+ BA, 30+ RBI (2000-present)

June 2010
Josh Hamilton (Rangers) .470 BA, 30 RBI

August 2008
Melvin Mora (Orioles) .418, 32

June 2007
Alex Rodriguez (Yankees) .402, 34

June 2001
Luis Gonzalez (D-Backs) .417, 35

April 2001
Manny Ramirez .408, 31

September 2000
Jason Giambi (A's) .400, 32
Richard Hidalgo (Astros) .476, 31

August 2000
Todd Helton (Rockies) .476, 32

June 2000
Jeff Kent (Giants) .424, 34

May 2000
Edgar Martinez (Mariners) .441, 32

Saturday, June 26, 2010

4 No-hitters in 3 months

4 no-hitters with 3 months (perfect games are bolded)
  • July-September 1908 (4): Hooks Wiltse, Nap Rucker, Bob Rhoads, Frank Smith
  • September-October 1908 (4): Nap Rucker, Bob Rhoads, Frank Smith, Addie Joss
  • June-August 1916 (4): Tom Hughes, Rube Foster, Bullet Joe Bush, Dutch Leonard
  • April-June 1917 (6): Eddie Cicotte, George Mogridge, Fred Toney, Ernie Koob, Bob Groom, Babe Ruth + Ernie Shore
  • June-August 1962 (4): Earl Wilson, Sandy Koufax, Bill Monbouquette, Jack Kralick
  • July-September 1976 (4): Larry Dierker, Blue Moon Odom + Francisco Barrios, John Candelaria, John Montefusco
  • April-June 1990 (5): Mark Langston + Mike Witt, Randy Johnson, Nolan Ryan, Dave Stewart, Fernando Valenzuela
  • June 1990 (4): Randy Johnson, Nolan Ryan, Dave Stewart, Fernando Valenzuela
  • June-August 1990 (5): Randy Johnson, Nolan Ryan, Dave Stewart, Fernando Valenzuela, Terry Mulholland
  • May-July 1991 (4): Nolan Ryan, Tommy Greene, Bob Milacki + Mike Flanagan + Mark Williamson + Gregg Olson, Dennis Martinez
  • July-September 1991 (5): Bob Milacki + Mike Flanagan + Mark Williamson + Gregg Olson, Dennis Martinez, Wilson Alvarez, Bret Saberhagen, Kent Mercker + Mark Wohlers + Alejandro Pena
  • April-June 2010 (4): Ubaldo Jimenez, Dallas Braden, Roy Halladay, Edwin Jackson

Thursday, June 24, 2010

.930+ OPS, 100-6000 Plate Appearances

.930+ OPS, 100-6000 PA in career (since 1900)
1.013 OPS, 198 PA Brennan Boesch (2010)
.952, 3445 Ryan Howard (2005-2010)
.945, 3659 Lefty O'Doul (1919-1934)
.940, 5556 Hack Wilson (1923-1934)
.940, 5690 "Shoeless" Joe Jackson (1908-1920)
.931, 4736 Miguel Cabrera (2003-2010)
.931, 1518 Joey Votto (2007-2010)
.930, 151 Jack Cummings (1926-1929)

The four active players on the list are interesting and difficult to predict.  Miguel Cabrera, who has already had a great career, and appears to be hitting his stride.  He's only 27 and should walk away with at least a few MVP awards and a ticket to the Hall when he retires someday.  His OPS this year is 1.031, and his it will probably go way up over the next few years as he punished AL pitching. 

Ryan Howard is signed with the Phillies through 2016 at around $25 million a year, so he needs to have a great OPS into his mid-30's (even if most of baseball history suggests that won't happen).  His OPS this year is only .857, and a big part of that is that he doesn't walk nearly as much as he used to (20 BB in 300 PA this year vs. 107 BB in 648 PA in 2007).  Maybe he's less patient or less feared, but either way it's a bad sign.  If he finishes with a .300 BA and over 140 RBI this year, though, the Phillies will probably be pleased.

Joey Votto is having another productive season (.961 OPS, 15 HR, 47 RBI).  He might never become a huge star like Miguel Cabrera, but he is putting up impressive numbers all around, including with walks this year (9th in the NL).

Brennan Boesch has had an amazing first couple of months to his career, winning the AL Rookie of the Month in May.  It's too soon to know what kind of player he's going to become, although there haven't been any big problems yet.  Some players that start strong just keep on going with it (Ryan Braun, Albert Pujols), but most have a letdown even if they become solid contributors (remember Garrett Jones' great start last year?).  It's too early to tell with Boesch, but he's given the Tigers a jolt and he might have a spot in their outfield for a long time.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Tyler Clippard

7+ wins, 10.5+ SO/9, 1.75 ERA or lower, .700+ W-L% (since 1900)
1977 Bruce Sutter (Cubs) 7-3, 1.34 ERA, 10.82 SO/9
1990 Rob Dibble (Reds) 8-3, 1.74, 12.49
1993 John Wetteland (Expos) 9-3, 1.37, 11.92
2000 Pedro Martinez (Red Sox) 18-6, 1.74, 11.78
2001 Arthur Rhodes (Mariners) 8-0, 1.72, 10.99
2006 Joe Nathan (Twins) 7-0, 1.58, 12.51
2010 Tyler Clippard (Nationals) 8-3, 1.58, 10.7

Tyler Clippard isn't far into his career, so he isn't making a lot of money considering the type of year he's having, but could end up pricing himself out of Washington eventually if he keeps this up.  If he does, the Yankees can get back "The Yankee Clippard", who they lost after making an ill-advised trade on December of 2007 where they received Jonathan Albaladejo for Clippard. 

Albaladejo was another young reliever who was used sparingly by the Yankees in 2008 and 2009, and is currently in the Yankees minor league system.  Clippard could also become the first reliever since 1986 (Mark Eichhorn and Roger McDowell both won 14) to win more than 12 games in a season.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Great pitching seasons on June 18

On June 18:
2010 Ubaldo Jimenez 13-1, 1.15 ERA
2002 Randy Johnson 10-2, 2.63 (24-4, 2.32)
1999 Pedro Martinez 12-2, 2.17 (23-4, 2.07)
1988 Orel Hershiser 13-4, 2.62 (23-8, 2.26)
1985 Dwight Gooden 9-3, 1.79 (24-4, 1.53)
1978 Ron Guidry 11-0, 1.45 (25-3, 1.74)
1972 Steve Carlton 7-6, 2.83 (27-10, 1.97)
1971 Vida Blue 14-2, 1.42 (24-8, 1.82)
1968 Bob Gibson 7-5, 1.30 (22-9, 1.12)
1968 Denny McLain 11-2, 2.06 (31-6, 1.96)
1963 Sandy Koufax 10-3, 1.63 (25-5, 1.88)

Jimenez will have less room for error with his ERA than pitchers used to, because he's not going to finish with 300+ IP like they did decades ago.  In 1968 Bob Gibson only had 34 starts, which is probably how many Jimenez will have this year, but he threw 28 complete games (and went into extra innings 4 times). 

While Gibson averaged 8.94 IP/Start, Jimenez is averaging 7.21, which would leave him with 245 at the end of the season (that would likely put him at #1 or 2 in the majors, possibly behind Roy Halladay).  He could have an ERA of 2.56 the rest of the way and still finish under 2.00. 

He's barely stumbled so far, though, so maybe 1.12 is a realistic goal now, in which case he just needs to keep this incredible pace going for the rest of the year, but improve slightly (he could allow 16 runs over his next 20 starts).

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Is Ricky Nolasco the next Carl Pavano?

Ricky Nolasco (Marlins) continues to amaze, but not in the way you'd expect.  While his strikeouts are way down from last year, his SO/9, BB/9, SO/BB are all pretty good.  Unfortunately, he is allowing a lot of hits (10.6 H/9) and a good deal of runs. 

Right now, he has of ERA of 5.05 (very similar to last year's 5.06) as well as 6.6 SO/9 and a 3.50 SO/BB ratio.  How unusual would it be that if he continued that?  Fairly common for him, incredibly unusual in the rest of baseball history.

6+ SO/9, 3.50+ SO/BB, 5.00+ ERA, 100+ IP (Since 1900)
Ricky Nolasco 2009
Carl Pavano 2009
Andy Sonnanstine 2007

It almost seems to violate a basic rule of baseball physics.  If a pitcher is able to strike out a decent number of hitters and doesn't issue walks, they are usually successful.  For instance, there are 14 pitchers in baseball this year that are striking out at least 6 hitters per nine innings, have pitched at least 50 innings and have better than a 3.50 SO/BB ratio. 

11 of them have ERAs under 4.00 and the two other pitchers that don't seem more like flukes (Dan Haren, James Shields) than pitchers who will struggle with their ERA for too long.  Nolasco is also giving up home runs like there's no tomorrow, 14 so far this year, which is a major part of the problem. 

He might be destined for a Carl Pavano-like career (although hopefully without all the injuries), where he has flashes of brilliance, but is somehow still around .500 with an ERA well over 4.00 after 12 years in the league despite a lot of talent. 

If he's lucky, he'll follow in Pavano's footsteps to the degree that he can win a ring with the Marlins and have a season good enough that it results in a monster contract.  After that, he'll just have to start more than 26 games over 4 years to surpass Pavano after that happens. 

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Who is on pace to finish June with 20 R and 20 RBI?

20+ R, 20+ RBI (April or May)
Matt Kemp (April)
Mark Teixeira (May)
Jose Bautista (May)
Martin Prado (May)

10+ R, 10 +RBI (June)
Josh Hamilton (Rangers)
Carlos Pena (Rays)
Michael Young (Rangers)
Torii Hunter (Angels)
Vladimir Guerrero (Rangers)
Troy Glaus (Braves)

20+ R, 20 + RBI (2009)
Albert Pujols (April)
Nick Markakis (April)
Justin Upton (May)
Jermaine Dye (May)
Johnny Damon (May)
Ryan Howard  (May)
Michael Cuddyer (May)
Justin Morneau (May)
Raul Ibanez (May)
Evan Longoria (May)
Prince Fielder (May, June)
Joe Mauer (May, August)
Mark Teixeira (May, September)
Ben Zobrist (June)
B.J. Upton (June)
Ryan Braun (June)
Matt Holliday (July)
Derrek Lee (July, September)
Bobby Abreu (July)
Troy Tulowitzki (August)
Ryan Zimmerman (August)
Matt Kemp (August)
Kendry Morales (August)
Aaron Hill (September)
Adam Lind (September)

Monday, June 14, 2010

Top Pitchers

Pitchers with 20+ IP, 3.00 ERA or lower in May & June
Matt Cain (Giants) 1.81, 0.75
Chris Carpenter (Cardinals) 2.53, 1.71
Yovani Gallardo (Brewers) 2.31, 2.25
Clayton Richard (Padres) 3.00, 1.80

Did any of them also have an ERA of 3.00 or lower with 20+ IP, in April?  Yes, but just barely:  Clayton Richard had an ERA of 3.00 in April over 30 IP.  If you wondering about Ubaldo Jimenez, he has an ERA of 3.46 in June covering 2 starts, although he has won both starts. 

Friday, June 11, 2010

Watch out AL West, the Angels are hitting again

The Angels are closing in on the Rangers in the AL West, even after they lost Kendry Morales for the season in a freak walk-off accident.  They are still dealing with mediocre pitching (23rd in ERA in 2010 vs. 21st in 2009), but their hitting is coming around after a weak start, just as in 2009:

Overall: 293 (8th in ML)
April: 99 R (22nd)
May: 139 (6th)
June: 55 (3rd)

Overall: 883 (2nd in ML)
April: 105 R (14th)
May: 128 (T-18th)
June: 148 (T-2nd)
July: 185 (1st)
August: 180 (1st)
September: 120 (17th)

From June-August of 2009, they had a healthy Kendry Morales (probably the 2nd Half AL MVP), Vladimir Guerrero and Chone Figgins.  They also had some players with exceptional months that probably can't be counted on again, like Erick Aybar leading the ML in hitting during July of 2009. 

So, it seems unlikely they'll be #1 in July and August again, but they're proving right now by being #3 that they can be productive even without Kendry Morales and after losing some of the their other stars.  One good sign is that Hideki Matsui is stepping up after a slow start (.400 in June, .184 in May), and he can be a streaky hitter who can carry a team for a while.

They probably cannot count on their hitting to carry them to 97 wins again (even with mediocre pitching), but it should be good enough to keep them in the race all year even if the pitching doesn't get a lot better.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010


14+ SO, 0 BB, 4 H or fewer (NL, since 1920)
Stephen Strasburg 2010 (Nationals, ML Debut)
Mark Prior 2003 (Cubs)
Randy Johnson 2001 (D-Backs, 20 SO)
Kerry Wood 1998 (Cubs, 20 SO)
Jose DeLeon 1985 (Pirates)
Mario Soto 1982 (Reds)
Tom Seaver 1971 (Mets)
Jim Bunning 1966 (Phillies)
Sandy Koufax 1965 (Dodgers)
Bobby Brolin 1963 (Giants)
Van Mungo 1935 (Dodgers)

14+ SO, 0 BB, younger than 22 (7 out of 67 possible games)
Gary Nolan (19, 1967; Reds)
Dwight Gooden (19, 1984; back-to-back starts, September 1984; Mets)
Kerry Wood (20, 1998; Cubs)
Stephen Strasburg (21, 2010; Nats)
Vida Blue (21, 1971; A's)
Frank Tanana (21, 1975; Angels)

This is a little ominous, because none of the other 5 pitchers, despite having respectable careers, have made or likely will make the Hall of Fame, despite probably all having the talent to do so.  Considering the hype surrounding Strasburg and his level of talent, it's not too soon to be thinking about that. 

Hopefully, looking at this again in 20 years, he will be the exception (it's unlikely there will be more than a few other names added but with there nearly being 3 perfect games in a month anything's possible).

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Player to Watch: Brett Cecil

7+ SO/9, 1.033 WHIP or lower, 3+ SO/BB, 5+ Starts
Adam Wainwright (Cardinals) 8.69 SO/9, .94 WHIP, 3.86 SO/BB, 12 GS
Roy Halladay (Phillies) 7.45, 1.03, 5.92, 12
Cliff Lee (Mariners) 8.32, .92, 14.25, 8
Brett Cecil (Blue Jays) 7.02, 1.00, 3.46, 9

That's 3 of the best pitchers in baseball, and Brett Cecil (who might be in that category this time next year) .  Brett Cecil is one of several good young starters on the Blue Jays, along with especially Shaun Marcum and Ricky Romero and he currently 6-2 with an ERA of 3.43 (he went 7-4 with an ERA of 5.30 in his rookie season of 2009).

He can owe a lot of his relatively high ERA to one bad outing on May 14th, where he allowed 8 ER in 2 IP against the Rangers.  Take that away (the Jays actually won, he got a no-decision), and he is 6-2 with a 2.28 ERA.  His late start to the season, and that one bad outing, might end up costing him a trip to the All-Star Game this season, but he'll be going to plenty of them if he keeps pitching like this.

He started the season in the minors this season and didn't make his his first start on April 23rd.  Interestingly, he's actually right-handed, but pitches left-handed:
He said he owes his left-handed tendency to a miscommunication between his mother and aunt just before his fourth birthday.
"My mom told my aunt to get me a right-handed glove," said Cecil, who pitched eight shutout innings against Oakland last Sunday for his first major-league win. "So I just used that one."

Athletes like Cecil are fairly common in boxing, where natural southpaws like Oscar De La Hoya and Joe Frazier won world titles as right-handers. Former middleweight champ Marvin Hagler was much like Cecil, a right-hander who turned lefty in the ring.

Former Jays pitching coach Gil Patterson taught himself to pitch left-handed while rehabbing an injury to his right arm, and reportedly could fire 85-m.p.h. fastballs.
His next start won't be easy, at Tampa on Thursday, but he's on fire right now and he could help keep the Jays in the Wild Card hunt (2.5 out) or even move them up in the division against the AL East leading Rays (4.5 out).

Friday, June 4, 2010

The ageless Arthur Rhodes

Arthur Rhodes, at age 40, is not only having the best season of his career, he's having one of the the best seasons of any reliever in baseball in 2010.   If the season ended today, he would be one of only 3 pitchers in history with:

20+ IP, 0.70 WHIP or lower, 0.70 ERA or lower
1907 Harry Covaleski (Phillies): 20 IP, 0.65 WHIP, 0.00 ERA
1990 Dennis Eckersley (A's): 73.1 IP, 0.61 WHIP, 0.61 ERA
2010 Arthur Rhodes (Reds): 22.2 IP, 0.66 WHIP, 0.40 ERA

In 2009, the Reds had the 4th best bullpen ERA in the ML, but they are 26th this season.  If Rhodes weren't having the season he's having, it would be a lot worse and the Reds might not be at the top of the division.  The only run he allowed this season was a solo home run on April 10th to Jeff Baker (Cubs).  

While the Reds had a good May (18-11), none of their other relievers stepped up (Micah Owings had the next best ERA at 3.65 to Rhodes' 0.00).  It's too early in June to make any determinations (most relievers don't have more than one appearance yet), but the rest of the bullpen needs to improve if the Reds are going to continue competing with the Cardinals in the NL Central.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

How many RBI should Griffey have retired with?

One of the most striking things about the final decade of Ken Griffey Jr.'s career was that he never reached 100 RBI after 2000, even in 2005 and 2007 when he had over 30 HR.

From 1996-2000, he averaged 137 RBI per season, only falling below 134 in 2000 (when had only 118).  Griffey finished his career with 1834 RBI, which puts him at 14th all-time (9 more and he would have shot past Ted Williams and Yaz to 12th place).

The all-time leader is Hank Aaron with 2297, which left Griffey 463 RBI short of the record. From 2001-09, he had only 559 RBI due mainly to injuries (62 RBI/season). Getting all the way to 2297 would have been a very heavy lift, even if he had been healthy (115 RBI/season from 2001-2009), but becoming one of he top 3 would have been easily reachable.

In order to become 3rd all-time in RBI, he would have needed an average of 90 RBI/season to reach 2080 and put him ahead of Cap Anson (kind of a surprise at #3, he managed 2075 RBI with only 97 HR from 1871-1897). There are still only 3 players with 2000 RBI: Hank Aaron, Babe Ruth and Cap Anson (Barry Bonds retired with 1996 RBI).

The next player to make a run at 2000 will probably be A-Rod, who has 1747 and is only 34. Considering that he is signed through 2017, he should make a run at Aaron's mark if he stays healthy.
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