Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Jason Heyward's Rookie Season

.390+ OBP, 200+ PA, age 21 or lower, 1st season (since 1900)
1923 Heinie Manush (Tigers, Hall of Fame)
1927 Lloyd Waner (Pirates, Hall of Fame)
1939 Ted Williams (Red Sox, Hall of Fame)
1948 Richie Ashburn (Phillies, Hall of Fame)
1959 Willie McCovey (Giants, Hall of Fame)
2001 Albert Pujols (Cardinals)
2010 Jason Heyward (Braves)

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Clay Buchholz's Bizarre 2010 Season

170+ IP, 2.35 ERA or lower, 1.20+ WHIP

1900-1918: 38 times by 36 different pitchers

1919 Allan Sothoron
1919 Dick Rudolph
1919 Sherry Smith
1943 Max Lanier
1945 Al Benton
1946 Dizzy Trout
2010 Clay Buchholz: 17-7, 2.33 ERA, 173.2 IP, 1.20 WHIP

To show just how old school this season was for Buchholz, 12 pitchers have combined for 24 instances of 170+ IP and a sub-2.35 ERA since 1990, and Buchholz is one of only 2 to have a WHIP over 1.10 (Josh Johnson, 2.30 ERA, 1.105 WHIP, 2010)

Clay Buchholz (2010)
April: 2.19 ERA, 1.32 WHIP
May: 3.08, 1.42
June: 1.84, 1.00
July: 4.91, 1.36
August: 1.03, 1.00
September: 3.00, 1.33

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Is Luke Scott on the verge of a breakout season?

.280+ BA, .60+ BB/K, .10+ BB/PA, 20 AB/HR or less (batting title qualifiers, 2010)
Albert Pujols
Miguel Cabrera
Adrian Gonzalez
Joey Votto
Paul Konerko
Luke Scott

On this list, we have 4 of the top 6 HR sluggers in baseball (Pujols, Cabrera, Votto, Konerko), 5 of the top 15 (add in Gonzalez), and Luke Scott (tied with 3 others for 28th).  Luke Scott finished with a respectable 27 HR (especially in only 131 games), and it was his career high (in his 6th year and 4th full season). 

How many players achieved this in 2009? 12
Pujols, Mauer, Zobrist, A-Rod, Utley, Fielder, Teixeira, Derrek Lee, Votto, Tulowitzki, Youkilis, Zimmerman

It was more common in 2009 (and probably past years as well), but the names make the point: it's something elite players so (Zobrist was the one fluke on the list).  Luke Scott is not an established star, but he also didn't come out of nowhere. 

His BA, power, walk and strikeout numbers have been good and improving over the past few years.  He is 32, so his trajectory isn't the same as Joey Votto, but he could be on the cusp of finally becoming an elite hitter.  To see a couple of late bloomers, just look at the 2010 Phillies with Raul Ibanez and Jayson Werth.

If Scott can stay off the disabled list (1 stint in 2010), he'll probably hit more than 30 home runs for the first time in his career and maybe help lead the Orioles to their first .500 season since 1997.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Could the Astros contend in 2011?

40+ wins, .sub-4.00 ERA (Post-All Star Break, 2010)

Playoff Teams
Phillies: 50-25, 3.39 ERA
Twins: 48-26, 3.80
Giants: 45-29, 3.20
Reds: 42-30, 3.80
Rangers: 40-34, 3.89

Non-Playoff Teams
Astros: 40-33, 3.69

The Astros improved both their pitching (23rd to 8th in ERA) and hitting (28th to 19th in runs) from the 1st half to the 2nd half.  Their starting rotation changed and improved quite a bit, even though they traded away long-time ace Roy Oswalt at the end of July.

1st Half
Wandy Rodriguez: 6-11, 4.97 ERA
Brett Myers: 6-6, 3.41
Felipe Paulino (put on DL in June, in bullpen after he returned): 1-8, 4.40
Roy Oswalt (traded to Phillies in late July): 6-10, 3.08
Bud Norris: 2-6, 5.97

2nd Half
Wandy Rodriguez: 5-1, 1.87 ERA
Brett Myers (signed as free agent in January 2010 after 8 years with Phillies): 8-2, 2.81
Nelson Figueroa: (claimed off waivers from Phillies) 5-3, 3.22
J.A. Happ (acquired from Phillies in Oswalt trade): 5-4, 3.75
Bud Norris: 7-4, 4.18

Their 2nd half rotation, while effective, is not very intimidating, but does have a lot of potential.  None of them have proven themselves to be consistent over a long period of time, but Myers, Rodriguez and Happ have had success, and Norris proved that he could be an effective back of the rotation pitcher. 

If they could hit (even at a mediocre level like in the 2nd half) and avoid a slow start (0-8, 8-18, 17-34 in 2010), they could be a surprise player in the NL Central.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Best players to never make an All Star Team?

Position Players

150+ HR, .280 BA (since 1933)
Tim Salmon
Aubrey Huff
Hal Trosky
Travis Hafner

.290+ BA, 1500+ H
Shannon Stewart
Hal Trosky
Juan Pierre

.875+ OPS, 1000+ PA
Tim Salmon
Hal Trosky
Travis Hafner

1000+ RBI, .800+ OPS
Tim Salmon
Hal Trosky

100+ wins, 3.30 ERA or lower
John Tudor
Don Gullett

100+ saves, 3.00 ERA or lower
Ron Perranoski
Huston Street
Frank Linzy

1000+ IP, 7+ SO, 3BB or lower
Aaron Harang
Alejandro Pena

165+ wins
Mike Torrez
Danny Darwin
Bob Forsch

1750 SO
Bobby Witt
Danny Darwin
Rudy May

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Pitchers to watch out for in 2011

.500+ W-L%, 80+ IP, sub-3.20 ERA, 26 years old or younger (Post All-Star Break, 2010)
Daniel Hudson (White Sox, D-Backs): 2.07 ERA
Clay Buchholz (Red Sox): 2.20
Cole Hamels (Phillies): 2.23
Max Scherzer (Tigers): 2.47
Gio Gonzalez (A's): 2.59
Matt Cain (Giants): 2.91
Brett Anderson (A's): 2.98
Trevor Cahill (A's): 3.01
David Price (Rays): 3.09
Madison Bumgarner (Giants): 3.14

Some of these pitchers are well known from the postseason (Hamels, Cain, Bumgarner) and three of them could plausibly be included in the AL Cy Young discussion (Price, Cahill, Buchholz).  

It looks like the A's (81-81 in 2010) are loaded with a ton of quality young pitching and if they could start scoring some runs (they dropped from 759 in 2009 to 663 in 2010), they could be very dangerous in 2011 (maybe another Bay Area surprise?)

The biggest surprise is Daniel Hudson (started in A ball at the beginning of 2009) who was traded from the White Sox to the D-Backs at the deadline for Edwin Jackson, and it might be a trade that the Sox will regret. 

He had been less then inspiring in three starts for the White Sox before being traded (1-1, 6.32), but was one of the best pitchers in baseball after joining the D-Backs in late July (7-1, 1.69).

Another interesting pitcher is Max Scherzer, who can be dazzling, but hasn't been consistent enough until the last few months.  If he becomes the type of pitcher that people have been predicting, it could be an important part of the AL Central race.  Scherzer was stronger in August (1.29 ERA) than September (3.14 ERA), but it looks like he may have turned the corner and could emerge as a dominant pitcher in 2011.
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