Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Ten Things You Didn't Know About Baseball Last Year

More time paging through the Bill James Handbook:

  • Among players active in 2013, Derek Jeter and Alex Rodriguez are 1-2, in that order, in career games, plate appearances, at bats, and hits. Rodriguez and Jeter are 1-2, in that order, in career total bases and runs scored. They’re tied for 1-2 in seasons played.
  • Jeter is also third in career strikeouts, third in being hit by pitches, and third in grounding into double plays.
  • The Seattle Mariners ordered the most intentional walks in the AL, 48, in spite of the fact that their opponents scored one or more runs following the intentional walk 29 times, the most in the majors. No other AL team had more than 38 intentional walks. The Cincinnati Reds allowed 64 intentional walks and got out of the inning with no runs scored 46 times, both the most in the majors.
  • You know how the knuckleball is hard to control? Toronto’s R.A Dickey was in the strike zone with 46.7% of his pitches, the fifth-most among major league starters. The Phillies’ Cliff Lee was the only pitcher with over half his pitches in the strike zone.
  • Baserunners stole 36 bases when Boston’s John Lackey was on the mound. No other pitcher had more than 25 stolen bases allowed.
  • The Angels’ Mike Trout’s average home run traveled 420 feet, the longest in the majors. He also went from first to third on singles 27 times, easily the most in the majors. I wonder if that’s ever happened before.
  • You may have heard that the Cardinals led the majors in batting with runners in scoring position last year. They had five of the top six such batters in the NL last season: Allen Craig .454, Matt Holliday .390, Matt Carpenter .388, Carlos Beltran .374, Yadier Molina .373.
  • Among American League batters, Detroit’s Miguel Cabrera swung at the first pitch the most (39.7% of plate appearances) and Minnesota’s Joe Mauer swung at the first pitch the least (6.8%). Given that they were 1-2 in batting average, I think we can conclude that swinging at the first pitch isn’t a particularly useful stat.
  • There were 14 relief pitchers (minimum 50 innings pitched) with an ERA below 2.00 in 2013. That includes Luke Hochevar of the Royals (1.92), who nonetheless has a 5.10 career ERA over 190 games in seven seasons.
  • The Phillies’ Kevin Frandsen led the majors in pinch hits, with 14 (in 56 at bats). Evan Gattis of Atlanta had four home runs, a double, and a single in ten pinch-hit at bats, giving him a .600/.692/1.900 slash line.

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