Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Looker, Better than Belly Itcher

Overcoming the inertia of our humble, little blog space can often be embarrassingly challenging. We're usually lucky enough to find a few minutes each day to look into something, but finding a way to entertainingly share something here every time is not possible. We've been analyzing all thirty Major League bullpens, off and on, for the past two or three weeks, but how should we present our conclusions? Lots of stats? A list of 30 teams, ranked by our opinions of the bullpens? Count them down, or up? No worries, we'll figure something out. The rankings actually look pretty good, but I'm not sure how much work, or how many stats, to show.

An unrelated stat that we came across yesterday and wanted to mention was the hitting statistic of Walk Percentage (BB%), walks per plate appearance. We've said it mane times: hitters with good plate discipline are less susceptible to extended slumps than more aggressive hitters who care more about hitting than walking.

By now, it would be nice if we could all agree that the ability to draw a walk is about as valuable as the ability to hit the ball hard. Quick warning as we fall from the the razor's edge between docile and disputatious. The ability, or skill, to have a good eye is underrated.

In little league, back in the late '80s, kids who couldn't hit could still reach base by waiting for ball four from terrible pitchers who couldn't throw strikes. Those kids were called "lookers". If the pitchers through strikes, those kids would make outs A LOT. Being known as "a looker" was not good. Players would say, "Throw a strike, he's a looker!" at poor opposing hitters. If the pitcher couldn't throw a strike, we'd occasionally hear the classic, "We want a pitcher, not a belly itcher."

I love Little League baseball.
The funny thing is that in the lesser league of the Edgebrook/Sauganash Little Leagues, lookers could actually reach base a lot.

Even back then, there were signs that people didn't care enough about on-base percentage, just getting hits and knocking in runs.

We were surprised by some of the players on this list and are interested to see your reactions:

"Active" Career BB% Leaders
Jack Cust: 17.3%
Cust was a BB/HR/K machine in PDX
Jim Thome: 17.1%
Adam Dunn: 16.3%
Nick Johnson: 15.9%
Jason Giambi: 15.5%
Lance Berkman: 15.5%
Kosuke Fukudome: 14.7%
Jason Heyward: 14.6%
Chipper Jones: 14.5%
Todd Helton: 14.5%
Pat Burrell: 14.3%
Daric Barton: 14.2%
J.D. Drew: 14.1%
Elijah Dukes seems pretty spontaneous
Manny Ramirez: 13.6%
Carlos Peña: 13.5%
Albert Pujols: 13.5%
Troy Glaus: 13.4%
Elijah Dukes: 13.3%
Dan Johnson: 13.3%
Jorge Posada: 13.3%
Nick Swisher: 13.2%
David Ortiz: 13.2%
Chris Iannetta: 13.1%
Prince Fielder: 13.0%

It's great to see Jack Cust comfortably ahead of everyone else on the list. If he popped a few more homers, he could be known as a leader of the 3 true outcome group where he currently resides with Adam Dunn, Jason Giambi, and Carlos Peña. Here's to more good things for Jack Cust.

As a Cubs fan, seeing Fukudome ahead of Heyward, Chipper, and Helton only inspires feelings of helplessness and doubt.

As I shared during my 5:15 AM haze, Elijah Dukes still has a good eye. How can someone like Elijah Dukes be so patient inside, and so out of control outside, of the batters box?

What do you guys think of this statistic? Anything? Can any of these guys help your rotisserie team? There are some free agents, like Glaus and Dukes, could they help your favorite team?

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