Monday, July 23, 2012

2013 Hall of Fame Ballot

There's a lot of exciting stuff we could be talking about right now. Namely, Ichiro Suzuki was just traded to the Yankees. Ryan Dempster was almost traded to the Braves. Perhaps most notably, the Tigers upped the ante by acquiring Anibal Sanchez and Omar Infante. In time, we'll know if the Tigers will regret trading Jacob Turner like when they traded John Smoltz to the Braves 25 years ago.

These transactions are a lot to process, and there are more interesting places to read into what has, will, and might happen.

We're still riding the excitement of yesterday's Hall of Fame induction and will set the table for this winter's Hall of Fame vote.

Below is a peek at the 2013 Hall of Fame Ballot.

Batting Stats Pitching Stats
YoB ▾ %vote WAR OPS OPS+ ERA ERA+
Dale Murphy 15th 14.5% 42.6 .815 121
Jack Morris 14th 66.7% 39.3 .000 -100 3.90 105
Don Mattingly 13th 17.8% 39.8 .830 127
Alan Trammell 12th 36.8% 67.1 .767 110
Lee Smith 11th 50.6% 27.6 .183 -50 3.03 132
Mark McGwire 7th 19.5% 58.7 .982 163
Tim Raines 6th 48.7% 66.2 .810 123
Edgar Martinez 4th 36.5% 64.4 .933 147
Fred McGriff 4th 23.9% 48.2 .886 134
Jeff Bagwell 3rd 56.0% 76.7 .948 149
Larry Walker 3rd 22.9% 69.7 .965 141
Rafael Palmeiro 3rd 12.6% 66.1 .885 132
Bernie Williams 2nd 9.6% 45.9 .858 125
Barry Bonds 1st 158.1 1.051 182
Roger Clemens 1st 133.9 .443 17 3.12 143
Curt Schilling 1st 76.1 .348 -9 3.46 127
Kenny Lofton 1st 64.9 .794 107
Craig Biggio 1st 62.1 .796 112
Mike Piazza 1st 56.1 .922 143
Sammy Sosa 1st 54.8 .878 128
David Wells 1st 49.2 .289 -22 4.13 108
Steve Finley 1st 40.4 .775 104 0.00
Julio Franco 1st 39.7 .782 111
Reggie Sanders 1st 36.7 .830 115
Jeff Cirillo 1st 32.0 .796 102 0.00
Shawn Green 1st 31.4 .850 120
Woody Williams 1st 28.1 .489 29 4.19 103
Ryan Klesko 1st 24.6 .870 128
Aaron Sele 1st 17.5 .386 1 4.61 100
Roberto Hernandez 1st 17.2 1.000 166 3.45 131
Royce Clayton 1st 16.4 .679 78
Jeff Conine 1st 16.2 .789 107
Bob Wickman 1st 15.4 .000 -100 3.57 126
Mike Stanton 1st 13.3 .735 96 3.92 112
Mike Lieberthal 1st 13.3 .783 101
Sandy Alomar 1st 11.6 .716 86
Tony Batista 1st 11.3 .752 93
Jose Mesa 1st 9.6 .333 -3 4.36 100
Steve Kline 1st 9.2 .357 -8 3.51 125
Todd Walker 1st 8.3 .783 98
Damian Miller 1st 7.7 .740 89
Mike Myers 1st 7.6 .000 -100 4.29 112
Preston Wilson 1st 4.6 .797 103
Jaret Wright 1st 3.5 .376 -3 5.09 90
Antonio Alfonseca 1st 3.0 .286 -24 4.11 104
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 7/23/2012.

Who are your picks to get inducted next year? More specifically, whom would you vote for, and who do you think will get voted in?

Add your comments below, or hit us up on twitter.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Player of the Fortnight

We're a little more than two weeks past the All Star break. So, it's as good a time as any to hand out some virtual hardware.

About a month ago, our winners were Carlos Beltran, R.A. Dickey, Trevor Plouffe, and Yu Darvish. Who will supplant them this time around?

Friday, July 13, 2012

Fun with Platoon Splits

We still have time for one more All-Star break statistical post before the second half of the season begins with this afternoon's Diamondbacks/Cubs game at Wrigley Field.

The other day, someone on Twitter asked if anyone has a bigger platoon split than Jared Burton, who has a .384 OPS vs right-handed hitters and a .856 OPS versus lefties.

After a little sleuthing, I found that overall, there were several pitchers with larger split differentials, but very few innings pitched. Jared Burton pitched 35.3 innings in the first half this season. Out of anyone who has pitched that many innings, or more, only one player had a larger split differential, his teammate, Liam Hendriks who threw 38.3 innings, pitched to a 1.209 OPS vs RHH and a .664 OPS vs LHH. What a coincidence that these two guys would be teammates.

Taking this exercise a bit further, I wanted to look at players who have thrown more innings. So, we looked up pitchers who threw at least 20 innings against batters from each side of the plate and hitters with at least 60 plate appearances against both, righties and southpaws.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

MLB Attendance Trends

Since the All-Star Game is the proverbial midway point of the season, let's take a look at per game attendance trends of each Major League club, compared to last season.

After the chart below, we'll try to make some sense of this.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Stars Shine Brightly in MLB Futures Game

The greatest part of the MLB All-Star break in recent seasons has been the Future's Game. With the boredom of Home Run Derby, and occasional apathy towards the All-Star game, this rare look at the best prospects in the Minor Leagues competing against one another has been the only festivity worth much attention.

Leading up to this year's game, we were particularly interested in watching Jurickson Profar, Billy Hamilton, Manny Machado, Dylan Bundy, Wil Myers, Taijuan Walker, and Mike Olt. How did those guys look? And, who else announced their presence with authority on Sunday Night?

Heaven Help Tim Lincecum

A couple of weeks ago, in the Czech Republic / Portugal match, Cristiano Ronaldo clanked an open shot off the post at the tail end of the first half. Visibly frustrated, the well known footballer and model looked and shouted at the heavens. Upset for his poor fortune, missing a relatively easy shot. It was a striking image. This insanely talented, gifted, and privileged superstar - a Portuguese Arod - angry that God wasn't looking out for him at that moment. Could anyone feel sympathetic for this character?

The San Francisco Giants have a sympathetic figure in seemingly fallen world beater, Tim Lincecum. It's not easy to feel sympathy for a guy in his 20's, who's living the good life and set up for generations, but we've always been huge fans for what Lincecum did on the diamond. Since his meteoric rise through the minors, culminating in back-to-back Cy Young Awards and a World Championship, we've admired and appreciated the electric stuff every time The Freak took the mound.

While clearing the notebook last week, we noted how Tim Lincecum's ERA was out of whack. Unfortunately, after today's beatdown from the Pittsburgh Pirates, he's headed into the All-Star break with a 6.42 ERA, the worst among all pitchers who qualify for the ERA title.

Lincecum's OBP-allowed career is also trending poorly.

Tim Lincecum Opponents' OBP
2007: .308
Photo by Greg Fiume/Getty Images
2008: .297
2009: .271
2010: .310
2011: .302
2012: .353

To his credit, Tim Lincecum shared a candid moment with San Francisco Chronicle's Henry Schulman...

... Money quote:
"It’s been terrible. It’s a terrible feeling. You feel like you’re letting your team down. That’s the hardest thing. It seems like everybody else seems to be doing their job and playing good ball. When you’re the weaker link, you kind of look at that and it wears on you. So you try your hardest to work out of it. I’ve been working hard four days between starts, putting the man hours in there, which also makes it tougher to swallow."

Human beings, no matter how wealthy and protected can suffer at every level. Feeling like a weak link, powerless, and pitiful can happen to anyone. When it's a person who's enjoyed extreme success for as long as he or she can remember, it's safe to imagine the sting of failing for the first time hurts more than usual.

Lincecum's velocity is way down. His average fastball velocity is 1.7 mph lower than last season's, and more than 2.1 mph below his career average. A non-negligible loss in velocity traditionally portends an injury. Tim Lincecum is too young to be completely shot, but he may need to learn to pitch with a different arsenal of pitches. He'll need to adapt his approach, but the list of pitchers who reinvented themselves and found success while dropping from mid-90's to upper-80's, is long and distinguished.

Tim Lincecum may want to see if Barry Zito has any advice.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Clearing the Notebook

It's hard to believe the first time we cleared the notebook of random thoughts was almost three years ago, in July '09. About twenty months later, in March '11, we did it again. We're officially accelerating at glacial speeds...

Sixteen months later, here we go again...

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Freddie Freeman's Line Drives

Freddie Freeman's rate stats this season are just a bit off. A .259 batting average and .313 on-base percentage pale to his rookie .282 and .342 rates. Aside from that minor blip, things are looking good for the Atlanta Braves' first baseman. His counting stats: Runs, HR, RBI, project higher than last year, when he finished 2nd in NL Rookie oh the Year voting.

In impressive fashion this season, Freddie Freeman leads the Major Leagues in Line Drive rate. 33% of the balls he's put in play have been line drives. That's not just the highest percentage among all batters who qualify for the batting title, it's also the highest of anyone with a minimum 200 plate appearances in any season since Fangraphs started tracking batted ball data in 2002.

2012 Line Drive %
Freddie Freeman, Braves: 33.0%
Joey Votto, Reds: 31.0%
Alejandro De Aza, White Sox: 29.4%
Jhonny Peralta, Tigers: 29.4%
Jason Kubel, Diamondbacks: 27.2%

Freddie Freeman is testing the sustainability of a 33% line drive rate

Best Line Drive % since 2002
2012 Freddie Freeman, Braves: 33.0%
2005 Cory Sullivan, Rockies: 32.3%
2006 Cory Sullivan, Rockies: 31.5%
2012 Joey Votto, Reds: 31.0%
2003 Mark Loretta, Padres: 30.7%
2003 Brian Roberts, Padres: 30.2%
2008 Omar Infante, Braves: 30.1%
2003 Chad Moeller, Diamondbacks: 30.0%
2003 Andres Galarraga, Giants: 29.9%
2002 Brent Mayne, Royals: 29.8%
2002 Mark McLemore, Mariners: 29.7%
2007 Robert Fick, Nationals: 29.4%
2012 Alejandro De Aza, White Sox: 29.4%
2012 Jhonny Peralta, Tigers: 29.4%
2003 Tom Wilson, Blue Jays: 29.2%
2003 Lyle Overbay, Diamondbacks: 29.1%
2002 Todd Helton, Rockies: 29.0%
2003 Milton Bradley, Indians: 28.9%
2003 Todd Helton, Rockies: 28.8%
2006 Chris Coste, Phillies: 28.7%
2010 Jim Edmonds, Brewers/Reds: 28.3%
2002 Gene Kingsale, Mariners/Padres: 28.2%
2003 Mark Teixeira, Rangers: 28.2%
2003 Chris Singleton, Athletics: 28.2%
2005 Placido Polanco, Phillies/Tigers: 28.2%
2002 Dan Wilson, Mariners: 28.1%
2005 Mark Loretta, Padres: 28.1%
2008 Brian Buscher, Twins: 27.9%
2003 Juan Gonzalez, Rangers: 27.8%
2003 Mike Cameron, Mariners: 27.8%
2011 Kyle Seager, Mariners: 27.7%
2010 Adam Rosales, Athletics: 27.7%

2003 was an awesome year for line drives.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Should Jesus Montero be Sent Down?

In June, Jesus Montero played in 23 games - catching 8, serving as designated hitter 14 times, and drawing a pinch-hit walk on June 24. Unfortunately, his June splits are a crime scene.