Wednesday, April 24, 2013

MLB Team-by-Team At-a-Glance

More than half of today's games are matinees, including a couple of 12:35 ET starts in Baltimore and Cincinnati. So, we don't have all afternoon to craft a comprehensive This Moment in Baseball post. Instead, let's run down both leagues with one note on each team.

Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
Last night, Rob Neyer made a point about Arte Moreno's club that means very little on the field but should not be forgotten...

Please note, just about every number in this post is dripping with Small Sample Size warnings. Case in point: Albert Pujols is in danger of injuring his foot beyond the point where he can play through the pain. However, on the bright side, he has raised his walk rate to the level it was at during his prime:

Albert Pujols BB%
2009: 16.4%
2010: 14.7%
2011: 9.4%
2012: 7.8%
2013: 15.9%

Houston Astros
Jose Altuve leads all of Baseball with 30 hits (in 20 games).

Oakland A's
In 4 starts, Bartolo Colon is 3-0 with a complete game shutout to his name. He's faced 99 batters and walked only 1.

Toronto Blue Jays
Easily the most disappointing team of this young season is Toronto's 8-13 club. Much of their faltering coincides with the fact that J.A. Happ has been their most successful starting pitcher.

Blue Jays Starting Pitchers
1 R.A. Dickey 2 3 4.66 29.0 90
2 Mark Buehrle* 1 0 5.87 23.0 72
3 J.A. Happ* 2 1 3.68 22.0 114
4 Brandon Morrow 0 2 5.57 21.0 76
5 Josh Johnson 0 1 6.86 19.2 62
Provided by View Original Table
Generated 4/24/2013.

Atlanta Braves
The Braves bullpen just won't quit. Even guys we don't expect to dominate are doing just that. Craig Kimbrel, Cory Gearrin, and Anthony Varvaro have combined to throw 27.6 scoreless innings.

Milwaukee Brewers
This month, Ryan Braun has shown tendencies to become more of a three true outcome batter, like Adam Dunn. So far, Braun has career highs in BB% (15.9%, career: 8.1%), K% (31.9%, career: 18.1%), as well as SLG% and ISO, powered by his 6 early home runs.

St. Louis Cardinals
Carlos Beltran isn't what he used to be, but he leads the team in home runs and is has a .294 batting average.

Chicago Cubs
Julio Borbon has a sparkling 1.000/1.000/1.000 slash line.

Arizona Diamondbacks
Aaron Hill is on the DL with a broken hand, but was off to a nice start. Among batters with at least 40 plate appearances this year, Hill has the highest BB/K ratio by a wide margin:

2013 BB/K ratio (min 40 PA)
Aaron Hill 5.00
Adam Lind 2.75
Coco Crisp 2.17
David Wright 1.60
Nate McLouth 1.57

Los Angeles Dodgers
For all the money the Dodgers new ownership has spent, the team leaders in wRC+ are backup infielder Nick Punto (193) and starting pitcher Hyun-Jin Ryu (184).

San Francisco Giants
Matt Cain has not gotten of to the kind of start Giants fans would have wanted, as his 6.59 ERA attests. That being said, we don't think there are too many red flags for his near future. His walk and strikeout rates are still in line with last season's. His strand rate is an unlucky 54.1% (league average around 72%). Lastly, while Cain's average fastball velocity has dropped 0.5 mph since last year, he is throwing more two-seamers, which naturally are not as fast as his four-seamer.

Cleveland Indians
It's hard to believe that the Indians are only 2 games below .500 when considering the terrible starting pitching they've gotten from all their non-Masterson pitchers. The ERA's are terrible, but even worse, look at the HR/K ratio for some of these guys:

Justin Masterson 4 1 1.85 5 34.0 1 30 207
Brett Myers 0 3 8.02 3 21.1 10 12 48
Zach McAllister 1 2 3.12 3 17.1 1 16 124
Ubaldo Jimenez 0 2 10.06 4 17.0 4 15 39
Trevor Bauer 0 1 5.40 1 5.0 1 2 76
Carlos Carrasco 0 1 17.18 1 3.2 2 2 24
Scott Kazmir* 0 0 16.20 1 3.1 2 4 26
Provided by View Original Table
Generated 4/24/2013.

To repeat, Brett Myers has a 10:12 HR:K ration. Carlos Carrasco's is 2:2.

Seattle Mariners
This team can't hit and won't be going anywhere this year, but they do have a guy named Bobby LaFromboise in the bullpen. So, they got that going for them, which is nice.

Miami Marlins
Another team going nowhere, the Marlins have no hitting. Giancarlo Stanton's fWAR is -0.5. Their best hitter, so far this season, has been Justin Ruggiano, but he has .286 OBP. On a bright side, Placido Polanco is the toughest man in baseball to strikeout this season, as illustrated by his 3.8% K%.

New York Mets
After Hisashi Iwakuma got knocked around just a little bit last night, Matt Harvey now leads Major League Baseball in opponents' batting average: .108, OBP: .184, and SLG: .161 - hyperbole in numbers.

Washington Nationals
One of the most popular picks to win the National League pennant this year, the Nationals hitters have been terribly slow out of the gate. In fact, they are hitting worse than the Houston Astros:

2013 Batting Slash Lines
Houston Astros: .250/.305/.407
Washington Nationals: .236/.301/.405

Baltimore Orioles
According to Fangraphs batted ball data, Brian Matusz has pitched 7 2/3 innings this year without giving up a line drive.

San Diego Padres
Not as disappointing at the Blue Jays, who were favored by many to win the AL East, the Friars have let fans who considered them a dark horse down. PECOTA already has them rated as less likely to make the playoffs than the Cubs. Only the Twins, Marlins, and Astros have less of a chance to make the postseason than the Padres.

Philadelphia Phillies
The bright spot for the Phighting Phills this year must be that Chase Utley has returned to form. His legs failed him for years, but he is hitting a robust .301/.350/.521 this year, 3 HR's and 3 SB's.

Pittsburgh Pirates
When it's all said and done, make sure we're marked as believers in Starling Marte. He still doesn't draw walks, but his bat speed and power make him a pleasure to watch. His .369 OBP this year will likely go down if he doesn't develop much patience, but hopefully he's young enough to improve a little in that department.

Texas Rangers
The team from Arlington looks like a legit competitor for the AL pennant once again. They have great depth, pitching, power, speed, and on base capabilities. Among their stars, all hail Lance Berkman and his .333/.463/.481 line. If he can extend his career as a world class DH for a couple more years, will we be talking Hall of Fame for Big Puma?

Tampa Bay Rays
Rays Raise your hand if you thought James Loney would hit over .300/.350/.450. He's currently at .313/.377/.479


Boston Red Sox
Local media in New England has been praising Mike Napoli and speculating he'll get a big deal in the offseason. Much of that talk appears to be superficial, as he is carrying a 4.6% BB% and 31.0 K%.

Cincinnati Reds
This is from a couple of days ago, but it still illustrated the point...

Colorado Rockies
The Blake Street Bombers have reinvented themselves into one of the more pleasant surprises in baseball this year. They have four players slugging over .600, but time will tell if that ragtag pitching staff can keep them in contention.

Kansas City Royals
Alex Gordon and Lorenzo Cain are playing like two of the best Outfield tandems in baseball, each batting over .340.

Detroit Tigers
The odds on favorite to win the AL pennant, and by extension World Series, Jim Leyland's Tigers are playing quite well. The middle of the lineup is producing, and while their having trouble with the bullpen, Al Albuquerque is not part of the problem. Leyland will figure it out and have his team peaking at the right timw.

Minnesota Twins
Make no mistake, the Twinkies are horrendous this season. Their rebuilding could take a nice step forward if they capitalize on Glen Perkins's success and flip him for prospects.

Chicago White Sox
Sports Illustrated's Jay Jaffe made a great point in this piece, showing how Jeff Keppinger and Adam Dunn are polar opposites in the batter's box, yet they are both failing miserably.

New York Yankees
For all the trouble the Bronx Bombers seem to have gotten themselves into, they are still favored by PECOTA to win the AL East. While the success of aging players like Vernon Wells and Travis Hfner have them over .500, we can expect prolonged slumps from them in the future. Yankee fans will hope players like Granderson and Jeter will be in the lineup to pickup the slack at that time.

Can this guy keep the Yankees playing in October?

As always, your comments below are encouraged. Thanks for reading and enjoy the games!

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