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High Heat Stats joins the USA Today Sports Weekly team!

If you subscribe to USA Today Sports Weekly (which grew from Baseball Weekly) or buy it in your local news stand, you may have noticed that High Heat Stats is now a contributor:

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This week’s piece is about high-leverage RBI as a fraction of a player’s total RBI, and shows how much better Prince Fielder was than Miguel Cabrera, and why the Angels might be in trouble.

Please pick up a copy locally if you’re not already a subscriber!

Yu Darvish–yu stud!

Here are some quick thoughts on Yu Darvish’s near-perfecto last night.

Thomas Campbell-USA TODAY Sports

Thomas Campbell-USA TODAY Sports

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Notes from last night’s Astros-Rangers game

Justin Maxwell / Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

Justin Maxwell / Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

There’s Justin Maxwell, standing on third base after tripling, as he did twice last night. Here are the only other guys since 1916 to hit two triples on Opening Day:

Rk Player Date Tm Opp Rslt PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI
1 Tony Pena 2007-04-02 KCR BOS W 7-1 4 3 2 2 0 2 0 1
2 Tommy Henrich 1950-04-18 NYY BOS W 15-10 6 6 2 2 0 2 0 1
3 Arky Vaughan 1941-04-15 PIT CHC L 4-7 5 5 1 2 0 2 0 1
4 Bubbles Hargrave 1924-04-15 CIN PIT W 6-5 4 4 2 4 0 2 0 0
5 Tillie Walker 1917-04-11 BOS NYY W 10-3 5 5 0 3 1 2 0 4
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 4/1/2013.

Tillie Walker didn’t score after either triple, but he did drive in 4.

Rick Ankiel hit a pinch 3-run homer. Although this is also a pretty rare Opening Day feat, George Kottaras did it last year for the Brewers.

Since 1916, he’s only the 11th player to hit a 3-run pinch-HR (or grand slam) on Opening Day:

Rk Player Date Tm Opp Rslt PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO WPA BOP
1 George Kottaras 2012-04-06 MIL STL L 5-11 1 1 1 1 0 0 1 3 0 0 0.000 9
2 Mendy Lopez 2004-04-05 KCR CHW W 9-7 1 1 1 1 0 0 1 3 0 0 0.443 9
3 Mark Sweeney 1999-04-05 CIN SFG L 8-11 1 1 1 1 0 0 1 3 0 0 0.204 9
4 Geno Petralli 1992-04-06 TEX SEA W 12-10 1 1 1 1 0 0 1 3 0 0 0.589 1
5 Terry Whitfield 1984-04-03 LAD STL L 7-11 4 2 1 1 0 0 1 3 2 0 0.120 6
6 Bobby Murcer 1981-04-09 NYY TEX W 10-3 1 1 1 1 0 0 1 4 0 0 0.029 8
7 Norm Miller 1970-04-07 HOU SFG W 8-5 2 1 1 1 0 0 1 3 1 0 0.451 9
8 Duffy Dyer 1969-04-08 NYM MON L 10-11 1 1 1 1 0 0 1 3 0 0 0.030 8
9 Charlie Maxwell 1959-04-10 DET CHW L 7-9 1 1 1 1 0 0 1 3 0 0 0.442 8
10 Frank Welch 1925-04-14 PHA BOS W 9-8 1 1 1 1 0 0 1 3 0 0 0.000 2
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 4/1/2013.

These were all 3-run shots, save Bobby Murcer’s pinch homer, which was of the bases-full variety. Note there may be other players who entered as a pinch-hitter and amassed 3 RBI over more than 1 plate appearance, but these are the only guys to get at least 3 RBI on the homer.

Erik Bedard got a save the easy way, pitching 3+ innings in a game that was pretty much out of reach. He’s the first guy to get an Opening Day save while pitching at least 3 innings in a long time:

Rk Player Date Tm Opp Rslt App,Dec IP H R ER BB SO HR
1 Terry Adams 2000-04-03 LAD MON W 10-4 7-9f ,S 3.0 2 1 1 1 1 1
2 Kevin Jarvis 1997-04-01 CIN COL W 11-4 7-9f ,S 3.0 2 0 0 2 5 0
3 Mike Perez 1995-04-26 CHC CIN W 7-1 7-9f ,S 3.0 2 1 1 0 1 1
4 Terry Leach 1993-04-06 CHW MIN W 10-5 7-9f ,S 3.0 2 1 1 0 0 0
5 Wilson Alvarez 1992-04-07 CHW CAL W 10-4 7-9f ,S 3.0 0 0 0 0 2 0
6 Jeff Robinson 1988-04-05 PIT PHI W 5-3 6-9f ,S 3.2 2 1 1 0 4 1
7 Bill Dawley 1987-04-07 STL CHC W 9-3 6-9f ,S 4.0 1 0 0 0 3 0
8 Mark Davis 1986-04-08 SFG HOU W 8-3 7-9f ,S 3.0 0 0 0 0 1 0
9 Ron Robinson 1986-04-07 CIN PHI W 7-4 6-9f ,S 3.1 1 0 0 0 2 0
10 Bruce Sutter 1984-04-03 STL LAD W 11-7 7-9f ,S 3.0 0 0 0 2 0 0
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 4/1/2013.

Before Sutter in 1984, as you would guess, it was done quite often.

The Astros played their first game as an AL team 15 years to the day after the Brewers played their first game as an NL team. In that game, Bob Wickman took the loss in the 9th as Kerry Ligtenberg won despite walking 4 while recording only 4 outs. I would love it if somebody could find a link between these two games–maybe a guy who coached in one but played in the other?

Announcing the High Heat Stats Player Quiz!

I’m very, very sorry to announce the High Heat Stats Player Quiz, as whatever free time you had is about to be sucked up.

This quiz is totally free (at some point you might have to watch a video ad when you begin a new session).

To learn more about the quiz, go to the quiz page. Note that you can reach this page from the button on the navigation bar at the top saying “Player Quiz”. From there, there’s a link to launch the actual quiz.

Thanks to Sean Lahman for the use of his database, and to Aaron M. for coding this to my specifications.

Go crazy, folks!

Happy Opening Day 2013! (part 3)

HHS_carter_lol

Thanks to Adam D. for this poster concept.

Happy Opening Day 2013! (part 2)

HHS_give_WAR

Happy Opening Day 2013!

HHS_keep_calm

In an announcement on fangraphs.com, it’s been revealed that they and Baseball-Reference.com have unified the replacement level used for WAR calculations, meaning that bWAR and fWAR will now be the same.

I just chatted with our old friend @Neil_Paine about this and got some info:

  • Previously, B-R used a win level of 51-52 per 162 games as the replacement basis.
  • The new level is 47-48 wins per 162 games, which will be used by both sites.
  • Thus fWAR levels for all players are going down, and bWAR levels for all players are going up.
  • Previously, the longer a player’s career was, the larger the discrepancy existed between the two values.
  • This means that players with long careers (like Jack Morris….sigh) will get larger bumps up in rWAR or bumps down in fWAR.

Life expectancy of a Hall of Famer

In response to a question I was asked on Twitter, I figured out the age at death for all of MLB’s Hall of Famers. Click through for the info.

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Padding the totals: highest percentage of low-leverage RBI

Here’s a very quick post that I still think you’ll find interesting. I found the top 100 players of all time in terms of RBI from low-leverage situations. Hank Aaron is #1, as you might expect, since he’s pretty much #1 in anything RBI-related. Then, I calculated the fraction those low-leverage RBI represented of their total career RBI. Let’s call this the “Alex Rodriguez RBI” stat, since he’s so often accused of driving in runs when they don’t really matter.

Click through for the large table of how these 100 guys stack up. Read the rest of this entry

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