Author Archives: Andy

Will the real Vance Worley please stand up? Please stand up… Please stand up…

Vance Worley / USPRESSWIRE

Vance Worley had a wonderful start to his major-league career with the Phillies.

Through his Age 23 season (2011) he pitched 144.2 innings with 8.1 K/9, a 1.203 WHIP, and a 135 ERA+.

Here are some similar players. These guys all threw between 100 and 190 innings through their Age 23 season and had an ERA+ between 125 and 145: Continue reading

High Heat Stats is looking for a few good men and women (a call for new baseball writers)

UPDATE: We have found 5 new writers, to be announced shortly.

High High Stats is looking to add some new writers. I have a few people in mind, but haven’t approached anybody yet, so if you’re interested, please drop me an email.

Here are some of the details:

  • Our blog averages 30-35 comments per post, so you’re guaranteed to reach a good, responsive audience with your posts.
  • You can contribute as much or as little as you like. If you want to write once a month, great. Once a day, great. Whatever works for you works for us.
  • You can promote your own blog, Twitter feed, Facebook page, etc.
  • We won’t be paying anything for now, although that might change. I do regularly engage in profit sharing, although lately I have been reinvesting profits in server upgrades.
  • When we add the new authors, we will be adding a new author profile page where you can highlight yourself as much (or as little) as you choose.

We’ve got quite a nice community here, and I am looking to continue to build it. I have an eventual goal of taking this thing to a larger stage, so hop on board if you’d like to be part of it!

How did Bob Gibson’s career end?

On this date in 1975, according to the Baseball-Reference.com Bullpen entry for today:

On the final pitch of his Hall of Fame career, Cardinals great Bob Gibson gives up a grand slam to Pete LaCock. It will be LaCock’s only bases-loaded homer of his career.

I have heard this fact many times–it’s a sad thing.

But a fellow on Twitter named Al Yellon (@bleedcubbieblue) pointed out to me that this “fact” is not a “fact” at all.

Take a look at the box score for the game.

In the 7th inning of the game, here’s how it went:

Bob Gibson replaces Larry Lintz (PR) pitching and batting 9th
Fly ball
Walk
Single
Walk
Ground out
Wild pitch
Intentional walk
Home run (by Pete LaCock)
Ground out
(end of inning)

Mike Wallace replaced Bob Gibson to start the top of the 8th.

So, the grand slam clearly did not come on the last pitch of Gibson’s career, since he recorded a ground out following the home run.

What gives? Why does this story about Gibson persist when it is so obviously false?

Politics

If you blog about politics, or administer a website about politics, let me know. I am working with a fantastic new group that is running a fantasy competition (like fantasy baseball) all about politics, and they are looking to pay people to refer new users. Email me andy@ (this blog address) or just post a comment below and I’lll email you.

Remembering Albert: Pujols hit #400 2 years ago today

Albert Pujols / USPRESSWIRE

Today in 2010, Albert Pujols hit career homer run #400. He was the 3rd youngest player to reach that plateau, behind just Alex Rodriguez and Ken Griffey Jr.

At the time, Pujols seemed unstoppable. Over the first 10 full years of his career (2001-2010) he averaged 40.8 HR and 123.0 RBI per season. Thanks to injuries and a slip in his performance, though, he hasn’t been quite the same guy since.

That day 2 years ago was the 1,523rd game of Pujols’ career. Through that game he had 400 HR in 6636 plate appearances, or 1 HR every 16.6 PAs.

Since then, through yesterday, Pujols has played in 303 games. He’s hit 73 HR in 1323 plate appearances, or 1 HR every 18.1 PAs.

That may not seem like a huge difference, but let’s imagine that Pujols ends up with 12,000 career plate appearances, around 15th all-time. At his earlier HR rate of 1 per 16.6, that would mean 722 career homers. At his more recent rate of 1 per 18.1, it would mean 662 career homers. The first number is just ahead of Ruth, while the second number is just ahead of Mays.

I’m just sayin’.

Reggie Jefferson: the High Heat Stats interview @ReggieJefferson

Reggie Jefferson played 9 seasons in the majors and is the closest to a .300 hitter you’ll ever see. With 637 hits in 2,123 career at-bats, his final MLB batting average is 0.300047.  Jefferson also had a lot of power, posting a career .474 SLG and 112 OPS+.

Jefferson played for 4 teams in the big leagues plus 1 year in Japan. In 320 games for Boston from 1996 to 1998, he hit .327/.372/.524 with a 127 OPS, including a wicked awesome 1996 in which he batted .347 with a 143 OPS+.

Read below to find out how a front-office blunder cost the Reds his rights, which player on the stacked early 1990’s Indians he thinks is the best, and why he gave up switch-hitting.

These days Jefferson (follow him on Twitter @ReggieJefferson) works as a player agent with SFX Baseball Group, one of the leading representative groups for MLB players.

Jefferson (virtually) sat down with us to answer a few questions about his career.

Continue reading

How do some players maintain such high BAbips?

Some players seem to be able to maintain really high BAbips (batting average on balls in play.) It’s one thing for a guy like Ichiro to do it…he has a .347 career BAbip, which is really high, but not so much higher than his career BA of .322.

Here are active players (minimum 2000 plate appearances) with BAbips at least 20% higher than their batting averages, minimum .296 BAbip, which is league average for 2012 only.

Rk Player BAbip BA PA From To
1 Shin-Soo Choo .354 .290 2760 2005 2012
2 Dexter Fowler .346 .268 2013 2008 2012
3 Michael Bourn .345 .275 3192 2006 2012
4 Wilson Betemit .341 .268 2313 2001 2012
5 Chase Headley .338 .270 2610 2007 2012
6 Jack Cust .337 .242 2581 2001 2011
7 Brad Hawpe .337 .276 3369 2004 2011
8 Justin Upton .336 .276 2847 2007 2012
9 Jayson Werth .326 .266 3743 2002 2012
10 B.J. Upton .324 .255 3859 2004 2012
11 Mark Teahen .324 .264 3171 2005 2011
12 Alex Gordon .322 .268 2850 2007 2012
13 Jeremy Hermida .314 .257 2261 2005 2012
14 Bill Hall .310 .248 3674 2002 2012
15 Kelly Johnson .309 .257 3631 2005 2012
16 Mark Reynolds .309 .235 3248 2007 2012
17 Rickie Weeks .306 .251 3800 2003 2012
18 Ronny Cedeno .299 .248 2440 2005 2012
19 Russell Branyan .296 .232 3398 1998 2011
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 8/13/2012.

Kind of a neat list, huh? It’s got some fast guys like Fowler and Bourn, who (like Ichiro) probably get a high BAbip because they are able to beat out a higher fraction of infield grounders). It also includes some three true outcome guys like Cust, Reynolds, and Branyan, who don’t necessarily put the ball in play that much, have low batting averages, and hit a higher rate of balls out of the park.

It is, in fact, these TTO guys who have the highest increase of BAbip over  BA. Cust is tops, with a BAbip 39% higher than his BA. The rest of the leaders among the list above are Reynolds (31%), Fowler (29%), Branyan (28%), and Betemit (27%).