Author Archives: Doug

Run, Don’t Walk

MLB walk rates are at historic lows, another artifact of a declining run scoring environment. Rates below 8% of PAs have been recorded in both leagues for the past two seasons, levels not seen since the 1960s in the NL, and not seen previously in the AL in the live ball era.

BB per PA 1930-2015

More after the jump.

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Leadoff hitters: getting off on the wrong foot

Last season marked the 6th consecutive campaign with OBP below .330 for major league leadoff hitters. If it happens again in 2016, it will mark the first time since at least 1913 that that’s happened in 7 consecutive seasons. 2015 also marked the fourth straight season with at least 10% of major league teams posting a sub-.300 OBP from the number one hole; it’s the first time that’s happened in more than 40 years.

The good news (I guess) is that poor leadoff hitting didn’t stop the Kansas City Royals from becoming only the sixth team since 1913 to win the World Series with leadoff hitters posting a sub-.300 OBP. More on trends in leadoff hitting after the jump.

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Quiz – Division Champion Relievers (stumped)

All of these pitchers played for a division champion. But, they also did something else to distinguish themselves from all other relief pitchers since divisional play began in 1969. What is this unusual pitching accomplishment?

The pitchers are:

  1. Wade Davis,
  2. Santiago Casilla,
  3. Zach Britton,
  4. Koji Uehara,
  5. Joaquin Benoit,
  6. Rafael Betancourt,
  7. Cla Meredith,
  8. Michael Jackson,
  9. Dennis Eckersley, and
  10. Dick Hall.

Click MORE for links to these players’ Baseball-Reference pages.

Provided by View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 3/15/2016.

The solution to the quiz is that these are the only relief pitchers on a division-winning team to face fewer than 3.75 batters per IP in a 50 IP season with zero starts. More on efficient relief seasons after the jump.

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Free Agency by the numbers

But, not the numbers (with lots of zeros after them) that you’re probably thinking about. Baseball’s annual rite of fall and winter has just about run its course. As of this writing, Baseball-Reference is recording 414 free agent signings since the end of last season, with only 8 more players still on the market.

How did your team do in the free agent sweepstakes? Find out after the jump.

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Quiz – Double Trouble (solved)

The 2012 Minnesota Twins have the unfortunate distinction of being the only club in more than 35 years with some unusual position players on its roster. What unenviable characteristic distinguishes these clubs from among all other post-war teams?


Hint #1: There were twelve such teams from 1920 to 1941, and seven more from 1942 to 1945. Seventeen of those 19 teams were Braves, Phillies, Athletics and Reds clubs.

Hint #2: The recent passing of 1960s Giant third baseman Jim Davenport led me to this topic (though he wasn’t one of the players that put the 1968 Giants on this list).

Congratulations to bstar! He correctly identified that only these post-war teams had two players qualify for the league batting championship with ISO of 0.05 or less. More after the jump.

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Arenado Blasts Off

Nolan-ArenadoGoogle translates “arenado” as Spanish for “sandblasted”. Leaving aside the sand, Rockie third baseman Nolan Arenado had a breakout year in 2015, recording one of the more impressive under-the-radar seasons in recent memory, leading the NL with 42 big blasts, and leading the majors with 130 RBI and 354 total bases.

More after the jump.

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