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.

More after the jump.

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WAR and WAR/162 rankings over 2013-2015

I just ran some numbers to see what they show. I took the 191 players to play at least 324 games (2 seasons’ worth) over the last 3 years and ranked them by their WAR total (ugh, Skip Schumaker!). Then I calculated their WAR per 162 games played. Finally, I sorted the results by ranking difference between their raw WAR total and WAR/162 value. Players at the top of this list jumped up the most places–so mainly these are guys who didn’t quite play 3 full seasons but posted high WAR totals...

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Thinking about offense in April

I’m working on a USA Today Sports Weekly piece, and there sure is a lot of interesting stuff that happens in April.

We know that relievers have tossed an increasingly large fraction of innings over the years. In the 1970s, relievers tossed about 20% of all innings. In recent years, the percentage has been closer to 24%. That may not seem like a lot, but with a little over 43,000 innings last year...

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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...

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Today is the craziest possible day for MLB names

St. Patrick’s Day is always interesting for names. Lots of babies born on this day end up being given the first or middle name of Patrick. Among the 41 MLB players born today, eight (Pat Seery, Pete Reiser, Dan Masteller, John Smiley, Larry Murphy, Pat Gomez, Rick Lisi, & Bill Gannon) have the first or middle given name of Patrick.

But that’s just the tip of the iceberg for unusual names among MLB players with a birthday today...

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What’s new at High Heat Stats

Andy here with just a few quick updates.

  • I’m updating the theme–it may look a bit wonky for a couple of days, but I’ll get it all sorted out.
  • Importantly, it will continue to run fast and lean.
  • We are about to embark on another season of writing for USA Today Sports Weekly. I have a great group of writers, including a bunch of new folks. Ely will also be posting all the articles here on HHS...
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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...
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