Just Some Numerical Observations

I like numbers and I like baseball. They go well together, so it makes sense. Because I spend so much time just kind of staring at spreadsheets of numbers with a blank look on my face, I end up noticing things. You know, because that's what the mind does. I thought I would just toss out some tidbits today. Frankly, I just don't have much else to do right now.

Pitchers dislike Prince and Rickie

One of the most talented right sides of the infield in the game, apparently the Brewers' Prince Fielder and Rickie Weeks have done more than just smack around pitchers and take lots of pitches. They're getting in the way of them, too. The two Brew Crew sluggers have combined for 12 hit-by-pitches so far this season, by far the most of any teammates. Ty Wigginton and Miguel Tejada of the Orioles are in second, with 7 total, which matches Fielder's league-leading individual mark.

The metrics have [temporarily] changed their mind on Nyjer Morgan

Last season, Nyjer Morgan busted onto the scene with a breakout performance that included a .307 batting average, 42 steals, a +31 UZR/+15 DRS in center field, and a 4.9 fWAR overall. Hopes were high for Nyjer this season, as CHONE projected him at +10.3 defensively, while the Fans anticipated a +14.3 UZR. To say the least, Morgan has disappointed, or at least confounded the defensive metrics. Through 27 games this season, UZR has Morgan at -4.2, while DRS has him at -6 for the same period. That's a UZR in the -20 to -30 range over the course of 150 games. It probably won't last, but this is a good example of why sample sizes can't be stressed enough with the metrics we have today.

Another example of why Arizona's offense has been sick so far

The Diamondbacks are current 2nd in the majors in runs scored, 2nd in home runs, 2nd in OPS and 2nd in wOBA. Putting things simply, this is clearly a really, really good offense. But here's another example of why they're offense is good, as well as another example of why runs scored aren't a particularly good reflection of how a player has played. Currently, both Mark Reynolds and Justin Upton are tied for 10th place or better on the runs scored leaderboard. Why's that surprising? Well, Reynolds has a .355 OBP and has struck out 35% of the time, while Upton has a .315 OBP and has struck out 36% of the time. The runs scored leaderboard basically consists of leadoff hitters, elite hitters and players on good offenses, they're just not particularly helpful.

Juan Pierre hates Are Bee Eye's..     but loves steals

Juan Pierre has never hit many RBI's. It makes sense, as he's a zero-power hitter that traditionally has hit at the top of the order. Generally, he's been good for 40-50 RBI per season, which is about where the projection systems had him over the course of a full season. But somehow, Juan Pierre has managed to almost completely avoid knocking in runs. He has 1 RBI in 122 plate appearances with ZERO extra-base hits on the year. He's been absolutely horrid and as a Chicagoan it's been brutal watching him beat the ball into the ground at the top of the order. But hey, he leads the majors with 15 steals, and we all know that's what he gets paid to do...    ugh.

Derek Jeter must hit some powerful grounders

This season, the Yankees shortstop has hit the ball on the ground 71% of the time, compared to a 56% career mark. But with some luck, Jeter's also managed to hit for more power so far this year than he usually does. He's only hit the ball in the air 31 times this year (including line drives), which doesn't exclude all of the outs that he's made on those batted balls, but he still already has 5 doubles and 4 home runs on the year. Jeter is truly a king among men.

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