Tag Archives: hard-hitting statistical analysis

WPA: A stat for everyone (except Francisco Cordero)

I understand a lot of the resistance from old-school baseball people and fans to advanced stats. I really do. Advanced stats can be confusing and, because of both their naming and the math that goes into them, intimidating. There’s also the problem that, dammit, I just want to talk baseball and not what somebody might theoretically do over the next so many years, especially considering this or that park factor.

Can’t we just talk about what happened last night?

Can’t we just talk about where our team is in the standings and how they got there?

If the above describes how you feel, I sympathize. I’m not in total agreement, but I do share your feelings to a certain degree. And I have good news — if you’re like me and seeking a middle ground, at least — there is an advanced stat just for you! Continue reading

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Filed under General baseball, Toronto Blue Jays

Slumping sluggers

11 games in and the superstar outfielder has, compared to what people are used to seeing from him, struggled. He’s coming off a season in which he was arguably robbed of the MVP award — I mean, just look. He led the league in home runs, walks, OPS+ and intentional walks.

But now, 11 games in, his team is at 6-5 and some fans are kind of freaking out. He’s got a sub-.800 OPS. In a little more than 50 plate appearances and he’s only hit two home runs! Should we be worried? Is he finished?

Am I writing about Jose Bautista? No, although all of the above applies to him.

In 1959, Mickey Mantle was in the exact same situation. Well, I say exact, but I don’t know for sure what the fans were saying about him. Other than that, it was pretty much the same. Really, check out the stats!

(Click the pics to embiggen, or the links to see the source at Baseball Reference.)

Mantle’s 1958:

Bautista’s 2011:

Mantle’s first 11 games of 1959:

Bautista’s first 11 of 2012:

Obviously Bautista is not Mantle, but to everybody out there worrying about Bautista: Don’t. It’s way, way too early yet. If you hear people talk about small sample size, listen to them. If you don’t want to believe them, remember the above stats — and remember this: Despite his slow start in ’59, Mantle went on to hit 31 home runs and post on OPS of .904. It wasn’t Mantle’s best season, but it was still very, very productive.

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Filed under General baseball, Toronto Blue Jays

Hey turnaround trail, is Adam Lind on you?

Before this season started, the Toronto Blue Jays signed Adam Lind — Silver Slugger that he is — to a very team-friendly contract. Four years, $18 million and three affordable club options to boot.

Jays fans rejoiced.

The season started and Lind came out swinging. At the end of April, he had a line of .286/.359/.484/.843 — certainly nothing to shake a stick at.

But then it happened. On a team that, this year anyway, seems to have some sort of magical home-run hitting powers (OBP doesn’t matter! GRIP IT AND RIP IT, BABY!) Lind (and Aaron Hill) forgot how to hit.

This lead to a plethora of “imagine what this team will do when its best hitters start hitting!!!1” posts, and rightly so.

The problem is that the slump was no ordinary slump. It was much, much longer.

From May 1 to June 30, Adam Lind posted a putrid line of .166/.219/.276/.495. In 199 AB, Lind only managed to mash 5 taters.

But July is, uh, July. It’s hot outside. Now, so is Lind (CHEESE!).

Since July 1, Lind hasn’t come to the plate in a game and not gotten a hit. Dude’s got a 14-game hitting streak going and has so far posted a line of .293/.317/.534/.851. In 58 AB, he’s hit 4 taters.

The Silver Slugger is back!

I attribute the rebound entirely to him eating delicious chocolate ice cream. Which I saw him doing outside the Dome on an off day.

I love ice cream.

Trade stuff

And with that, I’m out. I’ll be back late on trade deadline day, but probably will be so far out of the loop that I’ll be completely clueless.

To Jose Bautista, John Buck, Lyle Overbay, Edwin Encarnacion, Scott Downs and Jason Frasor: It’s been fun watching you play (especially you, Albino Warlord) but I really hope you’re all gone when I get back. It’s time to turn the page.

To Kevin Gregg: You were not fun to watch. I will not miss you.

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Filed under Toronto Blue Jays