FanGraphs Baseball

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  1. I seriously cannot believe Chone Figgins led the AL in walks.

    I mean I know he had 729 PA’s but…Chone Figgins. Scraptabulousnessityful Chone Figgins, leading the AL in “team killing” walks.

    Comment by JoeR43 — October 6, 2009 @ 4:42 pm

  2. And you have to think that’s a result of his fouling pitches off; I can’t imagine that pitchers would be happy to walk a relatively powerless hitter with very good speed.

    Comment by Xavier — October 6, 2009 @ 4:49 pm

  3. Of course, when you’re not a power threat like Figgins, it’s very obvious that the high walk rate is a direct result of a skill set. Ichiro uses his contact ability to put the ball in play and beat it out, Figgins seems to use it to fend a tough pitch off and get the count to ball four. Reaching first is obviously valuable no matter who the hitter is, but for a guy like Figgins, even more so.

    Worries me a little bit in the series vs. Boston.

    Comment by JoeR43 — October 6, 2009 @ 5:05 pm

  4. Just checked it out.
    Figgins has the 4th lowest out of zone swing rate at 14.9%. Better than JD Drew and Bobby Abreu. Only behind Luis Castillo, Marco Scutaro, and Nick Johnson. Obviously a good way to be effective is to not swing as bad pitches, something that Figgins does very well.

    Comment by JoeR43 — October 6, 2009 @ 5:12 pm

  5. It seems Figgins, whom most of us are likely to bracket, mentally, as “a bit better than David Eckstein”- has actually become a rather good player.

    Comment by Colm — October 6, 2009 @ 5:54 pm

  6. Or maybe I’m just extrapolating from my own biases, and general annoyance with all things Angel.

    Comment by Colm — October 6, 2009 @ 5:55 pm

  7. Is Figgins an example of a MLB player who has significantly improved his performance via “teaching” rather than talent? He was not this good in previous years, but has shown steady improvement and truly made himself a valuable player by altering his approach and strategy.

    Comment by Chad — October 6, 2009 @ 5:55 pm

  8. Tremendous analysis. Great read. One nit to pick: The Angels, in my opinion should be called either The Angels or Halos or The Anaheims (my favorite).

    To use Los Angeles – or even “LA” – as part of the team name is way too corporate, not to mention absurd. Although, I do like The Brooklyn Dodgers of Los Angeles. But I’m old-school.

    Some friends of mine like the O.C. Angels. I like that too. The interlocking O/C would look great on the caps.

    Enough of ephemera. Keep up the great gleaning of useful stats. Fun to see.

    Comment by Rob Nelson — October 7, 2009 @ 1:12 am

  9. Or he’s having one of those “career years” that happen sometimes. This year doesn’t look like the continuation of steady evolution; it looks more like a freak mutation. And in his walk year (amazing!) It’s entirely possible he will continue to be this good, but I wouldn’t want to be the GM giving him a contract that has that assumption priced into it. I really hope he keeps it up, but I’m expecting some regression back to the ~3 WAR guy he’s averaged in the past, not the 6 WAR guy he has been this season.

    Comment by joser — October 7, 2009 @ 2:17 am

  10. Not swinging at the 4th ball with a full count takes a lot of discipline and a great eye (and a lot of confidence in that eye); it’s a relatively rare skill even in the majors.

    Comment by joser — October 7, 2009 @ 2:20 am

  11. Mr Cameron noted this a couple of months ago.

    He’s a good player. I’m having trouble believing he’s this good, however. He’s going to be a free agent, and will be getting a big payday, but will he go on to earn it?

    Comment by joser — October 7, 2009 @ 2:22 am

  12. Scott Shields is not done due to ineffectiveness, he is done because of injury. You cant claim hes washed up because of 22 innings of injury plagued pitching

    Comment by Joel — October 7, 2009 @ 3:11 am

  13. There’s one other reason to cheer the Angels.

    Comment by joser — October 7, 2009 @ 4:17 am

  14. I wouldn’t be so quick to jump on this as a “career year.” His walk rate has climbed steadily, up to 14% this season. Last year it was at 12%, and in his “lucky year” it was at 10%. If all else remains the same and he walks around 12%, he could be something like a .345 wOBA (just a guess, not a projection), which is worth a good 10 runs above average. If he stays a +10 defender as well, he’s a 4.6 WAR player, pretty good stuff.

    Slap hitters everywhere could learn a thing or two from Figgins. This is the way you succeed with no power in the majors.

    Comment by Michael — October 7, 2009 @ 9:04 am

  15. Holy wow that sounds awful.

    Modern medicine really is insane.

    Comment by JoeR43 — October 7, 2009 @ 10:58 am

  16. Fair enough, but that’s 4.6 WAR. He’s 6 WAR this year. I’d say being ~30% better than your real talent (rather than 100%) still qualifies as a “career year.”

    Comment by joser — October 7, 2009 @ 6:52 pm

  17. Yeah, not for the squeamish, but what an amazing recovery. And man, that doctor…

    Six days after the accident, Bhatia led a surgical team of 30 that spent five hours placing a titanium plate at the back of Wilhite’s neck and connecting it to his skull and C3 vertebra with rods and screws. “Everything had to go perfectly,” says Bhatia. Asked if the bones in the vertebra could have shattered when he was drilling the holes, the affable and precise Bhatia answers, “They don’t shatter as long as you do it correctly.”

    You think athletes have skills and endurance? You think a starter goes deep into a game? You think a closer has nerves of steel?

    Comment by joser — October 7, 2009 @ 6:57 pm

  18. Unfortunately for the Angels Scioscia is going to give away some of those Napoli ABs to Mathis. Boston has got to love that.

    Comment by stolenbases — October 7, 2009 @ 7:57 pm

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