Daily Notes: May’s Leaders, Not in WAR

Table of Contents
Here’s the table of contents for today’s edition of the Daily Notes.

1. May’s Leaders, Not in WAR
2. Today’s MLB.TV Free Game
3. Today’s Complete Schedule

May’s Leaders, Not in WAR
In yesterday’s stirring edition of the Notes, the author considered the nearly definitive WAR leaderboards for the month of May. In today’s edition, we consider four metrics that aren’t WAR and then the leaders from May by those same metrics.

(Note: the various “links” to the metrics in question are, in some cases, links to the relevant custom leaderboard from which that metric is derived. Because at least one of the stats is made-up, is why.)

Category: Walk-Strikeout Differential (Qualified Batters)
Leader: Matt Carpenter, STL, +6.5% (Link)
Notes: Certainly one indicator of a batter’s control over the strike zone is his ability to record rather high walk rates relative to his strikeout rates. There’s a direct link, certainly, between above-average walk-strikeout differentials and above-average production. In May, for example, the top-10 qualified batters by walk-strikeout differential recorded a cumulative 154 wRC+. The bottom 10 by that measure? A 78 wRC+. Carpenter led all batters in May, walking 14.6% of the time, while striking out just 8.1%.

Category: RECK (Qualified)
Leader: Domonic Brown, PHI, #DIV/0! (Link)
Notes: RECK is a toy stat of the author’s invention and is intended to measure reckless power, as calculated by dividing Isolated Power by Isolated Patience — or, stated differently, (SLG – AVG) / (OBP – AVG). Essentially, it’s designed to identify players whose power far outstrips their patience. “The results,” as noted in a post from last January, “appear to approximate the Richter Scale, such that less than 2.0 is barely felt, 5.0 is moderate, and 9.0-and-up happens less than every 10 years and is totally destructive.” With a line of .303/.303/.688, Phillies outfielder Domonic Brown short-circuits the metric.

Category: Most Valuable Pitch
Leader: Cliff Lee, PHI, +10.8 Runs on Two-Seamer (Link)
Notes: Despite the fact that his current indicators are actually less impressive than last year’s (87 xFIP- presently, 79 xFIP- in 2012), Lee has been more successful in terms of actual run prevention so far this season. His two-seamer (or sinker, if you want) has been integral to that success. Lee throws it about half the time, and it’s been terribly effective: while not a swing-and-miss pitch, opposing hitters posted just a .172 BABIP against it in May, according to Brooks Baseball. Of note, however: Lee has not historically suppressed hits with his sinker, against which batters posted a .302 BABIP between 2010 and -12.

Category: Swinging-Strike Rate (> 10.0 IP)
Leader: Trevor Rosenthal, STL, 19.7% (Link)
Notes: While his fastball is obviously impressive, it’s Rosenthal’s changeup that serves as his most efficient strikeout pitch. Rosenthal induced swinging strikes with 41% of his changeups in May, according to Brooks, seeming comfortable with the pitch against left-handers and right-handers. Here is, for example, throwing it to Yuniesky Betancourt for a strikeout on May 18th:

Rosenthal CH

Today’s MLB.TV Free Game
New York NL at Washington | 19:05 ET
Jeremy Hefner (57.0 IP, 117 xFIP-, -0.1 WAR) faces Jordan Zimmermann (79.2 IP, 91 xFIP-, 1.6 WAR). While the Mets’ offense hasn’t been particularly excellent, the Nationals’ has been worse. By park-adjusted offense, Washington has only been better than two teams this season: the Marlins and White Sox. The Astros, meanwhile, are as close to average as they are the Nationals.

Readers’ Preferred Broadcast: New York NL Television.

Today’s Complete Schedule
Here’s the complete schedule for all of today’s games, with our very proprietary watchability (NERD) scores for each one. Pitching probables and game times aggregated from MLB.com and RotoWire. The average NERD Game Score for today is 5.2.

Note: the following table is entirely sortable.

Away SP Tm. Gm. Tm. SP   Home Time
Scott Kazmir CLE 6 8 5 5 4 NYA David Phelps 19:05
Ricky Nolasco MIA 4 0 3 2 4 PHI Jon. Pettibone 19:05
Jeremy Hefner NYN 3 6 5 2 8 WAS J. Zimmermann 19:05
Matt Moore TB 4 7 7 7 10 DET Anibal Sanchez 19:08
Juan Nicasio COL 3 9 6 5 8 CIN Homer Bailey 19:10
Jeff Locke PIT 3 6 6 9 7 ATL Mike Minor 19:10
Justin Grimm TEX 6 4 6 8 5 BOS Ryan Dempster 19:10
Chris Tillman BAL 4 9 3 4 0 HOU Lucas Harrell 20:10
Samuel Deduno* MIN 4 3 4 5 3 KC Luis Mendoza 20:10
A.J. Griffin OAK 5 6 5 5 5 MIL Kyle Lohse 20:10
Tyler Skaggs* AZ 8 3 7 2 9 STL Michael Wacha* 20:15
Scott Feldman CHN 3 5 5 5 6 LAA Jered Weaver* 22:05
Jake Peavy CHA 7 0 7 6 10 SEA Felix Hernandez 22:10
Clayton Richard SD 2 7 3 2 4 LAN Ted Lilly* 22:10
Josh Johnson* TOR 6 6 6 4 7 SF Tim Lincecum 22:15

To learn how Pitcher and Team NERD Scores are calculated, click here.
To learn how Game NERD Scores are calculated, click here.
* = Fewer than 20 IP, NERD at discretion of very handsome author.

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That Rosenthal gif…

That isn’t hittable.