Easily Consumed Nerd Data from George Springer’s Debut

Deadly accurate demographic information for the present site reveals that nearly all FanGraphs readers are either (a) busy executives or (b) busy executives on the go — in either case, one finds, the sort of people who can’t spend the day in explanation.

With a view to serving that particular demographic, the author presents the following — i.e. a small collection of numbered facts regarding celebrated Houston prospect George Springer‘s debut, all of them (i.e. all the facts) of the sort which might appeal to those with a soft spot for the scientific method.

1. Over six plate appearances in an 11-inning game, Springer walked once, struck out twice, and recorded an infield hit — producing a single-game .263 wOBA (box).

2. He also recorded a caught stealing in the fifth inning — decidedly not from a lack of speed, but from a lack of recognition of Jeremy Guthrie‘s pick-off move, as exhibited by the following GIF.

Pick Off 2

3. Springer was remarkably disciplined. Depending on the source, he faced either 13 or 15 or 16 pitches out of the zone. Regardless of the source, he offered at only two of those pitches — both Aaron Crow sliders below the strike zone in the seventh inning. For reference: the lowest O-Swing rate produced by a qualified batter between 2011 and -13 was 17.4%, a mark shared by Bobby Abreu (in 2011) and Marco Scutaro (in 2013). At its worst, Springer’s single-game O-Swing rate was ca. 15% — i.e. better than either Abreu’s or Scutaro’s league-leading single-season marks.

Here’s probably the most difficult pitch against which Springer didn’t offer, a two-strike slider from the very difficult Greg Holland in the 11th inning:

Springer Lay Off

4. In this one-game sample, Springer swung and miss at a rate on par with the baseball’s laggards by that measure. Of the 27 pitches he faced, Springer swing and missed at four (14.8%) — a rate which would place him 416th among 428 qualified batter-seasons between 2011 and -13, tied with last year’s version of Alfonso Soriano.

Springer SS v Crow

5. A hastily performed regression of qualified player-seasons from 2011 to -13 reveals that a batter with Springer’s O-Swing and swinging-strike rates would produce walk and strikeout rates of 13.6% and 26.7%, respectively. Here’s a list of 13 players (minimum 300 PA) who’ve produced similar walk and strikeout rates to that over the last three seasons. Note that HR550 and Off550 denote home runs and weighted offensive runs per 550 plate appearances.

Name Season PA HR550 BB% K% wRC+ Off550
Curtis Granderson 2011 691 33 12.3% 24.5% 146 34.6
Giancarlo Stanton 2013 504 26 14.7% 27.8% 135 21.2
Dexter Fowler 2012 530 13 12.8% 24.2% 122 19.2
Jim Thome 2011 324 25 14.2% 28.4% 130 14.1
Mike Napoli 2012 417 32 13.4% 30.0% 115 9.5
Lucas Duda 2013 384 21 14.3% 26.6% 120 9.3
Scott Sizemore 2011 429 14 12.4% 26.1% 109 5.1
Dan Uggla 2012 630 17 14.9% 26.7% 104 4.8
Mark Reynolds 2012 538 24 13.6% 29.6% 108 3.3
Jonny Gomes 2011 372 21 12.9% 28.2% 98 1.5
Josh Willingham 2013 471 16 14.0% 27.2% 102 -3.2
Carlos Pena 2013 328 13 13.1% 28.0% 87 -11.1
John Buck 2012 398 17 12.3% 25.9% 74 -18.5
Average 21 13.5% 27.2% 112 6.9

6. Not unlike a character from a dystopian Anthony Burgess novel, Springer’s swing tends toward the ultra-violent.

Regard, from the third inning:

Springer 3rd Hard Swing Fast

And regard again, except in slower motion:

Springer 3rd Hard Swing Slow

7. At full speed on three separate ground balls, Springer recorded home-to-first times of 4.28 (1st inning), 4.14 (3nd inning), and 4.12 (9th inning). For a right-handed batter, 4.2 seconds is considered a 60 on the 20-80 scouting scale; 4.1 seconds, a 70.

Here’s the middle one of those grounders, on which Springer recorded his first major-league hit:

Springer 3rd Running



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Carson Cistulli has just published a book of aphorisms called Spirited Ejaculations of a New Enthusiast.


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