Head Scratchers

With April coming to a close today, here’s a scattering of numbers that will make you scratch your head.

Bobby Abreu has yet to hit a home run this season, but he’s stolen eight bases without being caught. Apparently someone forgot to tell him that old player skills include added power and a loss of speed.

Speaking of home runs, the Oakland Athletics have hit eight as a team this month. Adrian Gonzalez and Carlos Pena both have nine home runs, while Torii Hunter and Carlos Quentin have hit eight apiece.

Bengie Molina and Yuniesky Betancourt each have 78 plate appearances and no walks. Marco Scutaro has drawn 22 walks already. Some walks are about respecting power hitters and not giving them anything to hit, but others are entirely a function of how often a batter swings.

James Loney drew 45 walks and struck out 85 times last year. So far, he’s walked 16 times and struck out on just four occasions. Now, if he could just remember how to hit for power, the Dodgers would really have something.

Carlos Gomez laid down 66 bunts last year, easily the most in the league. He laid down three in April. He might be the best defensive outfielder in baseball, but if he’s not able to replicate his 30 bunt hits from last year, he’s going to have a hard time cracking the Twins line-up.

Edinson Volquez has a 46% ground ball rate last year. Through one month, it’s 61%. Unfortunately for him, his BB/9 (6.67) and HR/FB (30.8%) are almost as eye popping.



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Dave is the Managing Editor of FanGraphs.


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Davidceisen
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Davidceisen
7 years 3 months ago

Has any qualified batter ever finished a season with a higher batting average than on base percentage? Right now both Molina and Betancourt are accomplishing that feat.

Kevin
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Kevin
7 years 3 months ago

That’d be an easy thing to search in a database – unfortunately I’m at work right now. Still, one place to start looking was with the holder of the record for fewest walks in a full season (min 150 games played): Ozzie Guillen.

In 1996, over 528 PA, Ozzie drew 10 walks. He finished the season with a .263/.273/.367 line. So even Ozzie hasn’t had his BA beat his OBP, though it was close. Anyone else want to give this question a go?

randy
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randy
7 years 3 months ago

How bout all the strikeouts for Wright? Geez. Who does he think he is Dave Kingman?

Hecon
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Hecon
7 years 3 months ago

What else can walks be a function of besides swing%? Foul balls esp. w/ 2 strikes? HBP%? Swings that put the ball in play% (assuming it’s constant throughout on at-bat, which is false but oh well)? Strikes taken%? I think that’s it for ‘direct’ factors. Certainly is weird to see Scutaro jogging to first so often.

kris
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7 years 3 months ago

Look at Scutaro’s plate discipline statistics, he’s locked in across the board. The ball must be the size of a beachball to him at this point.

He’s under 10 percent 0-swing. 29% total swing!!! 98 Zone Contact!

It’s absolutely nutty. The weird part is, teams are pounding him with the cheese (70% FastB), which I feel like I can safely assume is generally a pitchers best located pitch.

With that in mind, Toronto hasn’t played any of the big boys yet. Other than the recent Greinke outting, I can’t recall Toronto facing a devastating pitcher.

Jonathan
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Jonathan
7 years 3 months ago

Have to disagree about Abreu. I had him on my roto team and chose not to freeze him precisely because I expected a big drop in homers. His homerun output in the AL has largely been the result of playing in Yankee Stadium and its friendly right field; only about one-third of his home runs came on the road. Move him to an average ballpark for homeruns and you should expect him to hit 14-15. Move him to LA, where the Angels ballpark has been especially tough on left-handers hitting homers, and I projected him hitting 10-12 dingers this year, which on my power-starved roto team, wasn’t going to cut it. At this stage in the year, I expected Abreu to have a couple of homers, so having none isn’t all that off that mark.

ineedanap
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ineedanap
7 years 3 months ago

Beat me to it. Not surprising at all really. Nor are the SB. He had 22 last year, you stick him on the Angels where every player has at least 1 SB a year and there you have it.

Trenchtown
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Trenchtown
7 years 3 months ago

To hell with the Scutaro plate discipline, look at the head scratcher of the Scutaro power production. In Marco’s banner homerun year in 2005 he hit 9 homeruns in 423 plate appearances good for one in every 47 PA’s.

Prior to this year Scutaro was hitting a homer one out of every 64 trips to the plate. So far this year he has been hitting a homer every 23 plate appearances and is on pace for 34 round trippers. For a frame of reference Matt Holliday hit a home run one out of every 25 PA’s last year (side note: Holliday is currently 1:80 this year)

Going over to hit tracker online we see that Scutaro has pulled 4 of his 5 bombs down the left field line with the other going to left center. Two of his home runs were evaluated as “Just Enough” to get over with the other three being out of the park by “Plenty.” Looking back since 2006 Scutaro has pulled every single one of his homeruns with the one he hit yesterday off Kyle Davies being the furthest to right field he has every homered (that home run was also the one labeled by hit tracker as being lucky.)

So far it doesn’t look like there is any evidence that Marco has tapped into any secret power reserve, but he has had a nice little start to the season. It will be interesting to see how he keeps going.

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