Fun with Early Season Offensive Numbers

Small sample sizes are generally a bad thing, but they can also be fun. With April starting to wind down, let’s have a look at some interesting team offensive statistics in the Majors so far this year.

  • The Royals are second in the Majors in hitting: .296 batting average.
  • But we know it’s not going to last for these guys (2010 AVG | 2010 BABIP | Career AVG):
    Scott Podsednik: .449 | .512 | .279
    Jose Guillen: .377 | .370 | .273
    Jason Kendall: .352 | .388 | .290

  • The White Sox are last in hitting: .215 batting average.
  • You know you’re in trouble when Andruw Jones (.270) is your leading hitter, followed by Alex Rios (.250). Sophomore Gordon Beckham should pick up his game soon, and a speedster like Juan Pierre is not going to have a .228 BABIP for long, and the Ks aren’t hurting him (5.0 K%). Seriously, though… Andruw Jones. Have you seen him lately? It looks like he left half of himself at home this season… which has resulted in a much quicker bat.

  • The Cardinals and Blue Jays (!) clubs are leading the Majors in homers with 23. The Brewers squad is leading in slugging percentage at .496 and ISO at .209.
  • Vernon Wells accounts for seven of those for the Jays, followed by free agent steal Alex Gonzalez. Overbay has the biggest goose egg with zero in 59 at-bats (along with a .119 average and ugly batting stance/swing)… guess the Jays should have done that Overbay-for-Chris Snyder trade that they reportedly backed out on. For St. Louis, the usual suspects like Matt Holliday and Albert Pujols are hitting jacks, but it’s also nice to see sophomore Colby Rasmus tapping into his raw power.

  • The Astros (five) and Mariners (six) have fewer home runs than Vernon Wells (seven).
  • Jason Michaels, who has all of 14 at-bats, is leading the Astros club with two jacks. Pedro Feliz (12 in ’09) and Carlos Lee (26 in ’09) have yet to hit home runs. Only three Mariners’ hitters have homers: Casey Kotchman (3), Milton Bradley (2), and Rob Johnson (1). The swift-fielding Franklin Gutierrez is hitting .393 but he’s homer-less in 67 PAs. He knocked out 18 homers last season. Jose Lopez (25 dingers in ’09) is also without a homer in 68 PAs.

  • The Astros (41) and Orioles (46) offenses have scored fewer runs combined than the Dodgers (98), Brewers (97), Rays (93), and Phillies (91).
  • For what it’s worth, the Dodgers club has the highest BABIP in the Majors at .346 so it’s taking full advantage of its success with balls in play. The Brewers team is having success with scoring runs even with Prince Fielder off to another slow start in the power department.

  • More Houston woes… the club has walked a total of 18 times. The next fewest walks for a team is 37 by the Royals. The team with the most walks is the… Twins (?!) with 79.
  • There are three hitters in the Majors that have walked as much or more than the entire Astros team (David Wright, Daric Barton, and Nick Johnson). Michael Bourn and Jeff Keppinger account for 12 of the team’s walks (six apiece). Feliz hasn’t walked in 56 plate appearances, Tommy Manzella has a goose egg in 40, and Hunter Pence has one in 57. Seriously, that’s pathetic. As for the Twins, Justin Morneau (15), Denard Span (13), Jason Kubel (10), and Joe Mauer (10) are all in double-digits. Span figures to benefit from the increased focus with on-base percentage given that it should provide him with more stolen base opportunities.

  • Despite having a .215 team batting average, the White Sox club is tied with Kansas City for the fewest strikeouts in the Majors (86). Chicago has a BABIP of .222. The most strikeouts by a team is awarded to the Toronto Blue Jays (135), which also has the second lowest BABIP in the Majors at .255. The Mets club is up next, followed by the Rays.
  • Does Chicago have the slowest team in the Majors? Paul KonerkoA.J. PierzynskiCarlos Quentin… are definitely guilty of slow-footedness (Great, I sound like Carson), but the team also has Pierre, Alexei Ramirez, and Alex Rios. Some of this definitely smells like bad luck, especially when you add in the K-rate, which is good news for the much-maligned Chicago fan base. Toronto’s motto: Live by the long ball, die by the long ball (swing).

  • The Red Sox’ hitters make contact almost 10% more often than the D-Backs’ and Jays’ batters.
  • Again, I reiterate: Toronto’s motto: Live by the long ball, die by the long ball (swing). Man, it’s annoying watching the majority of Toronto’s hitters bat. Pull. Pull. Pull. It’s like being at a tug-of-war contest. I’ll give you the scouting report on Toronto: Pitch them low and away consistently and you’ll win the game.

  • The Phillies and Orioles clubs have each stolen just three bases this season. The O’s team has also been caught three times, while the Phillies’ base runners have been caught once. The Rangers club (!) leads the Majors in steals with 20 in 21 tries. The Rays team is second with 19 but six runners have been gunned down.
  • Jimmy Rollins accounts for two-thirds of the Phillies’ steals, but he’s currently on the DL so don’t expect to see much thievery in Philadelphia for the next little while. Why did Shane Victorino suddenly stop running…? I mean, speed is his game. The O’s best stolen base threat (Brian Roberts) is also dealing with injuries. Sure, the Texas club still has its sluggers, but Nelson Cruz leads the team with seven homers and he’s balanced that out with five steals. He should be a 30-20 guy this season, with an outside shot for 30-30 if he’s motivated. Elvis Andrus also has five steals (and what a steal he’s been from Atlanta). Julio Borbon has four swipes even though he’s barely getting on base (.163 OBP).

    A couple of lessons for the day:
    1. Houston is really frickin’ bad with the stick.
    2. Toronto batters swing for the fences and have no idea what “small ball” or “strategy” means.
    3. The Rangers are no longer one-dimensional (Here that Toronto?).
    4. The Twins’ free-swinging reputation is actually wrong (check out the ’09 totals, too).
    5. Sample sample sizes can be fun if used properly and in the presence of an adult.

    We hoped you liked reading Fun with Early Season Offensive Numbers by Marc Hulet!

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    Marc Hulet has been writing at FanGraphs since 2008. His work focuses on prospects and fantasy. Follow him on Twitter @marchulet.

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    “The Rangers club (!) leads the Majors in steals with 20 in 21 tries. The Rays team is second with 19 but six runners have been gunned down.”

    They owe Tek and Vmart thank you cards