As we approach the end of April, the 2011 baseball season is officially one month old.
Though sample sizes are still fairly small, with four weeks of games in the books there is enough time to make some judgements about certain players and teams. For example – San Diego stinks.
It is an absolute certainty that some slumping players will turn their season around, just as it’s certain that players who started hot will finish cold. But still, one month in there are ten stats that simply jump out, that are too odd to ignore.
Take a look and judge for yourself as 500 Level Fan presents 10 Shocking Statistics: 5 for the Blue Jays and 5 from around the majors.
0 – Intentional Walks issued to Jose Bautista. 107 players in the majors have drawn an intentional walk, but the season’s best hitter (and WAR leader) is not among them. Powerhouses such as Josh Thole, Humberto Quintero, Yuniesky Betancourt, and Rod Barajas each have IBB’s – but not Bautista. You’d think with the struggles of those hitting behind him that Bau would have several. Not so.
99 – Plate Appearances by Travis Snider before the Jays pulled the plug on him and sent him to triple-A Vegas. While true he was only hitting .184, and while true that he is young, the Jays made a commitment to stick with him this year, so his demotion was surprising. After all, cold starts are nothing new to baseball. Snider’s .184 average is better than that of Dan Uggla, Vernon Wells, Jack Cust, Mark Reynolds, Magglio Ordonez, Brett Gardner, Raul Ibanez, Austin Jackson, Carl Crawford, and Alex Rios. But – never question Anthopoulos…
3 – Total Zone Fielding Runs Above Average for Adam Lind, best in the American League. One of the biggest uncertainties coming into 2011 was how well Lind would handle first base, a position he hadn’t played since college. Well, so far so good. He has shown excellent range (a 9.54 range factor per game – 3rd in the AL), and a great ability to dig balls out of the dirt, giving the Jays one less concern to worry about.
2.38 / 1.06 – ERA and WHIP for Jason Frasor. Why is this shocking? Because it’s so low. I swear that everytime Frasor takes the mound he immediately gets into trouble. A solo home run, a hit, a walk, two walks. I expected much higher numbers. But apparently he is allowing just over one baserunner per inning – and only 3 walks! The surprise stat of the night.
2 – Triples for J.P. Arencibia. I’ve watched almost every Jays game this year, and I can say with 100% accuracy that the Toronto catcher is NOT fast. Sure pitted against Jose Molina in a race he’d look like Usain Bolt, but in the normal course of a game, JPA is a slow runner. Yet there he is, tied for 4th in the major leagues with 2 triples. Shocking.
.667 – Winning Percentage of the Cleveland Indians, best in the American League. Widely picked to finish last (yes, behind Kansas City!) the Indians are red hot, including a sparkling 10-2 record at hom.
.160 – Batting Average of Carl Crawford. The $142-million man has been awful so far in Boston. Things are so bad that Terry Francona is batting him 8th. Terrible!
7 – Errors committed by both Starlin Castro of the Cubs and Ian Desmond of the Nationals, putting them on pace for 47 errors each on the season. Nobody has committed that many errors since Roy Smalley of the Cubs in 1950 – he made 51. Errors are becoming more criticized by the day, but seven is a lot no matter how you look at it. (It’s worth nothing that Edwin Encarnacion has 5 errors in 7 games, but is on pace for fewer due to his time spent at DH and out of the lineup).
2 – Home Runs hit by Adam Dunn – one on Opening Day, and one on April 15. Many (me included) predicted huge things for the slugger when he came to Chicago. I thought 40 HR was a near lock. But it’s been 12 games without a dinger for Dunn, and the rest of his stats look even uglier during that time: .116 AVG, .364 OPS, 3 RBI, 19 K.
24 – Consecutive games with a hit for Andre Ethier of the Dodgers, a new record for the month of April. He has a hit in all but one game this season – game #2. This isn’t shocking in terms of the player – Ethier is, if not a star now, an up-and-coming star. But when you combine the fact that the Dodgers are in turmoil, to the fact that it’s April and players are still getting loose, to the fact that he plays in the NL West with some great pitching…..it’s pretty good.