Offseason Goodness

There are very few good things about the end of the baseball season. One of those things is The Bill James Handbook (aff link). This is my third year getting the book, and this appears to be the best of the group.

If you’ve picked up the book in the past, you’ll find many of the same elements including:

  • Player stats
  • Manger record – Jim Leyland used 120 different lineups and pitched out 9 times.
  • Baserunning stats – did you know that Pudge was on first base 6 times when a double was hit, and he scored all 6 times? (Curtis Granderson was 6 for 7)
  • Park effects –

The new stuff for this year includes the Fielding Bible Awards and the +/- leaders from the methodology used in last year’s Fielding Bible. There is also a section on Manufactured Runs (the Tigers were dead last).

The new sections I’ve only skimmed because the first thing I do when I tear open the book is head to the leader boards where you find stuff that doesn’t show up in the Sunday paper. Here are just a couple of Tiger tidbits:

  • The Tigers had 4 of the top 10 pitchers in the AL in left handers batting average against – and Jamie Walker wasn’t one of them. Nate Robertson and Joel Zumaya ranked 1-2 while Kenny Rogers was 8th and Fernando Rodney was 10th
  • Carlos Guillen was 2nd among shortstops on the pivot and Placido Polanco was 5th amongst second basemen. Given that it shouldn’t be a surprise that Nate Robertson and Kenny Rogers ranked 4th and 5th in the AL in GIDPs induced.
  • Joel Zumaya led the AL with 233 pitches clocked over 100mph. Kyle Farnsworth was 2nd…with 26. What’s even more impressive is that he threw 884 pitches faster than 95mph which is 4th behind starters Josh Beckett, Justin Verlander, and Felix Hernandez.
  • Craig Monroe and Magglio Ordonez ranked 5th and 6th in terms of highest percentage of first pitches swung at (just under 39%).

There’s a ton more statistical goodness which will be blog fodder for the rest of the offseason. But really, if you want something to get your baseball juices flowing I can’t recommend this book enough.