Fun with the Bill James leaderboards

The Bill James Handbook is always one of the first baseball books to come out each year. It’s not a riveting narrative by any means and it consists largely of tables of numbers. But there are always some interesting pieces and there seems to be something new every year. Last year it was the Young Talent Inventory. This year it is a bullpen analysis. They sit alongside managerial stats, baserunning stats, and the Fielding Bible awards. But one of my favorite sections is the leaderboard.

I’m not going to copy a bunch of leaderboards for you here. That might be kind of tedious and boring for everyone, and it would definitely be a copyright violation. But I will point out some Tiger related items that are either interesting, or surprising, or noteworthy.

  • Despite coming back from a horrific shoulder injury, and ending the season early, Joel Zumaya still let the AL with 18 pitches thrown over 100MPH. Brandon League was next closest with 4. Fernando Rodney even managed 2 over the century mark.
  • Speaking of fastballs, Justin Verlander’s 93.6 average was 6th in the AL and Kenny Rogers’ 85.2 MPH heater was slower only than Tim Wakefield’s.
  • Armando Galarraga threw a slider 38% of the time which was the highest rate in the AL.
  • Despite Verlander’s struggles, his .377 slugging percentage against was good enough for 8th best.
  • Rogers and Nate Robertson both ranked in the top 5 in GIDP/9. Just think how bad things would have been if they hadn’t had so many twin killings.
  • Edgar Renteria was 4th in SS pivot percentage. Renteria also had the 2nd highest batting average against left handed pitching with the 7th highest batting average at home. If only the Tigers faced lefties at home more often…
  • Curtis Granderson continued his maturation by taking the 8th highest percentage of pitches and seeing the 5th most pitches per plate appearance.
  • Placido Polanco struck out less per plate appearance than anyone else in the AL, but it didn’t help him in run production where he had the 8th lowest RBI percentage (5.96)

4 Comments

  1. Vince in MN

    November 6, 2008 at 12:10 am

    Another way of looking at the high ranking of Robertson and Rogers in GIDP/9 is that one reason that they had so many twin killings is that their WHIP was so bad. But yeah, it could have been worse. Imagine if they were strictly fly ball pitchers!

  2. Ken in Las Vegas

    November 6, 2008 at 1:25 am

    Most Surprising:
    Renteria also had the 2nd highest batting average against left handed pitching with the 7th highest batting average at home.

    Least Surprising:
    Joel Zumaya still let the AL with 18 pitches thrown over 100MPH.

  3. Smoking Loon

    November 6, 2008 at 11:44 am

    “one reason that they had so many twin killings is that their WHIP was so bad”

    It might be instructive to combine the WHIP with the DP rate somehow for an adjusted stat there.

  4. Smoking Loon

    November 6, 2008 at 11:47 am

    “Renteria also had the 2nd highest batting average against left handed pitching with the 7th highest batting average at home.”

    All the more reason that Santiago should have been starting all the road games against RHP, as I proposed in my March 31 post entitled “I see all and know all, IMHO.”