Off day open thread – statistical nuggets

With no game on the schedule today, I figured we could open things up a little bit. Discuss whatever you’d like in this space. But…to seed the conversation a little bit here are some early season statistics to ponder:

  • Justin Verlander has only stranded 42.3% of runners
  • Fernando Rodney and Bobby Seay have combined to record 21 outs on only 63 pitches
  • 42.9% of the flyballs Eddie Bonine have allowed have flown over the fence for homers
  • Ryan Perry has thrown more balls than strikes
  • Armando Galarraga, Bobby Seay, and Nate Robertson have gotten hitters to chase balls out of the zone over 40% of the time
  • Over half the pitches to Carlos Guillen, Miguel Cabrera, and Magglio Ordonez have been out of the strike zone
  • Only 5 different Tigers have homered this year, but their team total has them tied for 5th in MLB
  • Only 4 different Tigers have grounded into a double play this year
  • Ordonez hasn’t had an extra base hit yet, but he does lead the team in walks. And he’s hitting in front of a very hot Cabrera
  • The top two offensive teams in MLB this year have been the Blue Jays and the Rangers. Are they the top teams because they’ve each played the Tigers or would the Tigers ERA (4.58 overall, 5.39 when Galarraga isn’t pitching) be better if they hadn’t played such juggernauts?
  • If Placido Polanco were a tree, what kind of tree would he be?

All of these stats and many more can be found at Fangraphs

56 Comments

  1. Dave

    April 16, 2009 at 8:55 am

    I’m not sure if anyone has pointed this out yet – but the whole Ryan Perry thing. I’ve got this covered. Lets take a look
    Exhibit A: http://i.pbase.com/g1/17/60681.....lZkS6H.jpg
    Exhibit B: http://bigeastsux.files.wordpr.....league.jpg

    I think everyone can do the math. The glasses are gone, the control is gone. Bring back the glasses, cut off the sleeves, get Lady Jane to give him a free Rick Vaughn special. Problem solved. Rick Knapp, I’m gunning for your job.

  2. Coach Jim

    April 16, 2009 at 9:44 am

    Perry definitely needs to work on control. I haven’t analyzed his mechanics to know if a flaw is causing wildness; it could just be youth.

    Fernando Rodney, however, is a different story. All along, I’ve felt his control problem was caused by an erratic landing point with his front foot. If you notice this year he is using almost no leg kick – a slide step. This is causing him to stride straight to the plate and correct his landing point. Result: much improved control.

  3. jason

    April 16, 2009 at 9:50 am

    Dave, I can’t seem to get to the first link.

    As for the Tigers ERA and the top two offensive teams, I think it is more the latter. At least I hope so. I have seen some good things with our pitching during this homestand. There is no doubt in my mind that Galarraga has taken over the role of ace on our team.

  4. RKT in Mississippi

    April 16, 2009 at 9:51 am

    Hi Bilfer….Great off day analysis; thanks!. Also be aware that with the 9-0 drumming of the White Sox, the 2009 Tigers are 0.2 runs ahead of a track for scoring the infamous 1000 season runs. Last year with their poor 0-7 start they were never close to tracking on the 6.2 runs per game required to meet this goal. However after 9 games the 2009 Tigers are about 25 runs ahead of the 2008 Tigers as Cabrera, Granderson and Inge are scoring lots of runs. Given Seattle current record, they may have a good test on this west coast road trip.

  5. Dave

    April 16, 2009 at 10:03 am

    Here is another link to Exhibit A if you’re having trouble opening it: http://screencast.com/t/uVMBa0Pp

  6. Chris in Dallas

    April 16, 2009 at 10:43 am

    re: Blue Jays and Rangers offenses. I don’t think that the Tigers ERA has much to do with facing either of those clubs. Throw out the 12 run game against the Jays and 10 run game against the Sox and they’ve pitched pretty well on balance. Heck, they held that Rangers juggernaut to 9 runs in 3 games. Not too shabby.

    Offensively I like the way they’ve started. By this time last year they’d already been shut out twice and held to two runs or fewer 5 times.

    I think Polanco would be a walnut tree. Because his head looks like some sort of mis-shapen nut.

    I’m really encouraged by Rodney so far. He’s thrown 36 pitches, 28 of which have been strikes. Mix in the 4 K’s he’s rung up and I’d say it’s hard to get off to a better start through 4 appearances. If he keeps this up, I’m thinking the ‘closer by committee’ theory gets snuffed out like one of Leyland’s Marlboro Lights. Seay I kind of expect to do well so not much of a surprise there.

  7. ron

    April 16, 2009 at 10:47 am

    I know Inge is included in some of those stats, but not to see his name in print on the good, the bad and the ugly is a surprise for his fans who are now falling out of the trees which brings me to Polanco, a man easy to ROOT for whom never BARKS, rarely LEAVES teammates on base and is a SHADE better with his athletic prowess than any other second baseman. As far as being any particular type of tree, I’ll leave that to some of the other bloaks on this site.

  8. ron

    April 16, 2009 at 11:10 am

    Chris in Dallas, I’m sure you would find a few nuts in the Polanco family tree. We all got ‘em.

  9. Kurt

    April 16, 2009 at 11:31 am

    Polly’s definitely a baobob!

  10. ron

    April 16, 2009 at 11:37 am

    And I’m sure we all have our favorite trees such as the common chokecherry, crabapple, dogwood and hackberry which remind you of some other players.

  11. ron

    April 16, 2009 at 12:02 pm

    Bob Lemon, Branch Rickey, Nestor Chylack, Chone Figgins, Luke Appling, Lefty Grove, Whitey Ashburn, Robin Yount, The Bird… Okay, I’m stretching it. I can’t get it out of my head.

  12. Ken in Vegas

    April 16, 2009 at 12:03 pm

    Polanco is definitely a pear tree, for obvious reasons.

  13. Chris in Dallas

    April 16, 2009 at 12:39 pm

    I’d like to see Granderson and Guillen (G squared) get going in the Seattle series. They’ve charged out of the gates slowly.

  14. Ken in Vegas

    April 16, 2009 at 12:59 pm

    Ron, you know a little too much about trees for my liking. What are you planning? If it was up to you, we would probably have trees in every town, city, and state. Think of the horror.

    I have this feeling like we are all witnessing the beginning of the end of Guillen as an above average player. I think his age and body have started to catch up with him. How many more years do we have left on his contract? I’m almost positive he is due big money next year and maybe even the year after that.

  15. Coleman

    April 16, 2009 at 1:11 pm

    Hmm, perhaps the tree question would have worked better last season with Renteria, although to be fair to Edgar he did have arms and a face, so maybe Totem Pole would be more apt. If a tree I suppose the obvious choice is the Hamtree.

  16. David

    April 16, 2009 at 1:14 pm

    Polanco is more like a stump.

  17. Mark in Chicago

    April 16, 2009 at 1:15 pm

    Chris in D, I said exactly that in yesterday’s game thread. I am not so worried about Granderson, but Guillen is a concern. I worry that his skills may be declining rapidly and he isn’t the same productive player. Hopefully it’s just a sluggish start, but if you look at his trends the last couple years, you can see he’s starting to slow down.

    Ken in LV, according to billfer’s payroll spreadsheet, we have Guillen through 2011 at $13 million per.

  18. Mark in Chicago

    April 16, 2009 at 1:19 pm

    New topic for discussion:

    Has anyone heard any updates on Dontrelle Willis? Is he throwing? Long toss? Anything? I haven’t heard a peep in weeks.

  19. ron

    April 16, 2009 at 1:22 pm

    Ken in Vegas, when is the last time you seen a real tree? Those stubs growing in the sand with the needles sticking out of them are not trees. And those fake plastic trees down the boulevards- come on. The closest you’ll come to a tree is that casino with the rain forest growing in the restaurant (or is that Reno) where by the way they have real trees. Here in NY, they have real trees. Or are they cell phone towers disguised as trees? I dunno.

  20. rea

    April 16, 2009 at 1:29 pm

    Here in NY, they have real trees. Or are they cell phone towers disguised as trees?

    I am reliably informed that there’s one growing in Brooklyn

  21. Chris in Dallas

    April 16, 2009 at 1:43 pm

    One bright note on Guillen: he did jack 3 HR in the WBC for Venezuela. So there’s that. I’d say we give him the requisite 100 AB’s before putting him out to cyber-pasture.

  22. Chris in Dallas

    April 16, 2009 at 1:44 pm

    Mark: Dontrelle was relocated to one of those CIA black sites you hear about.

  23. Ken in Vegas

    April 16, 2009 at 1:57 pm

    Ron,

    If we don’t have trees, then why the hell do I wake up every morning looking like I went 5 rounds with Tyson because of the elevated pollen count. I don’t even know how they count pollen, it being microscopic and all, but the number is unusually high. I don’t know where it’s coming from, but there must be plant life somewhere. This is a botony blog right?

  24. ron

    April 16, 2009 at 1:58 pm

    Rea, do you think that tree is still there? I hope it was real.

  25. ron

    April 16, 2009 at 2:02 pm

    Ok back to baseball. Guillen is ok, the team is ok and we are going to be playing some serious October baseball, OK?

  26. Mr. X

    April 16, 2009 at 2:09 pm

    I remember that the knock on Josh Anderson was that he couldn’t take a walk. Well he’s has 3 walks in 13 ab’s so far and has a .438 obp. Small sample size I know, but he sure has given me a great 1st impression. He has some other tools. His speed on the bases is just incredible. He puts pressure on the defense. He can bunt for hits. He can steal bases. He doesn’t hit into rally killing double plays. He turns singles into doubles. His range out in the field is far greater than Guillen’s also. Hopefully we get to get a long look at this kid in LF.

  27. Scott

    April 16, 2009 at 2:25 pm

    I would classify Polly as more of an Oak. He’s just a solid, solid player.

    Also, I wouldn’t so quickly hand the left field job to Anderson. A platoon of Anderson and Thames might actually work best … don’t over expose either guy.

  28. Chris in Dallas

    April 16, 2009 at 2:44 pm

    What’s that saying? Speed doesn’t slump? Anyway, it’s been some time since the Tigers have had a legitimate big time base stealer. Grandy is good, but I wouldn’t consider him a theft artist. Anderson on the other hand has been averaging 50 swipes per year in the minors. At the very least he’ll be a deadly pinch runner.

  29. Joel in Seattle

    April 16, 2009 at 3:34 pm

    Anderson’s speed rating on MLB 2009: The Show is absurdly low.

  30. Kevin in Austin (now Dallas)

    April 16, 2009 at 3:38 pm

    Good talk guys. Guillen is done as a regular. I suggested trading him last May, but I also live in a fantasy baseball world where there is always a buyer opposite a seller. I’d be surprised if he’s OPS+ this season.

    I’m excited about the start, but it’s only 9 games. I’ll wait until the first inning analysis (18 games) before I start drawing any conclusions.

  31. Coleman

    April 16, 2009 at 3:44 pm

    @ron: Yes and come playoff time the guys should also be showing their fall colors nicely (except the more coniferous ones).

  32. Coleman

    April 16, 2009 at 3:53 pm

    OK, here’s one: the Tigers will ground into fewer double-plays this season, I predict. OK, so that’s not very impressive. How about this: I can predict how many games they are going to win based on their rate of GIDP. (Not yet, it’s too soon give it another month or two). Currently though, for what it’s worth, they are grounding into double-plays at a rate that will get them 89 wins.

  33. Chris in Dallas

    April 16, 2009 at 4:36 pm

    Coleman: Did you see Sheffield ground into a DP in a big spot in the Mets game last night? Memories…

  34. but back to the matter at hand

    April 16, 2009 at 5:03 pm

    chestnut tree

  35. Rick G

    April 16, 2009 at 5:06 pm

    I’m sure Sheff ran out that DP grounder like his life depended on it.

    More likely, he was about 5 steps out of the batters box by the time the first baseman caught the ball.

  36. Coleman

    April 16, 2009 at 5:09 pm

    Chris in Dallas: Sheffield is an Ash

  37. Chris in Dallas

    April 16, 2009 at 5:50 pm

    Nah, he’s a lemon tree for two reasons. A) he was a lemon (i.e. ripoff) and B) he had a sour disposition.

  38. Ryan

    April 16, 2009 at 6:38 pm

    Polanco is a an oak tree, judged by his sturdy-ness and durability.

  39. Russ

    April 16, 2009 at 6:43 pm

    Say what you will about Shef, at least he didn’t get himself barred from all the city casinos like one troublesome newbie Detroiter (AI). The worse the Tigs have is D-Trainwreck.

    I’m curious to know why Guillen is still in and Thames isn’t. If memory serves he’s got greater potential for big numbers than this new kid or the old man himself. What’s the dealio there?

  40. Coleman

    April 16, 2009 at 7:07 pm

    So anyway with the double-plays, last season the Tigers hit into 144, which is 1 in every 39.2 AB, which is more than the league average of 1 in every 41.2 AB. What I found interesting was comparing that stat to ’07 and ’06: AB/GIDP:

    2008: 39.2
    2007: 45.0
    2006: 47.0

    Looking at those numbers and at the league average which stays around 41, I realized how well they corresponded with team wins–and that’s where I get my new secret formula for predicting W/L record. Just take the AB/GIDP rate, double it, and that’s how many games they will win. Using the formula the last 3 seasons would result in : [AB/GIDP x 2]

    2008: 78
    2007: 90
    2006: 94

    Not too bad; there’s probably a way to tweak it to make it get even closer, but I’ll stick with the simple version.

    Oh, and AL avg AB/GIDP=41.2, which predicts an avg of 82 Wins per team, I think I’ll stick with 81 for my prediction.

  41. Ryan

    April 16, 2009 at 10:37 pm

    Regarding the ERA, it is WAY more of the latter. Toronto has also crushed Minnesota pitching for 31 runs in 4 games en route to 3 wins. They only got 24 off of us. And Texas? They got Baltimore’s abysmal pitching after facing us. I think our rotation actually looks solid.

  42. T Smith

    April 16, 2009 at 10:46 pm

    I’m sure this has no relevant bearing to the discussion, but if Polly were a tree, he would definately be one of those spooky trees in the Wizard of Oz. There’s just something about that face that kinda bulges out of his head in the same kind of way.

  43. ron

    April 17, 2009 at 2:16 am

    Even though the Indians are one of our main concerns, it was great to see them crush the Yankees today and spoil the grand opening of the Taj Mahal.

  44. Ryan

    April 17, 2009 at 3:22 am

    @ron – I know, that was amazing. I took my laptop to my lecture just to see the gamecast. Fitting enough, the guy that sat next to me was a big Indians fan.

  45. the roar

    April 17, 2009 at 9:39 am

    If Polanco was a tree, he would be a palm tree. His big a$$ coconut proves the point.

  46. ron

    April 17, 2009 at 9:50 am

    Coleman, thank you for giving some of us the simplified version of your secret formula. Keep us updated. Could you work up something on what I call the Fifth Game formula?What is our record every fifth game over the last 3 years and how does it correlate to our overall record? I have a sneaky suspicion that Leyland is mucking up our record with off field pitching decisions. Don’t ask. I would do this, but they just cut down a tree up the street and I want to go count the rings.

  47. Chris in Dallas

    April 17, 2009 at 10:26 am

    Coleman: What’s the Tigers record in games that they’ve won vs. games that they’ve lost over the past 3 seasons? I’m curious.

  48. ron

    April 17, 2009 at 11:44 am

    Where is Smoking Loon? I’m really beginning to worry now.

  49. Coleman

    April 17, 2009 at 3:59 pm

    @ron: So far it looks like the Fifth Games are accounting for about 19.8% of the team’s total games, compared to 20.4% for First Games. Which means there is at least one Fifth Game each season which never happens, for which I hold Leyland responsible.

  50. Coleman

    April 17, 2009 at 4:03 pm

    @Chris in Dallas: I’m working on your request, it may take a while though. I have noticed a trend over the last 3 years on home victories where the Tigers more often than not only bat 8 times (while the opponents average 9), which I attribute to Leyland’s habit of resting his veteran starters. It’s hard to imagine this one half-inning off would help that much, but it looks like Leyland has used this tactic on all of the home winning streaks, so he may be onto something.

  51. Coleman

    April 17, 2009 at 4:20 pm

    @ron: re: Smoking Loon: I’m with you on that, I had assumed he would appear once the season started. Hopefully he hasn’t had any misfortune involving smoking, or loons, or what starving people will eat once the ham sandwiches run out. Perhaps the Coast Guard will spot him in a garrett clinging to the overturned hull of a Win95 PC. I have considered the possibility that Smoking Loon has met the fate of our old friend Sean C…in other words he is among us with new moniker. (Perhaps the suspiciously named Mr. X?)

  52. Ken in Vegas

    April 17, 2009 at 5:57 pm

    Did Smoking Loon go and get himself one of those things they call a life? Maybe he has continued to devolve to the point that he just sends hand-written comments to Bilfer in the mail with the hope that Bilfer will post them. Knowing he would be 7 days behind the post he is commenting on, he would have to write very ambiguous statements like “How about them Tigers today. I can’t believe what happened. I am both happy and sad at the outcome. Hopefully we will have more or less of that tomorrow.”

  53. ron

    April 18, 2009 at 12:04 pm

    Coleman, hmm…Mr.X? Mr. X, are you Smoking Loon? If you are, I think it’s a cruel joke you’ve pulled on your blog family. Be truthful. Just because we’re mostly anonymous doesn’t mean we don’t care about each other. If Mr. X does not respond to this request, then we’ll assume he is the former Smoking Loon. Coleman, when you have time, can you pull up ALL of the two aforementioned’s posts and run a word/phraseology/keystroke analysis? Thank You.

  54. Mr. X

    April 18, 2009 at 2:58 pm

    I’m not Loon.

  55. Coleman

    April 18, 2009 at 5:39 pm

    @Mr. X: Well at least you saved me some, what was it, phraseology analysis…although an S-Loon in disguise would evade attempts to discover him, the Loon would never flatly deny with an unambiguous “I’m not Loon.” So that rules out that…

  56. ron

    April 19, 2009 at 12:23 am

    Thank you Mr. X for your promt response. Any more bright ideas Coleman?