Sunday, July 10, 2005

Perusing Some Stats

If one isn't into statistics as a baseball fan, to me it's a bit like the old "I buy Playboy for the great articles" statement. You are likely either lying to the people you're talking to, or you're lying to yourself.

Now saying "into statistics" shouldn't get anyone's anti-sabermetrics ire up, because that isn't quite what I'm saying. Baseball is a game of numbers and percentages, and thus the statistics that keep track of these numbers and percentages are a large part of the game. It doesn't have to be a unabashed love for stats -- it could just be being awed by Tony Gwynn's career battting average, or marvelling at how good Mike Schmidt's 1981 would've been if not shortened by injury.

So, with that, I'm going to have a look at some oft-overlooked statistics of some Giants players, and I'm going to do it in a random and chaotic fashion, because I know that turns you on:

  • Mr. Consistency - Michael Tucker is most definitely not like life, or like a box of chocolates, because you always know what you're going to get with him. Just have a gander at his OPS from year-to-year, and you'll see what I mean. I don't know if you can be more consistent than that. He had one spike in 2000, but really, you can mark it down in stone what he'll contribute to your ballclub. Not a lot of variation in his other statistics, too, when looked at over the course of his career.
  • As much as we (well, okay, ME) gripe about Ray Durham's fragile-tivity, to create a word, he's well ahead of his normal Giants pace for games played this year. In 2003, Durham played in 110 of 162 games, or 68% of the team's games. In 2004, he played in 120 games, or about 74%. So far this season, Ray-Ray has played in 72 of 86 games played, for 84%. So you see, he's really stepping up his game year after year. Ahem. Also, looking at his batting average and on-base percentage for this year and the two previous gives us some more consistent-ness, too (to create another word). Batting average: 2003 (.285), 2004 (.282), 2005 (.284). On-base percentage: 2003 (.366), 2004 (.364), 2005 (.365). He's light in the SLG department, though, which accounts for his sub-par season to this point.
  • The Giants have two pitchers in the top 40 in the majors in the top 40 in strikeouts -- Jason Schmidt and Noah Lowry. Of those 40 pitchers, there is only one (Oliver Perez of the Pirates) who has a worse ERA than Lowry and Schmidt. Both pitchers being in the bottom 30 in total walks allowed certainly could help account for this.
  • But for a short 17 game stint in Toronto in 2001 where he played in 17 games pitching 15.2 innings, many of Scott Eyre's career stats are at a career high level so far this season, including: k/9 (strikeout's per 9 innings), k/bb ratio (walk to strikeout ratio), ERA, and OPS against. Nice job, Scott.
  • Jason Ellison's OPS has dropped the last 18 of 20 games. Hurts my heart even to type that out. He's still better than players like Doug Glanville and Endy Chavez, who have carved out years in the bigs being worse than replacement-level. The thing is, as much as we all knew Elly's 1.000+ OPS into the middle of May was a fluke, his current slump, too, should be viewed as a fluke. He wasn't that good, but he isn't this bad, either. Batting .195 in his last 22 games is just as much of a streak as batting .392 in his first 29 games. Neither indicates his true ability.

I think that's enough for now. In the meantime, let's all hope the Giants find a way to take the series from the Cardinals today -- Lowry's got the ball and the chance to give us all a little spring in our step going into the All-Star break.

Go get 'em, Noah.

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