Saturday, May 31, 2008

Box Score Hieroglyphics

One the true accomplishments of modern technology are the box scores in the morning paper.

I’m perfectly serious.

I love the fact that nearly all the previous day’s box scores are complete and in the morning Startlegram when I pick it up from my porch. I love spending my breakfast, or sometimes my lunch reading boxscores – there is so much more information these days: pitch counts, updated Batting Average’s and ERA’s. If you are so inclined (as I am) to read online boxscores there is even more information: 2 out RBI’s, Runners Left In Scoring Position (batters not LOB), Pitches-Strikes, Ground balls – Fly balls. Don’t get the wrong idea about me: I’m not one of those Baseball Prospectus type statheads (I swear I wonder if any of those guys besides Will Carroll ever actually has gone to a baseball game). I think the best way to enjoy baseball is to watch the game – but if you can’t see a game in person, today’s box scores are the next thing to being there.

Reading the this season’s boxscores and having all that information still leaves me scratching my head and wondering about a few things:

How does this happen? I’ve seen Felix Hernandez (SEA) pitch, in person, several times. How is it that a pitcher with that kind of “stuff” has a 2-5 record with a 3.60 ERA while the Rangers Vincente Padilla, who couldn’t even match Hernandez on his best day and can kindly be described as headcase and headhunter, has a 7-2 record with a 3.67 ERA. Yes, I know the Mariners are in a tailspin, but Edinson Volquez (CIN) is 7-2 with a 1.46 ERA and Aaron Cook is 7-3 with 3.36 ERA on equally terrible teams.

I didn't know they could hit like that - Ryan Ludwick had 2,780 AB’s in the minor leagues with the A’s, Rangers, Indians and Cardinals – his career minor league BA is .270. Since September of 2007 – 237 AB's he’s hitting .320. Of course the same thing can be said about the Rangers David Murphy who has a minor league career BA of .273 in 1,902 AB’s (mainly with the Red Sox) – since September 2007 with 291 AB’s he’s hitting .292

Granted it’s a small “sample size” – but Kason Gabbard please take note: Clinton’s Blake Beavan 31 IP – 1 BB, Bakersfield’s Kasey Kiker 46 IP – 10 BB, Frisco’s Tommy Hunter 70 IP – 12 BB, OKC’s AJ Murray 45 IP – 15 BB.

To repeat the words of wisdom from Bill Veeck -- “It isn’t the high price of stars that is expensive, it’s the high price of mediocrity” Every time I see these ERA’s I’m glad that Jon Daniels didn’t listen to the local electronic whiners and ink stained wretches who complain about the Rangers not signing free agent pitching:

  • Gil Meche (KC) 5.35 ERA
  • Ted Lily (CHC) 5.54 ERA
  • Barry Zito (SF) 5.53
  • Carlos Silva (SEA) 6.00
  • Brett Tomko (KC) 6.00


It's not just the Rangers - Much has been made of the Rangers lack of production from their parade of first baseman, however, perusing the box scores reveals that quite a few AL teams have the same problem. Oh sure – there’s Casey Kotchman (LAA) .314, Kevin Youklis (BOS) .302 and Justin Morneau (MIN) .309. But there are eight out of fourteen AL teams whose regular 1B is hitting less than .250 including ugly numbers like: Carlos Pena (TB) .219, Paul Konerko (CWS) .208, Daric Barton (OAK) .213 and Richie Sexson (SEA) .200. The National League actually has more first baseman hitting well above .250, however there are few notable exceptions: Carlos Delgado (NYM) .222, Nick Johnson (WAS) .220, Adam LaRoche (PIT) .226 and former MVP Ryan Howard (PHI) .208

Finally - I’ve always said that the 1986 Rangers are one of my all-time favorite Texas team's. For those of who remember back that far, that group gave those of us who suffered through many losing seasons without even a sliver of hope the first glimpse of what it could be like to be a contender. On May 31st of that season they were 24-23, one game over .500 – sound familiar? The Rangers finished that season 87-75. Twenty-two years later, I’m still filled with everlasting baseball hope.

Apologies for the short and late (and lame) entry this week – I had a dental procedure gone wrong that’s sapped all my energy.

Go Rangers – Marla Hooch

P.S. Next week Thursday and Friday are the First Year Player Draft – as always I’ll be working on the Newberg Report Draft Page. I’ll have a link to that up on this page instead of a Thursday blog entry.

1 comment:

br549 said...

1986 will always be one of my favorite years, also ... Pete Incaviglia, Bobby Witt, Ruben Sierra, even Bobby Valentine.