Thursday, January 14, 2010

Pujols, Dunn, pitchers' stat variation, etc.

Albert does his thing.

Whoa-I'd better post something if I want to get this blog going.

Just a few thoughts as I cruise through Baseball Reference...

Does the average baseball fan, or stat-head for that mattter, realize just how good Adam Dunn is?  Despite just one All-Star pick (2002), Dunn hit forty dingers five straight years, from 2004-2008, and just missed 40 last year, with a 38 HR campaign. And he doesn't "just" smack longballs-Adam's career OBA is .383, with seven 100 BB seasons so far. Last winter more than a few pople wondered why the Phillies wanted Raul Ibanez instead of the much younger, much better Dunn-Raul will be 38 this year, Dunn 31; Raul's career OPS+ is 115, Adam's 132. They're both lousy outfielders. I'm still wondering, especially since Ibanez cratered in the second half of '09.

Interestingly enough, despite four previous 40 HR seasons, 2009 was the first time Albert Pujols led the NL in that category. His 47 last year was the second highest total of his career-he hit 49 in '06 but lost out to Ryan Howard's 58 dingers.

Sudden thought-everybody wonders why pitchers' stats show more variability than hitter's stats. It's not sample size-for starters, anyway. In 2009, for example, Justin Verlander led the AL with 982 BFP, while Aaron Hill led with 734 PA. But with only 30-34 starts, even guys who take every turn see a less complete sampling of the league's teams, especially with the unbalanced schedule.

You know, it's become almost obligatory to say BA doesn't mean anything, but obviously that's not true. Look at Jason Giambi's 2009 season. He had 14 doubles and 13 HR in 293 AB, with 57 walks. Pretty decent totals. But with a .201 BA, his OPS was only .725, with an OPS+ of just 92. You do need to hit for a semi-respectable average even if your other numbers are strong.

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