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September 17, 2003

Aim For The Head

Reader Mail, and More New Stat Reports

by Keith Woolner

B.W. writes:
Keith: love your work, but I'm sure I won't be the only one to point out a slight oversight in this column. John Olerud, omitted from your list of batters to hit two cycles, is the only player to hit for the cycle in both leagues, once for the Mets on 9/11/1997 in Montreal, and once for the Mariners. However his cycle for the Mariners came at a national league park--Qualcomm, on 6/16/2001. So he hasn't cycled in parks in both leagues.

You (and several other astute readers) are absolutely right. I inadvertently left off 2001 and 2002 when compiling the list of supercycles and pedicycles, and missed Olerud as a result.

I also missed two pedicycles (cycle + walk): Jeff Bagwell on July 18, 2001, and Craig Biggio on April 8. 2002. There have been four cycles so far in 2003, but no pedicycles. I also need to add Barry Bonds to the list of players with five supercycles (at least four hits, with at least one HR, two hits that are HR or 3B, and at least three hits that are HR, 3B, or 2B), as well as adding Vinny Castilla and Larry Walker to the list of players with four supercycles. My apologies to AFTH readers for the error.

Ryan Smith writes:

I'm a Cubs fan, and one of the more interesting stats that I remember about their promising 2001 campaign was Eric Young's 43 doubles and 42 RBI. I thought it would be near impossible for a player to have as many as 25 doubles and fewer RBI than doubles. However, after a bit of research (nothing extensive), I learned that there had been a few guys to do it.
Indeed, it is rare. Since 1901, there have been only 45 players with 300+ AB who had more doubles than RBI. The record for most RBI with more doubles is held by Mark Grudzielanek, who had 54 doubles, but just 51 RBI in 1997. Grudzielanek also holds the record for most AB in such a season with 649. Three other players have had 600+ AB and more doubles than RBI: Don Blasingame for the 1959 Cardinals (615 AB, 26 2B, 24 RBI), Sparky Adams for the 1931 Cardinals (608 AB, 46 2B, 40 RBI), and the aforementioned Eric Young. The fewest doubles that exceeded a player's RBI total was done by Dick Howser playing for the 1965 Indians. In 307 AB, he hit just eight doubles, but had just six runs batted in (one of them on a home run).

J.L writes:

Interesting new statistical reports. I'm piqued by Pitchers Counterpart Profile. Why should I care how the opposing pitcher has pitched all season when looking at my pitcher's record? All that matters is how opposing pitchers performed on the particular day they "faced" my pitcher. Unlike PQBF and BQPF, the two pitchers do not really "face" one another, therefore the results need not be filtered by considering their average performances.

Counterpart quality is interesting to investigate questions like whether teams juggle their rotations to get their aces facing each other, or whether good run support came from a pitcher's teammates having an unusually good day (better than you'd expect given who they are facing), or if a team was beating up on weak pitching. It may not have predictive value, but it has some explanatory power.

P.W. writes:

Just a question about the Opposing Pitchers and Batter's Averages: When you calculate these BA/OBP/SLG/OPS, are you including the work that the pitcher or batter did against their opponent? Example: Let's say Mike Mussina pitched against guys who have 20,000 PA. Are you taking this total amount of PA and figuring the BA/OBP/SLG/OPS, or are you removing the 500 PA that these hitters have against Mussina and then calculating the true BA/OBP/SLG/OPS that these hitters have against the rest of MLB?

I am not currently removing the pitcher's own PA in his opponent's totals, though I might revise the report in the future.

---

More New Stat Reports:

Once again, we are introducing several new statistical reports that will be updated approximately daily during the baseball season. All of them are available as a free preview now at our Statistics Page. Some of these will later be offered as part of Baseball Prospectus Premium.

  • Double play rate for batters -- looks at the number of double plays a batter hits into as a percentage of the total number of opportunities he had, defined as a plate appearance with a runner on first base and less than two out. Note that any double play resulting on this plate appearance, not just a "grounded into double play," is counted. For example, a lineout with the runner doubled off first is considered a double play. The DPRATE column is the percentage of opportunities the batter hit into a double play (e.g. .1200 means a batter hit into a double play 12% of the time when he came up with a runner on first and less than two outs). The NETDP column is the number of extra double plays a batter hit into versus a league-average batter with the same number of opportunities. A negative NETDP means the batter hit into fewer DP than average.

  • Double play rate for pitchers -- is the flip-side to the batter's double play report, looking at pitchers and how often they induce a double play given a double play situation. Positive NETDP numbers indicate pitchers who induce more double plays than average.

  • Breakdown of batter PA by age per team -- shows the number and percentage of plate appearances a team gave to all players of a certain age. For example, as of 9/15, the Braves had given 1290 PA to 25-year-old players, or 21.93% of the team total.

  • Breakdown of pitcher usage by age per team -- shows the number and percentage of innings a team gave to all pitchers of a certain age. For example, as of 9/15, the Cubs had given 396.3 innings to 22-year old pitchers, or 29.33% of the team total.

  • Breakdown of age by position and league -- shows, for each league, the distribution of ages at a given position. For example, as of 9/15, the American League had given 1640 plate appearances to 21-year-olds, vs. just 302 in the NL. The main positions these players appeared at in the AL were center field (645 PA, 7.41% of all AL CF PA), left field (548 PA, 6.28% of all AL LF PA), and shortstop (434 PA, 5.02% of all AL SS PA).

Keith Woolner is an author of Baseball Prospectus. 
Click here to see Keith's other articles. You can contact Keith by clicking here

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