Thursday, July 17, 2014

MLB Year in Review: ASG-to-ASG 2014

Growing up, I watched a lot of ESPN and SportsCenter.  It was one of the primary viewing choices of my childhood.  This made this mid-July week somewhat of a downer growing up since nothing happens in the sports world outside the MLB All Star Game.  SportsCenter is always looking for interesting topics for this lackluster sports week.  Nowadays, this doesn't change the SportsCenter programming at all since all they talk about now is the NFL and LeBron James all year anyways.  When I was a kid, believe it or not, SportsCenter still considered baseball as a relevant sport worth covering.  So while baseball was taking a break, they still worked to find baseball stories to talk about.  One of my favorite baseball pieces they did every year during the All Star Break was determine who had the best last 162 games.  They would calculate stats from the last All Star Break to the current All Star Break and compare them as full season stats.  Unfortunately, SportsCenter is too busy debating the first pick in next year's NFL draft to waste time on this fascinating premise.  So I have decided to compile all these stats on my own and determine who would has had the best last full season.

Here is the process I went through.  I went through the league leaders from Post All Star 2013 stats and the 2014 first half stats.  For the hitters, I compiled the top 50 leaders in both time frames in hits, doubles, home runs, RBI's, and runs.  This gave me 160 hitters I compiled stats for from the last year.  For the pitchers, I went through the same process with wins, innings pitched, strikeouts, and saves (only calculated the top 30 in saves).  I realize this left out the always-overlooked middle reliever, but oh well.  They are always overlooked anyways so one more time won't be too tragic.  This resulted in 151 pitchers to compare.  Let's look at some top lists.
AL Batting Average
Victor Martinez – DET .343
Robinson Cano – NYY / SEA .333
Adrian Beltre – TEX .327
Mike Trout – LAA .316
Jose Altuve – HOU .315

JD Martinez – HOU / DET .322
not enough AB's

It turns out the amazingly hot starts this year from Victor Martinez and Jose Altuve actually started last season.  This is also not the last time you will see Mike Trout's name.
NL Batting Average
Andrew McCutchen – PIT .330
Scooter Gennett – MIL .325
Troy Tulowitzki – COL .323
Freddie Freeman – ATL .311
Charlie Blackmon – COL .310

Michael Cuddyer – COL .327
Casey McGehee – MIA .319
not enough AB's

Much like Martinez and Altuve, Charlie Blackmon's hot start this year was foreshadowed by a strong finish last year.  Freddie Freeman is turning into one of the best all-around hitters in the league.  Also, Scooter Gennett has to be the best player nobody has heard of.
AL Home Runs
Edwin Encarnacion – TOR 37
Brandon Moss – OAK 35
Mike Trout – LAA 34
Nelson Cruz – TEX / BAL 33
Chris Davis – BAL 31
David Ortiz – BOS 31

What I noticed from this list is most of these players have been quite inconsistent.  Either they ended last year strong or started this year strong, with the exception of Trout.  By the way, Jose Abreu almost made this list without playing at all last season.
NL Home Runs
Giancarlo Stanton – MIA 35
Paul Goldschmidt – ARZ 31
Troy Tulowitzki – COL 30
Anthony Rizzo – CHC 30
Andrew McCutchen – PIT 28
Justin Upton – ATL 28
Todd Frazier – CIN 28

There are a few players on this list that just don't get the credit they deserve.  Anthony Rizzo will be a centerpiece of the Cubs latest attempt to rebuild (which might actually work with his bat leading the way).  Also, Paul Goldschmidt is a beast.  I give him 2 more seasons before he gets traded out of Arizona so people actually recognize how good he is.
Miguel Cabrera – DET 117
Mike Trout – LAA 111
Brandon Moss – OAK 109
David Ortiz – BOS 102
Edwin Encarnacion – TOR 102

Here is the first appearance by Miguel Cabrera, which shows that he hasn't been at his Triple Crown level since pre-All Star 2013.  Also, looking at his numbers, how wasn't David Ortiz an All Star?  Also, as a Mariners fan I refuse to give Brandon Moss any credit.
Paul Goldschmidt – ARZ 109
Jayson Werth – WAS 103
Adrian Gonzalez – LAD 101
Freddie Freeman – ATL 100
Giancarlo Stanton – MIA 98

There's Goldschmidt's name again.  I was surprised to see someone like Jayson Werth putting up these kind of numbers.  No one talks about him, but he has been one of the best run producers of the last year.
AL OPS (On-Base + Slugging)
Mike Trout – LAA 1.014
Victor Martinez – DET .956
Edwin Encarnacion – TOR .952
Miguel Cabrera – DET .929
Brandon Moss – OAK .911

Jose Abreu – CWS .968
JD Martinez – HOU / DET .942
not enough AB's

OPS has become one of the top stats for a hitter's overall production so this is a great one to look at.  No one quite appreciates just how good Jose Abreu has been this first half.  He is already one of the greatest hitters in the league after just half a season.  Here you can also see just how ridiculous Mike Trout is.  Once again, he is from another AL West rival so I hate giving credit, but Trout is impossible to ignore.  Also, over the last year Miguel Cabrera hasn't even been the best hitter on his team.
Andrew McCutchen – PIT .995
Troy Tulowitzki – COL .966
Paul Goldschmidt – ARZ .950
Freddie Freeman – ATL .904
Giancarlo Stanton – MIA .904
This top five shouldn't be surprising.  If you ask anyone for the best top five hitters in the National League, these five names should be the first ones said ... unless you run into some of those ignorant idiots that try to say Yasiel Puig or Bryce Harper.
AL Wins
Max Scherzer – DET 19
Rick Porcello – DET 19
James Shields – KC 18
Jared Weaver – LAA 18
Mark Buehrle – TOR 17
How is Detroit not the best team in the AL?  They have two of the best hitters in the league and the only two 19-win pitchers in the league.  And neither of them are named Verlander.  James Shields doesn't get the respect he deserves either.
NL Wins
Clayton Kershaw – LAD 19
Adam Wainwright – STL 19
Zack Greinke – LAD 18
Jorge De La Rosa – COL 17
Hyun-Jin Ryu – LAD 17
After looking at these stats, it is hard to argue against the Dodgers having the best pitching staff in the league.  They have three of the top five in wins.  You expect Wainwright to be on this list, but De La Rosa?!?  Since when does a pitcher for the Rockies have quality stats?
AL ERA (150 IP Min.)
Hisashi Iwakuma – SEA 2.58
Jon Lester – BOS 2.62
Anibal Sanchez – DET 2.63
Chris Sale – CWS 2.71
Felix Hernandez – SEA 2.74
Even with his injury and recent struggles, Hisashi Iwakuma has the best ERA over the last year.  It's easy for him to not get the credit he deserves when King Felix had the best first half in the league this year.
AL ERA Overall
Koji Uehara – BOS 1.07
Greg Holland – KC 1.22
Casey Janssen – TOR 1.79
Zach Britton – BAL 1.82
Joe Smith – LAA 2.07
The numbers and names at the top are to be expected.  The last two names on the list might be surprising though.
NL ERA (150IP Min.)
Clayton Kershaw – LAD 1.68
Johnny Cueto – CIN 2.02
Andrew Cashner – SD 2.25
Zack Greinke – LAD 2.34
Tanner Roark – WAS 2.53
Kershaw, are you kidding me?!?  If he goes on a couple more scoreless runs, he might challenge that Bob Gibson record of a 1.12 ERA this year.  Also, stop talking about Stephen Strasburg, Jordan Zimmerman, Gio Gonzalez, and Doug Fister.  Tanner Roark is the Nat's fifth starter and the best one they have had over the last year.
NL ERA Overall
Huston Street – SD 1.06
Craig Kimbrel – ATL 1.43
Clayton Kershaw – LAD 1.68
Jose Fernandez – MIA 1.81
Johnny Cueto – CIN 2.02
The most underrated player in the league is by far Huston Street.  He is the best closer in the league, and he doesn't even make the All Star Team.  His ERA is even lower than Koji's.  I find this whole list interesting as only two closers made the list.  The rest are the top starters including Jose Fernandez who would be challenging Kershaw in every stat category if he hadn't gotten hurt.
AL K's
Yu Darvish – TEX 262
David Price – TB 248
Max Scherzer – DET 234
Felix Hernandez – SEA 230
Jon Lester – BOS 208
This is another top five that is exactly who you would expect it to be.  No surprises here.
NL K's
Stephen Strasburg – WAS 231
Clayton Kershaw – LAD 219
Tyson Ross – SD 211
Zack Greinke – LAD 207
AJ Burnett – PIT / PHI 207
You might be surprised to see the old man, AJ Burnett, on here, of whom I heard recently from an analyst is the most overpaid player in baseball history.  At least he strikes guys out.  The other noteworthy thing here is Tyson Ross.  This is the second Padres starter to appear on one of these lists which shows that they are working their way in the right direction.  They just need some hitting.  Some familiar, Seattle?
AL Innings Pitched
David Price – TB 254 1/3
James Shields – KC 224 2/3
Justin Verlander – DET 221 1/3
RA Dickey – TOR 221
Jon Lester – BOS 216 2/3
I find this an interesting list because it shows who might be due for a disappointing second half simply for being overworked.  David Price has thrown 30 more innings than everyone else in the league over the last year.  Buyer beware for those looking to trade for him.
NL Innings Pitched
Adam Wainwright – STL 233
AJ Burnett – PIT / PHI 222 2/3
Wade Miley – ARZ 213
Zack Greinke – LAD 211 1/3
Kyle Lohse – MIL 210 1/3
Here are some great innings eaters in Wainwright, Greinke, and Lohse.  Again, I don't see how people hate on AJ Burnett.  I'm also impressed with Wade Miley as he has needed to step up and the ace after Corbin went down in Spring Training.
AL Saves
Greg Holland – KC 50
Fernando Rodney – TB / SEA 42
Glen Perkins – MIN 37
Joe Nathan – TEX / DET 32
Koji Uehara – BOS 31
Few would argue that Holland has the most dominant stuff in the AL at closer.  Looking at these numbers, it was totally justified that Glen Perkins closed out the All Star Game.  Also, for all his struggles, Joe Nathan has still racked up a respectable amount of saves.  (Honorable Mention - Addison Reed has 37 saves over this time, but has played for both leagues.)
NL Saves
Craig Kimbrel – ATL 53
Kenley Jansen – LAD 46
Huston Street – SD 42
Rafael Soriano – WAS 40
Sergio Romo – SF 39
Craig Kimbrel might be the most automatic three outs in league history.  Once again, look at the number of saves for Huston Street for a team that never reaches the .500 mark.

Looking at these stats, here are the top 5 hitters, starters, and closers ASG-to-ASG.
Mike TroutAndrew McCutchenTroy TulowitzkiVíctor MartínezPaul Goldschmidt

Mike Trout LAA 155 564 109 178 36 6 34 102 111 116 161 22 .316 .432 .582 1.014
Andrew McCutchen PIT 160 594 98 196 40 9 28 119 96 99 120 22 .330 .426 .569 .995
Troy Tulowitzki COL 151 524 102 169 29 1 30 109 82 80 99 2 .323 .412 .553 .966
Victor Martinez DET 146 554 74 190 36 0 27 127 88 55 41 2 .343 .402 .554 .956
Paul Goldschmidt ARZ 161 607 109 182 49 4 31 98 109 105 157 14 .300 .403 .547 .950
Clayton KershawAdam WainwrightMax ScherzerJon LesterFélix Hernández

Clayton Kershaw LAD 19 5 1.68 27 27 0 0 187 134 38 35 9 30 219 .193 0.88 7.3 10.5
Adam Wainwright STL 19 8 2.59 33 33 0 0 233 189 68 67 13 47 204 .213 1.01 4.3 7.9
Max Scherzer DET 19 5 2.99 32 32 0 0 211 169 73 70 18 60 234 .211 1.09 3.9 10.0
Jon Lester BOS 16 9 2.62 32 32 0 0 216 2/3 200 78 63 12 51 208 .235 1.16 4.1 8.6
Felix Hernandez SEA 13 8 2.74 31 31 0 0 210 164 72 64 9 45 230 .207 1.00 5.1 9.9
Craig KimbrelGreg HollandHuston StreetKoji UeharaKenley Jansen

Craig Kimbrel ATL 2 2 1.43 71 0 53 58 69 1/3 34 14 11 2 23 106 .140 0.82 4.6 13.8
Greg Holland KC 1 2 1.22 68 0 50 52 66 2/3 43 9 9 4 17 96 .177 0.90 5.6 13.0
Huston Street SD 3 1 1.06 60 0 42 44 59 1/3 32 7 7 5 13 62 .152 0.76 4.8 9.4
Koji Uehara BOS 7 3 1.07 71 0 31 33 75 2/3 36 9 9 6 7 98 .137 0.57 14.0 11.7
Kenley Jansen LAD 2 3 2.48 72 0 46 50 69 48 19 19 4 22 108 .188 1.01 4.9 14.1

To check out all the stats I compiled, click the link below.

1 comment:

  1. OK I wrote you a much longer comment but my stupid computer deleted it, so here is the abridged version of what I can remember:

    1. Scooter Gennett!! Wow. He's the best illustration of how your compiled stats can predict a teams success (along with the return of Braun and the resurgence of K-Rod, although that team seems primed for a second-half collapse allowing God's Team to take control). Nice to see Chuck Nazty on that list too.

    2. Lots of San Diego Padres on that list. Good comparison between them and the Ms. Tyson Ross is a little like Felix -- lifetime 10-18 record on SD, but a 3.00 ERA. Maybe illustrative of the meaninglessness of the wins stat. Also, De La Rusa and the Dodger pitchers may have seriously benefited from playing in the same division as the Padres, who may have the worst offense I've ever seen in the modern major leagues. As of today, they're worst scoring offense and the NL, and the next-lowest scoring (God's Team) has 80 more runs. Yikes.

    3. Pitcher I'm most surprised to not see anywhere in this article: Scott Kazmir. Strong finish with Cleveland last year matched with an unbelievable campaign on God's Team (AL Version) so far in 2014. All this for a guy who I honestly didn't realize was in the league a few months ago (I remember him on the Devil Rays!) Definitely wins the 2014 Bartolo Colon award for random pitcher from the mid-2000s going through a completely unexpected career resurrection for no apparent reason (except steroids).

    4. It's also a little amazing that there are only 6 players in the entire league hitting above .320. It feels like that's what the entire Colorado Rockies lineup this year is hitting.