Fighting irrationality with irrationality since 2006.

Sunday, June 11, 2006

Nobody scores in the International League

A few days ago, Mr. Matthews wrote a column detailing his reasons to like the Red Wings. Since FCster is busy singing Celine Dion songs and driving all over the country, I am going to tell you what Mr. Matthews really should have written.

”Offense - Leads the 14-team IL with a .269 team batting average. Second in runs (260). Tied for 10th in home runs (32) but first in triples (20), second in doubles (117) and tied for first in total bases (772). The Wings don't walk a lot (159 walks rank 12th), but they don't often strike out (second-fewest 351).”

Starting from the last item, apparently Mr. Matthews didn't get my memo that strikeouts don't matter. One would think that a trained sports journalism professional would have figured that out by now. Maybe the only other baseball coverage he listens to is from Joe Morgan.

The Wings could be even better offensively if they had better plate discipline – a week after Mr. Matthews wrote his column, they still rank 12th in walks, and 11th in OBP. Despite playing home games in a pitching-friendly ballpark, they are tied for first in SLG even though they are 11th in home runs.

The 1-2-3 hitters in the lineup — Jason Tyner (.315), Jason Bartlett (.307) and Josh Rabe (.304) — are among the top nine batting averages in the IL.

Only one of them, Rabe, is among the top 20 in OBP. Bartlett has a pathetic eight walks!

Bullpen — The big surprise. It has been outstanding: ...Beau Kemp [and] Henry Bonilla ... have been solid set-up men for closer Pat Neshek ...

Beau Kemp has more walks than strikeouts. Henry Bonilla has an ERA of 4.93, above the IL average of 3.59.

Managing - Stan and pitching coach Stu Cliburn, his twin brother, have had a knack for knowing when to make pitching changes.

Do you have any evidence for this statement, Bob?

Attitude — Good chemistry.

I think that may be one of those evil intangibles that writers make up so they can praise people like Derek Jeter. A team of nine Barry Bonds' would hate each other, but score like a hundred runs a game.

Defense — It isn't great, but it isn't bad. The Wings have 44 errors through 56 games and rank sixth in fielding percentage.

Since we here at FBM support stats that actually mean something, I had FCster calculate defense efficiency ratio for the IL. He had to do a little fudging due to incomplete stats, but the Wings are fourth or fifth, at around 71.6%.

Mr. Matthews then lists some potential trouble spots, including Starting pitching — J.D. Durbin is pitching like the Twins expected him to in recent past seasons.

J.D. Durbin appears to be the beneficiary of solid defense, since he has only 1.44 strikeouts per walk. Look for his ERA to increase if he doesn't show better control.

Pete Munro is reliable.

Pretend it says below average there instead of reliable, since Munro's ERA is 4.08 compared to the league average of 3.59.


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