Category Archives: Baseball

Today’s Sportstat: March 28, 2020

The quest to be a career .300 hitter in the majors can be tough

Baseball, more than any other sport, in my humble opinion, is more stats-oriented than the other professional sports. Numbers have always seemed to drive baseball and is a tool by which we evaluate the success or greatness of a player.

Baseball stats are used to label players. A pitcher who reaches 20 wins in a season has achieved a much-desired milestone. The same with a batter who reaches 100 RBI in a season. Even career numbers are a yardstick to how well of a season a player has had.

With that in mind, a .300 hitter in baseball is not only a season milestone to hope for, but a .300 career hitter has a special place in baseball.

But what about a player who plays several seasons in the majors but ends his career with a .299 career batting average… falling one point short of reaching that .300 milestone. How many hitters have experienced that?

Based on research on baseball-reference.com, there are a dozen batters who had 1,000 or more plate appearances in their careers and ended their time in the majors with a batting average one point short of .300.

Here are those players with a career .299 batting average (also noted is the years of their careers). Note: I researched stats from 1901 through 2019.

Harry Rice, 1923-33
Buck Jordan, 1927-38
Sam West, 1927-42
Frank Demaree, 1932-44
Frank McCormick, 1934-48
Carl Furillo, 1946-60
Rico Carty, 1963-79
Bake McBride, 1973-83
Shane Mack, 1987-98
Dante Bichette, 1988-2001
Kenny Lofton, 1991-2007
Matt Holliday, 2004-18

There was another player on this list… Dustin Pedroia. He currently holds a career .299 batting average, but was active in 2019. He has missed good portions of the last two seasons due to injury, but still remains under contract with the Red Sox through the 2021 season.

Let’s balance the “just missed it” list with those players who ended their MLB careers with exactly a .300 batting average. Of players who had 1,000 or more plate appearances, there have been 12 players whose career batting average is right at .300. They are:

Ted Easterly, 1909-15
Cliff Lee, 1919-26
Earl Sheely, 1921-31
Ethan Allen, 1926-38
Wally Berger, 1930-40
Enos Slaughter, 1938-59
Billy Goodman, 1947-62
Pedro Guerrero, 1978-92
John Kruk, 1986-95
Reggie Jefferson, 1991-99
Roberto Alomar, 1988-2004
Michael Young, 2000-13

Similar to the previous list, we had an additional name. Albert Pujols, who has played in the majors from 2001-19, has a career .300 batting average. He is considered a sure-fire Hall of Famer, and is still listed on the Angels roster. Will he end his career with a .300 average?

Taking a look at the Brewers, they have five players who have career .300 or better batting averages with the team (minimum of 1,000 plate appearances). Think you can name all five?

Well, Christian Yelich tops the list with a .327 career average in a Brewers uniform. He is followed by Jeff Cirillo (.307), Paul Molitor (.303), Cecil Cooper (.302) and Kevin Seitzer (.300). Current Brewer player Ryan Braun, who has played his entire career with Milwaukee, has a career batting average of .298. Chances are he would love to not only end his Brewers career above the .300 mark but also have a final career batting average of .300 or better.

Follow Jerry on Twitter @StatsonTapp

Today’s Sportstat: March 21, 2020

Wins and complete games are not always compatible

If you spend any time following baseball, you know that the complete game is becoming a stat of the past. Let’s take a look at a set of numbers where the compatibility of wins and complete games does not match.

Since 2000, there have been six MLB pitchers who have won 20 or more games in a season but did not have a complete game that year. Just last season Gerrit Cole of the Houston Astros ended the year with 20 wins yet he did not have a complete game in 2019.

Here is a look at those six pitchers in baseball history with 20 wins and no complete games in that season.

Roger Clemens, 2001, New York Yankees, 20 wins-no complete games
Mike Mussina, 2008, New York Yankees, 20 wins-no complete games
Max Scherzer, 2014, Detroit, 21 wins-no complete games
J.A. Happ, 2016, Toronto, 20 wins-no complete games
Blake Snell, 2018, Tampa Bay, 21 wins-no complete games
Gerrit Cole, 2019, Houston, 20 wins-no complete games.

The Brewers in their history have had six pitchers who have won 15 or more games in a season without a complete game. They are:

2005: Chris Capuano, 18 wins
2011: Zack Greinke, 16 wins
2012: Yovani Gallardo, 16 wins
2014: Wily Peralta, 17 wins
2017: Zach Davies, 17 wins
2018: Jhoulys Chacin, 15 wins

There is a flipside to this stat. There have been several pitchers who have had 10 or more complete games in a season yet had less than 10 victories in that year. Of course, that has not happened in more than 30 years. In fact the last pitcher to have 10 or more complete games with less than 10 wins was Jack Morris with the Detroit Tigers. He had six wins and 10 complete games in ’89.

The Brewers have two pitchers that fit into this category. In 1974 Clyde Wright had nine wins for the Brew Crew and 15 complete games; in ’85, Danny Darwin had eight wins and 11 complete games for the Brewers that campaign.

The pitcher with the most complete games in MLB history with less than 10 wins is Howard Ehmke (you say you don’t remember him?). In 1925 with the Boston Red Sox, Ehmke has nine wins with 22 complete games that season.

 

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Today’s Sportstat: March 14, 2020

 

Brewers Trivia: How well do you know the team?

With professional sports on a sort of hiatus because of the Coronavirus, there’s not much stat analysis to write about. How about a little trivia?

Here’s three trivia questions for Brewers fans. Try to read the questions and guess the answers before skipping down to the answers.

  1. Three Brewers players played 1,000 or more games with the team but never made it on an all-star team while with the Brewers. Can you name the three?
  2. Name the Brewers managers who have been named Manager of the Year in either the American League or National League.
  3. From 2011 to 2019, there were nine different players who were the Opening Day starting first baseman for the Brewers. How many of the nine can you name?

Answer #1: Jim Gantner tops the list of most games played in a Brewers uniform without ever making the all-star team as a member of the Brew Crew. Gantner played 1,801 games with the Brewers but did not play in an All-Star Game. Charlie Moore (1,283 games with the Brewers) and B.J. Surhoff (1,102 games with the Brewers) are the other two players. Surhoff did play in the 1999 All-Star Game as a member of the Baltimore Orioles.

Answer #2: Trick question. The Brewers have never had one of their managers finish first in the voting for a Manager of the Year Award. There have had four Brewers managers who finished second in the voting for the award: Tom Trebelhorn (1987), Phil Garner (1992), Ron Roenicke (2011) and Craig Counsell (2018 and 2019).

Answer #3: Opening Day starting first basemen for the Brewers: 2011-Prince Fielder, 2012-Mat Gamel, 2013-Alex Gonzalez, 2014-Lyle Overbay, 2015-Adam Lind, 2016-Chris Carter, 2017-Eric Thames, 2018-Ryan Braun, 2019-Jesus Aguilar.

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Today’s Sportstat: March 5, 2020

Franchise with the best winning percentage in baseball history

Which baseball franchise is the most successful in history?

It doesn’t take an expert to guess that team is the New York Yankees… and you’d be right. The Yankees have won 40 pennants and 27 World Series.

Based on wins and losses, the Yankees have an overall record of 10,378-7,840 (a .570 winning percentage), which includes games when the franchise was known as the New York Highlanders (from 1903-12).

But here’s a little tougher question. Which franchise is second to the Yankees with the highest winning percentage?

If you guessed the San Francisco Giants franchise, which includes stints as the New York Gothams and New York Giants, you would be correct. The Giants franchise has a .535 winning percentage, good enough for second place on the list.

The worst? The San Diego Padres have the lowest winning percentage of the MLB franchises at .461.

Of the current 30 MLB franchises, 12 have an all-time winning percentage above .500 while the other 18 franchises are below .500.

Here’s a look at the winning percentage of the current 30 MLB franchises.

New York Yankees, .570
San Francisco Giants, .535
Los Angeles Dodgers, .528
St. Louis Cardinals, .520
Boston red Sox, .519
Chicago Cubs, .514
Cleveland Indians, .512
Cincinnati Reds, .505
Detroit Tigers, .504
Pittsburgh Pirates, .503
Chicago White Sox, .502
Atlanta Braves, .501
Los Angeles Angels, .499
Houston Astros, .496
Arizona Diamondbacks, .495
Toronto Blue Jays, .495
Washington Nationals, .489
Oakland A’s, .489
Milwaukee Brewers, .481
Minnesota Twins, .481
New York Mets, .481
Kansas City Royals, .480
Texas Rangers, .478
Baltimore Orioles, .474
Tampa Bay Rays, .473
Philadelphia Phillies, .472
Colorado Rockies, .471
Seattle Mariners, .471
Miami Marlins, .462
San Diego Padres, .461

(Stats cultivated from baseball-reference.com)

 

Follow Jerry on Twitter @StatsonTapp

Today’s Sportstat: February 22, 2020

Complete Games not a common theme during Counsell’s tenure

If you follow baseball, you know that relief pitching and managing the bullpen are key factors in today’s game, and that starting pitching, and specifically, complete games, is a quickly dying occurrence.

The Milwaukee Brewers are a prime example of this trend. Manager Craig Counsel begins his sixth season with the team and the way he handles the pitching staff is either the reason for the most recent success Counsell and the Brewers have had, or it is a cause for frustration for Brewers fans (and maybe the team’s starting pitching staff).

Debate about why this has happened within the Brewers pitching staff can shift from a strong bullpen to a weak starting staff. Most everyone has an opinion. But the numbers don’t lie… complete games are on the decline for every team and the game has changed, especially when it comes to how pitching staffs are handled.

The complete game stats are pretty significant when you look at the past five seasons with Counsell in charge. From 2015-19, the Brewers had only two complete games (Taylor Jungmann on July 11, 2015 and Jimmy Nelson on June 18, 2017). That is tied for the fewest complete games in the majors over the past five years with the Tampa Bay Rays pitching staff.

If we look at the past two seasons, the Brew Crew had zero complete games, one of four teams that did not have a complete game over the past two seasons. The others were the Rays, Detroit Tigers and San Diego Padres.

Here is a look at the number of complete games each MLB pitching staff had in the past five seasons (2015-19).

34: Cleveland
22: San Francisco
20: Boston, Chicago White Sox
15: Chicago Cubs, Minnesota, Seattle
14: L.A. Dodgers
13: Houston, Texas
12: Detroit
11: Oakland, Pittsburgh, Washington
10: N.Y. Mets, Toronto
9: Kansas City, Philadelphia
8: Colorado, L.A. Angels, N.Y. Yankees, St. Louis
7: Arizona, Atlanta, Cincinnati
4: Baltimore, Florida, San Diego
2: Milwaukee, Tampa Bay

In addition:

  • The Brewers have had zero complete games in three (2016, 2018, 2019) of Counsell’s five seasons. The only other season where the Brew Crew had zero complete games was in 2012.
  • The last season where the Brewers had double-digits in complete games was in 2008 when they had 12.
  • Most complete games in a season for the Brewers pitching staff? In 1978 they had 62 complete games; the following year they had 61.
  • In the first 26 years of the Brewers franchise (1969-94) the team had a total of 836 complete games; in the last 25 years (1995-2019) the team had 89 complete games.

You get the point!

 

Follow Jerry on Twitter @StatsonTapp