Random Thoughts on a Tuesday

Oftentimes I'll have a story idea that can easily be fleshed out in a thousand words.  Just as often I'll have story ideas that aren't story ideas at all.  They are just random musings.  As a stat-junky who looks at stats all the time, it's easy to come across one thing and say "Wow, thats interesting" but unfortunately there's not much more to say without really beating a horse to death. 

Yes, I could probably write 1000 words on Player X's batting average; How'd he get there, where will he go from here, what does it mean?  But it's probably just as well to take all of those little stories and turn them into one wholesome place where I let you decide what's interesting and what's not. 

Here are some random thoughts on a random day:

Joe Blanton is getting jobbed

So we were all so excited to see "The Big Four" in Philadelphia that we pretty much wrote off Joe Blanton.  Sure, the other four guys have combined for 13 All-Star games and 3 Cy Youngs.  (Halladay can boast 7 of those All-Star games and 2 of those Cy Youngs) but Joe Blanton is a more than useful pitcher.

He's 200 innings of 4.00-4.50 ERA pitching who gives up a lot of hits but limits runs because he doesn't walk many batters.  At this point he should be considered the best #5 pitcher in baseball, instead he's just another #5 pitcher because of his 5.83 ERA.  The funny thing is that Blanton is posting the lowest FIP and xFIP of his career (3.44, 3.45)  Both of which are slightly outpacing Roy Oswalt this season.  Much of this can be attributed to the .376 BABIP against he's unfortunately had this year.

Blanton will never be a superstar, but he is better than this. 

Hunter Pence is on pace on to make weird history

The first interesting thing about Pence is how consistent he is.  Pence has homered 25 times in each of the last 3 seasons.  With 5 HR this year, he's right about on track to do it for a 4th straight season.  But that's not the most interesting thing about Pence this year. 

Pence has scored 13 runs and driven in 28.  That would put him on pace for 60 runs and 130 RBI.  No player in history has ever done that.  No player in history has ever even scored 60 or less and driven in 120 or more.  Only two players have ever scored 60 and driven in 110 or more.  Nine players have scored 70 or less and driven in 110 or more.  And no player has ever scored 70 or less and driven in 120 or more.

Pence isn't just on pace to make history, he's on pace to destroy it. 

The best twitter account after the jump...

 



Brandon McCarthy is West Coast Joe Blanton

Last season Trevor Cahill finished 9th in the Cy Young vote.  Dallas Braden pitched a perfect game.  Brett Anderson pitched 112 innings of 2.80 baseball.  And Gio Gonzalez won 15 games behind a 3.23 ERA.

Before this season, McCarthy was signed to fight for the #5 job and when he won it, drew a stick figure picture of himself with the other four big names.  (Brandon McCarthy also has the best twitter account in baseball.  B_McCarthy, where said picture was posted.)

McCarthy was the #49 prospect in baseball in 2005 after he went off in the White Sox minor league system (172 innings, 202 K's, 30 bbs) but injuries have kept him from consistently playing until now (hopefully) 

He leads Oaklands rotation in FIP so far this season, though his ERA has yet to fully reflect it.  Fangraphs tells me that McCarthy has thrown in a cutter and is using it 15% of the time.  Surely, things are working for McCarthy finally and we can call it the "Big Five"

The Mariners bullpen is pitching crazy-like

Fantasy-wise, this will only apply to Brandon League owners, and leagues that count holds.  But I can't hep but find this too interesting not to share.  League, David Pauley, Aaron Laffey, and Jamey Wright were mostly supposed to just hold spots in the bullpen until the M's young guns were ready to pitch in the majors. (League had a real spot there of course)  Instead, they are pitching as if old relievers get executed when they retire.

Wright came into this season with 15 years of major league experience, 1760 innings, and an ERA of exactly 5.  David Pauley was a journeyman with his fourth team.  Aaron Laffey had a 4.41 ERA after 320 innings in Cleveland.

The four have combined to give up 0 home runs in 66 innings this year.  Wright, Pauley, and Laffey each have an ERA of 1.59 or lower.  It's part of the reason that the M's have used the 2nd least amount of pitchers in the majors this season.  (Combined 114 games amongst all pitchers)

Matt Wieters is turning a corner, despite a low batting average

I tend not to give up on prospects until it's really time to give up on them.  Those that are patient tend to reap the benefits.  Wieters may be hitting .232 this season, but other numbers suggest he's becoming the hitting catcher we all expected.

His ISO is way up, now at .189 compared to .128 last season.  He's walking 10.2% of the time, a notable jump from his first two seasons.  He's got a .257 BABIP, which is far below his career numbers.

Wieters is quietly on pace for about 20 HR and between 90-100 RBI, depending on how many games he ultimately ends up playing.  One recent 11-game stretch saw him go .324/.390/.649 with 3 HR, 3 2B, 12 RBI, and 8 R. 

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