Early Season MLB Notes

Throwing the Ball, Hitting the Ball, and Catching the Ball

Dave Cameron wrote a nice piece about the M’s pitching that at first read sounds pessimistic, but in fact is very optimistic. The M’s team ERA is 17th in the league, but defense independent pitching stats like FIP indicate the Mariners staff is pitching better than that. With a perfect run-preventing ball park, and a FIP good for 6th in the league, expect the Ms to allow less runs going forward.

The Cardinals, the top scoring team in the entire league, have three players that have accumulated more offensive runs produced than Justin Smoak, the Mariner’s leader in that category. Strangely none of those three players is named Albert Pujols. The Ms, however, are NOT dead-last in run production as they were in 2010. They’re just 21st. Progress.

The M’s defense—the supposed sabermetric centerpiece of the rebuilding project—is not doing so well. UZR has them 29th, and Baseball Projection’s Total Zone Rating has them 27th. The good news is Franklin Gutierrez’s bowels are not irritating him nearly as much anymore. I was scared shitless, but he and his 19 runs saved per season are going to return soon. This is another reason to believe Seattle will allow less runs in the future.

Other fun facts:

*Michael Pineda’s fastball is faster than everyone else’s. No seriously.

*Among all qualified hitters, Vernon Wells, is dead last in wOBA. wOBA is an all-around measurement of hitting and baserunning ability. His slugging percentage (.237) isn’t even a good batting average. His salary is $26,642,857. So at least one of those three things is really good.

*Vladimir Guerrero has not walked in 108 plate appearances. Not once. Mariners DH Jack Cust has four RBI already just by walking with the bases loaded.

*White Sox slugger Adum Dunn has struck out in 41% of his plate appearances. Cubs ace Matt Garza strikes out 31% of the batters he faces. Can’t wait for the Interleague Chicago Showdown.

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