We are more than halfway through the month of April and most teams have already played double-digit games. This is not a big sample size but there have been some surprises in the beginning of this long season, from the Los Angeles Dodgers 9-1 start to the St. Louis Cardinals scoring the most runs in the game despite the face of the franchise and future hall-of-famer Albert Pujols leaving for the Los Angeles Angels.
And, to our surprise, there have been some major overachievers and some major underachievers, including the aforementioned Albert Pujols who has yet to hit a homerun and is hitting only .268/.318/.366 through his first 44 plate appearances outside of St. Louis red. Here are a few of the statistical surprises so far this season:
The “No Walk” club includes some surprising names as well as some you might expect to see (min 30 PAs) with three Texas Rangers appearing on the list:
Chase Headley leads the Majors in walks with 11 (all unintentional) and Jordan Schafer and Russell Martin are tied for second with 9 unintentional walks. Joey Votto has the second most total walks with 10 and is tied for the Major League lead in intentional walks with… wait for it… A.J. Ellis.
The “No Homer” Club. The list is a bit long so I will only include the most surprising names:
By contrast Omar Infante, who hit 7 homeruns in 640 PAs last season, already has 4 homeruns in 36 plate appearances and A.J. Pierzynski has 3 homeruns in 29 PAs after only hitting 8 homeruns in 500 PAs last season and 9 homeruns in 503 PAs the season before that.
The “No Strikeout” club is bit more exclusive with only Marco Scutaro yet to strikeout in his 38 plate appearances. Jeff Keppinger, Juan Rivera, and Omar Infante each have one punch out in 36 PAs apiece. But there are some hitters with some serious strikeout problems. Take a look at the players who have fanned in at least one-third of their plate appearances and be prepared to cringe, White Sox fans:
|Adam Dunn||41.0% (16)|
|J.P. Arencibia||38.7% (12)|
|Brent Morel||38.2% (13)|
|Gordon Beckham||37.9% (11)|
|Yoenis Cespedes||37.5% (15)|
|Mark Reynolds||35.3% (12)|
|Nelson Cruz||35.0% (14)|
|Jason Bay||34.3% (12)|
|Rickie Weeks||34.1% (15)|
|Freddie Freeman||33.3% (13)|
Sadly, Brent Morel’s strikeout rate could be worse but he leads the Majors in sacrifice bunts with three already. Only three other hitters even have two.
Curtis Granderson has a robust 42.9% line-drive rate but only a .240 BABIP. He has been a major victim of the Luck Dragons as well as Ian Kinsler who has a 34.2% line-drive rate and only a .200 BABIP. Neil Walker is also unlucky with a 38.5% line-drive rate and a .222 BABIP.
Delmon Young, Yoenis Cespedes, and Shin-Soo Choo have each been hit by three pitches.
The National League has the top six base stealers with Dee Gordon leading the way with seven. No American League hitter has more than three stolen bases.
Emilio Bonifacio, Alex Presley, Alfonso Soriano, Logan Morrison, Drew Stubbs, and Coco Crisp do not have a single extra-base hit among them. Bonifacio, though, has four bunt hits. Only three others have more than one bunt hit and no one other than Bonifacio has more than two.
Matt Kemp is off to prove 2011 was for real as he is hitting .487/.523/1.026 with a wOBA of .616 and wRC+ of 312. He leads the Majors in each category as well as homeruns with 6 bombs already on the season. Chris Young, though, leads in fWAR with +1.4 thanks to his line of .405/.500/.892, +1.0 UZR, and +0.7 Bsr.
-Jonathan C. Mitchell can be found writing about the Tampa Bay Rays at DRaysBay and the Florida Marlins at ESPN’s SweetSpot site Marlins Daily. You can follow him on twitter at @FigureFilbert. Be sure to follow MLBdirt at @MLBdirt
Filed under: Digging Deep - Analysis Tagged: | Adam Dunn, Albert Pujols, Andrew McCutchen, Brent Morel, Carlos Gonzalez, Chris Young, Curtis Granderson, Gaby Sanchez, Giancarlo Stanton, Ian Kinsler, Jesus Montero, Josh Hamilton, Justin Upton, Mark Teixeira, Matt Kemp, Michael Young, Nelson Cruz, Robinson Cano, Yoenis Cespedes