Cabrera’s Never Been Better Than Trout

I just noticed that Mike Trout has 7.8 rWAR this season, after earning 10.7 rWAR last year. Miguel Cabrera’s highest rWAR in any season of his career, was 7.6 (in 2011). Right now, Cabrera has 7.0, so he has a chance to have a Mike Trout type season with 1 month to go. Although, it’s doubtful that he can make up 0.8 rWAR and whatever extra he needs to match whatever Trout earns this month.

Looking at fWAR, there’s a similar story. Trout’s earned fWAR’s of 10 in 2012 and 8.8 so far this season. Cabrera has never done better than 7.7 fWAR, which is this season, with a month still left to go.

No matter how you look at it, according to WAR, Trout’s already had 2 better seasons than any season Miguel Cabrera has ever managed.

Can Houston Win 55 Games?

After this afternoon’s loss to the Rangers, the Astros are 37-80 (.316), with 45 games left on their schedule. Back in May, I said they look like they’re on their way to a 3rd consecutive 100-loss season, which would be only the 21st time any team was that bad for (at least) that long. To avoid that, they’ll need to turn into a .577 team (like the Rangers are) and go 26-19 to finish the year.

Obviously, that’s not going to happen even if they improve the team with some of their fine young minor leaguers in September. So the real question about the Astros is — can they win more than 54 games?

Since MLB instituted the free agent amateur draft in 1965, few teams have been so bad as to win only 1/3 of their games in a season. In the 20 seasons previous to that draft, 11 clubs failed to win more than one-third of their games in a season. Even if you discount those horrible early-60’s Mets teams, there were still 7 other teams this bad (’46 A’s, ’49 Senators, ’52 Tigers, ’52 Pirates, ’53 Pirates, 1954 A’s, & the ’61 Phillies). In the 47 years since that first draft, only 8 clubs have been that bad.

Worst Teams Since The Draft (ordered by WP)
Club W L %
2003 Tigers 41 119 .265
2004 Diamondbacks 51 111 .315
1969 Expos & 1969 Padres 52 110 .321
1996 Tigers & 1979 Blue Jays 53 109 .327
1979 A’s & 1998 Marlins 54 108 .333

If Houston’s going to avoid joining that small list, they must go 18-27 (.400) for the rest of this year. That might sound easy, but, this is a team that’s been playing .222 baseball since June 17th, good for a 10-35 record in their last 45 games.

The Astros are packed with minor league talent though, which could help the team reach 55+ W’s once the September call-ups arrive in Houston. The organization’s got teams in 1st place right now in AAA, AA, advanced A, A, and short season A. That’s really pretty incredible, and gives fans a lot of hope no matter what happens in Houston right now.

I’m guessing the September call-ups are the only way Houston could do better than a .333 season. Still, that only works if they’re major league ready, and we just don’t know how far along in their development they are. So, we’ll have to wait and see, but I think they’ll come in at 53 or 54 wins.

Cabrera vs Trout

Dave Cameron has an interesting article at Fangraphs, Trout and Cabrera: Here We Go Again, which is well worth the read. He concludes that Trout’s the better player, but, I think the stats make a strong argument for Cabrera as the slightly more valuable player so far—

2013 Season, Through August 4th
Player fWAR rWAR RE24 WPA RBI% BA OBP SLG
Miguel Cabrera 6.9 5.9 56.54 4.22 21.47 .360 .455 .668
Mike Trout 6.4 5.6 51.84 3.19 17.01 .329 .419 .568

I’m a big fan of RE24 & WPA. If you’re not familiar with those stats, you should read Get To Know: RE24 and Get to Know: WPA. I believe they are two of the most telling statistics. I don’t believe RBI totals say much about a batter, but that their RBI % actually tells us something.

64 Down, 17 To Go

July 30: Top 5 Teams in MLB
Team W L % GB Last 10
Pirates 64 42 .604 7-3
Rays 64 43 .598 0.5 8-2
Red Sox 64 44 .593 1.0 5-5
Cardinals 62 43 .590 1.5 4-6
A’s 63 44 .589 1.5 7-3

That’s the standings after last night; After the Pirates swept a doubleheader from the Cardinals. If somebody had told me in march that the Pirates would have the best record in baseball at the end of July 30th, and be in the middle of making the Cardinals look bad…. I never would’ve believed it.

This is just about the time of year when Pittsburgh’s supposed to pull off their sudden collapse trick, and wind up under .500 yet again. Now though, they look like they’re making it clear they’re as good as anybody.

St Louis will probably beat ’em tonight, ’cause Wainwright’s scheduled to start. But even if they do, the Pirates will still be 1/2 game up in the division when August begins.

So the Pirates might actually be a contender when September begins. There’s an entire generation of baseball fans who’ve never seen that. Before the team gets that far though, they’ll reach 81 W’s.

The Pirates have 28 games on the schedule in August, and need just 17 W’s to reach the 81 mark for the season. So if they still need 17 wins when the month begins, then they can reach 81 if they go 17-11 (.607) or better in August. That wouldn’t be beyond them either, as they went 19-9 (.679) in May and 17-9 (.659) in June. Also, they’ll be facing a number of teams they should be able to handle.—

  1. 6-2 against the Cardinals (3 home, 3 away)
  2. 0-0 against the Rockies (3 home, 3 away)
  3. 1-2 against the Marlins (3 home)
  4. 2-1 against the Diamondbacks (3 home)
  5. 0-0 against the Padres (3 away)
  6. 2-1 against the Giants (4 away)
  7. 9-4 against the Brewers (3 home)

The NL West is weak this year, so I think Pittsburgh won’t have much problem with the Rockies, Padres, and Giants. The Diamondbacks might give ’em a series loss tho. I doubt the Marlins will win the season series against the Pirates. The Brewers and Cardinals seem to be no match for the Pirates.

Fans should start lining up for tickets to the Pirates homestand at the end of the month (Aug 27 – Sep 1). It’ll be 6 games against the Brewers and Cardinals. Sometime during that homestand, is when I think they’ll secure a .500 season for the first time since 1992. It’s too soon to tell which game it’ll likely be.

The Rays Are Shining

You’ve probably noticed by now that the Rays are 21-4 (.840) in the past month. They catapulted from observers to contenders, even reaching 1st place in the AL East for a day before their loss in New York yesterday. We all know Tampa’s good, but how have they just suddenly turned it up a notch?

If you’re like me, you probably figure the offense caught fire by way of an Evan Longoria spark. Yet, that couldn’t be more wrong. The Rays are pulling this hot streak off, with a slumping Longoria. He’s batting .200/.299/.365 during these last 25 games.

That should probably scare fans in New York, Boston, and Baltimore. After all, Tampa’s usually good, but now it seems like they’ve learned how to win without relying on Longoria to carry the offense.

The guys leading the team through this, are an aging Luke Scott (.324/.405/.632), James Loney (.361/.389/.458), and rookie Wil Myers (.348/.378/.551). Kind of a weird mix, but it kind of makes sense too. Those three lead the team in OBP during the team’s heat wave.

On the pitching side of things, guys like David Price, Matt Moore, and Fernando Rodney, are doing their jobs as we’d expect. Then there’s some unknowns who are stepping it up alongside them. Middle reliever Alex Torres hasn’t allowed any runs, earned or unearned, in his past 10 1/3. You should also note that he’s striking out 8.71 batters per 9 IP. Starter Chris Archer, is 4-0 with 2 shutouts, on the strength of a 1.29 ERA.

Tonight, the Rays are in Boston, to play the division leading Red Sox. There’s only a half game difference between them right now. This should be good.

Greinke Is Pitching AND Batting

I just noticed that in the past month (6/22 – 7/21), Zack Greinke’s really hot. He’s doing it from the mound, which isn’t much of a surprise, but he’s also doing it from the batters box.

Among pitchers (min. 35 IP), he’s thrown the 2nd most innings of any pitcher, going 5-0, with a 2.36 ERA. His K/BB is 2.4. He’s only really pitched one bad game, but that was in Colorado. Impressively, since that game, he’s only allowed 1 run in 22 IP.

More surprisingly though, is what he’s been doing at the plate. Greinke’s batting .538/.625/.692 in 18 PA. Not many pitchers ever get a hot streak with the bat where they draw 3 walks & pepper a couple doubles into the mix while going 7 for 13 over the course of 18 PA. In fact, comparing it with all batters (min. 10 PA) during this period, Greinke’s been the best at getting on base. Of course that’s small sample size, but he doesn’t get to hit too often since his main deal is to pitch. Still impressive.

So for the season, Greinke’s batting average is up to .406, which is by far the best he’s done in any season with more than 2 PA’s. I think the last time a pitcher hit .400 was Walter Johnson in 1925, when he hit .433 in 107 PA. Greinke will probably only get up to the plate around 50-70 times, but he could still end up with one of the greatest hitting seasons by any regular pitcher. What will probably get less attention, but is more important, is that Greinke’s already drawn more walks than Walter Johnson did.

51 Down, 30 To Go

After this afternoon’s 14 inning win over Milwaukee, the Pirates are sitting pretty at 51-30. Not only are they the first team to reach 50 W’s, but they’re actually on pace for 100 victories. I’m not saying they’ll pull that off, but just the idea that the Pirates would be in this position, is almost inconceivable.

This pretty much guarantees Pittsburgh of a .500 season. Sure, mathematically they could still go 29-52, to finish at 80-82, but how likely is that? I haven’t worked out the math for that, but I’m pretty sure it’s pretty close to 0% chance.

With only having to go 30-51 (.370) for about half a season to make it to the hallowed 81 win mark, I seriously can’t see this Pirates club playing worse than that for a full half a season. I’m sure some of you are thinking that I’m gettin’ ahead of myself, ’cause Pittsburgh finished the past two years with stretches of 19-43 (.306) in 2011, and 16-36 (.308) in 2012.

While those winning percentages are both far worse than the .370 that the team needs to maintain this year, the amount of games in those slumps were also much smaller. If the Pirates suddenly go on a .308 pace from here on out, it means they’ll go 25-56. That’d leave them only 5 wins short of 81 for their whole season. We know that anything can happen in 5 games over the course of 81. It could be as simple as the ball bouncing in the Pirates favor, or even the opposing team taking Pittsburgh for granted. So it’s not inconceivable for them to win 30 more games even if they suddenly turn back into a pumpkin when the clock strikes midnight and July starts.

51 down, 30 to go.

Puig’s WAR

Baseball Reference’s version of WAR, shows that in just 60 PA, Yasiel Puig’s already leading the Dodgers batters in the stat—

  1. 1.6 – Yasiel Puig
  2. 1.5 – A.J. Ellis
  3. 1.4 – Adrian Gonzalez
  4. 1.2 – Carl Crawford
  5. 1.1 – Juan Uribe, & Nick Punto

Fangraphs version of WAR works a little different, but still Yasiel Puig is catching up with everybody. In fact, he’s already as valuable as Adrian Gonzalez.

  1. 2.0 – Carl Crawford
  2. 1.5 – A.J. Ellis
  3. 1.2 – Yasiel Puig, Adrian Gonzalez, & Juan Uribe

Nobody else listed above, has less than 141 PA (Uribe). Yet, Puig’s not even listed among the choices on MLB.com’s official All-Star balloting page, while Matt Kemp is.

Double Length Games

This probably doesn’t interest anyone but me, but after the Yankees & A’s went 18 on Thursday night, we’ve now seen 4 MLB games reach the 18th inning this season. While that’s not a record, it does mean this season has a shot at the record.

1916-2013, Seasons With The Most Games Of 18+ Innings
Games Season
9 1967
6 1918, 1972
4 1969, 1971, 1973, 1984, 1985, 2006, 2013
3 1927, 1968, 1979, 1980, 1989, 2001

Before you ask… I’m only going back to 1916, ’cause that’s currently as far back as the retrosheet records are accurate for game lengths by total outs. All my data is from the retrosheet gamelogs.

Anyway, back to the subject. I doubt we’ll see 5 more games of this length this year, but it’s possible. We might see 2 or 3, so it’s possible this season could end up 2nd or tied for 2nd most.

Another interesting point when looking at that list, is that double-length games were pretty uncommon ’til 1967. Only two seasons before that, show up on this listing. Anyone care to guess why that might be? I’m not sure where to start to try figuring out what changed. It might be the draft. Might be expansion. Might be something unexpected.

We’ve actually had 6 of these double length games in the past calendar year. Don’t get too excited tho, ’cause the same thing happened in late ’84 – early ’85, but then there wasn’t another one for over a year.

Here’s the complete list, along with links to the boxscores & some newspaper article links….

1916 – June 14, 2013 – MLB Games That Ended In The 18th or Later
Date Teams Innings
June 13, 2013 NYA (2) @ OAK (3) 17 (+ 4 outs)
June 8, 2013 MIA (2) @ NYN (1) 20
June 8, 2013 TEX (3) @ TOR (4) 17 (+ 5 outs)
April 29, 2013 LAA (8) @ OAK (10) 18 (+ 5 outs)
September 18, 2012 BAL (4) @ SEA (2) 18
August 19, 2012 PIT (6) @ SLN (3) 19
July 26, 2011 PIT (3) @ ATL (4) 18 (+ 4 outs)
May 25, 2011 CIN (4) @ PHI (5) 18 (+ 5 outs)
April 17, 2010 NYN (2) @ SLN (1) 20
June 07, 2009 ARI (9) @ SDN (6) 18
May 25, 2008 CIN (9) @ SDN (12) 17 (+ 5 outs)
April 17, 2008 COL (2) @ SDN (1) 22
August 15, 2006 ARI (2) @ COL (1) 18
August 15, 2006 CHN (8) @ HOU (6) 18
July 09, 2006 BOS (5) @ CHA (6) 18 (+ 4 outs)
May 27, 2006 HOU (7) @ PIT (8) 17 (+ 4 outs)
July 28, 2005 ANA (1) @ TOR (2) 17 (+ 4 outs)
August 08, 2004 OAK (6) @ MIN (5) 18
June 24, 2004 SEA (7) @ TEX (9) 17 (+ 3 outs)
April 27, 2003 SLN (7) @ FLO (6) 20
August 25, 2001 BOS (7) @ TEX (8) 17 (+ 5 outs)
June 05, 2001 DET (3) @ BOS (4) 17 (+ 3 outs)
May 29, 2001 ARI (1) @ SFN (0) 18
August 01, 2000 BOS (4) @ SEA (5) 18 (+ 3 outs)
August 03, 1996 ATL (5) @ LAN (3) 18
August 31, 1993 CLE (4) @ MIN (5) 21 (+ 3 outs)
July 07, 1993 LAN (6) @ PHI (7) 19 (+ 4 outs)
April 11, 1992 BOS (7) @ CLE (5) 19
June 06, 1991 TEX (3) @ KCA (4) 17 (+ 3 outs)
May 01, 1991 CHA (9) @ MIL (10) 18 (+ 5 outs)
August 23, 1989 LAN (1) @ MON (0) 22
August 06, 1989 CHN (4) @ PIT (5) 17 (+ 3 outs)
June 03, 1989 LAN (4) @ HOU (5) 21 (+ 5 outs)
September 11, 1988 DET (4) @ NYA (5) 17 (+ 3 outs)
May 14, 1988 ATL (7) @ SLN (5) 19
September 02, 1986 HOU (8) @ CHN (7) 18
July 07, 1985 MON (6) @ HOU (3) 19
July 04, 1985 NYN (16) @ ATL (13) 19
June 11, 1985 SFN (5) @ ATL (4) 18
April 28, 1985 PIT (4) @ NYN (5) 17 (+ 3 outs)
September 06, 1984 ATL (3) @ LAN (2) 18
July 13, 1984 SFN (3) @ PIT (4) 17 (+ 4 outs)
May 08, 1984 MIL (6) @ CHA (7) 24 (+ 4 outs)
April 27, 1984 CLE (8) @ DET (4) 19
May 27, 1983 SLN (3) @ HOU (1) 18
August 17, 1982 LAN (2) @ CHN (1) 21
June 09, 1982 CLE (3) @ DET (4) 17 (+ 4 outs)
April 13, 1982 SEA (3) @ CAL (4) 19 (+ 4 outs)
September 03, 1981 SEA (8) @ BOS (7) 20
August 26, 1980 SDN (8) @ NYN (6) 18
August 15, 1980 HOU (3) @ SDN (1) 20
July 06, 1980 CHN (4) @ PIT (5) 19 (+ 4 outs)
August 25, 1979 PIT (4) @ SDN (3) 19
June 18, 1979 NYN (2) @ HOU (3) 17 (+ 3 outs)
May 10, 1979 CIN (8) @ CHN (9) 17 (+ 4 outs)
August 10, 1977 CHN (1) @ PIT (2) 17 (+ 5 outs)
May 21, 1977 SDN (11) @ MON (8) 21
August 25, 1976 MIN (4) @ NYA (5) 18 (+ 5 outs)
September 16, 1975 MON (3) @ NYN (4) 17 (+ 5 outs)
September 11, 1974 SLN (4) @ NYN (3) 25
June 28, 1974 CHN (8) @ MON (7) 18
June 27, 1973 MON (5) @ CHN (4) 18
May 26, 1973 CLE (3) @ CHA (6) 20 (+ 5 outs)
May 24, 1973 NYN (7) @ LAN (3) 19
May 04, 1973 ATL (4) @ PHI (5) 19 (+ 4 outs)
August 10, 1972 CHA (3) @ OAK (5) 18 (+ 4 outs)
August 08, 1972 LAN (1) @ CIN (2) 18 (+ 3 outs)
August 01, 1972 PHI (2) @ NYN (3) 17 (+ 4 outs)
June 07, 1972 PIT (1) @ SDN (0) 18
May 17, 1972 TEX (4) @ KCA (3) 18
May 12, 1972 MIL (4) @ MIN (3) 22
September 24, 1971 HOU (2) @ SDN (1) 21
September 14, 1971 WS2 (8) @ CLE (6) 20
July 09, 1971 CAL (0) @ OAK (1) 19 (+ 5 outs)
June 04, 1971 OAK (5) @ WS2 (3) 21
April 22, 1970 NYA (1) @ WS2 (2) 17 (+ 5 outs)
September 06, 1969 MIN (8) @ OAK (6) 18
August 24, 1969 BAL (8) @ OAK (9) 17 (+ 5 outs)
July 27, 1969 BOS (5) @ SE1 (3) 20
July 19, 1969 MIN (11) @ SE1 (7) 18
August 25, 1968 BOS (2) @ BAL (3) 17 (+ 5 outs)
August 23, 1968 DET (3) @ NYA (3) 19
April 15, 1968 NYN (0) @ HOU (1) 23 (+ 4 outs)
September 01, 1967 SFN (1) @ CIN (0) 21
August 29, 1967 BOS (3) @ NYA (4) 19 (+ 4 outs)
August 09, 1967 WS2 (9) @ MIN (7) 20
July 26, 1967 MIN (3) @ NYA (2) 18
June 17, 1967 KC1 (6) @ DET (5) 19
June 12, 1967 CHA (5) @ WS2 (6) 21 (+ 4 outs)
June 04, 1967 WS2 (5) @ BAL (7) 18 (+ 3 outs)
May 21, 1967 CIN (1) @ PHI (2) 17 (+ 5 outs)
April 16, 1967 BOS (6) @ NYA (7) 17 (+ 5 outs)
July 19, 1966 CIN (3) @ CHN (2) 18
October 02, 1965 PHI (0) @ NYN (0) 18
May 31, 1964 SFN (8) @ NYN (6) 23
June 14, 1963 WS2 (2) @ CLE (3) 18 (+ 3 outs)
June 24, 1962 NYA (9) @ DET (7) 22
August 06, 1959 CHA (1) @ BAL (1) 18
July 19, 1955 MLN (3) @ PIT (4) 18 (+ 4 outs)
July 01, 1952 SLA (3) @ CLE (4) 18 (+ 5 outs)
June 20, 1952 WS1 (5) @ SLA (5) 18
September 07, 1951 CHN (6) @ CIN (7) 17 (+ 5 outs)
July 13, 1951 BOS (4) @ CHA (5) 18 (+ 4 outs)
September 15, 1950 CIN (7) @ PHI (8) 18 (+ 3 outs)
June 09, 1949 PIT (3) @ PHI (4) 17 (+ 5 outs)
June 08, 1947 WS1 (1) @ CHA (0) 18
September 11, 1946 CIN (0) @ BRO (0) 19
July 21, 1945 DET (1) @ PHA (1) 24
August 09, 1942 CHN (10) @ CIN (8) 18
July 05, 1940 BRO (6) @ BSN (2) 20
June 27, 1939 BRO (2) @ BSN (2) 23
May 17, 1939 BRO (9) @ CHN (9) 19
July 01, 1934 SLN (8) @ CIN (6) 18
August 21, 1933 NYA (3) @ CHA (3) 18
July 02, 1933 SLN (0) @ NY1 (1) 17 (+ 5 outs)
August 17, 1932 BSN (2) @ CHN (3) 18 (+ 5 outs)
July 10, 1932 PHA (18) @ CLE (17) 18
August 28, 1930 SLN (8) @ CHN (7) 20
May 24, 1929 DET (6) @ CHA (5) 21
September 05, 1927 NYA (11) @ BOS (12) 17 (+ 4 outs)
May 17, 1927 CHN (4) @ BSN (3) 22
May 14, 1927 CHN (7) @ BSN (2) 18
July 07, 1922 NY1 (9) @ PIT (8) 18
August 09, 1921 SLA (8) @ WS1 (6) 19
May 03, 1920 BRO (1) @ BSN (2) 18 (+ 4 outs)
May 01, 1920 BRO (1) @ BSN (1) 26
June 01, 1919 PHI (10) @ BRO (9) 18
April 30, 1919 BRO (9) @ PHI (9) 20
August 04, 1918 WS1 (6) @ DET (7) 17 (+ 4 outs)
August 01, 1918 PIT (2) @ BSN (0) 21
July 17, 1918 PHI (1) @ CHN (2) 20 (+ 3 outs)
June 13, 1918 SLN (8) @ PHI (8) 19
May 24, 1918 CLE (3) @ NYA (2) 19
May 15, 1918 CHA (0) @ WS1 (1) 17 (+ 4 outs)
August 22, 1917 PIT (5) @ BRO (6) 21 (+ 5 outs)
June 28, 1916 PIT (3) @ CHN (2) 18

The 40 Inning “Game”

it’s not even half way thru the season and we’ve already seen a 20 inning game, a 19 inning one, and an 18 inning. It’s rare to see just one game that’s twice as long as regulation in a season, but we’ve already got 3. In fact, the Blue Jays have almost played two of these, ’cause in addition to their 18 inning game yesterday, they also played a 17 inning game just the previous weekend in San Diego.

That, reminded me of something I found a couple years ago when I was searching through some old newspapers about the longest games. Back in 1945, the A’s needed 40 innings to beat the Tigers. Unfortunately, it doesn’t officially count as 1 game, but it really isn’t much different than one, ’cause they needed to play all 40 innings to get a W out of it.

It all began on July 21, 1945, just a few weeks before World War 2 finished, when the A’s and Tigers spent 24 innings trying to get the better of each other. The umpires called the game on account of darkness. Amazingly, that game only took 4 hours & 48 minutes. These days, some regular season games go on longer than that, but at the time, this was the record for elapsed time of game. Seriously, yeah.

Unfortunately that game didn’t count in the standings, since it ended in a tie. I don’t think they did the suspended game thing back then. If the Tigers weren’t leading the AL by just 2 games, they probably never would’ve bothered to try playing it again. But, they were caught up in a pennant race with the Senators and every win or loss, would be important. There were no wild card’s back then, so it wasn’t like the 2nd place team would still get a shot in the playoffs.

So, the Tigers played a makeup game on September 12, after their regularly scheduled game against the A’s—

“The 16-inning nightcap was a playoff of the 24 inning tie game which the two clubs played on July 21, the two fracases taking up a total of 40 innings in order to get one decision into the records.” – 2nd ref

If the league had treated it as a suspended game, the Tigers would’ve won it on Jimmy Outlaw’s single to right that scored Roy Cullenbine from 2nd, in the top of the 31st inning. When the A’s came up in the bottom half, they just smacked 3 fly balls for outs.

But since it was being treated as a new game, the A’s got some extra chances. With 2 outs in the 9th, they’d tie the game on a run scoring double by Hal Peck. Moving the game into extra innings. This is the 2nd time they’ve played this game, and both times it’s going into extra as a 1-1 tie. Who’d of thunk it?

A couple innings later, both teams would each score another run. It wasn’t ’til the bottom of the 16th, that the A’s would win it on a walk-off double by Bobby Estalella.

This “two-for-one game” is obviously fascinating for a lot of reasons, but even though it’s not a single game, I think it should be remembered as one of the longest. After all, it all had to be played in order to get one single victory.

Pitcher-Turned-Law Student On Cheating In Baseball

I’m an avid reader of Slashdot, and there’s a great bit over there this morning about a pitcher-turned-law student who was advised to cheat to succeed. Apparently the coach wanted him to start breaking the rules in order to have an out pitch. He gave up the game, became a student at the St Louis University School of Law, and wrote a paper “that attempted to apply the tenets of legal theorists to the rampant cheating in baseball and other sports”.

I’ve only read part of it so far, and it’s quite interesting. I wanted to point anyone to it who might be interested. It gives us a peak into the “culture of cheating” as some call it, and how it starts creeping into a player’s psyche.

What’s Wrong With The Angels?

I keep waiting for the Angels to start playing baseball. Right now they’re a .386 team, but I really don’t think that’s who they really are.

A quick look at the offense, and you see that 6 of their starting 9, have an OPS+ over 100. Yet, the team as a whole is just league average in BA (.256), & close to league average in OBP (2 points lower) and SLG (6 points lower). Not great, but not so bad that they should be on pace to lose 91 games, which is how many L’s Cool Standings is projecting for them right now.

Look a little deeper though, & we see the Angels are making lots of outs. They have hit into more GDP (47) and SF (24) than anybody else in the American League and only Houston has more SH & CS. In fact, the Angels SB% is just 57.1%.

Despite all those rally killing outs, they’re just 3 R’s below league average, with 289 runs scored.

While the offense is busy giving away outs, the team’s pitchers are also busy giving away outs. They’re intentionally walking more than any other staff in the AL, and only Houston has served more BB’s than the Angels. I know it’s been said before, but how can you win games if your offense is making outs and your pitchers aren’t making any?

Oh, but what about strikeouts? Well, the pitchers are throwing ’em just below league average. They’ve struck out 326, and league average is 332. Not too bad, but, when you’re giving away so many outs, you can’t get away with this. Contrast that with the Royals or Orioles, who have struck out far less batters than the Angels. Compare that to Baltimore, who’s nowhere near the top of the league in IBB’s or BB’s, so they can get away with being below league average in strikeouts.

When a pitching staff lets a good amount of batters reach base, the defense needs to play sharp. That’s not happening in Anaheim. The Angels have the 2nd most errors in the league, behind Chicago by only 1 error. Again, let’s contrast that with the Orioles, who have only 14 errors.

And I’ve gotta say, they’re not stopping anybody from stealing a base. There’s been 42 attempts against them, and 36 have been successful. Let me repeat that in case you think that’s a typo – the Angels are only catching 14% of base stealers. What?!? For a team with a former catcher for their manager, I’m really shocked at that stat. It’s actually even worse than it sounds, ’cause the Angels main catcher, Chris Iannetta, is only catching 9% of attempted steals again him.

The league average, is 25%.

Without even dipping into advanced stats, it’s clear to see the Angels are losing with decent hitters, ’cause the team is giving away outs in every area of their game.