Did You Know?
I've had it sitting on my bedroom floor for a while now, but I finally got around to cracking open The Bill James Handbook 2006 a couple days ago. As always, the book contains a whole slew of interesting tidbits, including the following stuff I stumbled across about the Twins.
The Twins held at least a tie for first place in the AL Central for five days in 2005, which was the second-most days in the division. The White Sox led for 183 days, the Tigers led for three, and both the Indians and Royals led for zero. The last day that the Twins had at least a share of first place was April 17.
For all the talk about the Twins doing horribly in one-run games, they went 27-30 in them. That's just slightly worse than their overall record and why, contrary to what Ron Gardenhire thinks, Luis Castillo won't be worth several billion extra wins just because he's fast and gets on base a lot.
Another common cry is that the team left a massive number of runners on base in 2005. The Twins actually ranked sixth in the league in runners left on base, which is a somewhat disproportionate number considering the team ranked 10th in on-base percentage. Of course, the Red Sox and Yankees left the most runners on base and also scored the most runs.
The Twins won between 12 and 16 games each month, but only had three winning months on the year. Their best month was the first month, April, when they went 15-8. Twenty-four of the team's 83 wins (29 percent) came against Detroit and Kansas City.
Despite scoring the fewest runs in the AL, the Twins ranked third in the league with 49 intentional walks. Despite ranking 10th in the league in on-base percentage, the Twins hit into a league-leading 155 double plays.
Twins pitchers made the second-fewest relief appearances (396) in the league, behind only the Angels (379). In other words, the team had a very strong rotation, the bullpen was excellent, and Gardenhire doesn't like to screw around with relievers who only face one batter.
The Twins made 102 errors in 2005, ranking seventh in the AL. Of those 102 errors, 61 came while fielding and 41 came while throwing.
Thanks to Joe Mauer, Mike Redmond, and the pitching staff, the Twins allowed the fewest stolen bases in the entire league (44) and also led the league by throwing out 45% of the runners who tried to steal a base.
Only 58% of the players in Gardenhire's lineups had a platoon advantage (a left-handed batter versus a right-handed pitcher, for instance) in 2005, which is the lowest total of his already platoon-phobic career. On the other hand, the Twins used 135 different lineups in 2005, which was the second-most in the league behind only the Royals (141).
The Metrodome increased run-scoring by about two percent in 2005, which means the pathetic offense was even worse than it looked. The team didn't have a single hitter among the top 10 in batting average, on-base percentage, slugging percentage, hits, singles, doubles, triples, homers, total bases, runs scored, runs batted in, walks or strikeouts.
Mauer and Jacque Jones tied for fourth in the league with 12 intentional walks, while Lew Ford ranked fifth in the league with 16 hit by pitches.
Against right-handed pitching, Mauer ranked sixth in the league with a .323 batting average and fourth with a .411 on-base percentage. He also ranked eighth among left-handed hitters with an .889 OPS against right-handed pitchers and ranked 10th in the league by taking 60.3% of the pitches he saw.
Against left-handed pitching, Matthew LeCroy ranked eighth in the league with a .404 on-base percentage, fifth with a .621 slugging percentage, and fifth with a 1.025 OPS.
Jones (2.24), Mauer (2.11), and Ford (1.82) all ranked among the league's top 10 for ground ball-to-fly ball ratio, and Castillo's 4.13 led the NL while with the Marlins.
Justin Morneau ranked second in the league with an average homer distance of 405 feet, behind only Travis Hafner (407 feet) and right ahead of David Ortiz (404 feet). He also ranked third in the league with an .868 "batting average plus slugging percentage" against curveballs and fifth among 25-and-under hitters with a homer every 22.3 at-bats
Jones ranked eighth in the league by striking out in 20.5% of his plate appearances, ranked fourth by swinging and missing on 20.2% of the pitches he saw, and ranked third with a 1.017 BPS against changeups.
As you might expect, Johan Santana is all over the AL pitching leaders. The mainstream stats he led the league in are strikeouts (238), strikeout rate (9.3/9), Quality Starts (24), opponent's batting average (.210), opponent's on-base percentage (.250), and opponent's slugging percentage (.346).
Santana ranked second in ERA (2.87), innings (231.2), strikeout-to-walk ratio (5.29), and shutouts (2), and also ranked among the top 10 in wins (16), winning percentage (.696), batters faced (910), complete games (3), and pitches per start (101.1). And those are just the run-of-the-mill stats.
Among more obscure categories, he led the league in on-base percentage against leadoff men (.237) and opponent's BPS on changeups (.345), and ranked third with a .200 batting average against right-handed hitters and a .581 opponent's BPS on fastballs.
Jesse Crain led the league with 12 relief wins and ranked fifth with a .706 winning percentage, while Juan Rincon ranked fourth with 25 holds.
Carlos Silva led the league by throwing 65.2% of his pitches for strikes, by using only 3.06 pitches per batter, by striking out 7.89 batters for every walk, and by inducing 35 double plays. He also led the league with 83.0% of his pitches being fastballs, while Santana ranked fourth with 23.7% of his pitches being changeups.
Joe Nathan led the league with 30 "easy saves" and ranked seventh with 13 "regular saves," but had zero "tough saves." He also led the league with a .158 batting average against left-handed hitters and ranked ninth with 361 pitches of at least 95 miles per hour, which is amazing considering he's a reliever who threw a total of only 1,147 pitches.
All this and a whole lot more in The Bill James Handbook 2006.
Today at The Hardball Times:
- Sacrificing in 2005 Redux (by Dan Fox)
- Daily Graphing: C.C. Sabathia (by David Appelman)
Pick of the Day (160-142, +$1,565):
Texas +7.5 (-110) over USC