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Random recap for Wednesday: Stanton a HR champ at 21?

Posted by John Autin on August 18, 2011

-- Mike Stanton homered for the 4th straight game and is 2nd in the NL with 29 HRs, one behind Albert Pujols. The youngest modern player to lead either league in home runs was Tony Conigliaro in 1965, with 32 HRs at age 20. Eddie Mathews (21) was the youngest NL HR champ in the live-ball era, with 47 HRs in 1953; Stanton is about a month younger than Mathews was that year.

  • With 51 career HRs, Stanton is 13th on the list of most HRs through age 21 (see table below); he needs 3 more to crack the top 10. He's the 7th player with 50+ HRs within his first 2 seasons through age 21.
  • I've never heard this mentioned on TV: Stanton's defensive metrics are also excellent. He leads the NL with 1.7 defensive Wins Above Replacement this year, and was 10th with 1.4 dWAR last year; for more traditional stats, he's among the leaders in both range factor and assists. The two-way combination makes him 10th in NL position-player WAR.
  • Ricky Nolasco allowed 11 runs on 11 hits in 3 innings, the most runs he's ever allowed and the most by any pitcher this year in a start of 3 IP or less. The outing added more than half a run to his ERA.
  • Nolasco has allowed 3 runs or less in 18 of 26 games this year, but this was his 4th "disaster start" (more runs than IP). Prior disasters were 9 runs in 1.1 IP, 9 runs in 3 IP, and 8 runs (on 15 hits) in 5 IP. He's the only pitcher this year with 4 games of 8+ runs allowed or 3 games of 9+ runs.

-- Johnny Cueto (1 run in 8 IP) qualified for the ERA title and trimmed his ERA to 1.89. That would be a Reds franchise record for the live-ball era; Dolf Luque (1.93 in 1923) and Gary Nolan (1.99 in '72) are the only Reds to post a sub-2 ERA since 1920.

-- On paper, Bruce Chen vs. the Yankees was a fight that should have been stopped before the posters were printed. Chen's career record against the Bombers was 1-5 with a 6.71 ERA, with a 1.73 WHIP and 19 HRs in 63 IP. Current Yanks had a combined .333 BA and 1.002 OPS against him; Mark Teixeira was 9 for 16 with 6 HRs and 2 doubles, Derek Jeter was 14-35 with 3 HRs.

  • "And that's why they play the games":  Chen did allow 2 HRs (HRs:Chen :: spots:leopard), but both were solo shots, and he allowed just 1 other run in helping the Royals scrape out a 5-4 win. Teixeira went 0-3 with 2 popups against Chen, and 0-4 with a walk overall; the Yanks went 1-10 with RISP.
  • Trailing by 2 in the 7th, New York put the tying runs on with no out, but KC rookie Louis Coleman struck out Teixeira, Robinson Cano and Nick Swisher in succession. Coleman (1.64 ERA, 29 hits in 49 IP) was followed by Greg Holland (1.61 ERA, 0.94 WHIP in 45 IP), who tossed a perfect 8th. Joakim Soria ended a rocky 9th by fanning Jorge Posada on 3 called strikes.
  • Curtis Granderson extended his AL leads in Runs, RBI and extra-base hits, going 4-2-3-1 with a double and his 34th HR.

-- Belated note: The pinch-hit grand slam by Brian Bogusevic that gave Houston a 6-5 win Tuesday earned him a 0.815 Win Probability Added. That's the 12th-highest batter WPA this year, and the highest in over a year for any hitter with just 1 PA. It was the 2nd HR in the young career of this converted pitcher, and the first of his 23 hits that gave his team a lead.

Most HRs through seasonal age 21:

1 Mel Ott 86 1926 1930 17-21 539 2060 1724 359 570 106 14 370 282 0 127 10 44 0 0 21 0 .331 .428 .558 .986 *9/7845 NYG
2 Tony Conigliaro 84 1964 1966 19-21 399 1658 1483 228 405 68 14 227 138 15 306 15 12 10 26 6 8 .273 .339 .508 .847 *9/78 BOS
3 Eddie Mathews 72 1952 1953 20-21 302 1274 1107 190 303 54 13 193 158 0 198 3 6 0 15 7 7 .274 .366 .541 .907 *5 BSN-MLN
4 Frank Robinson 67 1956 1957 20-21 302 1345 1183 219 363 56 11 158 108 12 187 32 13 9 27 18 6 .307 .378 .543 .920 *7/83 CIN
5 Alex Rodriguez 64 1994 1997 18-21 352 1523 1384 260 435 100 6 228 109 2 265 9 12 9 29 51 12 .314 .366 .534 .900 *6/D SEA
6 Ken Griffey 60 1989 1991 19-21 436 1805 1600 228 478 93 8 241 178 41 246 5 5 17 26 50 24 .299 .367 .479 .847 *8/D SEA
7 Al Kaline 59 1953 1956 18-21 473 1939 1737 268 540 74 21 275 175 16 162 7 8 12 45 23 14 .311 .374 .480 .853 *9/87 DET
8 Mickey Mantle 57 1951 1953 19-21 365 1552 1351 260 398 72 15 244 197 0 275 0 4 0 10 20 12 .295 .384 .497 .881 *89/675 NYY
9 Bob Horner 56 1978 1979 20-21 210 874 810 116 239 32 2 161 46 8 116 5 1 12 16 0 2 .295 .332 .547 .879 *5/3 ATL
10 Andruw Jones 54 1996 1998 19-21 343 1211 1087 160 273 58 10 173 103 10 265 8 6 7 22 50 15 .251 .319 .472 .791 *89/7 ATL
11 Ted Williams 54 1939 1940 20-21 293 1338 1126 265 378 87 25 258 203 0 118 5 4 0 23 6 5 .336 .439 .601 1.041 *97/1 BOS
12 Orlando Cepeda 52 1958 1959 20-21 299 1291 1208 180 380 73 8 201 62 17 184 8 0 13 28 38 20 .315 .349 .517 .866 *3/75 SFG
13 Mike Stanton 50 2010 2011 20-21 216 871 771 109 200 41 6 133 86 10 256 8 0 6 18 9 7 .259 .338 .523 .860 *9/8D FLA
14 Jimmie Foxx 49 1925 1929 17-21 364 1301 1088 241 372 61 25 222 178 0 131 4 31 0 0 15 17 .342 .436 .579 1.015 *3/529 PHA
15 Ruben Sierra 46 1986 1987 20-21 271 1107 1025 147 270 48 14 164 61 7 179 3 1 17 26 23 19 .263 .302 .472 .774 *9/78D TEX
16 Miguel Cabrera 45 2003 2004 20-21 247 1031 917 140 261 52 4 174 93 8 232 8 4 9 32 5 4 .285 .352 .497 .850 79/5D FLA
17 Justin Upton 43 2007 2009 19-21 289 1157 1022 153 278 57 16 139 120 13 295 7 1 7 16 23 9 .272 .350 .485 .836 *9/D ARI
18 Adrian Beltre 42 1998 2000 19-21 367 1403 1243 173 338 66 7 174 131 14 222 11 9 9 21 33 13 .272 .344 .438 .782 *5/6 LAD
19 Johnny Bench 42 1967 1969 19-21 328 1292 1182 157 325 66 4 178 85 15 201 6 3 16 25 7 12 .275 .323 .444 .767 *2 CIN
20 Vada Pinson 41 1958 1960 19-21 335 1522 1396 258 418 91 21 153 113 6 212 7 5 1 21 55 19 .299 .355 .483 .837 *8/97 CIN
21 Boog Powell 40 1961 1963 19-21 268 1002 904 111 228 35 4 136 87 13 168 2 3 6 26 2 3 .252 .317 .433 .750 *7/39 BAL
22 Hank Aaron 40 1954 1955 20-21 275 1174 1070 163 320 64 15 175 77 5 100 6 13 8 33 5 3 .299 .347 .499 .846 79/4 MLN
23 Cesar Cedeno 39 1970 1972 19-21 390 1651 1525 234 450 100 18 205 96 12 221 10 7 13 28 92 34 .295 .338 .461 .799 *8/973 HOU
24 Jose Canseco 38 1985 1986 20-21 186 782 696 101 173 32 1 130 69 1 206 8 0 9 13 16 8 .249 .320 .461 .781 *7/98D OAK
25 Ed Kranepool 38 1962 1966 17-21 507 1848 1688 164 417 71 12 169 130 18 238 7 5 18 37 6 8 .247 .301 .371 .671 *3/978 NYM
Provided by View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 8/18/2011.

78 Responses to “Random recap for Wednesday: Stanton a HR champ at 21?”

  1. Johnny Twisto Says:

    Billy Butler(?) hit a HR vs the Yankees which wasn't a HR, and the umpires reviewed it and left it a HR. That's the game right there. Where is Cabriael when I need him?

    Jason Vargas leads the majors with 8 "disaster starts" this season. Pedro Astacio '98 and Eric Milton '05 both had 13, most since 1993. Most since 1919 is Pat Caraway '31 with 16. Most in a career (since 1919) Early Winn and Tommy John both had 111. John is surprising, considering his era (of course he did have a long career). Most career wins in disaster starts (since 1919): 5, by Red Faber, Jack Morris, Herb Pennock, and Earl Whitehill.

  2. Kahuna Tuna Says:

    John, one follow-up note to Bogusevic's four-ply walk-off piece against the Cubs. The Astros have now hit eight game-ending grand slams in their 49.8 seasons. Four of these have come against the Cubs. The other three: 6/11/63, Bob Aspromonte off Lindy McDaniel with no outs in the bottom of the 10th to win the game 6-2; 8/26/66, Aspromonte again, off Cal Koonce with one out in the bottom of the ninth to win the game 7-4; and 8/20/89, Kevin Bass off Mitch Williams with one out in the bottom of the ninth to win the game 8-4.

  3. Kahuna Tuna Says:

    Most career wins in disaster starts since 1919: 5, by Red Faber, Jack Morris, Herb Pennock, and Earl Whitehill.

    Morris had two disaster-start wins in 14 seasons with Detroit, then had two in his first season with Toronto (1992) and one more with Cleveland in his final season (1994).

  4. Timmy P Says:

    The Texas Rangers have won 6 straight and have put California in bad shape. Mike Young is hot and getting ready to pass Gonzales for the AL batting title and hits lead. He had 3 more hits tonight. I like the Rangers to beat the Yankees again in post season this year. The Rangers are a better all-around team and I like their left-handed pitching.

  5. RobMer Says:

    @1, Johnny Twisto Says: Billy Butler(?) hit a HR vs the Yankees which wasn't a HR, and the umpires reviewed it and left it a HR. That's the game right there.

    What's odd is in June that same player, Billy Butler, was credited with a HR that was hit to virtually the exact same spot (that time against the Angels, if I remember correctly) and was initially and correctly ruled a double. The umpires then reversed that call and incorrectly credited him with a HR for a ball that never cleared the wall. Tonight they incorrectly called it a HR right from the start. The one in June was a walk-off, while tonight's was the difference in the game. Two damaging mistakes by the umpires. So while Butler's record shows he has fifteen HRs and twenty-eight doubles, he really should have thirteen HRs and thirty doubles.

    What's crazy is the umpires don't seem to understand the ground rules of a MLB ballpark. Even when they reviewed tonight's HR, with replays clearly showing the ball never cleared the fence, they still for some strange reason ruled it a HR. Apparently the umpires were seen in the OF an hour after the game with Steve Palemero, Major League Baseball’s supervisor of umpires, no doubt discussing the HR. I guess it was a coincidence that Palemero was in town. I sure hope they don't fly him in to every ballpark when umpires blow calls. He'd be in the air all day!

  6. Kahuna Tuna Says:

    Box score for Billy Butler's 6/1/11 game-ending home run against the Angels.

  7. Voomo Zanzibar Says:

    oh well everybody knows that Morris knew how to pitch to the score.

  8. Chuck Says:

    "Even when they reviewed tonight's HR, with replays clearly showing the ball never cleared the fence, they still for some strange reason ruled it a HR."

    But it did clear the yellow line.

    The railing the ball hit is part of the stands, not the fence, thus the call was correct.

  9. Timothy P. Says:

    @7 Voomo, are you saying that Jack Morris pitched the same way down a run as he did up by 5? How come Charlie Hough is not ever considered for the HoF, he had a better ERA than Morris? Because Charlie Hough was not that good and Morris get's his HoF ticket punched this year.
    Jack Morris and Charlie Hough both have just over 3800 IP
    Morris ERA 3.90 Hough 3.75
    Morris W 254 L 186
    Hough W 216 L 216
    Despite what SABRmeters say, over the course of a career wins are still an excellent measuring stick.

  10. Evan Says:


    That "yellow line" was the border of an advertisement (for Sprint I believe) on an electronic board, not a permanent part of the stadium wall. It isn't intended to affect the ground rules of the the stadium.

    The design of the wall is rather odd. Above the standard wall there is a small fence with a bar across it that is set back about 8-10 inches, creating a shelf of sorts that according to the game broadcasters and the hosts on MLB Network's recap shows is considered in play. It is a strange design. There is another blue railing a foot or more behind this that is part of the stands and is out of play.

    According to the NY Times article Girardi did not file a protest after the play "because he said he had faith that DeMuth knew the rules." The umpires apparently told him that the ball didn't have to clear the second portion of the fence, not that they didn't see clear evidence on the replay that the ball didn't clear that second fence. Because this would have been a protest over the interpretation of the rules, it resulted in a run that would not have scored based upon the subsequent results of the inning and the game was decided by one run, it is the type of protest that would have a decent chance at succeeding.

  11. stan cook Says:

    #2. I actually saw the Aspromonte home run on 6/11/63 in person. Can it be 48 years?

  12. Evil Squirrel Says:

    They were showing the 9th inning of the game on MLB Network last night, and the interesting thing is that if Butler's phantom HR had been correctly taken away, the Royals probably still would have won 4-3, because they essentially conceded the run that the Yankees wound up scoring in the 9th inning. Jeter scored on a sac fly to shallow left in which the left fielder probably would have had a play on him had he backed up on the ball and then threw home. Instead, he played it straight up and made the throw to third base. There was a passed ball in the next at bat, but not one that would have necessarily scored that run from third....

    BTW, I hate the "yellow line myth" that baseball fans seemed to have picked up over the years. Chuck's far from the only one who saw the yellow line on the electronic advertisement and assumed it was a part of the wall.... most ground rules require the ball to clear the wall to be a HR... even in those parks in which yellow lines exist atop the fence. In essence, in most cases, that line is as meaningless as the excessive advertising imprinted into the padding. This came into play when the umpires incorrectly gave Albert Pujols a HR on a ball that bounced off the top of the yellow line, but did not clear the wall about a month ago....

  13. Kahuna Tuna Says:

    I actually saw the Aspromonte home run on 6/11/63 in person. Can it be 48 years?

    Stan, I've investigated this, and I'm afraid that yes, it can. Part of the reason I reached this conclusion is that it is now 39 years since I attended my first big-league game.

    Hang in there, old-timer. (-;þ

  14. stan cook Says:

    I once did a piece on the 63 Colt 45s. It was entitled "Hey Mr Bateman, I want to be a Bateman too" for those of you old enough to remember 50s rock and roll. I believe Bateman led the team with 10 home runs and 59 RBIs

  15. Neil L. Says:

    @3 @7
    Kahuna and Voomo, thanks for the references to Jack Morris. Kahuna, your stat regarding disaster-outing wins for him made me look up his 1992 pitching line.

    What screamed at me from the page was a W-L record of 21-6 with an ERA of 4.04 and ERA+ of 102! Wow! How do you manage stats like that?

    Perhaps that season alone was enough to cement Morris's reputation as someone who would bend but not break on the mound.

    I know the 1992 Blue Jays were an offensive juggernaut, but still ..... Well, maybe Jo-Jo Reyes would have been 21-6 with that lineup behind him

    Jack Morris got enough CYA votes that year to finish fifth, despite the ERA+

    Man, interesting ........

  16. John Autin Says:

    I haven't seen the video of Butler's "HR," so I'll take the majority's word that the call was blown.

    I think the ground rules in some parks that require umpires to determine whether a ball struck a wall above or below a painted line, are one of the dumbest aspects of the game today. Who came up with this idea, and why?

    Here's a novel idea: Ball over fence = home run. Ball off wall = in play.

    Just build the dang fence at the height and distance you think provides the desired number of HRs, and then live with it.

  17. Lawrence Azrin Says:

    @14/ Stan Cook Says: "I once did a piece on the 63 Colt 45s. It was entitled "Hey Mr Bateman, I want to be a Bateman too" for those of you old enough to remember 50s rock and roll..."

    Actually, it was 1963: Johnny Cymbal "Mr. Bass Man" {#16 Billboard}

    What do I win?

  18. John Autin Says:

    Re: wins in "disaster starts" -- Since the threshold is Runs > IP, the number of wins in such starts will be greatly affected by the overall offensive context.

    I'm not saying that it played a role for any of the guys noted above.

  19. tim Says:

    On paper this year, Bruce Chen has pitched well, so it wasn't that surprising that he won last nght.

  20. tim Says:

    I agree that all of the stadiums should be retrofitted so that if a ball ends up in the stands, it's a homer, and if if bounces back onto the field, without assistance from a fan, it's still in play. Shouldn't need to have to check a replay to see if it was above a line. Simplify things.
    I also think the ground rule double should be a ground rule triple, to eliminate those rare cases where a fielder will deliberatelty let a ball bounce into the stands when he could have stopped it.

  21. Kahuna Tuna Says:

    Your piece probably covered the results of a PI search I just did, Stan. The '63 Colt .45s were the team since 1900 that had the most teenagers (nine) appear in at least one game: Dave Adlesh, Brock Davis, Jay Dahl✝, Sonny Jackson, Joe Morgan, John Paciorek, Rusty Staub, Glenn Vaughan, and Chris Zachary.

    Teams averaging the fewest runs per game, 1901-1963:

    1908 Cardinals: 2.41
    1908 Superbas (Dodgers): 2.45
    1909 Senators: 2.50
    1942 Phillies: 2.61
    1906 Beaneaters (Braves): 2.70
    1907 Cardinals: 2.74
    1909 Doves (Braves): 2.84
    1918 Robins (Dodgers): 2.86
    1963 Colt .45s: 2.86
    1904 Senators: 2.89

    The 1968 White Sox would average a few thousandths of a run per game less than the 1963 Colt .45s, the expansion 1969 Padres a few thousandths more. Thank goodness for that career year (2.5 oWAR) from Al Spangler!

    a piece on the 63 Colt 45s — the pun police are not gonna be happy about this.

  22. John Autin Says:

    @19, Tim -- I'll agree that it's not really so surprising that Chen won against the Yankees. But I can't agree that Chen's 95 ERA+ constitutes pitching well. It's exactly the same as his career mark, and if Chen isn't the epitome of "journeyman," then I've never seen one. His HR rate is fairly high (as always), his K/BB ratio is less than 2. He has 9 quality starts in 17 games.

    Anyway, my point was more specifically about how Teixeira and Jeter have destroyed him in the past. Teix once homered in 4 straight PAs against Chen, spread over 3 games.

  23. Neil L. Says:

    JA and others, the disaster start and disaster win "statistic" kind of caught my attention. I hadn't realized Ricky Nolasco was such a Jekyll and Hyde performer until the blog.

    Disaster start is kind of the dark side equivalent of quality start. Hey, that suggests another statistical split, disaster-starts vs. other starts. 🙂

  24. Anon Says:

    @9, Timothy P - Hough is a bad choice for any sort of starter comparisons because Hough was a reliever for the 1st half of his career. He never made a start until he was 29 and didn't become a full-time starter until he was 34.

    However, looking at Hough after 1982 when he became a full-time starter he was 163-167 which doesn't sound good but he was trapped on some bad Rangers teams of the 80's and then finished with 2 horrible Marlins teams in 1993-94. Morris meanwhile was on winning teams pretty much his whole career. The only 3 losing teams he aplyed on were 77, 89 & 90 (although the 89 team was awful).

    Here are some numbers:

    - Hough from 82-94 when he became a starter - 163-167, .494 Win%. His teams were 958-1098, .466 Win%. Remove Hough's numbers from the team numbers and they were 795-931, .461. Ugh, that's brutal. (BTW, add in his reliever numbers with the Dodgers in the 70's and you see his record was better when he played for a better team.)
    - Morris - 254-186, .577. That's pretty good. His teams: 1515-1297, .539. Remove Morris' numbers and it's 1261-1111, .532.

    There are a number of ways to look at those numbers but the simplest is that Morris played on 87 win teams his whole career and Hough played on 75 win teams. One would EXPECT their records to be about what they are given their teammates.

  25. Lawrence Azrin Says:

    @21/ Kahuna Tuna Says: "...a piece on the 63 Colt 45s — the pun police are not gonna be happy about this."

    Well, Stan gave it his best shot. Looks like he hit a bull's-eye.

  26. Kahuna Tuna Says:

    Here's a novel idea: Ball over fence = home run. Ball off wall = in play. Just build the dang fence at the height and distance you think provides the desired number of HRs, and then live with it.

    Hear, hear! You want new parks with "quirky" features (asymmetrical power alleys, walls of differing heights, room for advertising panels, fan viewing areas, etc., etc.), okay, build 'em in. It's your money, and you can set things up exactly the way you want. And I know it's hard to keep home runs from ricocheting back onto the field after they hit a hard surface. But don't force the umpires to conduct a Nippy Jones investigation every time there's doubt about whether a deep outfield fly hit the proper wall to qualify as a home run!

  27. Neil L. Says:

    Evan, Evil, Chuck and JA, isn't there the same problem, in principle, with shallow "home runs" hit at Fenway Park off a right field railing at the Pesky pole?

    And, of course, that happened at least once this year but video replay helped the umps get it right.

    I guess the decision against the Yankees was still the human element of the game prevailing, despite the technology.

  28. stan cook Says:

    Pun unintended. Not smart enough.

  29. Neil L. Says:

    I think you have that right, Kahuna. The cookie-cutter, turf, stadiums like the 1970's Pirates, Phillies, and Reds probably made iffy home runs easier to call.

  30. Joe Garrison Says:

    Poor Bob Horner... perhaps the only player to play as long as he did without having logged a complete season.

  31. nightfly Says:

    @28 - that's ok Stan, keeping firing away and you'll hit the idea.

    Re "disaster wins" - Ivan Nova just did this on Tuesday, with the win against the Royals despite allowing all 7 runs in 5.1 IP.

  32. John Autin Says:

    @30, Joe -- My favorite Bob Horner line is from Whitey Herzog, by way of the Bill James Historical Baseball Abstract:
    Just before the opening game of the 1988 season, Herzog found Horner sitting in the dugout, "in a deep trance," skipping infield drills. Herzog asked why he wasn't on the field. "He looks up at me, blinks like an old frog on a lily pad and says, 'I'm tired.' A hundred and sixty-two games left to play and the man is gassed!"

  33. Timothy P. Says:

    @24 Anon. I don't think you can explain away Morris' success as just being on good teams, and Hough being very average because he was on poor teams. Fergie Jenkins was on some of those bad Texas teams, and some very average Cubs teams and he still managed to find a way to win (he was a great pitcher of course). Why didn't Hough win more with his decent career ERA?

  34. John Autin Says:

    I'm definitely staying out of the whole "Jack Morris just knew how to win" mudpile.

    One tangible difference between Hough and Morris is in their unearned runs. In almost the same number of innings, Hough allowed 42% more unearned runs (225, 158). That's 0.16 runs per 9 IP.

    It's not necessary to apportion the blame for those unearned runs among Hough and his fielders. The point is, there were more runs allowed in Hough's innings than is suggested by an ERA or ERA+ comparison between him and Morris, and that probably explains part of the difference in their records.

  35. RobMer Says:

    @8, Chuck Says: "But it did clear the yellow line. The railing the ball hit is part of the stands, not the fence, thus the call was correct."

    As noted elsewhere, there is no yellow line that determines HRs. The yellow is the border that frames the electronic advertisement. The official rule is the ball has to clear that second, higher fence. That's why the umpires and Steve Palermo, MLB's supervisor of umpires, were out in the OF after the game. Reports say Palermo was quite agitated, no doubt because he knows his umpires blew a call not because of judgment, or because they couldn't see where the ball landed, but because they didn't know the ballpark rule. That's probably the worst thing for an umpire. They even had the benefit of the replay, which clearly shows the ball didn't leave, yet they still got it wrong because they didn't know the ballpark ground rules. That's the most basic part of umpiring. Worse, that wall is already known to be a bit confusing, which should made it a priority for any umpiring crew to understand the proper rule.

    Anyway, I didn't see the game. I just heard about it after the fact and then watched the replay on Here's the link. The first replay has the Yankee announcers and the second replay has the Royals announcers, who know the park and rules and they knew it was not a HR right from the start. Somehow the umpires didn't.

  36. MagicTony Says:

    I have a question about WPA, especially in regards to Bogusevic's grand slam. By it's very nature, shouldn't a game winning granny, with your team down three, be, at worst tied for forst in Win Probability Added? That hit WON the game for the Astros, pure and simple. How can it be 12th? Or am I just being too literal with the name of the stat?

  37. Neil L. Says:

    Tony, I should be an expert on WPA by now, so I'll take a quick stab.

    How many outs were there when he hit it? WPA is affected by outs. If there were two outs, then the WPA is slightly higher.

    That being said, there is only a certain amount WPA can be increased for your team, even by a dramatic event like a grand slam at the end of the game when you are three runs down.

    All of the WPA's of hitters and pitchers for that team must add up to 0.500 since that is the random chance of winning at the start of the game. (Assuming you are not the Black Sox) 🙂

  38. Neil L. Says:

    @36 @37
    Tony, further to #37, I've been told, by more experienced posters than myself, that WPA may be slightly influenced, from year to year, by the run-scoring environment of that season.

    I don't know how important the effect is, but in the year of the juiced ball, it might be slightly more likely that Brian Bogusevic would do what he did.

  39. John Autin Says:

    @36/37 -- A batter's WPA for a game is the total of the WPA for each PA. Since Bogusevic only had 1 PA, the .815 he earned there is his game total, and it is the highest 1-PA total this year.

    But players with more than 1 PA can rack up more WPA. Say you get a go-ahead hit in the 7th, your team loses the lead, and you get a game-winning hit in the 9th -- each of those hits has large WPA, and collectively may be over 1.

  40. John Autin Says:

    @38, Neil -- Indeed, WPA is affected by the offensive context. I was looking at 2 events from the last 2 seasons, each starting with 1 out in the bottom of the 9th, a 3-run deficit and the bases loaded, and each plating 4 runs for a walk-off win. Last year's event earned 0.805 WPA, but Bogusevic's earned 0.815, due to this year's tougher run environment.

  41. Neil L. Says:

    Thanks, JA. By the way when are you going to become a radio "star" by posting a controversial blog? 🙂

  42. statboy Says:

    @20, Have you actually seen a fielder let a ball bounce into the stands when he could have stopped it?? I would think anyone that did that could have caught the ball on the fly.

  43. Anon Says:

    @33, Timothy P - well. . . . .actually you can say it was largely because he was on good teams. As to Jenkins:
    - 1st and most importantly, Jenkins was a much better pitcher than either Morris or Hough - 115 ERA+ vs. 107 for Morris & 105 for Hough (& Hough's is a little misleading because he logged so many innings as a reliever. I don't have the tools to calculate it just as a starter but I would bet it's lower than his overall - a lot of very average seasons there at the end of his career.)
    - secondly, Jenkins' teams weren't nearly as bad as you remember. The Cubs were actually OK when he was there in the late 60's/early 70's winning at least 83 every year from 67-72, the Rangers weren't that bad going over .500 4 of his 6 years there and the Red Sox won 97 with Jenkins as their ace in 1977. The Cubs weren't good his last 2 years there but, well . . . . . let's go to the numbers: throw out 1965 when Jenkins pitched 12 innings (and went 2-1) and Jenkins was 282-225, .556. His teams were 1441-1405, .506. Remove Jenkins' numbers and they were 1159-1180, .496. Nowhere near as bad as Hough's teams and significantly behind Morris' teams.

    So IOW Morris pitched for 87 win teams, Hough for 75 win teams and Jenkins for 82 win teams.

  44. nightfly Says:

    @33, 34 - I'm guessing the knuckleball caused a lot of PB and WP... and looking it up, I see I'm correct. To take the most extreme example, 1987, Hough tossed 12 WP, had 16 men reach on errors (no way of knowing how many times errors advanced other runners), and his 'catchers' allowed an insane 65 passed balls for him. (It's under "advanced pitching stats," scroll down to "baserunning and situational stats.") So, that's 39 unearned runs, or nearly 1 per start (he took the mound 40 times that season).

  45. John Autin Says:

    @44, Nightfly -- PB would affect Hough's UER, but WP are irrelevant to tha ER/UER distinction.

  46. Timothy P. Says:

    @34 JA One tangible difference between Hough and Morris is in their unearned runs. In almost the same number of innings, Hough allowed 42% more unearned runs (225, 158). That's 0.16 runs per 9 IP. And that would roughly make up for Hough having a .15 ERA advantage. Without looking I seem to remember Morris having lots of WP and giving up more unearned than the average pitcher.

  47. MagicTony Says:

    Neil and John, thanks for the answers, I think I get what you're saying. In this case, Bogusevic's WPA is not the full max (whatever that number may be), because some of the WPA has to go to the guys getting on base ahead of him (and the previous runs as well). He can't hit the granny without the baserunners. I think it was the walk-off aspect that threw me for a loop.

  48. Timothy P. Says:

    @43 Well where are those other 250 game winners that started for the Tigers during those years? If just being on a good team was all it took for Morris, then surely you can point out the other pitchers on the Tigers staff that only won because of the offensive juggernaut that was the Detroit Tigers of that era? I never said the Cubs teams that Jenkins pitched on were bad, my words some very average Cubs teams Look at Fergies record compared to his ERA and his average and below average years in W/L% almost always coincide with him having a high ERA. Fergie was awesome, you're right about that. Great hitter also!

  49. Timothy P. Says:

    Mike Young 85 RBI with only 10 HR. Might win the batting title this year and have the most hits in MLB. Plus he's doing if for a team that might go to the WS. He's one of the most unusual players in the game having played all infield positions, and thriving as a DH that doesn't hit HRs.

  50. John Autin Says:

    @47, MagicTony -- Actually, Bogusevic's WPA for that at-bat has nothing to do with any WPA earned by the baserunners who got on ahead of him.

    Trying to clarify my point @39 ... His WPA was 0.815, which is HUGE for one time at bat. But other batters have earned more WPA in a game, because they had more than one PA in the game.

    WPA simply measures the change in the team's probability of winning the game, from before an event to after the event. Each time a player bats, he has some impact on the probable outcome, and earned a WPA number for each of them; his game WPA is the sum of those individual numbers.

    If the ebb and flow of a game give him multiple chances to have a large impact, and he comes through more than once, he can accumulate a WPA much greater than 1. For example, the famous Art Shamsky game:

    Shamsky had 3 huge hits in this game: a pinch-hit 2-run HR in the bottom of the 8th for a 1-run lead (WPA value 0.54); a game-tying solo HR in the bottom of the 9th (0.47 WPA); and a 2-out, 2-run, game-tying HR in the bottom of the 11th (0.49); total WPA for the game = 1.503 (which happens to be the record since 1950).

  51. John Autin Says:

    @49, Timmy -- Kinda like Molitor, but without the speed & walks.

  52. John Autin Says:

    By the way, for WPA purposes, if there are 2 outs in the bottom of the 9th, there's virtually no difference between a walk-off grand slam when trailing by 3 runs and a walk-off 2-run HR with a man on 1st when behind by 1 run.

    In both cases, the tying run is on 1st base; the batter's team will lose if the batter makes an out; they'll win if he hits a HR; they'll be tied if he drives in the man from 1st base; and every other possible outcome of his PA has the same game impact in either situation.

    The only tiny difference in the WPA would be that in the bases-loaded situation, there's a force at any base, so the team's chance of winning at that moment (before the PA in question) would be marginally lower than in the other situation with just a man on 1st.

  53. Doug Says:

    @34, JA

    Re: high unearned runs for Hough

    Are runs earned or unearned if they score (directly or indirectly) due to advancement on passed balls?

    Leaving that question aside, balls in the dirt probably also correlate with increased error frequency related to catchers rushing throws on runners attempting to advance.

  54. Timothy P. Says:

    @51 Molitor was rare indeed! Not just in his skill set, but in his post 35th birthday productivity. 225 hits at age 39! If Micheal Young has similar productivity I predict a BRef HoF debate/war.

  55. Timothy P. Says:

    Also Michael Young has good speed, and is a good base runner, but you're right, he is not a base stealing threat. Without looking I would say Molitor had below average walks, but certainly more than Young.

  56. Anon Says:

    The only 2 pitchers who overlap significantly with Morris in Detroit are Dan Petry and Milt Wilcox. Neither was: a) quite as good as Morris (although close) or b) nearly as durable as Morris. Nobody said Morris wasn't durable (or good for that matter).

    Morris went 198-150, .569, 108 ERA+ with the Tigers from 1977-1990
    Petry went 117-90, .565, 105 ERA+ (approx) with the Tigers from 1979-1987, 1990 (I omitted 1991 since Morris had left already)
    Wilcox went 97-75, .564, 103 ERA+ with the Tigers from 1977-1985

    2 other guys with slight overlap with Morris were Walt Terrell & Frank Tanana neither of whom was as good with the Tigers as Petry, Wilcox or Morris:

    Terrell went 54-48, .529, 96 ERA+ (approx) from 1985-1988 (& finished there in 1991-92 after Morris had left)
    Tanana went 70-59, .543, 99 ERA+ (approx) from 1985-1990 (also there until 1992)

    Seems to me their respective win percentages are pretty consistent with: a) a very good offense & defense and b) their pitching ability. Morris won no more or less than they did.

  57. Kahuna Tuna Says:

    Stan L., #15, re Jack Morris, 1992: What screamed at me from the page was a W-L record of 21-6 with an ERA of 4.04 and ERA+ of 102! Wow! How do you manage stats like that?

    I thought this might be an interesting topic to investigate. I got a list of the twenty 20-game winners since 1930 with ERA+s of 104 or less, then looked at three additional factors: how many runs per game his team scored versus league R/G, his OPS against versus league OPS against, and percentage of ER allowed versus R allowed. I figured the truly fluky 20-game winners would have high run support relative to league, have a higher OPS against than league, and have their ERAs "inflated" from allowing a relatively small number of unearned runs (nod to John's #34).

    Using these criteria, five pitchers had truly fluky 20-win seasons (they received above-average support, had worse-than-average OPS against, and had their ERAs "inflated" by low UER numbers): Denny McLain,1966 Tigers (90 ERA+); Earl Wilson, 1967 Tigers (100 ERA+); Jim Merritt, 1970 Reds (103 ERA+); and Stan Bahnsen, 1972 White Sox (88 ERA+; thank you, Dick Allen!).

    In addition, four pitchers got above-average run support, had below-average OPS against, but allowed around the expected number of unearned runs: Ray Kremer, 1930 Pirates (99 ERA+; his OPS against is inferred); Billy Hoeft, 1956 Tigers (102 ERA+); Ray Sadecki, 1964 Cardinals (104 ERA+); Steve Carlton, 1971 Cardinals (102 ERA+); and Paul Splittorff, 1973 Royals (102 ERA+).

    These nine pitchers, in my opinion, had the "flukiest" 20-win seasons since 1930.

    Seven pitchers received above-average run support but also registered an OPS against better than league. Call these pitchers the "better than their numbers" guys. Two of them did not have their ERAs "inflated" by low UER numbers: Johnny Sain, 1950 Braves (98 ERA+), and Chris Short, 1966 Phillies (101 ERA+). The five other pitchers did allow fewer unearned runs than might have been expected: Lew Burdette, 1959 Braves (87 ERA+); Warren Spahn, 1960 Braves (98 ERA+); Bill Monbouquette, 1963 Red Sox (99 ERA+); Sammy Ellis, 1965 Reds (99 ERA+); and our man Jack Morris, 1992 Blue Jays (102 ERA+).

    Ellis in 1965 and Morris in 1992 performed the best of all these pitchers in terms of OPS against relative to league (7.4% and 6.4% better than league average, respectively). Ellis received by far the best run support of any pitcher on my list — the '65 Reds averaged 5.09 R/G versus a league average of 4.03 R/G, 26.3% better than league. Morris's Blue Jays were 11.3% better than league in R/G. The 37-year-old Morris's 1992 run-support and OPS-against numbers are very similar to those of 39-year-old Warren Spahn in 1960. Spahn had four "disaster starts" in 1960, losing three and getting a no-decision in the other. Besides the two "disaster-start" wins, Morris had two other "disaster starts" in 1992, and the Jays won one of those.

    (Regarding the other four pitchers on the list, there's no OPS-against data for Lefty Gomez, 1932 Yankees, or Bobo Newsom, 1938 Browns [both 98 ERA+]. As you'd probably guess, Gomez received excellent run support relative to league, Newsom quite poor run support. Both Murry Dickson, 20-16 for the 1951 Pirates [104 ERA+], and Joe Niekro, 20-12 for the 1980 Astros [93 ERA+], pitched for teams that scored a bit less than league average, had OPSs against slightly better than league average, and allowed around the expected number of unearned runs. Dickson had six "disaster starts" in 1951, plus three other starts with R = IP; Niekro in 1980 had seven "disaster starts.")

    Finally, Morris's 1992 winning percentage of .778 is the highest on my list, nosing out Gomez's .774 in 1932. No other pitcher is above .700. Gomez had much better run support (6.94 R/G and 4.09 ERA in 31 starts) than Morris (5.44 R/G and 4.04 ERA in 34 starts). The Jays' bullpen pitched very well in support of Morris — nine holds, 10 saves, only two blown saves, 3.41 overall ERA, and, oddly, a higher HR/IP ratio in Morris starts won by the team than in Morris starts lost by the team.

  58. MagicTony Says:


    Now I get it...thanks again.

  59. Kahuna Tuna Says:

    Four NL pitchers have given up more unearned runs this season than Johnny Cueto's 11: Jaime García, 18; Dustin Moseley, 15; Bud Norris and Javier Vázquez, 12. Four others (Daniel Hudson, Jonathon Niese, Liván Hernández, and Matt Garza) have given up exactly 11.

  60. Steve Says:

    When did balls that bounced over the wall stop being counted as Hr's?Who has the most "bounced" Hr's?

  61. Timmy P Says:

    @56 and @57 lots of good info, esp about Morris' 1992 season.

  62. Neil L. Says:

    Kahuna, awesome legwork on low ERA+ pitchers with a good W-L record. (BTW, it's Neil L., not Stan L., but I probably look like a Stan. 🙂 )

    Distilling down all of your research, Jack Morris's 1992 season, although somewhat comparable to Sammy Ellis in 1965 and Warren Sphan in 1960 is unique in modern baseball history.

    I had no idea, while I watched him allowing baserunners and throwing pitches in the dirt in 1992, that his season would leave a statistically distinct footprint in baseball history.

  63. Johnny Twisto Says:

    The railing the ball hit is part of the stands, not the fence, thus the call was correct.

    And MLB announced the call was incorrect. And so are you.

  64. Johnny Twisto Says:

    I had no idea, while I watched him allowing baserunners and throwing pitches in the dirt in 1992, that his season would leave a statistically distinct footprint in baseball history.

    And don't you remember how he'd magically stop letting people on base once his lead was cut to a run? That really should have made more of an impression on you.

  65. Pageup Says:

    Who's the youngest MVP? Mathews was 2nd at 21. Kaline came in 2nd and 3rd at 20 and 21. ARod 2nd at 20.

  66. Pageup Says:

    It might be Bench at 22

  67. JohnBoy Says:

    #5 - I remember the Billy Butler game vs. the Angels well as I was listening and flashed on the event when I heard his name mentioned with a controversial HR again tonight.

    Regarding Mike Stanton and the exclusive company he keeps, I only have one question...

    How did Ed Kranepool get an invitation to this party?

  68. Nash Bruce Says:

    @63 JT: Beating a fave dead horse of mine, but thank god, due to the existence of the Wild Card, the missed call will not mean anything, as the Yankees are still like 25 games up, in the playoff hunt.....
    @62,64: Although it was very late (obviously) in the season, (and a hell of a one he'd had at that!) I doubt that one game makes that big of a difference....but, my knee-jerk reaction, would be to say, that throwing those 10 innings/126 pitches in 1991's Game 7, was equivalent to him firing the rest of the bullets that he had in that arm of his. It wore him out.
    Maybe it was just karma, voodoo, his '91 season being the aberration, whatever.......he really didn't have much left after that.
    What a hell of a way to go out though!!! [Oh yeah, and his teammates gifted him a WS the next year, but who's counting 🙂 ]
    Does the HOF have an 'events' section?? I'll add to the Morris debate, by playing it halfway. I say that they should put that game in, but not him, and everybody can call it even, and lay their weapons down!

  69. Johnny Twisto Says:

    It's an interesting thought about Morris. I've heard that argument made about Schilling; pitching on his busted ankle vs the Yankees in '04 ruined his '05 season. It makes some sense to me. Never heard the claim made for Morris, but it's possible. I find it hard to believe that one game, followed by a long rest, can cost a player so much, especially if there's no injury involved. But who can know how different bodies react to different stresses.

  70. Neil L. Says:

    "And don't you remember how he'd magically stop letting people on base once his lead was cut to a run? That really should have made more of an impression on you."

    I know you well enough to appreciate the sarcasm, JT, but I was being somewhat tongue-in-cheek about Morris's 1992 season.

    My recollection of following the team closely that year was that Jack Morris hardly ever had a clean inning and was chronically working with runners on base.

    I couldn't understand why he just didn't go after batters and get them out instead of nibbling and, as I said, making Pat Borders get his uniform dirty by blocking pitches in the dirt all night.

    The answer, I guess, was that he couldn't get batters out consistently.

    But the anomaly of Morris's won-loss record that year, in light of everything else, begs further dissection.

  71. Brett Says:

    Johnny Twisto recommended that this post is a good place to post info related to the recently closed post: "Rulebook Corner: Who gets the win?"

    I have a couple of nuggets that I found (background is provided to give context)...if interested in this topic, definitely read through the aforementioned post.

    "Double Diamond" referenced a game in Baltimore (July 21, 2001) in which Troy Percival failed to save the lead (ahead by 3) in the 9th inning. In this game, Percival pitched the full innning but gave up exactly 3 runs. The Angels took a 1 run lead in the top of the 10th, and Shigetoshi Hasegawa (effectively) preserved the lead by pitching the full bottom of the 10th. The official scorekeeper deemed Percival's appearance, "brief and inneffective" and deemed Hasegawa's subsquent effort, "effective". By rule 10.17(c), this took the win away from Percival, awarding it to Hasegawa. Particularly of note in this case, is that Hasegawa would otherwise have earned the save.

    Nugget 1:
    Three years later, on May 14, 2004, Percival again found himself in Baltimore trying to close out a game when ahead by 3 runs. Percival pitched the full 9th inning and again gave up exactly 3 runs. Again, the Angels took a 1-run lead in the top of the 10th. This time, Scot Shields (effectively) closed out the game in the 10th inning. Identical in every way to the game 3 years prior, but this time, Percival was awarded the win and Shields awarded a save.

    Different score keepers, different opinions? Or was it the same score keeper in Baltimore who had a change of heart, perhaps influenced over the years by the umpire's union, league statisticians, or players themselves?

    In either way, was the score keeper of the 2004 game influenced by Shields's eligibility for a save? In other words, did he stick with Percival as the winning pitcher because he didn't want to take a save away from Shields?

  72. Brett Says:

    The following is a very recent example where I have no-doubt that the notion of a save influenced the score keepers judgment pertaining to rule 10.17(c). Ironically, this time, it provoked rule 10.17(c) to be used instead of ignored.

    Nugget 2:
    Just 2 seasons ago, On May 7, 2009, Dan Wheeler of Tampa Bay gave up 2 runs on 2 hits in a full inning vs. the Yankees (3 outs, a single, and a homerun). Despite Wheeler being the pitcher of record, Brian Shouse was awarded the win for subsequently pitching two-thirds scoreless innings (retiring the only two batters he faced) with the Rays already ahead by two runs. Joe Nelson was awarded the save after getting the lone out remaining in the game.

    In this case, I believe the score keeper took the win away from Dan Wheeler (using rule 10.17c), and awarded it to Brian Shouse only because Joe Nelson (not Shouse) was in line for the save. Had Shouse stayed in to get the last out in the 9th, then I have no doubt, the score keeper would have stuck with Wheeler as the winning pitcher and credited Shouse with the save.

    I like the Wheeler/Shouse example because it is the opposite extreme to the Heath Slocumb case (Indians vs. Angels, July 2, 1993 - mentioned by Pete). In this game, Slocumb gave up 5 runs (4 charged to him) in 2/3 of an inning. Derek Lilliquist followed Slocumb with 2 (effective) flawless innings, yet Slocumb was awarded the win.

    I feel like the Wheeler/Shouse game (in as far as the rule is written) is ok since 2 runs in 1 inning is fairly close to the recommendation for "brief and inneffective". However, it does bother me due to the incosistency between it and the hundreds (if not thousands) of games with identical situations in which 1 inning + 2 runs was sufficient for the win despite a deserving subsequent and effective reliever. It also bothers me becuase it is clear to me that the save statistic should never influence which pitcher is awarded the win.

    Like the Wheeler/Shouse game, what bothers me about the two Percival games is the incosistency. To me, one inning + 3 runs is a natural extension to the "2/3 innings + 2 runs" recommendation for "brief and inneffective." I therefore, do not feel like rule 10.17(c) was incorrectly applied in the first game nor do I feel like it needed to be applied in the 2nd game - unless, in this game, the notion of a save influenced the score-keeper's decision.

    Perhaps score keepers should use precedence when a ruling requires judgment? Otherwise, inconsistencies in judgments will always exist.

    The Slocumb win, in my mind, is an egregiuos error that should be corrected.

  73. Brett Says:

    I take back the last thing I said about the Slocumb win in 1993. (at least for now). Does anyone know what year the recommendation for "brief and ineffective" was written into the rule book? If after 1993, then I don't believe Slocumb's win should be handed over to Lilliquist.

  74. JohnBoy Says:

    Outstanding post Brett! Just as judgement is required by the official scorer in ruling a hit or an error, it should be utilized more often as it was in the first scenario with Percival, to determine wins - based on a pitcher's effectiveness. Yes, Hasegawa lost the save but the standings are determined by wins, not saves. There are many situations where a pitcher simply enters the game at the right time to vulture up a win when his team follows his entrance by scoring the winning runs in their next at bat. That is part of the luck of being in the right place at the right time and contributing positively, even if only a brief period. But the idea that a pitcher can back into a win because he blew a save opportunity is ludicrous. It would be interesting to discover why the scorekeeper, if indeed it was the same scorekeeper, would offer two contrary rulings for seemingly identical situations. If they were different scorekeepers, is it possible that the second might actually not have been aware this rarely used option?

  75. Johnny Twisto Says:

    Thanks for the follow up Brett. I did read about that Wheeler game a couple weeks ago when I was researching instances where the rule had been applied.

    Sorry to inform you that I think very few people will see this. I actually meant you should post it in the most recent game recap thread. Once these threads move onto the second page, I think they get seen by very few people. Hell, I'll post a link to your post on the most recent recap thread.

  76. Brett Says:

    Thanks JohnBoy...

    Actually here is the irony of all ironies. In the Yahoo play-by-play of the Wheeler/Shouse game, where it is supposed to say "Nelson relieves Shouse", it actually says, kid you not, "Percival relieves Percival".

    Troy Percival, believe it or not, was actually eduring a brief stint as the Rays closer, but was probably getting a day of rest after pitching in 4 of the previous 5 games. On 5/3, 5/5, and 5/6, he earned saves, including two against... you guessed it, Baltimore.

    Johnny Twisto: I had a hard enough time finding this post! There's a more recent one?

  77. Brett Says:

    Now that I've learned how to use the search tools on the "Play Index" page, I'd like to use this (by now, largely forgotten) space to practice with the "Sharing Toolbox".

    Below is a subset of games from "2009 to current" where relief pitchers earned wins despite the recommendation in the rulebook that they should be deemed ineffective. (2/3 or fewer innings + 2 or more runs, including inherited runners allowed to score, IS). This is a subset because it excludes cases when all runs scored in the appearance are from inherited runners.


    Hideki Okajima
    W 16-11
    7-8 ,BW

    Joe Nelson
    W 10-6
    6-6 ,BW

    Scott Schoeneweis
    W 13-12
    5-6 ,BW

    Denny Bautista
    W 11-8
    6-6 ,BW

    Jeremy Affeldt
    W 9-7
    7-8 ,BW

    Chad Qualls
    W 4-3
    7-7 ,BW

    Ronald Belisario
    W 9-7
    7-7 ,BW

    Brayan Villarreal
    W 8-4
    9-10 ,W

    Brian Wilson
    W 4-3
    8-9 ,BW

    Provided by View Play Index Tool UsedGenerated 8/27/2011.

  78. John Autin Says:

    Brett -- I'm sorry, but your attempt to post search results as tables in a comment are not going to work; the system won't accept "share" tables from commenters.

    Some of the bloggers are allowed to do that, but I'm not there yet.