If you haven't caught on yet, I got the 2011 Edition of the Bill James Handbook this week. Here's some nuggets from 2010 I've uncovered.
1. Nick Markakis Has a Very Specific Set of Skills
While I have given up on Markakis becoming a star player, he does still do many good things at the plate. Persusing the AL leader boards, Markakis is in the top ten in hits (5th with 187), doubles (tied for 4th with 45) and singles (tied for 9th with 127).
He also hit .338 with runners in scoring position (7th in the AL). Oddly enough, he was 2nd in batting average against left handed pitching (.361), 4th in OBP against lefties (.415) and, not surprisingly, had the 2nd highest OPS for a lefty versus lefty pitching (.906). That is really not typical for Markakis who usually makes his hay against RHP, as you would expect.
He was also 5th in the AL in pitches seen and 10th in lowest first swing percentage.
He may not be a star but he's still a pretty good hitter.
2. Getting On Base Against Jeremy Guthrie is Really Hard
Batters only got on base at a .298 clip against Jeremy Guthrie in 2010. That was 10th best in the AL and puts him in a top ten that includes David Price, Justin Verlander and Dallas Braden. This prompted me to see who was the best at preventing runners from getting on base over the past four seasons:
Opponent OBP R. Halladay .289 C. Lee .294 C. Sabathia .297 J. Weaver .301 F. Hernandez .304 J. Beckett .306 S. Baker .308 J. Verlander .308 J. Guthrie .310 J. Shields .310
That's pretty good company. And it probably explains a lot about how Guthrie is able to outperform his peripherals every year.
3. The Orioles' Two Best Fielders Probably Aren't Who You Think They Are
In terms of Runs Saved, the best showing from a regular fielder was...Felix Pie. This is not a surprise to some but the "Felix Pie looks lost in left field" reputation has been tough for him to shake. But Pie was credited with 6 Runs Saved, good for 5th among all left fielders in baseball, in only 70 games. Double that for 140 games and the 12 Runs Saved would put him right behind the likes of Brett Gardner (13) and Carl Crawford (14). He's one of he best fielding outfielders in baseball. It's time to retire the notion that he's not.
The best fielder in terms of John Dewans' +/- system was...Brad Bergesen. Brad scored +6 on that system among all pitchers and on the list of 3-year leaders, Bergesen scores +13, just two points behind the leader, Jake Westbrook...and Brad only played a year and a half of those three years.
Bergesen needs to do all the little things to succeed in the majors and when it comes to fielding his position, he certainly does.