Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Three More Things I Learned from the Bill James Handbook

While we sit here and wait for Spring Training, here's some more tidbits I found while perusing the 2001 Bill Jame Handbook. These three factoids all concerned players who are no longer with the team, coincidentally.

1. Corey Patterson Has Some Value

At least as a fourth outfielder. For a guy who was plucked from the waiver wire and started his 2010 Oriole season in Norfolk, Corey Patterson had a successful season in Baltimore. The batting line was about what you would expect from him (.269/.315/.406) but he brought more than his bat to the table.

According to the Handbook, he was the best baserunner on the team, by a good margin, while only playing 90 games. He did well in every aspect, stealing 21 bases at an 84% rate, scored well above average in going 1st to 3rd, 2nd to Home, and 1st to Home and grounded into double plays only 3 times in 47 opportunities.

In addition, on John Dewan's +/- scale, he scored a +3 for his work in left and center and saved 4 defensive runs.

Patterson has moved on to Toronto and there really wasn't room for him in Baltimore but he's a good guy to have as your fourth outfielder. I'm sure he'll cause some headaches for Baltimore next season.

2. Ty Wigginton Doesn't Have As Much Value As You Might Think

According to the Handbook, the Orioles were 27th in baserunning last season. As a group, they lost 31 bases  compared to average baserunners. Ty Wigginton lost 21 of those bases by himself. Not only was he a poor base stealer, he grounded into a bunch of double plays and he was very poor at advancing on hits. Even Matt Wieters, as slow as he is, only scored -10.

He was also a poor fielder. He scored -8 in terms of Runs Saved and was just passable (+3 Runs Saved) at first base.

Given his .248/.312/.415 2010 batting line, it's hard to see what the Rockies liked so much about him when they gave him $8 million over the next two years. That could be an ugly little contract.

3. Really? That Guy?

The Handbook breaks down reliever performance and has a stat called Clean Outings which are outings when the reliever does not give up any runs or allow any inherited runners to score. The leader for the Oriole bullpen. Matt Albers with 34 Clean Outings. Matt Albers. Koji Uehara was second with 33 in many fewer appearance. I'm not sure that this doesn't say more about the poor bullpen than the effectiveness of Albers.

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