Key Stats: Felix Hernandez saw his ERA rise from 2.27 in 2010 when he won the Cy Young Award to 3.47 last season. It is eye-popping, but probably something not worth worrying about. His xFIP went up by one one-hundredth of a point, his strikeout to walk rate was identical, and his K/9 actually rose last season. Beyond the numbers, if you saw the guy pitch at all in 2010, the eye test says that he is still nasty. He is going to turn 26 in a month. I wouldn’t worry over an uptick in the ERA.
Skeptics Say: We have to be sort of picky with someone as good as King Felix, but his quality start percentage was tied for 25th last season among qualifying starters. He also had an ERA of 3.91 in the second half. These are obvious signs of inconsistency something he did not have in 2011 when he led the league in quality start percentage. Just to be fair though, C.C. Sabathia was also 25th in QS% last year, and if there was one word to describe him it would be consistent.
Shortstop has elite talent, then some good players, then some also rans. If you can't get a top guy in the first 2 rounds, and don't want to spend a 4th or 5th round pick on someone who isn't going to produce at the same level as the other players going around them, prep to wait to get someone in the 10th round or later.
On to the notes!
Key Stats: After hitting just 9 home runs in 2010, Ian Kinsler had some questions to answer in 2011. After hitting a career high 32 home runs in 2011, Kinser answered those questions. Kinsler had a career low HR:FB% in 2010 and a career low FB%. Last year those numbers essentially returned to his career average in both stats.
The reason that Kinsler hit a career high on an “average” season in terms of fly balls and home runs per fly ball is a result of playing in a career high 155 games and avoiding the DL for the first time in his career.
Skeptics Say: A player coming off a 30/30 season that isn’t an outfielder is usually an automatic first round choice. Kinsler though has his issues. First of all, there are those people that choose to think of last season’s healthy season as the exception rather than the rule. Secondly, Kinsler hurt teams with a .255 batting average last season. That average came despite a career low strikeout rate. Kinsler’s BABIP was only .243, but before we assume that his luck will turn around consider that this is the second time in three years Kinsler’s BABIP has fallen under .250. The other season that Kinsler had this happen to him was 2009. In that season, he also was a 30/30 player and had an average of .253. The poor average seems like a trend to me. no comments
Third Base is a crazy position this year. Free agents that weren't patrolling the hot corner caused the position to become deeper than ever before, or at least it will be after a couple weeks of baseball and people pick up their eligibility tags. I won't dive into each player in my ranks here, but if you have a question about someone I left out, ask in the comments.
Time for notes!
Spring training is awesome. It marks the dawn of a new season where every team has a chance, at least in theory, to reach October glory. Fans flock from across the nation to watch stars and prospects intertwine on fields that shine of green and smell of summer. As great as spring training is, the stats that it produces are, for the lack of a better word, crap. I'll be checking in now and again on some spring action and try to make logical sense of the numbers, or lack thereof, which show up in the box scores each day.
From the games on 3/13…
The Tigers top prospect list is littered with pitching prospects. The organization is thin on impact bats, but the parent club isn't exactly in need of much thump. The fifth starter role is to be determined, and many of the prospects on this list could end up getting a crack at securing the gig for themselves.