Billy-Ball Daily: 2006-7-12

7/12/2006
Billy-Ball Daily
Bill Chuck (Billy-Ball his own self)

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Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Top of the 1st
NUMBERS, NUMBERS, NUMBERS (WHAT ABOUT PEOPLE?)
Numbers don’t always matter, people play the game.

I know this comes as a shock to many people. The shock is that so many people think the Billy-Ball is a fool by saying this. Theo Epstein wouldn’t hire me with that attitude, nor would Billy Beane or Lee Sinins.

Baseball numerologists will always find an answer to questions posed by their own numbers. For example, the A’s entered play last Friday ranked last in the majors in batting average (.246), slugging percentage (.395) and average with runners in scoring position (.231). Oakland was next-to-last in runs scored (374). Then again, the A’s had a 45-40 record and a two-game lead in the AL West.

The response is simple for the numbers people – their 4.19 ERA ranked third in the AL through Thursday and the A’s also were third in the league in fielding percentage, .987. Oakland had committed only 40 errors, a pace for 76 for the season. That would easily break the franchise record for errors in a year, 87 in 1990.

Well `splain this Lucy – since Ray Durham joined the team in 2003, the Giants are 141-64 when he scores at least one run. That includes a 20-8 mark this year.

Good fielding catchers probably result in mediocrity. Johnny Estrada of the Diamondbacks, Damian Miller of the Brewers and Russell Martin of the Dodgers are the only major-league catchers with 275 or more total chances who have yet to make an error this year. The record for the three teams is 123-123

Mike Stanton made his 1,072nd career appearance on Tuesday. Only two pitchers, Jesse Orosco (1,252) and John Franco (1,119), have appeared in more games. Because Stanton is left-handed and only 39, he’ll likely break the record. Mike Stanton has started one game and has 251 holds and 76 saves in his career and for the most part has been a cog, but not a vitl piece of the bullpen.

Double plays mean little – Houston leads the majors in double plays turned this season with 107. Their record is 43-46.

The Pirates had 25 one-run losses by the Fourth of July, becoming the first team in baseball history to have that many. They’ve lost 35 games by more than one run and have only won 30. Which proves they don’t win the close ones or the not close ones.

Not counting the strike-split season of 1981, the A’s have been in first place at the All-Star break seven times (1971-75, 1988, 1990) in their Oakland history. They’ve won the division in all seven of those years.

Which catcher do you want? The one who is hitting .316 with 11 homers and 56 RBI, but has thrown out only 14.1 % of the runners attempting to steal or the one who is hitting .232 with 9 homers and 40 RBI and has thrown out 25% of the runners attempting to steal? I’ll still take the former, Jason Varitek of the BoSox over Indians catcher Victor Martinez despite the numbers.

There are all sorts of stats for fielders, hitters and pitchers.

Range factor is a fielding stat determined by adding the total number of putouts and assists, multiplying by nine, and dividing by the number of innings played. Manny Ram