Yesterday I tackled the 2011 performance of pitchers, an if you know me you know that I’m all about symmetry. Today, I’ll break down some of the numbers that stood out for me when I looked at the hitters for 2011. Special thanks to the 2012 Bill James Handbook where a fair amount of the information you are about to read about comes from (I would highly recommend the book for those of you looking for a nice reference tool).
For my review of some of the fascinating pitching numbers see A Look Back at 2011 – Pitching.
Asdrubal Cabrera hit .636 with 13 RBI last year in 11 at-bats with the bases loaded.
Miguel Cabrera led baseball with a 1.047 OPS against right handed pitching. That mark was .001 better than two other first basemen – Adrian Gonzalez and Prince Fielder.
If you were an NL pitcher in 2011 and you were looking to get strike one under your belt then you wanted to see Jamey Carroll come to the dish. Carroll swung at only 6.9 percent of first pitches. The only other NL batter in single digits was Martin Prado (9.8). As for those that did let her rip on the first pitch three names topped 40 percent: Yadier Molina (40.7), Aramis Ramirez (40.6) and Freddie Freeman (40.1).
If you were a curveball specialist you didn’t want to see the Diamondbacks on your schedule as Chris Young and Justin Upton were 1-2 in the NL in OPS against the curveball (1.149 and 1.148). If you relied on the slider, you certainly didn’t want to see the Reds or the Phillies in the other dugout as the Phillies had three guys in the top-5 in the NL in OPS (Shane Victorino 1.111, John Mayberry 1.060 and Jimmy Rollins 1.060) while the Reds had three in the top nine (Ryan Hanigan 1.036, Jay Bruce 1.036 and Chris Heisey 1.014).
Jacoby Ellsbury led the American League, and baseball, with 364 total bases. Teammate Adrian Gonzalez was second in the AL with 345 while Matt Kemp led the NL at 353.
Prince Fielder hit the longest home run in the NL at 486 feet. That’s hardly a surprise. However, the only other NL player with a homer over 480 feet was Juan Francisco of the Reds who hit on 482 feet on September 12th. No AL batter put one into the seats at a distance of at least 480 feet.
Derek Jeter failed to hit .300 as he finished at .297 for the Yankees. Blame his work against righties (.277) as he killed lefties to the tune of a .347 mark. For his career he’s hit .336 against lefties and .305 against the righties.
Matt Kemp loved seeing a lefty on the hill in 2011. His OPS of 1.142 was the best in the National League against southpaws. That mark was just behind the 1.156 OPS of Jose Bautista against port siders, the AL leading total.
Victor Martinez led baseball with a .394 batting average with runners in scoring position. He also posted a .990 OPS in those 155 at-bats. He didn’t slump much either when the situation was a runner in scoring position with two outs. In that scenario he hit .375 with a .930 OPS (72 at-bats).
Dustin Pedroia saw 3,077 pitches, the most in baseball. Only one other batter was over 2,900 and that was Curtis Granderson at 3,069.
There was only one leadoff hitter in baseball, who had a minimum of 150 plate appearances in that spot, who posted an on base percentage of .400. It was Brandon Phillips of the Reds at .417. Surprisingly the AL leader wasn’t Jacoby Ellsbury who was second at .381. The fella in the Junior Circuit with the best mark was the Royals… Alex Gordon at .383.
There wasn’t a single batter in the NL who was under the age of 26 that posted an OPS of .900. The leader was Justin Upton at .898 followed closely by Mike Stanton (.893) and Carlos Gonzalez (.889).
By Ray Flowers