Sometimes I like to randomly check in with the baseball cosmos. Today is one of those days. There’s no rhythm or reason to what follows – there’s just a bunch of interest facts strewn about all over the page relating to performances from 2011.
Alex Avila led American League batters, under the age of 26, with an OPS of .895 in 2011 (minimum 502 at-bats). The only other AL bat to reach those requirements who also posted an OPS of .850 was Evan Longoria who finished at exactly .850.
Lance Berkman led the NL last season with 22 homers on the road, one more than his former teammates Albert Pujols.
There were only three outfielders in baseball who hit 10 homers, 10 triples and stole 20 bases. Curtis Granderson was likely and easy call for you, though the other two might be a wee bit tougher. Well, maybe you got Austin Jackson of the Tigers as the second guy, but I’d be willing to bet that the third player’s name is one that you will have to search your memory banks for a long while to find. This youngster had 12 homers, 11 triple and 22 steals. He plays in the American League. Some regard him as the best defensive center fielder in the game. He is Peter Bourjos.
Only four men in baseball have hit .300 with 20 or more homers each of the past three years. Albert Pujols… doesn’t make the list. He hit just .299 last season. The list of four men: Ryan Braun, Miguel Cabrera, Joey Votto and… Robinson Cano.
Rajai Davis stole third base 17 times last year, the most in the AL. That’s the same total as Alex Gordon posted last year in 151 games.
I have a crush on Katherine McPhee of Smash. If you click on that link can can’t understand why, I can’t help you.
Sam Fuld stole 20 bases last year, one more than Shane Victorino, Johnny Damon, Ben Zobrist and Jayson Werth. While each of those four batters hit at least 16 homers, Fuld went deep just three times for the Rays.
I love HDTV. It drives home the point that so many “famous” people really aren’t as good looking as you think they are. Makes you feel a little bit better when you look in the mirror.
Yadier Molina hit a career best .305 last season despite the fact that he swung at 40.7 percent of first pitches, the highest mark in the National League. He was the polar opposite of Jamey Carroll who swing at only 6.9 percent of first pitches, the fewest in the NL.
Anibal Sanchez had 202 strikeouts last year. Come on, admit it. You had no idea did you? Were you away that he had more punchouts than Zack Greinke (201), Ian Kennedy (198), Jered Weaver (198), Gio Gonzalez (197) and Cole Hamels (194)?
Only three hurlers in baseball have at least 35 saves each of the past two seasons. Two are rather obvious, though neither is named Mariano Rivera or Jonathan Papelbon. The two arms that have 35 or more saves in each of the last two years that are obvious both pitched in the NL West, though one of them will now pitch for the Marlins: Heath Bell and Brian Wilson. The third man is no longer even a closer, he’s now a setup man in Toronto – Francisco Cordero. If we drop the qualification down to 30 saves each of the last two years we only get eight names, a number that is certainly a lot lower than you were likely thinking it would be (yet another reason to avoid overpaying for closers on draft day perhaps?). There just aren’t that many consistent, save arms in the game when you look at multi-year trend. Think of this. Of the eight 30-save guys the last two years, I already mentioned that Cordero is no longer a closer. Another arm on the list, Leo Nunez (aka Juan Carlos Oviedo), also isn’t going to be closing this season. A third name, Neftali Feliz, is going to start. That means a list of 30 save guys for three years, 2000-12, will have, at most, five names on it. Remember that the last time you go diving for closers early in your draft.
By Ray Flowers