I found it fascinating that Dejan Kovacevic spent so much time on his Nate McLouth article. Had I been the average fan, I would have walked away drooling. I mean, gee.. Bill James said this-and-that.. it must be true.. it must mean something.
But I’m not the average fan and Bill James is the one who taught me to think critically with stats.
Dejan indicated the Bill James Handbook said this about McLouth..
"Took 61.6 percent of the pitches he saw, eighth-highest in the league. Barry Bonds’ 67.2 was tops."
Sounds pretty impressive, huh? Unfortunately, taking all those pitches led to McLouth striking out one-in-five at bats – the 27th highest in the league for all batters with 300 or more AB. Maybe in 2008 he’ll actually learn to put wood on the ball?
"Had the league’s highest success rate in stealing bases, 95.7 percent. He stole 22 of 23, a year after stealing 10 of 11."
Here McLouth did a very good job.
"Scored 38 percent of the time he reached base, 11th-highest in the league."
This is another one of those wild statements.
You see, McLouth actually had one of the lowest batting averages in the league on balls in play at .287 (300+ AB) but was a tad better drawing walks (70th percentile). So, sure, WHEN McLouth reached base (50th percentile in the league overall in OBP), he did a fine job scoring. Most speedy guys do.
But thinking critically, since McLouth was so poor at getting hits on balls in play, if he reached, chances are everyone was reaching thus probably better explaining this.
"Had the league’s ninth-best on-base percentage, .360, when leading off."
Here’s another one of those lead-in, make you feel good statements that has the look of Dejan being paid to deliver PR for the team. Unfortunately, this one isn’t even true.
ESPN indicates Bautista had the league’s 9th best league OBP at .377 – not McLouth who was 16th of 45 players (65th percentile.. a tick above league average) and just behind Rajai Davis.
"Had the best on-base plus slugging percentage — the statistician’s dream offensive measurement — of any player in the majors when seeing a slider, at 1.242."
I won’t call out Dejan on this one because I assume he copied it from the Handbook, but I will state he should have done a better job researching this before making a claim like it really meant something.
Here is McLouth’s PITCHf/x data on sliders:
As you can clearly see, he put 11 of the 63 sliders he saw in play and only three of those went for a hit (red arrows).. one single, one double, and one home run.
Also, if you look carefully above you’ll see 25% of all sliders called balls were actually strikes McLouth let float past which also helps explain some of McLouth’s unusually high OBP on sliders.
There’s your best OPS in the majors on a slider statement explained.. plain old fashion luck in what you might say was McLouth’s breakout "now deal him" year.
I don’t want to take anything away from McLouth – he’s a fine fourth outfielder who should never play center at PNC with his below league average route running. But he does have some pop in his bat off the bench and that’s where he should be.. on the bench. If we deal Bay or Nady, he’ll be an excellent fill-in until Pearce makes the trip from Indy to Pittsburgh.
Fukudome’s projected line at Yahoo: .305/.390/.528
I’m sorry, but I don’t see it.
The Pirates are interested in Matt Clement? Naw.. makes no sense at all unless he signs a split contract at the minimum and then he’d be in Bradenton and then Indy for awhile to be sure his arm stays attached.
Kris Benson back in Pittsburgh? There is as much chance of Benson returning to Pittsburgh as there is Robert Nutting selling the team to Mark Cuban next month.
But if you want to lick your chops, here’s the remaining free agents and non-tenders still available. Notice how many of these cats were linked to the Pirates at one time or another.
|Sean Casey||1b||FA||Matt DeSalvo||SP||NT|
|Tony Clark||1b||FA||Jose Garcia||SP||NT|
|Julio Franco||1b||FA||Mike O’Connor||SP||NT|
|Ryan Klesko||1b||FA||Darrell Rasner||SP||NT|
|Doug Mientkiewicz||1b||FA||Josh Towers||SP||NT|
|Mark Sweeney||1b||FA||Antonio Alfonseca||rhp||FA|
|Eric Hinske||1b-of||FA||Tony Armas||rhp||FA|
|Damion Easley||2b||FA||Armando Benitez||rhp||FA|
|Ramon Martinez||2b||FA||Kris Benson||rhp||FA|
|Jose Valentin||2b||FA||Shawn Chacon||rhp||FA|
|Jerry Hairston||2b-of||FA||Roger Clemens||rhp||FA|
|Russell Branyan||3b||FA||Matt Clement||rhp||FA|
|Jeff Cirillo||3b||FA||Bartolo Colon||rhp||FA|
|a-Pedro Feliz||3b||FA||Elmer Dessens||rhp||FA|
|Corey Koskie||3b||FA||Octavio Dotel||rhp||FA|
|Abraham Nunez||3b||FA||Josh Fogg||rhp||FA|
|Royce Clayton||ss||FA||Keith Foulke||rhp||FA|
|Neifi Perez||ss||FA||Freddy Garcia||rhp||FA|
|Chris Woodward||ss||FA||a-Livan Hernandez||rhp||FA|
|Tony Batista||1B||FA||Jason Jennings||rhp||FA|
|Marcus Giles||2B||FA||Jorge Julio||rhp||FA|
|Aaron Miles||2B||NT||Byung-Hyun Kim||rhp||FA|
|Morgan Ensberg||3B||NT||Jon Lieber||rhp||FA|
|Andy Gonzalez||3B||NT||Kyle Lohse||rhp||FA|
|Dallas McPherson||3B||NT||Rodrigo Lopez||rhp||FA|
|Miguel Cairo||inf||FA||Jose Mesa||rhp||FA|
|Tony Graffanino||inf||FA||Brian Moehler||rhp||FA|
|Jerry Gil||SS||NT||Russ Ortiz||rhp||FA|
|Sandy Alomar||c||FA||Chris Reitsma||rhp||FA|
|Paul Bako||c||FA||Rudy Seanez||rhp||FA|
|Rod Barajas||c||FA||Aaron Sele||rhp||FA|
|Mike DiFelice||c||FA||John Thomson||rhp||FA|
|Mike Lieberthal||c||FA||Brett Tomko||rhp||FA|
|Mike Matheny||c||FA||Steve Trachsel||rhp||FA|
|Damian Miller||c||FA||Jeff Weaver||rhp||FA|
|Doug Mirabelli||c||FA||Bob Wickman||rhp||FA|
|Josh Paul||c||FA||Jamey Wright||rhp||FA|
|a-Mike Piazza||c||FA||Jeremy Affeldt||lhp||FA|
|Kelly Stinnett||c||FA||Eddie Guardado||lhp||FA|
|Johnny Estrada||c||NT||Ray King||lhp||FA|
|Mike Sweeney||dh||FA||a-Trever Miller||lhp||FA|
|Greg Norton||dh||FA||Eric Milton||lhp||FA|
|Barry Bonds||of||FA||Mike Myers||lhp||FA|
|a-Mike Cameron||of||FA||Odalis Perez||lhp||FA|
|Jeffrey DaVanon||of||FA||Arthur Rhodes||lhp||FA|
|Luis Gonzalez||of||FA||Ron Villone||lhp||FA|
|Shawn Green||of||FA||David Wells||lhp||FA|
|Bobby Kielty||of||FA||T.J. Beam||RP||NT|