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A Look At Some Statistical Anomalies

By Andrew Perna

The third week of the Major League Baseball season is in the books, giving us some solid data to review. The first tenth of the season means a lot, and a little, at the same time. A poor start can hamper numbers over the course of the entire season if they are that drastic, but there is still plenty of time left to erase a slow beginning entirely.

On April 18, 2013, the Los Angeles Dodgers had a -14 run differential, sat fourth in the National League West and were in the midst of a four-game losing streak. The Colorado Rockies, meanwhile, were 11-4, with a +26 differential and six-straight wins. By the end of the season, the Dodgers won the division by 11 games and the Rockies finished 74-88. The first three weeks of the season essentially meant nothing in that division.

The Boston Red Sox, the eventual World Series champions, were 11-4 last April 18 and already in control of the American League East. Not much changed there.

Numbers, no matter how much they may change, are always fun to look at, especially when it comes to baseball. Here is a look at a statistical anomaly for each team.

 

Arizona Diamondbacks

Injuries have really hurt Arizona’s starting rotation. They have received just two quality starts from the staff after getting 87 a year ago.

Atlanta Braves

Fresh off a new contract, Freddie Freeman is on pace to hit 43 home runs. His previous career-high is 23.

Baltimore Orioles

Chris Davis has more stolen bases (2) than home runs (1). He entered the season with 11 career steals and a combined 86 home runs over the last two years.

Boston Red Sox

Daniel Nava is hitting .130/.242/.259 after a breakout 2013 season in which he had a .303/.385/.445 slash line.

Chicago Cubs

At 28, Emilio Bonifacio is hitting .339 with a .771 OPS. For his career, he has marks of .264 and .665.

Chicago White Sox

Alexei Ramirez has been extremely valuable to the White Sox this month. In addition to a sparking .381/.426/.635 slash line, he has already contributed 1.2 WAR to his team. He’s halfway to the 2.5 WAR he had last season.

Cincinnati Reds

Joey Votto’s numbers project out to 41 homers and 111 walks this season. He had 24 dingers and 135 BBs in 2013.

Cleveland Indians

David Murphy is slugging .535 in 13 games for the Indians. In his career, which spans 862 games, he has a .442 slugging percentage.

Colorado Rockies

In his first full season in the National League, Justin Morneau is hitting .346/.386/.538. Over the course of the 2013 season, with the Twins and Pirates, he hit .259/.323/.411.

Detroit Tigers

After knocking in 137 runs last season, Miguel Cabrera is on pace for 81 RBIs.

Houston Astros

Jason Castro is hitting .213, well below his .253 career mark, and he’s on pace to nearly double his home run total from 2013 (18).

Kansas City Royals

Salvador Perez is on pace to hit 81 doubles this season. He had 49 over his previous 253 games.

Los Angeles Angels

Raul Ibanez has surpassed 100 RBIs four times in his career, but not since the 2008 season. He projects out to have 130 RBI at 41.

Los Angeles Dodgers

Juan Uribe has contributed 1.2 WAR to the Dodgers, the second-highest total in the Majors. Over the course of 148 games with the Giants in 2010, he had 1.3.

Miami Marlins

Giancarlo Stanton is averaging .069 walks per plate appearance. That’s nearly half his career mark and significantly lower than his .147 BB/PA in 2013.

Milwaukee Brewers

The starting rotation has been strong over the first three weeks. Milwaukee’s ERA has dropped more than a full run (3.84 to 2.73) from last season.

Minnesota Twins

Brian Dozier five home runs through his first 15 games. The infielder had a total of 24 home runs in his first two Major League seasons. After hitting a home run every 52.7 at-bats in 2012, Dozier is hitting them at a 11.6 clip in 2014.

New York Mets

With a healthy Matt Harvey, the Mets had a 3.77 ERA last season. With their ace sidelined, the mark has jumped to 4.33.

New York Yankees

After posting a .683 OPS during their disappointing 2013 season, the Yankees lead baseball with a .783 mark behind Carlos Beltran, Jacoby Ellsbury and Alfonso Soriano.

Oakland Athletics

Jed Lowrie has a career .337 OBP, but has gotten on base nearly half of the time (.477) with the Athletics through 15 games.

Philadelphia Phillies

Chase Utley is hitting .462/.517/.769 through 58 plate appearances. Over the last four seasons, Utley, who has dealt with knee issues, hit .270/.361/.446 in 432 games.

Pittsburgh Pirates

Pedro Alvarez has struck out 6.3 times for every home run in his career, but that figure is down to just 2.7 in the early going.

San Diego Padres

This might actually stick, but Andrew Cashner’s 1.27 ERA in his first four starts is nearly three times lower than his career mark of 3.35.

San Francisco Giants

Bruce Bochy’s club has a 4.06 K/BB ratio, the best rate in baseball, after ranking 22nd (2.41) in 2013.

Seattle Mariners

Robinson Cano is slugging .356 in his first 59 at-bats with the Mariners. He had a .504 slugging percentage in 5,791 plate appearances with the Yankees.

St. Louis Cardinals

Matt Carpenter led all players with 55 doubles in 2013, but has yet to hit a two-bagger.

Tampa Bay Rays

The Rays had a .737 OPS and .257 batting average last season, but are hitting just .221 with a .659 OPS in 2014.

Texas Rangers

Prince Fielder has contributed -0.9 WAR in his first few weeks as a member of the Rangers. He has had at least 1.3 WAR in each of his seven previous seasons, including 6.0 to the Brewers in 2009.

Toronto Blue Jays

Edwin Encarnacion who had the third-most home runs (36) in the Major Leagues in 2013, has yet to hit one this season. He averaged 14.7 AB/HR last year and led baseball with a 12.9 average in 2012.

Washington Nationals

The pitching staff has a 4.10 ERA, but averages 10.22 strikeouts per nine innings. The Nationals had one of the best ERAs (3.59) in baseball last season, but struck out 7.69 per nine.


MLB Rankings For The Week Beginning April 14

By RealGM Staff Report

The Opsera is a statistic RealGM Executive Editor Chris Reina created in order to objectively rank teams by how well they hit (OPS) and pitch (ERA). 

In order to determine the Opsera rating for each, we take their OPS, multiply that number by 10 to move the decimal point over one place to the right and then subtract their ERA from that number.  

All statistics are through Sunday, April 13.

Rankings from the end of the 2013 regular season are in parenthesizes.

1. (17) Milwaukee Brewers – 5.71

It's no surprise the Brewers hold the top spot in our first rankings of the season. They've won nine straight, including 6-0 on the road, and have the lowest ERA (1.80) in baseball.

2. (7) Oakland Athletics – 4.89

Sonny Gray has a 0.95 ERA and 19 strikeouts in 19 innings pitched (three starts).

3. (3) Atlanta Braves – 4.67

A long-term deal hasn't ruined Freddie Freeman's drive. He's hitting .442/.519/.814 with four home runs and 10 RBI through 12 games.

4. (4) Los Angeles Dodgers – 4.23

Zack Greinke is nice to have when Clayton Kershaw is hurting. The right-hander has a 2.76 ERA, 1.10 WHIP and 21 strikeouts in 16.1 innings (three starts).

5. (11) Washington Nationals – 4.22

All five of Washington's losses have come against Atlanta in the early going.

6. (27) Seattle Mariners – 3.88

Robinson Cano has the Mariners in contention -- for now. The second baseman is hitting .333/.417/.381 without a home run in 11 games.

7. (20) San Francisco Giants – 3.82

The Giants have a .751 OPS, good for eighth in the game. Brandon Belt's five home runs (.577 slugging) have paced the offense.

T8. (10) Tampa Bay Rays – 3.56

If they decide to trade David Price, Chris Archer may be ready to assume his place atop the rotation. The young righty has a 1.38 ERA, 1.08 WHIP and 11 strikeouts in 13 innings.

-- (16) Los Angeles Angels – 3.56

Pujols has three home runs after hitting just 17 all of last season, but he still has a troubling slash line .240/.309/.500.

10. (1) Detroit Tigers – 3.54

Rajai Davis has been an underrated addition to the Tigers. He has five steals for the slow-footed club and is hitting .345/.412/.448 in eight games.

11. (26) Philadelphia Phillies – 3.47

12. (8) Pittsburgh Pirates – 3.45

13. (23) New York Yankees – 3.44

14. (5) Cincinnati Reds – 3.43

15. (19) Toronto Blue Jays – 3.33

16. (29) Miami Marlins – 3.30

17. (2) Boston Red Sox – 3.19

18. (18) Colorado Rockies – 3.15

19. (T24) San Diego Padres – 3.13

20. (12) Kansas City Royals – 2.78

21. (6) St. Louis Cardinals – 2.77

22. (T24) Chicago White Sox – 2.68

23. (13) Cleveland Indians – 2.67 

24. (9) Texas Rangers – 2.58

25. (21) Chicago Cubs – 2.50

26. (15) Baltimore Orioles – 2.38

27. (28) Minnesota Twins – 1.95

28. (30) Houston Astros – 1.80

29. (22) New York Mets – 1.13

30. (14) Arizona Diamondbacks – 1.12

 

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AL East: Can The Champs Be Dethroned?

By Andrew Perna

The Boston Red Sox went worst to first last season and they enter 2014 as the defending World Series champions. All five American League East teams began last season with a legitimate shot at winning the division and that may be the case once again.

Boston Red Sox

The Red Sox rode a host of middling signings to October glory this past fall and Ben Cherington is hoping to do the same in 2014. Mike Napoli and Shane Victorino will return, but John Farrell will be forced to rely on youngsters at third base (Xander Bogaerts) and in center field (Jackie Bradley, Jr.). Bogaerts seems primed to take the ball and run with it at the hot corner, but Bradley is an unknown as Jacoby Ellsbury's replacement.

Key Additions (2013 Stats):

A.J. Pierzynski: .272/.297/.425, 17 HRs, 70 RBIs in 529 PAs

Edward Mujica: 2.78 ERA, 1.01 WHIP, 46 Ks in 64.2 IP

Chris Capuano: 4.26 ERA, 1.41 WHIP, 81 Ks in 105.2 IP 

Tampa Bay Rays

If they don't trade David Price, the Rays have a real shot at winning the division (and much more). That is the dilemma Andrew Friedman and the rest of the front office face as Opening Day nears. Like the Red Sox, they remain largely the same from last season but they did finish 2013 with 92 wins, which was enough to grab a Wild Card spot. Price leads a rotation that should only get better with experience and age.

Key Additions (2013 Stats):

Grant Balfour: 2.59 ERA, 1.20 WHIP, 72 Ks in 62.2 IP

Heath Bell: 4.11 ERA, 1.37 WHIP, 72 Ks in 65.2 IP

Ryan Hanigan: .198/.306/.261, 2 HRs, 21 RBIs in 260 PAs 

New York Yankees

After missing the postseason for the first time since 2008, the Yankees opened up their checkbook in search of reinforcements. A boatload of money later -- Ellsbury, Brian McCann and Masahiro Tanaka -- the Yankees have their sights set on another World Series title. There is added motivation in New York this season as Derek Jeter prepares to hang up his cleats.

Key Additions (2013 Stats):

Jacoby Ellsbury: .298/.355/.426, 9 HRs, 53 RBIs in 636 PAs

Brian McCann: .256/.336/.461, 20 HRs, 57 RBIs in 402 PAs

Masahiro Tanaka: 1.27 ERA, 0.94 WHIP, 183 Ks in 212 IP (Japan)

Brian Roberts: .249/.312/.392, 8 HRs, 39 RBIs in 296 PAs

Kelly Johnson: .235/.305/.410, 16 HRs, 52 RBIs in 407 PAs

Baltimore Orioles

They were late to the party, but the Orioles make several win-now moves in the latter stages of the offseason. They signed Ubaldo Jimenez and Nelson Cruz with eyes on contending while their young core remains under contract and intact. The outcome of this season will have a huge bearing on the future's of Matt Wieters and Chris Davis, who will be free agents after the 2015 season.

Key Additions (2013 Stats):

Ubaldo Jimenez: 3.30 ERA, 1.33 WHIP, 194 Ks in 182.2 IP

Nelson Cruz: .266/.327/.506, 27 HRs, 76 RBIs in 456 PAs

Jemile Weeks: .111/.111/.111, 0 HRs, 0 RBIs in 9 PAs

Suk-min Yoon: 4.00 ERA, 1.36 WHIP, 76 Ks in 87.2 IP 

Toronto Blue Jays

After making major waves prior to last season, the Blue Jays didn't change much this winter. Alex Anthopoulos is hoping the further maceration of their roster will leads to more than the 74 wins they managed in 2013. It will be hard for Toronto to climb of last place, but they have a role model within the division (Red Sox). The only thing they are lacking is a few mid-level free agent additions.

Key Additions (2013 Stats):

Dioner Navarro: .300/.365/.492, 13 HRs, 34 RBIs in 266 PAs

How We Think They'll Stack Up:

1. Red Sox: Chemistry will break talent battle with New York.

2. Yankees: Jeter's career will end with a Wild Card berth.

3. Rays: A Price trade will set them back, but only a season.

4. Orioles: Jimenez won't pitch like an ace, gamble lost.

5. Blue Jays: They'll improve, but the division is just too deep.

Follow @RealGMBaseball all season for news, rumors and analysis.



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