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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 Central: Motor City Domination

By Andrew Perna

The Tigers have won the last three division titles, but their stranglehold on the crown isn't as strong as it when their reign began. The Indians and Royals believe their time is now, while the Twins and White Sox are looking to put disappointing 2013 seasons behind them.

Detroit Tigers

They will ride Miguel Cabrera and their pitching staff once again, but the Tigers did undergo some changes after losing to the Red Sox in the ALCS. Brad Ausmus has replaced longtime manager Jim Leyland, and Ian Kinsler came over from the Rangers in exchange for Prince Fielder. Despite all their experience, they have a stud rookie as well (Nick Castellanos) as they charge toward another fall run.

Key Additions (2013 Stats):

Ian Kinsler: .277/.344/.413 with 13 HRs, 72 RBIs in 614 PAs

Joe Nathan: 1.39 ERA, 0.897 WHIP, 73 Ks in 64.2 IP

Rajai Davis: .260/.312/.375 with 6 HRs, 24 RBIs in 360 PAs

Joba Chamberlain: 4.93 ERA, 1.738 WHIP, 38 Ks in 42 IP

Cleveland Indians

Cleveland didn't make any huge splashes, instead hoping to build on their success in 2013. Terry Francona has a nice mix of veterans and rookies on his roster with Nick Swisher, Michael Bourn, Carlos Santana and Justin Masterson balancing out the unproven talent that needs to produce for them to threaten the Tigers. The Indians are hoping John Axford will fix the late-inning problems Chris Perez suffered from last season.

Key Additions (2013 Stats):

David Murphy: .220/.282/.374 with 13 HRs, 45 RBIs in 476 PAs

John Axford: 4.02 ERA, 1.523 WHIP, 65 Ks in 65 IP

Shaun Marcum: 5.29 ERA, 1.35 WHIP, 60 Ks in 78.1 IP

Kansas City Royals

The Royals won 86 games last season, their largest total since 1989 when they won 92 games. It's been nearly 30 years since they made the playoffs, but Ned Yost and his crew have lofty goals. Kansas City had the sixth-lowest ERA (3.45) in baseball last season, but an anemic offense (.694, 21st in OPS) held them back. They actually played well enough to end their postseason drought last year, but a very poor May (8-20) but them in too large a hole. The AL is deep, but playing meaningful games in September aren't out of the question.

Key Additions (2013 Stats):

Jason Vargas: 4.02 ERA, 1.387 WHIP, 109 Ks in 150 IP

Omar Infante: .318/.345/.450 with 10 HRs, 51 RBIs in 476 PAs

Ramon Hernandez: .208/.291/.438 with 3 HRs, 6 RBIs in 55 PAs

Minnesota Twins

After ranking second-to-last in ERA (4.55) last season, the front office placed a premium on fortifying the pitching staff. They signed Ricky Nolasco and Phil Hughes for a total of $73 million to make up two-fifths of their rotation. They aren't sure-fire solutions, especially Hughes, and the offense wasn't exactly strong either. They have quite a few prospects on the cusp, but the word playoffs won't be whispered for a while.

Key Additions (2013 Stats):

Ricky Nolasco: 3.70 ERA, 1.209 WHIP, 165 Ks in 199.1 IP

Phil Hughes: 5.19 ERA, 1.455 WHIP, 121 Ks in 145.2 IP

Kurt Suzuki: .232/.290/.337 with 5 HRs, 32 RBIs in 316 PAs

Chicago White Sox

Only two teams (Houston, Miami) had fewer wins than the White Sox last season, just a year after they won 85 games and finished just three games back of the Tigers. Jake Peavy, Addison Reed and Adam Dunn were all on the top of their game that season. Peavy and Reed are gone and Dunn, 34, is coming off a .219/.320/.442 season. A youth movement will bring some growing pains, but this rebuild shouldn't take quite as long.

Key Additions (2013 Stats):

Jose Abreu: .322/.527/.735 with 13 HRs, 37 BB in 136

Adam Eaton: .252/.314/.360, 3 HRs, 22 RBIs in 277 PAs

Felipe Paulino: 1.67 ERA, 1.22 WHIP, 39 Ks in 37.2 IP

How We Think They'll Stack Up:

1. Tigers: They aren't as unbeatable as they once were, but the division still belongs in Detroit.

2. Royals: They'll be in the Wild Card race over the season's final week.

3. Indians: The 92 games they won last season are this roster's ceiling.

4. White Sox: Robin Ventura has work to do, but the front office has faith.

5. Twins: Joe Mauer won't be around to benefit from a strong farm system.


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