Splitting Hairs

Fans have a fascination with statistics, of course, although sometimes they don’t grasp the true meaning of what they read because they fail to look at the context, or they don’t drill deeply enough.

So here are some random observations of the numbers behind the numbers for various Angels minor leaguers …

Nathan Haynes has had a remarkable season, a comeback from a career abyss.  His AVG/OBP/SLG to date are .391/.466/.586.  What’s the ***** in his armor?  Facing left-handed pitchers.  Haynes, who bats left-handed, is .233/.340/.395 against lefties, .444/.510/.651 against righties.  If Nathan gets a callup to Anaheim, don’t be surprised if other teams go to the bullpen for a situation lefty to face him.

Jeff Mathis, however, loves lefties.  Overall his AVG/OBP/SLG are .245/.293/.351, but against southpaws he’s .314/.352/.510.  His home/road splits are definitely in favor of playing at 4,500-foot elevation Franklin Covey Field — .298/.344/.440 at home, .179/.225/.239 on the road (yikes).

Chris Resop was acquired from the Florida Marlins over the winter for Kevin Gregg.  Chris has a 6.15 ERA, with batters hitting .287 against him.  But look at his home/road splits.  At home, he’s 9.19 with a .333 AVG (15.2 IP).  On the road, he’s 1.69 with a .214 AVG (10.2 IP).  His K:BB ratio at home is 13:4, on the road it’s 9:3 — a consistent 3:1 ratio no matter where he’s at.  So this suggests that Franklin Covey Field is contributing to his abhorrent numbers, although from my personal observation watching him pitch at Las Vegas in mid-April his mechanics were quite messy at the time.  There’s evidence to suggest progress on that front too, as his ERA in April was 8.56 with a .339 AVG, but in May he’s improved to 3.55 and .224 AVG.

Down in Arkansas, Nick Adenhart is a 20-year old pitching at the Double-A level where players are a good three to five years older than him.  After a 0.80 ERA in April, his May ERA is 7.13.  But let’s look at his stats by inning.  Below are his ERA, AVG and IP by inning:

  • 1st – 7.20, .257, 10.0 IP
  • 2nd – 0.00, .342, 10.0 IP
  • 3rd – 6.52, .333, 9.2 IP
  • 4th – 5.40, .258, 8.1 IP
  • 5th – 0.00, .043, 8.0 IP
  • 6th – 1.59, .304, 5.2 IP
  • 7th – 0.00, .333, 4.0 IP
  • 8th – 0.00, .000, 1.2 IP
  • 9th – 27.00, .500, 0.1 IP

Clearly first-inning jitters are part of the problem, although I suspect most of it has to do with (1) being a 20-year old in Double-A, and (2) mechanical issues.  Stuff that fools younger and inexperienced hitters will be ignored by players with more experience, and some of them (such as teammate Curtis Pride) have major league experience.

Travs teammate Sean Rodriguez is probably the top position prospect on the roster, but he has some interesting splits too.  Sean bats right-handed, but seems to favor right-handed pitchers instead of lefties.  Against RHPs he’s .268/.379/.455, against LHPs he’s .227/.346/.318 (when your SLG is lower than your OBP, something’s out of whack).  Overall, his AVG/OBP/SLG are .257/.371/.419, but it’s interesting to note his OBP his definitely respectable despite the slump in other numbers this month.  Last year, Sean hit 24 HR for Rancho Cucamonga and another 5 HR for Arkansas after his promotion, so we’re all curious to see whether the power numbers hold up in a full year of Double-A.  So far, five of his six homers in 2007 have been on the road, reinforcing the early impression that Dickey-Stephens Park is a pitcher-friendly ballpark.

In 2006, power-hitting prospect Jordan Renz whiffed at the horrific rate of once every 2.53 AB with Cedar Rapids.  This year at Rancho Cucamonga, he’s improved only slightly to once every 2.68 AB.  His walk rate has improved slightly; dividing AB by BB, the ratio in 2006 was 12.86, in 2007 it’s 10.88.  After a hot April with a line of .313/.368/.482, in May he’s slumped to .198/.260/.396.

Right-handed pitcher Brok Butcher, a 25th round pick in the June 2005 draft, has come out of nowhere to be the ace of the Quakes staff.  No holes in his numbers so far, although it’s interesting to note that at home he has a 1.04 ERA and .254 AVG while on the road it’s 2.59 and .216.  The Epicenter has become one of the more hitter-friendly parks in the league, so a 1.04 ERA in that park is really something to brag about.  Nor does he have a vulnerability against left-handed or right-handed batters — .240/.280/.272 against lefties, .231/.271/.314 against righties.

Kernels lefty Doug Brandt has been lights out, but check out his home/road splits.  At home, he has a 1.50 ERA and .247 AVG (24 IP).  On the road, he’s 0.82 and .200 (22 IP).

Teammate Tim Schoeninger is from the Greg Maddux school of pitching — only four walks in 56.0 IP.  He has a 39:4 K:BB ratio, nearly 10:1!  Left-handed batters are more successful against him — .293/.309/.413 against lefties, .254/.269/.357 against righties.

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