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Through all the comical misplays in the field, the self-immolating bullpen, the lack of base-stealing and cautious running of the bases, the strength of the 2003 Blue Jays has been hitting.

The Blue Jays are currently 3rd in the AL in runs scored, and not far behind 3rd (in 5th) on a per game basis.
NYY......134 .... 7.05 .... 137.9 .... -3.9
BOS......124 .... 6.53 .... 117.9 .... +6.1
ANA......104 .... 5.47 ..... 99.1 .... +4.9
OAK......102 .... 5.37 ..... 96.9 .... +5.1
TOR......106 .... 5.30 .... 103.4 .... +2.6
KCR.......90 .... 5.29 ..... 90.2 .... -0.2
CWS.......97 .... 5.11 .... 103.4 .... -6.4
BAL.......87 .... 4.83 ..... 80.8 .... +6.2
SEA.......91 .... 4.79 ..... 95.5 .... -4.5
TBD.......89 .... 4.68 ..... 85.0 .... +4.0
TEX.......77 .... 4.05 ..... 97.7 ... -20.7
MIN.......73 .... 3.84 ..... 77.5 .... -4.5
CLE.......73 .... 3.84 ..... 83.4 ... -10.4
DET.......34 .... 2.00 ..... 30.1 .... +3.9

Extrapolated runs (XR) is a linear weights formula developed by Jim Furtado of Baseball Primer. It estimates how many runs a team should have scored based on the run impact of various offensive events. Accoring to XR, the Blue Jays have scored about as many runs as expected.

player....... PA .... pit/PA . H/BIP . Krate .. XR
Stewart...... 100 ..... 3.6 .333 .082 .... 14.2
Wells......... 93 ...... 3.5 .273 .183 .... 11.3
Delgado....... 88 ..... 4.0 .404 .235 .... 17.7
Phelps........ 83 ...... 3.8 .304 .278 ..... 8.5
Hinske........ 75 ...... 3.9 .356 .320 ..... 7.6
Catalanotto... 74 ..... 3.7 .351 .162 ..... 9.7
Hudson........ 66 ..... 3.5 .256 .258 ..... 4.6
Woodward...... 62 ..... 4.0 .302 .161 ..... 8.2
Wilson........ 42 ..... 4.4 .435 .310 ..... 6.8
Myers......... 40 ..... 4.1 .348 .250 ..... 6.1
Bordick....... 33 ..... 4.2 .318 .212 ..... 3.1
Berg.......... 25 ..... 3.6 .333 .160 ..... 5.3

I'm excluding Ken Huckaby and Reed Johnson from the above chart for lack of plate appearances. The Blue Jays have the highest batting average on balls in play in the AL so far at .326. Only Vernon Wells and Orlando Hudson are below .300 (2003 AL average = .289). Vernon has hit lots of hard ground balls at people (resulting in an incredible 6 GIDP so far) and likes to try to reach the outfield fences in centre and left-centre, which sometimes results in long fly outs.

Tom Wilson plus three youngsters - Hudson, Hinske and Phelps - are the most strikeout prone. Of these, Hudson can least afford to have a high strikeout rate. Wilson leads the team in pitches per PA and going deep into counts will usually result in lots of walks and strikeouts.

It's not hard to believe that Shannon Stewart is the toughest Blue Jay to strikeout - watching him foul off 2-strike pitches provides visual confirmation of the facts.

The Terrible Twenty: Offence | 5 comments | Create New Account
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_DS - Tuesday, April 22 2003 @ 03:05 PM EDT (#90021) #
I've also been real impressed with how Woodward has been able to work the count. Talk about a huge improvement from last year. Now if he could only make the smae improvements with the glove...
Dave Till - Tuesday, April 22 2003 @ 05:08 PM EDT (#90022) #
Some other thoughts, after looking at the Jays' offensive numbers:

- Josh Phelps's numbers are becoming surreal. Lots of walks and strikeouts, and very little else. This suggests that pitchers have figured out what his power zone is, and are working him very carefully. Phelps now has to learn to adjust, or he will follow Jose Cruz Jr.'s career path. (Watch Cruz's numbers start to fall in SF as soon as pitchers learn not to throw him fastballs.)

- Vernon Wells is the second coming of Joe Carter offensively. His walk total is low because he consistently finds a pitch he can whack for distance: his 12 extra-base hits leads the team. He's going to have to bring his average up if he's going to be a good player, but I'd rather have a double than a walk any day.

- Poor Reed Johnson. Exactly what does he have to do to stay up here, anyway?

- Catalanotto has been good at working the count, but he's got only 3 walks in 70 at-bats. He seems to be an Anaheim-type player: foul off pitches until you get one you can hit somewhere interesting.

- Tom Wilson's doing just fine, thank you. So is Greg Myers. The Jays have catching covered until Kevin Cash shows up.

- I'm wondering whether Orlando Hudson is just a fish out of water. The J.P. Revolution demands that its adherents work the count, wait patiently for pitches, and stand quietly on base. The O-Dog is a slash-and-dash kind of guy - like Homer Bush, but with actual ability. Maybe he belongs in the National League. He'd make a great St. Louis Cardinal.

- Eric Hinske is suffering from Reward Syndrome. He's trying to prove that, yes, he really was worth all the honours thrust upon him in 2002. He'll get over it.
Gitz - Tuesday, April 22 2003 @ 05:20 PM EDT (#90023) #

I don't quite grasp the "expected runs" formula. Can you point me to where it is on Primer?

Much obliged.

-- JG
robertdudek - Tuesday, April 22 2003 @ 06:48 PM EDT (#90024) #
The XR formula (for the period 1955-present) is:

0.5*Hits + 0.22*Doubles + 0.54*Triples + 0.94*HomeRuns + 0.34*(BB-IBB+HBP) + 0.25*IBB + 0.04*SH + 0.37*SF + 0.18*SB - 0.09*(AB-H-K) - .098*K - 0.37*GIDP - .32*CS

Note that a homerun is given a weight of 1.44 runs, since the hitter gets credit for a hit and a homerun. Other features of note:

1) The Sac Fly, because it always produces a run is worth much more than a Sac Hit, presumably because the last base (third to home) is much more important than any other.

2) The GIDP costs more than the CS, perhaps because it is more likely to end an inning.

3) Strikeouts are given a separate weight compared to other batting outs.

Jim Furtado worked out the values to cover the entire period where all the modern official stats were available (the last to arrive was the intentional walk). I believe he developed it in 1998, so data since then wouldn't have been used. Nevertheless, it's still remarkably accurate for the years since 1998 and, unlike New Runs Created is very easy to calculate.

Here is the link to an essay Jim Furtado wrote.
_Shane - Wednesday, April 23 2003 @ 12:34 PM EDT (#90025) #
Robert, I know you're big on this 'hard hit balls' thing, but if you look back at the atbats where Wells has hit into the double-plays, he's probably seeing less than two pitches per atbat. Infact, he's probably killed more rallies than any one Jay hitter thus far in '03. Now we can believe his excessive amount of double plays are more chance and 'hard hit balls', but perhaps it's more likely a product of classic Vernon Wells era to this point -- not enough patience to get a good pitch he can elevate and drive, instead of driving pitchers pitches into the ground for inning ending DP's, leaving your 19 million dollar man left to lead off the next inning.

As far as Hinske, pressing due to a "Reward Syndrome" is always a possible factor, but that in it self doesn't expalin enough. As was said last week, Hinske was getting pitched consistently away, and wasn't using his early '02 approach where he rarely tried to pull anything, unlike this year. During the second week of season the only hits I saw him get were balls that came in over the plate and he ended up with his one homerun and two doubles. Now, obviously he's hitting better and surprise surprise, look where all the hits are coming from. Same thing, different location with Phelps, it's pretty hard to hit fifth deck homers and ringing doubles when teams consistently pitch you in, in and in. Especially the second Twins series, brutal.
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