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As I am writing two game reports in a row, I decided it was time to examine the Blue Jays through the numbers. The Jays have played 69 games so far this season, so I’ll find something to connect to the team having to do with the numbers from 1 through 69.

As cool as it would be to do every number (which is what I originally intended to do), this proved to be too time-consuming, especially considering my ongoing adventures with a clogged toilet, and also seemed very forced in certain places. Therefore, I will only do 15 numbers for each day (half of the numbers in each segment), which hopefully will still provide plenty of numbers to think about; although I certainly don’t promise they will all be relevant.

Today I will look at fifteen numbers from 1 through 34 and tomorrow will examine another fifteen from 35 through 69. The totals come from prior to Sunday’s game, unless otherwise noted.

1 – Times Andy Dominique has reached base this season for the Blue Jays this season. Dominique spent 15 days on the MLB roster following Gregg Zaun’s horrific collision at second base on Mother’s Day against the Chicago White Sox. He only started one game in this span and also made a pinch-hitting appearance. Dominique started the May 18th game against Minnesota and was hit by a pitch in the fourth inning by starter Kyle Lohse.

2 – Appearances for Matt Whiteside in the majors this year. Whiteside accumulated a 19.64 ERA in 3.2 innings, making appearances against the Chicago White Sox and the New York Yankees. Whiteside’s appearances weren’t completely forgettable, as he struck out A-Rod and Jason Giambi on April 20 against the Yankees and he struck out Paul Konerko, Aaron Rowand and Jermaine Dye in a row when he came in to face the White Sox.

3 – Doubles by John McDonald, which constitutes his entire total of extra-base hits this season. The gifted gloveman has a .324 slugging percentage, which is the lowest total of any non-Huckaby player who has served any real time on Toronto’s roster this year. Despite this fact, McDonald’s OPS is slightly higher than O-Dog’s.

4 – Place the Jays currently are in the American League East standings. While this fact may not be that surprising to many, the fact Toronto is only 2.5 back of the Yankees and 4.5 back of Boston may be. Toronto sits 7.5 back of the division-leading Orioles, which is not an insurmountable total, especially at this point in the season. However, it also demonstrates how crucial this upcoming four-game series with Baltimore is.

5 – Shutouts thrown by the Blue Jays pitching staff this season. This mark is tied for third in baseball, with seven other teams. Atlanta and the Cubs have thrown six each, while KC and Tampa Bay have thrown none. Halladay has thrown shutouts on April 29th and May 29th, and combined for a shutout with Schoeneweis and Speier on May 21st. I hope he’s starting on June 29th. Chacin threw eight innings of shutout ball against Texas on April 16th, with Batista pitching an inning of relief and Towers threw eight innings of shutout ball on May 3rd against Baltimore, with Batista pitching the final inning again.

6 – Stolen bases by Eric Hinske and Alex Rios, which leads the Blue Jays. Rios has been caught five times, compared to Hinske’s one. Hinske’s obviously not as fast as Rios is once he gets going around the bases and it’s quite likely that O-Dog, Johnson and Wells are at least as fast as Hinske. However, I don’t think there’s a better base runner on the Jays than Hinske. He picks his opportunities to run incredibly well, such as those consecutive steals against the Yankees, and according to Michael Kay his tag against Bernie Williams “exposed” Bernie’s weak arm, which had previously been undetected by everyone in the Yankees front office. Hinske’s very good at going first to third and I can’t recall him being thrown out on the bases anytime recently.

10 – Extra-base hits by Aaron Hill in 94 at-bats, which means he is averaging one every 8.9 at bats. This percentage leads the team, as far as I can tell, with Russ Adams second with an extra-base hit every 9.35 at-bats.

11 – Rank in the majors Toronto sits in caught-stealing percentage for catchers. Zaun, Huckaby, Myers and Dominique have thrown out 37% of attempted base stealers (22 of 60). Hats off to the catchers for St. Louis, led by Yadier Molina, who have thrown out 54% and to Joe Mauer and company, who have thrown out 47% for the Twins. The A’s are 19th in baseball at 13% (8 of 62) and the Mets sit just behind them at 12% (7 of 58). Surprisingly, teams do not run the most on these two teams, as runners have attempted to steal 70 bases against the Indians, for example. However, St. Louis has the least attempts against in the majors, at only 35.

14 – Percent of batted balls (actually 14.1) Vernon Wells hits line drives on. Not only is that the lowest percentage on the team of regular position players, it only exceeds Gabe Gross' .125 and Ken Huckaby's .026 of players on the current roster. Eyeballing the AL, the only regulars with lower percentages are Richard Hidalgo, Nick Swisher, A-Rod, Torii Hunter, Matt Stairs, Eli Marrero, Omar Infante, Casey Blake and Sammy Sosa. Surprisingly, there are some pretty good players on that list, along with some pretty bad ones. Perhaps someone with more knowledge of batted ball types would be able to explain this a bit better.

17 – Toronto’s rank in baseball by team stolen bases. Toronto has stolen 32 bases, which ties them for 17th in the majors with the Indians. The 32 by the Blue Jays sits well behind Chicago’s 70 or Tampa Bay’s 65, but well ahead of Boston’s 13 or Oakland’s 14. Toronto’s 70% success rate places them about mid-table, as well, behind Boston’s outstanding 93% success rate. I have no idea what the record low for team caught stealing is in a season, but only 1 through the middle of June looks like it would have a good shot at breaking it.

20 – Triples by the Blue Jays this season. This places them tied for second in baseball, tied with Pittsburgh and five behind Detroit. Toronto is led by Rios’ 5, Hill’s 3 and Johnson’s 3, but is receiving contributions from everyone, including the unlikely source of Gregg Zaun. Zaun’s triple came on May 29th off J.C. Romero. Interestingly, Rios is out-tripling both the Brewers and the Yankees, and is tied with the Reds and the White Sox.

22 – VORP (Value Above Replacement Player) for the Texas Rangers’ Chris Young this season (actually, 22.3). By this measure Young, who had to be dissuaded out of quitting baseball and attempting to begin a professional basketball career by a $1.5 million contract while he was still in the minor leagues, is the best rookie pitcher in baseball, narrowly ahead of Gustavo Chacin’s VORP of 20.2 Chacin has accumulated his in one more start than Young, but there is little doubt these two have been by far the best two rookie starters in baseball. Kyle Davis is a better prospect than either of the two, but he is the next best rookie starter and has a VORP of 8.1 in 6 starts. Interestingly, the best five rookie pitchers in baseball by this stat are in the AL, as Chacin is followed by Jesse Crain, Huston Street and Andy Sisco.

23 – Rank in baseball Toronto places in team OPS. Toronto has a team OPS of .730, which ties them with the Nationals for 23rd in baseball. Toronto sits ahead of Cleveland, Kansas City, Anaheim, Seattle, Houston and Oakland. Baltimore leads the majors at .827, followed by Texas at .818 and Boston at .808.

28 – Hits surrendered by Pete Walker. Walker has established himself as one of the best relief options in the Toronto pen this season, and is someone we may soon see in the starting rotation. Despite relatively unimpressive strikeout and walk totals (18 K’s and 13 walks in 36 innings), Walker has not surrendered many home runs (only 2 all year) and has thrown the ball well in all but a couple appearances. As strange as this would have sounded in April, when I see Walker come in from the bullpen, I am more confident than I am with most of the other relief arms. Walker’s .217 batting average against won’t last forever, but he is having a career year at 36 and his year in Yokohama seems all but a distant memory.

34 – Wins the Blue Jays have to date. They currently sit one game below .500, which is about the level of play that was predicted of them by many on the Box prior to the season beginning. According to Baseball Prospectus this gives the Jays about 6% odds to make the playoffs, something that I think sounds about fairly reasonable. It won’t be easy to leapfrog three times and gain six and a half games, but by no means is it impossible. Prior to Sunday’s game the Jays had an expected won-loss record of 36-32, which would place them only 3.5 games back of Baltimore’s Pythagorean record, so things certainly aren’t without hope at this point in the season.

Brewers 5, Blue Jays 2: Blue Jays by the Numbers, Part I | 16 comments | Create New Account
The following comments are owned by whomever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.
Mike Green - Monday, June 20 2005 @ 09:56 AM EDT (#120048) #
Nicely done, Thomas. Seeing Sisco's name reminds me that the Royals are building up a nice core of young talent with Greinke, Howell, Sisco, Butler, DeJesus and Alex Gordon. It should be an interesting club in 2008.
Marc Hulet - Monday, June 20 2005 @ 11:26 AM EDT (#120055) #
I agree the Royals have a very interesting stable of young players. I just wish I had more faith in their minor league development record.

The Twins, Dodgers, Cubs, Jays, etc. have a good history of finding talent and properly developing it, while teams like KC, Detroit, etc. do not have the best track record with developing talent, even when they luck out with some talented young players.

Case in point:
Scott Moore .304 .385 .587 (2005 Florida State League - Cubs)
Scott Moore .240 .327 .386 (2002-2004 with Detroit)

Bo Flowers .276 .320 .389 (2005 Midwest League - Cubs)
Bo Flowers .248 .307 .343 (2002-2004 with Detroit)

Both highly-thought-of but disappointing players in previous years with outputs that belied their true talents. Half a season with Chicago and they have improved by leaps and bounds. Maybe some of it is coincidence but it's not the first time I have seen a Detroit minor leaguer flourish after being traded.

It might be interesting to look back and see what organizations have the best track records for developing high school players compared to other teams.
Mike D - Monday, June 20 2005 @ 11:40 AM EDT (#120058) #
the lowest total of any non-Huckaby player

Always a necessary caveat. Look, I am by no means an alarmist, but Ken Huckaby no longer amuses me. At all. Even if he were awesome defensively -- and he's not -- the Jays cannot survive with a de facto NL pitcher's bat in their AL lineup, twice a week. No amount of target-setting and teammate-mentoring can compensate for his absurd impotence at the plate.

A .700 OPS will earn you a "sinkhole" label at BP. Huckaby doesn't even achieve half that. Seriously, is there any reason the Jays shouldn't have him bunt every time there are runners on and fewer than two outs?

What development purpose is being served by giving him 150 AB's this year?!?
Marc Hulet - Monday, June 20 2005 @ 12:13 PM EDT (#120059) #
I like Huckaby but his place on the team is not helping. His bat will never get going by playing once every seven days. And Zaun, having never been a number 1 guy and being in his 30s, needs at least two days off for every seven games played.

bill - Monday, June 20 2005 @ 01:10 PM EDT (#120064) #
What are the choices for catcher ? Can an old one be lured out of retirement? If you trade for one you will pay through the nose and then some. The Jays don't seem to have much in their monor league system: Dominique, Schneider, and Depastino at AAA, Umbria and Kratz at AA. None of these is hitting well. At Dunedin there is Diaz hitting .252 and Reiman with a few at bats hitting .293. Then we're back to Thigpen at .278 at Lansing. Without a trade there may not be a Catcher for years coming through the system. Anyone for Josh Bell?
Marc Hulet - Monday, June 20 2005 @ 01:32 PM EDT (#120065) #
Here are a few possibilities currently playing in triple-A:
Jamie Burke
Pete LaForest
Ben Davis
AJ Hinch
Corky Miller
Koyie Hill
VBF - Monday, June 20 2005 @ 02:07 PM EDT (#120067) #
His bat will never get going by playing once every seven days.

It's not about getting his bat going. He's on the serious decline in his career, and regardless of how much he hits, he will only ever hit high .100s at this point. Wasn't Charles Johnson released or DFA'd by the Rays? I think Colorado is paying just about all of his enormous salary.

Rob - Monday, June 20 2005 @ 02:14 PM EDT (#120068) #
Instead of "lowest total of any non-Huckaby player" (which is, of course, a necessary caveat), why don't we just say:
"The gifted gloveman has a .324 slugging percentage, which is the lowest total of any Blue Jay hitter..."

Calling Ken Huckaby a hitter is like calling disenfranchised citizens "voters."
binnister - Monday, June 20 2005 @ 02:28 PM EDT (#120070) #
There's always old friend Tom Wilson.

Don't remember which organization he's with now, but I do remember seeing some relitively 'good' AAA numbers for him.
binnister - Monday, June 20 2005 @ 02:42 PM EDT (#120072) #
.341/.431/.591 in 44AB with Colorado Springs

....which I, of course, saw here at the Box:

The ONLY place for sports news...and ex-Jays.
Brian B. - Monday, June 20 2005 @ 03:20 PM EDT (#120073) #
There's still Guillermo Quiroz who could recover from collapsed lung surgery and take off and I believe the Blue Jay scouts are also looking at Boston's AAA catcher Kelly Shoppach.

Would they get Shoppach instead of the many other teams interested, I don't know.
Mike Green - Monday, June 20 2005 @ 03:43 PM EDT (#120074) #
To add to Marc's lists of options, Ryan Garko and Dusty Wathan are sharing the Buffalo catching. They both can hit, and Cleveland's got Martinez and Bard. Eli Whiteside and Chris Heintz are also options, as are Miller and LaForest that Marc mentioned. That just covers the IL.

Over 50% of triple A catchers would hit significantly better than Huckaby.
Magpie - Monday, June 20 2005 @ 04:26 PM EDT (#120078) #
His bat will never get going by playing once every seven days.

I think the only way his bat will get going is if the Jays summon Dr Victor Frankenstein to work with him. We're talking about animating something which is not alive...

Before I forget - a nice moment from before yesterday's game. A choir came out and sung the two anthems. The players stood on the dugout, shuffled their feet, and put their caps on when it was over. Everyone except Lyle Overbay, who gave them a nice and respectful little bit of applause first. I thought that was sweet, and will cheer for him from this day forward.

I was at the park a few weeks ago making notes on Josh Towers' warmup routine. I did the same thing on Saturday for Halladay. It was a little different, so I'll pass it along. This was the 5:00 start time.

435 - Doc emerges from the bullpen and starts doing what looks like yoga exercises on the warning tracks. A lot of weird bends and stretches, holding strange positions. At the same time, Zaun and Arnsberg emerge from the dugout. The trainer works Zaun through a great deal of stretching.

440 - Zaun wanders down to the warning track. Doc is still stretching.

442 - Doc and Zaun begin playing catch, fairly casually. Doc takes an extra step back after each throw...

445 - By now Doc is throwing from about 100 feet away. He's throwing like an outfielder, there's almost a shuffle as he steps into it. He doesn't do this nearly as long as Towers did, and Towers seems to throw much harder and more like a pitcher from the greater distance. Strange.

446 - They close to about 65-70 feet.

447 - Starts throwing off the bullpen mound - he's there about four minutes sooner than Towers, and works a little more briskly. Five pitches a minute, like clockwork. After about four minutes, he starts working from the stretch. He throws from the stretch for four minutes. He finishes up with four pitches from the full windup. All together, 48 pitches off the bullpen mound. About the same as Towers. Sheets is still throwing fairly casually in the Milwaukee pen.

456 - Walks in the from the bullpen, five minutes ahead of Towers' schedule. Sheets throws from the stretch for another three minutes.

Something else I decided to look at in yesterday's game. Mike Hargrove, when he played, was known as "The Human Rain Delay" because he used to step out after every pitch, fix his gloves, take a practise swing, and then step back in. Bill James was saying that if Hargrove was playing today, no one would notice because that's what everyone does. So I thought I'd try pay some attention, and take a few notes...

Frank Menechino - The Worst Offender. Mouse steps way, way out of the box on every pitch. Once he backed all the way off the cutout onto the grass. Always plays with his gloves, takes a hack or two.

Reed Johnson - puts a foot on the batter's box line, puts down his bat, plays with his gloves. But he's like Nomar, he's quick about it.

Eric Hinske - tends to back out of the box after a swing and a miss, which happened a lot yesterday. Otherwise, he's like Catalanotto. Backs up towards the line, but generally stays in the box.

Ken Huckaby - stays where he is. Like everyone in the park, he wants the at bat to end, soon.

Russ Adams - Similar to Hinske and Catalanotto sometimes, but generally he stays put, ready to hit.

Alex Rios - Generally places his left foot on the line for a second, but never steps out (unless he's hit the ball out of play or something.)

Geoff Jenkins - Worst offender on the Brewers. Backs well out of the box on every pitch.

Carlos Lee - Exactly like Rios. He stays there, ready to hit, unless the ball's gone out of play.

Rickie Weeks - A little like Hinske, tends to step out and regroup after a swinging strike.

Prince Fielder - Barely moves between pitches. Rooted to the spot!

NDG - Monday, June 20 2005 @ 04:52 PM EDT (#120082) #
Wouldn't it be great if they actually made hitters stand in there and not make the game take forever?

One thing yesterday that drove me nuts. The first pitch of the last at-bat of the game, from Turnbow to Hill, was a fastball just below the letters. This was called a strike, which annoys the hell out of me because; a) it's almost never called a strike and, b) it should always be called a strike. I felt bad for Hill and am sure it contributed to him swinging and missing at strike three which was high and away. Why the umpire chose this moment to correctly call a strike that is usually called a ball, I don't know, but do wish they'd do it all the time and not just when the Good Guys have the tying run at the plate ;)
Dave Till - Monday, June 20 2005 @ 06:29 PM EDT (#120087) #
Percent of batted balls (actually 14.1) Vernon Wells hits line drives on. Not only is that the lowest percentage on the team of regular position players, it only exceeds Gabe Gross' .125 and Ken Huckaby's .026 of players on the current roster.

I'd like to know what is classified as a line drive, as opposed to a fly ball. Perhaps a home run is classified as a fly ball.

What development purpose is being served by giving him 150 AB's this year?!?

Huckaby wasn't really supposed to be playing - in spring training, he was the Jays' fourth-string catcher. But Myers didn't work out, and Quiroz got hurt. So I don't blame J.P. too much for that. But I do hope he goes and gets somebody soon - that's one awful batting line.

Thomas - Monday, June 20 2005 @ 07:11 PM EDT (#120089) #
Dave, I got that stat from THT, so Burley or Dudek might be able to provide you with an answer.
Brewers 5, Blue Jays 2: Blue Jays by the Numbers, Part I | 16 comments | Create New Account
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