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Today I will continue my look at the Blue Jays through the numbers by examining fifteen numbers connected to the Blue Jays in the range of 35-70. All stats were taken prior to this evening’s game.

36 – Times Toronto Blue Jays have been hit by a pitch this season. Tied with Washington, this total leads the major leagues. Interestingly, Anaheim sits in dead last at 13, which is five less than the next-lowest teams, which are the Mets and Seattle at 18. The Jays are led by Shea Hillenbrand and Reed Johnson. Hillenbrand’s been hit by 11 pitches so far, which almost equals his 2004 total of 12 HBP. He’s always been plunked often, but never to this degree of frequency before. Johnson, who was also struck 12 times last year, has been hit 9 times, so the exact same thing applies to him. Johnson was hit 20 times in his rookie year, so perhaps we can expand his nickname to “Sparky, the Human Magnet.” Speaking of Reed Johnson, this obviously means nothing, but he has a .932 OPS as a leftfielder and a .402 OPS as a right fielder.

37 - At-bats per homer for the Blue Jays so far this year (actually 36.8). This ranks Toronto 16th in the major leagues, far behind Texas’ phenomenal 1 homer every 21.7 at-bats, but ahead of Oakland’s one home run every 51.6 at-bats. While Toronto’s offence is weak in some places, at least in home run power they are not missing Carlos Delgado as much as some thought they might. When you are hitting home runs with about the same degree of frequency as the Colorado Rockies (1 every 37 AB), than things can’t be going too badly. It’s becoming increasingly clear that JP is a big fan of Shea Hillenbrand, and without him we would slip several spots on this chart.

38 - Hillenbrand's RC total, which leads the Blue Jays. It's the second-worst team leading total in the AL, ahead of only Aaron Rowand's 37 and Mike Sweeney and David DeJesus's 35 for the Royals.

40 - Strikeouts by Corey Koskie so far this season. I would have liked to done 38 for games played, but it’s already taken by Hillenbrand, so we’ll make do with this. Koskie struck out 40 times in the 38 games he played and put up a .723 OPS, but I have little doubt it would have been roughly around his career averages when the season was over. Some people have criticised the Koskie signing, both here and elsewhere, but I supported it now. Anyone who thought Hill would be ready this soon and would be this good this early is an anomaly. Despite Baseball Prospectus’ cries that Koskie would block Hill, I don’t think even they thought it would happen this soon. Furthermore, it’s not like this situation cannot be rectified. Koskie can be moved to first, Hill can be moved to second, Hill can play shortstop, one of the two can DH or the Jays could engage some large six-player platoon with five of Koskie, Hill, Hillenbrand, Adams, Hudson and Hinske playing every day. Frankly, I didn’t expect Hillenbrand to be here past July, but that is looking more and more likely. With a weak free agent crop around the corner in 2006 and the new money JP has, there aren’t too many alternatives on the horizon anyway. I’d sign Koskie all over again if I had the choice, even with the injury potential.

41 - Hits by Gregg Zaun in 2005. Yesterday’s thread talked about the offensive problems of Ken Huckaby, with which I agree. I’d be surprised if he’s not in Syracuse on August 1st, with JP trying to get something new, even if it is a marginal upgrade, as the backup catcher. Still, one has to be impressed and pleased by the job Zaun has done as the primary backstop and how he’s managed to rejuvenate his career in Toronto. His defence has been very impressive and a switch-hitting catcher with an OPS in the mid-700’s in an offensive plus. Zaun will be here for 2006, although I’m not sure in what capacity. There’s no doubt the front office realises that they can’t look to Zaun past 2006 and that with Quiroz’s collapsed lung and Thigpen all the way down in low-A, Toronto’s system is thin behind the plate. I’m sure this is something they think about regularly and are hoping to address at some point.

45 - The number of double plays that Orlando Hudson has been involved with. Hudson’s made four errors in 355 total chances, for a fielding percentage of .989. Regardless of what his fielding percentage is, however, I’m convinced there is not a better defensive second baseman in baseball than O-Dog. This maybe naked-eye bias, but there is no doubt he in the elite class of defenders in the game, along with players like Eric Chavez, Mark Kotsay and Mike Cameron. O-Dog’s 355 chances in 517 innings exceed the 344 chances by Adams and McDonald combined, which they accumulated in 604 innings, which is a quick demonstration of his range. I also assume that shortstops, on average, get more chances than second baseman do.

47 – Strikeouts by Josh Towers so far this year. This total, accumulated in 80.2 innings, is only four less than the total he amassed last year in 116.1 innings. This amounts to a K/9 rate of 5.24, which is actually below the mark of 5.88 that Towers set in 2003 with Toronto, but which exceeds his mark of 3.95 from 2004 or 3.72 from 2001. Towers is having a good year as a back-of-the-rotation starter for the Jays, and they really couldn’t have asked more from him this year. If he can sustain this K rate, which has been dropping for the last month and a half, than with his control he can definitely make a serviceable # 4/5 starter in the majors.

52 – Games played by Russ Adams so far this year. As has been discussed a couple of times on the Box, several Bauxites agree that they believe it is time to stop platooning McDonald and Adams and allow Russ to get his feet well against major-league calibre left-handed pitching. Gibbons hasn’t agreed, for the most part, preferring to run John McDonald out there against lefties, in the hopes that he can provide some veteran defence and improved offence. Adams has 12 errors and a .946 fielding percentage, but that’s not unexpected from a rookie SS. However, the defensively-adept J.J. Hardy only has 2 errors so far this year in 48 games, although Adams has fielded about 70 more chances than Hardy. So far Adams is struggling against lefties at the plate, with a .538 OPS, in minimal at-bats

53 – Rank of Ken Huckaby in American League defensive Win Shares. Now, this may not seem impressive but the stats are not game-adjusted, so that really is quite impressive on Huckaby’s behalf. I’ve not been particularly impressed by him behind the plate, but Bill James’ system, modified by the crew at THT, ranks him very highly. Huckaby is the fifth-best defensive Blue Jay by this measure, sitting slightly behind Alex Rios who has 1.6 defensive Win Shares, compared to Huckaby’s 1.5. They both rank behind Wells at 2.6 and Zaun, at 2.8. As expected, Hudson leads the team with 3.0 defensive Win Shares and ranks fifth in the American League. This means Hudson has won the equivalent of a full game with his defence alone. It’s surprising to see that this system ranks Zaun, along with Rod Barajas, as the second-best defensive catcher in the AL, behind Pudge Rodriguez.

54 - Pinch-hit at-bats for the Blue Jays this season. The Jays have 17 hits in these PHABs, which gives them a .315 batting average, which is second in baseball. Only the Mets are better, while five teams, including the Braves and the White Sox, sit under .200. The Jays have built a team this year that utilises platoons, or arrangements resembling platoons, at a number of positions including left field, shortstop and second base. This arrangement has allowed Gibbons to play the percentages late in games, which has worked to Toronto’s benefit so far this season. This .315 average is especially important, as these at-bats are likely to come in high-leverage situations.

57 – Times the Blue Jays have grounded into double plays. This is tied for the eighth-most in baseball, sitting comfortable ahead of the 42 from Texas and Seattle. The team that leads the major leagues is not surprising either, as it is the extremely old San Francisco Giants with 75 GIDPs.

58 - Assists by Blue Jays starting pitchers this year. I thought of this category after watching Lilly’s fine defensive play last night where he fielded the comebacker and alertly looked to third, catching Luis Matos a couple of steps off the base and forcing him out at third. Lilly only had four assists on the season coming into that game, which only beat Gaudin’s three assists. They trailed Bush (7), Chacin (9), Towers (14) and Halladay (21). Doc has been impressive with the glove this season and he also benefits from being a groundball pitcher. Lilly is a flyball pitcher (one of only two on the Jays staff to have a G/F ratio of less than 1), so that explains some of the difference, but Halladay still seems to be one of the better fielding pitchers in the league, as evidenced on Saturday when he made a fine play on a liner up the middle.

60 - Strikeouts by Eric Hinske in 2005. Hinske’s strikeout total leads the team and is 13 more than Alex Rios. Koskie might be leading the team if he was not on the DL, but that’s somewhat of a moot point. Hinske only has 30 RBIs this year, and while that means little in-itself, the Jays need Hinske to drive in runners and it’s inevitable he’s squandered some opportunities with all of his strikeouts. With his hot start there was a lot of speculation and wishful thinking that Hinske could return to close to his 2002 form with a new batting stance, but that hasn’t materialised as his stats have slowly faded at the plate. The RBI total is just a symbol of the difference between what people would have hoped and expected from Hinske and what he’s produced. Anyway it is sliced, a slugging percentage under .400 from 1B is not acceptable.

64 - Innings pitched so far this season by Ted Lilly. Lilly has amassed this total in 13 starts, giving him an average of 4.92 innings per start, which means the bullpen has had to work hard in his starts. I think Gibbons would have liked to use Walker in higher-leverage situations more once it became clear how well he’s pitching this year, but he often has no choice as Walker has gone 2+ innings in relief in many of Lilly’s starts. Lilly’s struggles at the beginning of the season resulted in him being scolded in the media by both Gibbons and Arnsberg, and not long after that he seems to have woken up, with two good starts in a row. It’s been said before, but for the Jays to have any hope of seriously competing in the second half of the year, Lilly is going to have to pitch like he did in 2004, if not better.

68 – Games played by Reed Johnson. Colour me surprised by this stat, but Johnson has appeared in the most games for the Jays this season, as he has only missed one contest all year. This feat seems somewhat remarkable considering Johnson only has 36 starts to his credit all season. I know he came in as a defensive replacement in almost every game he didn’t start, but I didn’t think it was this frequent. I assumed Gibbons had left Cat in for his bat in some late-inning situations. I wonder how many players have appeared in 160 or more games while starting less than 100 on the season, because that’s something Johnson could accomplish.

Blue Jays 11, Orioles 2: Blue Jays by the Numbers, Part II | 17 comments | Create New Account
The following comments are owned by whomever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.
westcoast dude - Tuesday, June 21 2005 @ 09:17 AM EDT (#120122) #
What is this RC total of which Shea leads the team?
Regardless, Hillenbrand and Hill batting 4th and 5th makes the Blue Jays contenders. If Hill plays every day from here, would he have enough ABs to qualify for the batting title?
jsut - Tuesday, June 21 2005 @ 09:21 AM EDT (#120123) #

Someone at Yahoo is getting Russ Adams and Aaron Hill confused.

Hill is hitting 15-for-21 (.714) over his last five games. The left-handed hitting Hill has been splitting time with right-hander John McDonald, but manager John Gibbons said that he plans to start playing Hill against left-handed starters as well.

Thomas - Tuesday, June 21 2005 @ 09:21 AM EDT (#120124) #
Runs created.
Ducey - Tuesday, June 21 2005 @ 11:08 AM EDT (#120130) #
"Despite Baseball Prospectus’ cries that Koskie would block Hill..."

If I remember correctly, BP also suggested that Hillenbrand was not a good trade in part because Eric Crozier was likely to be able to the job.

Crozier is now hitting less that .200 with no power in AA.
Lefty - Tuesday, June 21 2005 @ 11:27 AM EDT (#120131) #
Well it looks like the Jays have a declared competitor in the signing of a power hitter. This quote taken from usatoday:

If they remain in contention, Shapiro says he might be tempted to go after a big bat.

"I have to look at every opportunity to improve the team," he says. "In this game patience is usually rewarded — if you can be patient with your own players. The Twins are a model of patience and consistency. They don't trade away a lot of their young players and because of that they keep sustaining a contending level of play."

That said ...

"If I could add a big, middle-of-the-order bat, I'd certainly do it," Shapiro says. "In an instant."
Maldoff - Tuesday, June 21 2005 @ 11:57 AM EDT (#120134) #
I actually think that the Jays best move would be to attempt to package Hinske and Catalanatto for some sort of bat, either a real leadoff hitter, or a middle of the order "bopper". Let Hill, Hillenbrand and Koskie deal with the DH, 1B and 3B positions.
Nigel - Tuesday, June 21 2005 @ 12:58 PM EDT (#120147) #
Maldoff - I think that with Hinske's contract he might actually have negative trade value. In other words, you might have to package something with Hinske just to jettison the contract, let alone get something of real value in return. I think an F-Cat Hinske trade would garner the Jays very little (other than free up salary - which of course has value in and of itself).
binnister - Tuesday, June 21 2005 @ 01:37 PM EDT (#120151) #
I'm having a bit of an 'X-Files/Conspiracy' moment here, so bear with me.

I don't know if this is a coincidence or not, but lately I've seen a quite a few players ignoring the 3rd base coaches "stop-sign" and round the base to score (case in point: Hillenbrand yesterday, but I’ve also seen a number of highlights from around the league). In almost every case, this action by the baserunner seems to have caught the Left fielder (as it’s usually a case of a single to left field) by surprise & he is unable to make a good throw to home.

So, my questions are this:

1) Do you think that there are left fielders in the ML that (consciously or subconsciously) use the opposing players 3rd base coach as ‘cue’ on whether the runner is heading home or not, and thus (slightly) base there actions on it? (ie. Shallow base hit to left field, the runner is approaching 3rd base, the LF fields it and catches (in the corner of his eye) the ‘waving-him-home’ motion from the 3rd base coach. Thus, with no hesitation, the LF fires it to home plate.)

2) If Q1. is correct, and the opposing team knows it, might we be seeing a new trend in ‘purposeful misdirection’ by either the coach or the base runner?

Might there be a ‘book’ being developed on which LF’ers are susceptible to this trick? Could this be something that the base runner is doing on his own, or is it being done purposely with the blessing of the Manager (leaving the 3rd base coach out of the loop)?

OR is something more sinister, and EVERYONE is in on it, and it goes ALL THE WAY TO THE TOP, BABY!!!


…it’s just a thought.
Named For Hank - Tuesday, June 21 2005 @ 01:38 PM EDT (#120152) #
I just don't see how these two-for-one trades work -- can a team really need a Hinske and a Catalanotto and have a slugger to spare? Why wouldn't they just play the slugger and find someone to fill the other hole?
sweat - Tuesday, June 21 2005 @ 01:53 PM EDT (#120157) #
maybe a right handed heavy team needs a couple of lefty's and has a young slugger that they dont think is ready to help in the playoffs.
Hartley - Tuesday, June 21 2005 @ 02:20 PM EDT (#120167) #
If the Blue Jays can win tonight or tomorrow or Thursday. The team will have 200 Wins lifetime vs. Baltimore Orioles

The team has 200 lifetime losses vs. Boston & New York
Petey Baseball - Tuesday, June 21 2005 @ 03:06 PM EDT (#120180) #
Hey guys....J.P. will end up trading O Dog and having Adams play second, with Hill playing short and Koskie third. It makes the most sense from an offensive perspective and we wouldn't be losing much defence. Sure O Dog is the best defensively but Russ Adams would be a superb 2nd baseman as well because of his time at short. I would go so far as to say that Russ's offensive upgrade over O Dog (which will start being noticeable as the games pass) and his solid defence and 2nd will overshawdow the outstanding defensive prowess of the O Dog. Not to mention allowing Hill, Adams and Koskie to play on the same team. I also believe Eric Hinske (barring a relapse of '02, or a sustained offensive improvement) will be had for possibly whatever JP can get, and possibly in the next month or so (or definitley by the break or by the start of '06). This will allow Hillenbrand (who I believe JP really wants to keep)to stay in the lineup everyday to play some 3rd (because of Koskie's health problems), some DH and some 1st, as JP makes another move (whether trade or free agent) to pick up a power bat to play 1st and DH. If you look at the Jays transactions in the past and also look at what teams like the Jays do (ie the A's) this seems like the avenue that Ricciardi will take.

So to sum up, O Dog and Hinske gone, Adams to 2nd Hill to short, Koskie to 3rd. Hilly stays, power bat acquired, plays 1st.

Feel free to take that apart Bauxites, but thats just what I see happening and I suspect many of you do as well.
Petey Baseball - Tuesday, June 21 2005 @ 03:08 PM EDT (#120183) #
Also, not to mention that Riccardi has stated many times that he sees Adams as their lead off batter because he sees a lot of pitches, and has lead off tools.
bird droppings - Tuesday, June 21 2005 @ 04:27 PM EDT (#120208) #
O Dog is the greatest defensive second baseman in the AL if not baseball.

How on EARTH can you say Russ Adams.... RUSS ADAMS... would be an upgrade??!!??!?!??!

Come to think of it... O Dog plays roving middle infielder, not second base.
sweat - Tuesday, June 21 2005 @ 04:40 PM EDT (#120211) #
I'm not so sure that the Jays would want to switch Adams to second base in the middle of the season. If we can get away with trading hinske and cat, who we have replacements for, why not stick with them?
Chuck - Tuesday, June 21 2005 @ 05:34 PM EDT (#120218) #
I just don't see how these two-for-one trades work -- can a team really need a Hinske and a Catalanotto and have a slugger to spare? Why wouldn't they just play the slugger and find someone to fill the other hole?

I agree. Fan-based trade rumours/proposals often see the quantity for quality approach, whereby the fan's team is the one giving up the quantity.

Catalanotto and Hinske are both overpriced for what they offer. That any team would elect to assume their contracts, even giving up nothing in return, is highly unlikely. Actually expecting something of use in exchange is just dreaming.

Thomas - Thursday, June 23 2005 @ 10:24 AM EDT (#120373) #
That games played info for Reed Johnson seems wrong. I don't remember where I got it from, but I remember double-checking it because it semed fairly extraordinary. Oh well.
Blue Jays 11, Orioles 2: Blue Jays by the Numbers, Part II | 17 comments | Create New Account
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