Full Year Leaderboards

The major-league season hit its traditional and actual halfway point yesterday. You probably know who’s at the top of the leaderboards so far this year, but half-seasons can be deceiving. So let’s ask the natural question: Who leads the major leagues in the major categories over the past full year, including the second half of last year?

We can answer this question thanks to David Pinto’s Day-by-Day database, which has quickly become one of my favorite online baseball resources.

Fantasy players know that a strong second half can foreshadow a strong following year. Some of the home run leaders over the past full year bear that out in a very close race:

Player              HR
Derrek Lee          47
Mark Teixeira       47
Carlos Lee          46
Albert Pujols       46
Andruw Jones        43
Adam Dunn           43
Manny Ramirez       41
Jim Edmonds         41
Paul Konerko        40
Aramis Ramirez      39

Mark Teixeira is just continuing what he started in the second half of last year, when he batted .293/.379/.603 with 25 home runs. Carlos Lee batted .318/.375/.616 with 24 home runs in the second half of last year, so his pace this year isn’t really a surprise, either. In fact, Teixeira and Lee would have been two guys near the top of any potential breakout list for 2005.

But what about the other Lee? Derrek hit 22 home runs in the second half of last year, so his home run rate so far this year is not really a surprise. But there is one big difference from his performance last year: His line drive rate has climbed from .187 all of last year to .270 so far this year, resulting in a BABIP increase from .306 to .410. As a result, his overall batting average has climbed from .256 the second half of last year to .383 so far this year.

Speaking of which, here are the leaders in Batting Average over the last full year:

Player               BA
Ichiro Suzuki       .364
Albert Pujols       .349
Vladimir Guerrero   .338
Mark Loretta        .333
Johnny Damon        .327
Placido Polanco     .326
Brian Roberts       .320
Miguel Cabrera      .320
Derrek Lee          .318
Luis Castillo       .318

Ichiro is “only” batting .300 this year, compared to .423 the second half of last year. Good enough to still lead the full-year list. To me, the biggest surprise on this list is Detroit’s Placido Polanco, who was so forlorn during the free agent offseason that he accepted the Phillies’ arbitration offer. I wonder if some GM’s are kicking themselves about that right now.

By the way, I don’t mean to overlook the perennially great players, like Vladimir Guerrero and Albert Pujols. Lists like these just affirm their awesomeness. Here’s on-base percentage:

Player                 OBP
Todd Helton           .434
J.D. Drew             .430
Albert Pujols         .426
Bobby Abreu           .424
Jim Edmonds           .423
Lance Berkman         .421
Luis Castillo         .417
Travis Hafner         .414
Mark Loretta          .405
Ichiro Suzuki         .403

Todd Helton is having a very disappointing year for the Rockies, but he’s still drawing walks. In fact, he’s tied for third in the majors this year in walks. But guess who’s leading the majors in intentional walks over the past full year?

Player                 IBB
Barry Bonds             57
Ichiro Suzuki           25
Todd Helton             23
Jim Thome               14
Alex Gonzalez           14
Albert Pujols           13
Vladimir Guerrero       12
Bobby Abreu             12
Mark Teixeira           12
Carlos Delgado          12

Just in case you had forgotten about the guy on the top, Bonds has drawn more than twice as many intentional walks as the number two guy in half the time. By the way, this list is the only one that isn’t based on batters qualifying with at least 502 plate appearances.

Now for the pitching leaders (minimum 162 innings pitched), starting with ERA:

Player                ERA
Roger Clemens         2.34
Johan Santana         2.44
Jake Peavy            2.66
John Smoltz           2.73
Dontrelle Willis      2.79
Chris Carpenter       2.84
Roy Halladay          2.85
Roy Oswalt            2.89
Mark Buehrle          3.06
Ben Sheets            3.09

I guess there are no big surprises on this list. Dontrelle Willis’s strikeouts are up and his walks are down, but the biggest difference between this year and last is his home run rate, which has fallen from 0.9 to 0.2 per game. Part of the reason for that is his groundball/flyball ratio, which is up a bit from 1.25 to 1.65.

Here are the leaders in strikeouts per nine innings pitched:

Player                 K/9
Johan Santana         11.0
Oliver Perez          10.0
Pedro Martinez        10.0
Jake Peavy             9.8
Jason Schmidt          9.8
Randy Johnson          9.6
Ben Sheets             9.6
Roger Clemens          8.7
A.J. Burnett           8.7
Chris Carpenter        8.6

The enigma that is Oliver Perez has maintained a decent strikeout pace this year but has also become the anti-Silva. His BB/9 ratio is over half a walk higher than the next worst total. On the other hand, it you’re not yet a believer in Chris Carpenter, you’re either a very skeptical person or a bitter Blue Jay fan.

We all know that the Twins, led by Brad Radke and Carlos Silva, have been on a record-setting pace for allowing the least base on balls in a season. But when it comes to stinginess, there is another…

Player                BB/9
David Wells           1.01
Brad Radke            1.02
Carlos Silva          1.06
Paul Byrd             1.30
Roy Halladay          1.37
Ben Sheets            1.44
Greg Maddux           1.47
Randy Johnson         1.54
Jon Lieber            1.57
Mark Buehrle          1.61

Here’s a final list. I don’t believe in the whole system of assigning wins and losses to pitchers—teams win games, not individuals—but it is kind of interesting to see which pitchers have been assigned the most wins over the last year.

Player                  W    L    WPct
Bartolo Colon          24    8    .750
Roy Oswalt             23   11    .676
Johan Santana          21    5    .808
Jon Garland            19    9    .679
Chris Carpenter        19    6    .760
Mark Buehrle           18   10    .643
Pedro Martinez         17    8    .680
Jon Lieber             17   11    .607
Jeff Suppan            17   11    .607
Jake Peavy             17    6    .739

Bartolo Colon reduced his ERA from 6.19 in the first half of last year to 4.07 in the second half. This year, he’s at 3.08. Over the last full year, Colon is 24-8, with a 3.35 ERA, 173 strikeouts and 60 walks in 228.7 innings. One of the keys for Colon this year is that he’s improved his G/F ratio from 0.86 to 1.11, and he’s improved his walk rate. Next to Vlad, he’s been the Angels’ MVP.

If you’d like to develop other full year lists, the day-by-day database is just a click away.

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