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by Aaron Gleeman
August 31, 2005
Here's a completely random collection of odd, interesting, and noteworthy stuff I stumbled across while rummaging through some of my favorite stats—player splits.
Padres right fielder Brian Giles is hitting .327/.456/.562 on the road this season, which looks an awful lot like the amazing production he supplied when batting .308/.426/.591 for the Pirates from 1999-2003. Unfortunately, Giles has been killed by his home ballpark, hitting just .270/.383/.428 at pitcher-friendly Petco Park. Even that's not bad hitting, of course, but Giles has 34 extra-base hits in 226 road at-bats compared to just 20 extra-base hits in 215 home at-bats.
Orioles righty Daniel Cabrera has been nearly unhittable against right-handed batters this year, holding them to .165/.248/.208 with just one homer in 236 at-bats. He's been knocked around against left-handed hitters though, allowing them to hit .294/.418/.511 with 12 homers in 262 at-bats. The odd thing is that Cabrera had a remarkably even lefty/righty split last season, holding righties to .270/.369/.367 and lefties to .249/.345/.399.
Here's another interesting Cabrera split: Opponents have hit just .216/.308/.311 off of him with no one on base, but that rises to .256/.380/.442 with runners on and .268/.382/.447 with runners in scoring position. It was the same story last year too, as Cabrera held batters to .223/.324/.298 with the bases empty, but allowed them to hit .303/.394/.490 with runners on base and .344/.440/.511 with runners in scoring position. Apparently Cabrera doesn't like pitching from the stretch very much, which is amusing from a guy who hands out a walk every other inning.
I often criticize managers like Minnesota's Ron Gardenhire for not realizing the value in platooning a player. For instance, Gardenhire has been trotting out left-handed hitting outfielder Jacque Jones every day for the past four years despite the fact that Jones has yet to crack a .725 OPS against lefties. (He's batting .213/.265/.385 against them this season.) So while there are a lot of things to pick on Devil Rays manager Lou Piniella about, I'd like to praise him a little for the amazing job he's done platooning Eduardo Perez.
A right-handed hitter, Perez has hit .277/.382/.571 with nine homers, six doubles, 17 walks, and 23 RBIs in 131 plate appearances against left-handed pitchers this season. A lot of managers would see Perez crushing lefties and stick him in the lineup every day against righties too, where he would then put up mediocre numbers. Not Piniella, who has given Perez a grand total of 25 plate appearances against righties all season (in which he's hit .238/.360/.381). Now, if only we could somehow get Jones and Perez on the same team and let Piniella manage them...
Remember when it was big news that Manny Ramirez was off to a slow start? After going 0-for-4 in a May 27 loss to the Yankees, Ramirez's season totals hit their low point of .224/.335/.491. Since then, he has hit .328/.423/.646 with 22 homers, 19 doubles, and 77 RBIs in 73 games. Ramirez is now among the top five in the American League in homers, walks, RBIs, runs, on-base percentage, slugging percentage and OPS, and is on pace for 40 homers and 145 RBIs.
As good as Ramirez's turnaround has been, it can't even compare to Cleveland catcher Victor Martinez's. After hitting .283/.359/.492 with 23 homers, 38 doubles, and 108 RBIs in a breakout 2004 season, Martinez stumbled out of the gate this year and entered the All-Star break hitting just .236/.312/.380. Since the break, Martinez has been one of the hottest hitters in baseball, batting .396/.460/.630 while the Indians surged into the playoff picture. Take a look at how Martinez's first-half and second-half production compares:
AB H HR RBI R BB
First Half 284 67 9 35 31 28
Second Half 154 61 9 30 27 20Martinez's second-half performance has been so good that he has recovered from his brutal start to rank second among major league catchers with an .832 OPS.
Oakland rookie starter Joe Blanton is another guy who has recovered from a bad start to put together a very nice year. After being knocked around for 12 runs (11 earned) in six innings in consecutive starts against the Devil Rays on May 25 and May 30, Blanton was 0-5 with a 6.66 ERA and had just 16 strikeouts (compared to 23 walks and nine home runs allowed) in 48.2 innings.
Since then, Blanton has been a completely different pitcher, going 8-4 with a 2.19 ERA in 16 starts, including 3-0 with a 0.95 ERA in August. He has even been racking up a fair number of strikeouts, with 71 in 106 innings for a rate of 6.0 per nine innings that is more than double his strikeout rate through May. At 8-9 with a 3.61 ERA in 154.2 innings overall, Blanton has emerged as one of the leading AL Rookie of the Year candidates heading into September.
I love the consistency of Pedro Martinez's splits, with nearly identical ERAs in every situation. He dominates whether he's at home (2.70) or on the road (2.84), playing during the day (2.84) or at night (2.72), pitching in a dome (3.00) or out in the open (2.74), in April (2.75), May (2.83), June (2.66), July (2.83) or August (2.81). And, of course, he had a 2.72 ERA before the All-Star break and has a 2.89 ERA since.
Pedro must really love being back in the National League, because once he gets to the bottom of the order it has been lights out this season. Take a look at his combined numbers against eighth- and ninth-place hitters:
AB H 2B 3B HR BB SO
133 14 0 0 0 1 45Yes, you're reading that correctly. He has yet to allow a single extra-base hit in 133 at-bats against #8 and #9 hitters, and they have drawn a total of one walk against him while striking out 45 times. Add it all up and you get a combined line of .105/.112/.105 with a strikeout 34% of the time. And that's who he is facing about 20% of the time!
Aaron Gleeman is a freelance writer whose work can also be found regularly at AaronGleeman.com, Fox Sports, Rotoworld, and Insider Baseball. He welcomes comments, questions, and suggestions via e-mail.
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