In November, I wrote a post entitled “Mining For Gold in the Bill James Handbook“. In case you weren’t aware, Bill James has a new website as well as a new book called the Bill James Gold Mine. It showed up in my mailbox about a week or so ago and I wanted to present some nuggets to you before we delve into what I mine out of it. Enjoy!!! These come straight from the media notes that came with the book.
- Last year, Alfonso Soriano swung at 467 pitches that were outside the strike zone, third-most in the majors. It was only the second time since we began compiling the data in 2002 that he’d failed to lead the majors. Back in 2004, Vladimir Guerrero topped him by 33.
- In 2006, Soriano had 15 baserunner kills (a direct throw to a base to “kill” a baserunner – no relay involved) in left field. The next best fielder that year had 10 (Craig Monroe). Soriano got even better in 2007. He had 19 baserunner kills, while the next-best left fielder had 7 (Jason Bay).
- The Cubs’ most effective baserunner last year was not Soriano (+11) or Ryan Theriot (+9), but rookie center fielder Felix Pie (+18), who made only 36 starts and batted less than 200 times. Pie aggressively took extra bases without ever being caught trying; he stole eight bases in nine attempts; and he didn’t ground into a single double play at the major league level.
- The worst-supported starting pitcher in the majors was Matt Cain of San Fancisco, at 3.16 runs per start, but the worst supported relative to his team was Rich Hill, 40 runs short of expected support. Kelvin Escobar in 2004 was the only pitcher since 2002 to be shorted by his team worse than Hill was last year.
- The Cubs last year had a better record with Jason Marquis on the mound than with Carlos Zambrano, Ted Lilly or any other starting pitcher.
So there you go. That’s just a small taste of what is in the book. You’ll either have to go buy the book or wait for more when I get a chance to put it together. I’d recommend the former.