Saturday, April 25, 2020

Defensive Runs Saved: What is it? 4/25/20

Hey baseball fans!

Kevin Kiermaier is the center fielder for the Tampa Bay Rays. A couple of years ago, Kiermaier got a massive contract extension to stay in Florida. Well, the extension itself wouldn't be big to Mike Trout, but for a guy who only hits in the low .200s with barely 10 home runs a season, it was a massive contract extension. Yes, he's a three-time Gold Glover and someone who's known for robbing homers like it's his job, but why did the Rays give their outfielder a spanking new contract just for being an above-average fielder? The answer? Defensive runs saved.

Defensive runs saved is a statistic used to determine, well, how many runs on defense a player saves by making a play. There's a lot of averaging out and conversion that goes into the formula, but at its core, DRS is calculated in the following way. Say an outfielder makes a play that was 35% possible. That would mean that the fielder gets .65 points added into the DRS formula. Again, there's a lot more math that happens with that .65, but basically, if a fielder makes hard plays that prevent lots of runs, they have a high DRS. The same thing goes in the opposite direction. Let's say a shortstop boots an easy grounder that has an 80% success rate. Well, for his DRS metric, he gets .8 points deducted from his score.

Kevin Kiermaier saved a whopping 42 runs in 2015 according to his DRS calculation, a number that the Rays thought was quite valuable to their winning ways. The all-time leader in DRS is Adrian Beltre at 212, but keep in mind that this statistic is very new, and that if data was calculated for it going back into the 1800s, you'd probably see Ozzie Smith or Brooks Robinson at the top of the all-time DRS rankings. But you know who has the lowest all-time DRS? Derek Jeter at -152! I guess "The Flip" was really an anomaly, especially for the Captain.

Thanks for reading this post and I hope you enjoyed it. Check back soon for more of "all the buzz on what wuzz."

Tuesday, April 14, 2020

The Case (or Lack Of One) for Dennis Martinez 4/14/20

Hey baseball fans!

In a time of uncertainty, all eyes lie on the President to see what he does next. But for right now, let's talk about El Presidente. That's right: it's a Dennis Martinez post!

Dennis Martinez pitched for a number of teams, most notably the Orioles, Expos, and Indians, during a 23-year career from 1976-1998. An overall chipper guy, Martinez was the first ever Nicaraguan to pitch in the majors, a feat that hasn't been accomplished as much as you'd think since his retirement. Martinez had a 3.70 ERA during his years in baseball with a record of 245-193 and 2,149 strikeouts. He posted at least ten wins in a season 15 times, nine of those years consecutively, and twice finished in the top five for the Cy Young vote. Martinez got less than the 5% required to stay on the Hall of Fame ballot after his first year of eligibility in 2004, but that doesn't mean that the four-time All Star deserves zero praise. Even though he went 7-16 in 1983 with an ERA towards six, he still was on the '83 Orioles when they beat the Phillies in that year's World Series. His best year in Baltimore was arguably 1981, when he won 14 games in a strike-shortened season with a 3.32 ERA, his best seasonal ERA in Charm City. Only after his trade to Montreal did Martinez really become El Presidente.

From 1987-1993, you could argue that Martinez was in the same elite tier as Greg Maddux. I mean, you would lose the argument, but not by much! Martinez's years in Montreal were a sort of renaissance for him, as he posted a 2.96 ERA, 96 wins, and a 1.14 WHIP during the span. But his greatest achievement north of the border actually came in a game in Los Angeles. On Sunday, July 28, 1991, El President was el perfecto, pitching a perfect game against the Dodgers, thereby becoming the first pitcher born outside the United States to pitch a perfect game. It came in the midst of Martinez's best yearly ERA (2.39, which led the league) and his second of three consecutive All Star nods. The game itself was notable for a few reasons. Dodger Stadium became the first stadium to witness two perfect games (Sandy Koufax in 1965 was the first) and the Dodgers became the first team to lose consecutive perfect games (Tom Browning's perfecto against LA in 1988 was the one immediately before Martinez's).

Despite his resurgence with the Expos, Martinez was too inefficient earlier in his career to be considered a Hall of Famer in my book, but he'll always be one in the hearts of Expos fans. Thanks for reading this post and I hope you enjoyed it. Check back soon for more of "all the buzz on what wuzz."

Thursday, April 2, 2020

600 Homers For My 600th Post 4/2/20

Hey baseball fans!

Today is the eight-year anniversary of my very first blog post AND my 600th post! Thank you so much to everyone who has read my stuff over these past eight wonderful years, whether you're a day one fan or are just stumbling upon my posts this year. Now, onto the baseball history!

It only makes sense to talk about the 600 Home Run Club for my 600th post, one of the most exclusive clubs throughout the history of America's pastime. Let's break down the numbers. 600 home runs would take an average of 30 homers for 20 years. Considering the 500 Home Run Club is about three times as plentiful, you can understand how truly hard it is to hit 600 career home runs. Besides the steroid-users, every member of the 600 Home Run Club is in the Hall of Fame, so let's talk about some of those MLB legends.

Jim Thome
The king of the walk-off home run totaled 612 home runs during his 22-year career with mainly the Indians. What's interesting to look at with Thome is his lack of recognition as a power hitter throughout his career; he only made five All Star Games, the least amount of ASGs amongst the guys with 600+ homers (not including Babe Ruth, who played a majority of his career without an All Star Game). However, Jim was an integral part of the Cleveland teams of the 1990s, one of the greatest dynasties that wasn't a dynasty.

Ken Griffey, Jr.
The Kid is undeniably the best player in the history of the Seattle Mariners. If only he didn't beg for a trade to his hometown Cincinnati Reds. Anyway, Griffey's 630 homers rank seventh on the all-time list, helped out by league-leading years in home runs in 1994 (40 in only 111 games) and 1997-1999 (56, 56, and 48, respectively). He had 40 or more home runs in a season seven times and won the Home Run Derby a record three times.

Albert Pujols
Similar situation to Griffey, except his big drop-off in power came with free agency and not a trade. Nonetheless, Pujols is one of the greatest hitters of my generation. Besides having 656 career home runs, he also has 3,202 career hits, making him one of four hitters in history with 600+ homers and 3,000+ hits. Pujols's 35 homers a season is the highest average homers per year among members of the 600 Home Run Club, and is also the active leader in career home runs.

Willie Mays
We move into the Top Five! The Say Hey Kid smacked 660 career homers during his 22-year run with the Giants and Mets, cementing himself as one of the candidates for baseball's Mount Rushmore. Mays was a four-time home run champ and is the only military veteran of the 600 Home Run Club. He is also the fastest member of the club, with 338 career stolen bases.

Babe Ruth
THE BEST HITTER IN BASEBALL HISTORY (sorry, I just had to reiterate that statement) was the first member of the 200, 300, 400, 500, 600, and 700 Home Run Clubs. His 714 home runs were the highest in baseball history for 39 years, and the metric currently ranks third all-time. He is the only member of the club who played in the first half of the 20th century, but is also the club member with the most single-season home run titles (12).

Hank Aaron
The second member of the 700 Home Run Club ended his career with 756 home runs, which currently ranks second on the all-time list. However, among members of the 600 Home Run Club, he ranks first in hits (third all-time with 3,771) RBIs, and All Star Game appearances (his 2,297 careers runs batted in and 25 All Star Games are both first all-time). Aaron was a four-time home run champ, and is another candidate for baseball's Mount Rushmore.

Thanks again to everyone for supporting me through 600 posts, and I hope you enjoyed this particular post. Check back soon for more of "all the buzz on what wuzz."