Posted By Jeff Fletcher on January 14, 2009 7:47 pm
One of my readers pointed out a pretty cool site, Fangraphs. It’s got a lot of the stats you can find elsewhere on major leaguers, but also has a pretty neat tool to sort out information for minor leaguers, including some non-traditional numbers.
So I was trolling around looking for something interesting, and stumbled upon this.
James Simmons — the A’s top pick in the 2007 draft, if you recall — had a pretty good season last year, even though no one seemed to notice. He was overshadowed by Brett Anderson, Trevor Cahill and Vin Mazzaro. Here’s what impressed me about Simmons: opponents hit .345 against him when they put the ball in play and he still had a 3.51 ERA in the Double-A Texas League.
What’s that mean?
Well, it’s a little stat-geeky, and I apologize in advance for that, but essentially the thinking is that a pitcher has control over strikeouts, walks and homers and everything else is up to his defense. Sometimes those “everything else” balls will find gloves. Sometimes they’ll find holes. Either way, it’s pretty much luck, on the pitcher’s part.
Back to Simmons. A .345 average on balls in play indicates that he didn’t get very lucky at all. Probably a lot of bloopers or else just some questionable defense behind him. Yet Simmons did well in the other areas (with 7.94 strikeouts, 2.12 walks and 0.73 homers per nine innings). To me, that means Simmons really pitched better than his 3.51 ERA or his 9-6 record.
Anyway, I’m going to go through that site more over the next few days and see what else I can come up with. Feel free to post any interesting tidbits you find.