Saturday, June 4, 2016

Braves Saturday Stats Pack - Mallex, Flowers, Teheran, Vizzy

Back by no demand is this week's Saturday Stats Pack. Later on this afternoon, expect a minor league version of this series. Just a reminder that when I use Baseball-Reference Play Index, the data goes back to 1913 in many cases.

By EricEnfermero (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0],
via Wikimedia Commons
A Different 20/20 Club

No one doubts that Mallex Smith is a fast baserunner, but with a 50% stolen base rate in his first 14 attempts, he has been as much of a problem when taking off as he has been an asset. It got me thinking - what is the most stolen base attempts by a player with a 50% success rate? That honor belongs to George Grantham in 1924, who was caught in half of his 42 attempts. Grantham would never again steal more than 14 bases. Perhaps his manager thought "that'll do." Grantham's 50% mark in at least 40 attempts isn't the worst in history, by the way. That distinction belongs to Pat Duncan, who, in 1922, was caught in 28-of-40 attempts for the Reds.

Another Power Outage Note

Currently, 18 players have at least 100 plate appearances in 2016 and have hit zero homeruns. 22%, or four total, have done their lack of damage with the Braves. They include Erick Aybar, Ender Inciarte, A.J. Pierzynski, and Daniel Castro. If he gets 31 more at-bats before homering, Chase d'Arnaud has a chance to make it five. Let's hope that doesn't happen.

Tyler Hits It Hard, Not High

If you are looking for bright spots this year for the Braves, you would find one in Tyler Flowers. While he has had to share time with Pierzynski because the Braves hate nice things, Flowers has slashed .253/.360/.347 in 111 PA. If that doesn't seem great to you, it's probably because it really isn't. If it does seem great to you, then you are probably a Braves fan and you realize that a .708 OPS places Flowers among the top hitters on the team. Flowers has also done a great job putting velocity on the ball. No other Brave can match his 94.3 mph average exit velocity, good for a spot in the Top 20 in baseball using MLB Statcast. However, with a level swing, Flowers rarely puts a lot of air under the ball. The average launch angle is just 7.1 feet while the average height is 26 feet, marks that are backed up by just a 31.7% flyball rate. But who cares when he has a 20% line-drive rate?

You Had One Job!

Ian Krol's call-up was met with eye-rolling, but so far - so good. Yes, righties are teeing off him, but the one job Krol was supposed to fill this season after being acquired in the Cameron Maybin deal was to get out lefthanders. In a division with Bryce Harper, Daniel Murphy, Michael Conforto, Curtis Granderson, and Christian Yelich among others - having a player capable of neutralizing those big boys to some degree is a must. Krol has done that since being called up from Gwinnett. Of the 20 lefties he has faced, only three have reached first base safely (two singles and a HBP). Eight have struck out. Krol might never develop into a true full-inning reliever, but there's always room in a bullpen for a LOOGY.

Teheran's Unusual "Wildness"

Baseball is a quirky game with a collection of stats - some more enlightening than others. One of the least-informative stats might be wild pitches. At a quick glance, it might tell us that the pitcher is prone to wildness, but that's not always the case. Take Julio Teheran, who has thrown a half-dozen wild pitches so far this year. That not only ties him with Pittsburgh's Jon Niese for the most wild pitches in the National League, but Teheran's six wild pitches tie his career record coming into 2016. Not his personal high, but his total of wild pitches in over 600 innings before 2016. Is Teheran struggling with the zone? Not really. His 2.7 BB/9 is right in tune with his career average and his zone rating of 50.3% (PITCHf/x) is as well. But baseball is weird sometimes so instead of a pitch in the dirty getting away from the catcher with nobody on, now there is a runner on and that player advances.

Arodys Time

I am a huge fan of Arodys Vizcaino. Maybe it's because he's the best reliever Atlanta has and nobody else on the team can match his nastiness on the mound. Whatever the reason, I get excited when I see him pitch. Yet, I still am surprised when I look at the MLB Statcast leaderboard and see just where Vizzy's stuff ranks compared to the rest of the league. Nobody throws a harder two-seam fastball than Vizzy's 98.2 mph average velocity heater. It's the third fastest pitch in baseball in terms of average pitch and carries an average spin rate of 2,358 rpm, which compares well to the best pitches in the league. His four-seamer isn't so shabby either (97.3 average mph & 2,418 rpm).

That's it for this week. Hope you enjoyed.

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