Entries Tagged as 'troy tulowitzki'

Troy Tulowitzki and how we choose to look at stats

I listened the other day as the talking heads on ESPN discussed the idea of Troy Tulowitzki earning this year’s MVP based on his 14 homeruns in 15 game performance. 


Ok, it makes for good TV and to their credit most of them came to the conclusion that if he did it again (assuming that were even possible this late in the season), he should get it.  Otherwise, they wisely said no, probably not.  Last year, Fangraphs had a good article on “When Samples Become Reliable”.  I think it’s relevant here. 

But it’s more than just sample size too.  It’s choosing the range of data, too.  Let’s take a hypothetical example…

Say a player, call him Player X, goes hitless on Sunday and Monday.  He then gets one hit on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.  Friday and Saturday he goes hitless again.  We could say:

  • Player X got hits three days in a row.
  • Player X got three hits in the week
  • Player X got three hits from Sunday through Thursday

Those are all correct statements but convey very different things.  It’s just human nature that most of us would like to probably choose to focus on the positive and most likely concentrate on the fact that Player X hit safely in three straight games. 

So yeah, Tulo did hit 14 homeruns in 15 games and that is indeed a notable achievement.  But let’s look at the whole picture, guys.  He has 26 homeruns up to this point.  The fact that Tulowitzki did this at this moment in the season probably didn’t hurt.  Had he done this in June, the boys on ESPN wouldn’t have been bringing up his name. 


Thoughts on the 2009 Gold Glove Awards

The 2009 Gold Gloves were presented the other day.  Generally speaking, what struck me was this.  With an award that used to be awarded so traditionally, only two winners have more four to their credit.  Outfielders Ichiro Suzuki and Torii Hunter both have nine Gold Glove Awards on their mantle.  In case you’re wondering, they’re 6th on the all-time list for outfielders (they have six more to go to catch Roberto Clemente).

Some thoughts on a few of the Gold Glove award winners:

Ryan Zimmerman finally got his Gold Glove.  The cynic in me says that he finally hit well enough to deserve the award.  He hit better than David Wright who somehow got it the past two years.  Zim led the NL in assists and was 2nd in putouts.

While Jimmy Rollins won the Gold glove for shortstop, my vote would have gone to Troy Tulowitzki.  Tulo was in the top two in the league in fielding percentage, putouts, zone rating, total chances, and assists.  Rollins had the advantage of leading the NL in fielding percentage, an overrated stat, in my opinion. 

I’m a big Orlando Hudson fan.  Let’s get that out of the way.  But I was a bit surprised when he got the award this year.  It was his fourth one of his career but last year, due to his injuries, Brandon Phillips took it away from him.  Baseball is such a game of tradition.  Despite his deserving it, I wasn’t sure if the coaches would give it back to him.

I’ve been critical of Derek Jeter’s glove work in the past but word has it his fielding has really taken a turn for the better.  That and a slightly weak (Orlando Cabrera excluded) competition, Jeter deserved it this time.

Outfielder and Pitcher Gold Gloves… almost irrelevant in most cases.  in the cases they are relevant, they get ignored for those who are good with the stick. 

NL Gold Glove Award winners

AL Gold Glove Award winners

Wasted power?


Playing around with Baseball Reference’s Play Index today, I decided to see which hitters were hitting the long ball but not driving in so many runs.  Here are the five batters from the first half of 2009 with the lowest rbis totals with at least 15 homeruns.

     Batter            RBI HR               
    1 Chris Davis        33 15  
    2 Troy Tulowitzki    37 16  
    3 Jay Bruce          41 18  
    4 Hank Blalock       42 19  
    5 Curtis Granderson  43 18  


Here is the full list with all stats.

Granderson gets a bye here since he primarily leads off but the others need a better excuse. 

No surprise here.  We find batters with low batting averages (Bruce-.207) or worse a low  batting average AND a high strikeout rate (Davis- 114 Ks and a .202 BA). 

As for Tulowitzki, his .164 average probably accounts for his low rbi total.


Just for kicks, if I dial the homerun requirement down to 10, here are the results:

    Batter             RBI HR
    1 Josh Willingham    26 12  
    2 Ken Griffey        26 10  
    3 A.J. Pierzynski    27 10  
    4 Mike Jacobs        30 12  
    5 Scott Hairston     31 11  


Again, the full list is here.

Some surprises here.  I wouldn’t have expected to see Josh Williamham (.304) on this list though playing for the Nats could account for this.    Griffey and Jacobs both are having sub-par years in their other stat categories (ok, maybe sub-par is the wrong term to use… Jacobs is having about the year we would expect). 

AJ is hitting .299 playing for relatively offensively-minded team.  He is hitting .226 with RISP.  Not good but at the same time but four of his 10 homers have come in this situation.  Strange.

If you’re wondering, Alfonso Soriano comes up #8 on this list with 33 rbis on 14 homers.

And to add some historical perspective, I cranked up some all time Wasted Power numbers.  This time I took the homerun requirement up to 30.  So here is the top ten list of the lowest amount of rbis for any batter who hit 30 or more homeruns:

    Batter              RBI HR 
    1 Rob Deer           64 32 1992   
    2 Felix Mantilla     64 30 1964   
    3 Hanley Ramirez     67 33 2008   
    4 Brad Wilkerson     67 32 2004   
    5 Chris Young        68 32 2007   
    6 Brook Jacoby       69 32 1987   
    7 Alfonso Soriano    70 33 2007   
    8 Jose Valentin      70 30 2004   
    9 Rocky Colavito     72 30 1966   
   10 Mark McGwire       73 32 2000   


Full list here

Like Granderson, last year’s Hanley Ramirez and 2007’s Alfonso Soriano can be excused because their managers deemed them fit to lead off instead of using their power in a more useful spot. 

Otherwise, you find hitters I would expect.  Rob Deer.  Mark McGwire in his waning days.  Jose Valentin who loved to swing.  Bad Brad Wilkerson who struck out 152 times in 2004.  Oh yeah, there’s Chris Young again. 

I’ll probably revisit this topic at the end of season and see how the numbers how they’ve changed.  By the way, if you haven’t tried out Baseball Reference’s Play Index and you like goofing around with baseball stats, give it a try. It does cost a little but it’s worth a bit in my mind.