How Well Do You Know Your Rays?

Try to guess the player below from the statistical clues provided. For the answer, click on the links:

  1. He had the highest Isolated Power score on the entire roster in 2010.  Against right-handed pitching, he hit .262/.386/.524 and that .910 OPS was second only to Carl Crawford for left-handed batters on the team. His wOBA against right-handed pitching was better than that of Adrian Beltre, Dustin Pedroia, Alex Rodriguez, Kevin Youkilis, Nick Swisher, and his teammate Evan Longoria. All that and yet he only played in 77 games last season. Who is he?
  2. His Isolated Power has improved three straight seasons, but his strikeout rate has declined in three straight seasons as well. His percentage of at bats resulting in extra base hits trailed only Longoria on the team last season and his percentage hits resulting in extra bases trailed only the departed Carlos Pena.  His AB/HR ratio was 29.8 last season which was better than the league average. This looks like a player on the verge of a power breakout! Who his he?
  3. He hit .318 in May, I slugged .500 in July and he also drove in 11 runs that month. He hit .176 in August and had a .376 OPS that month while striking out in 41% of his at bats . Yet, he had a .823 OPS in May when he had a double digit walk rate and struck out in just 24% of his at bats. Those kinds of inconsistencies are expected from younger players but his role on the team will be increased even more so in 2011 so he has to correct those wild statistical swings. Who is he?
  4. He has stolen at least 30 bases three different times in his professional career. Last season, he set a new career high for batting average, on base percentage, and slugging while hitting near the top of the lineup. His ZiPS projections have him hitting .251/.303/.377 in 2011 while stealing 18 bases, hitting nine home runs, and driving in 41 runs. Not bad for a guy who has just 18 at bats at the major league level for his entire career. Who is he?
  5. This past June, he hit .311 with a .811 OPS. It was the only month all season in which he hit above .260 or had an OPS above .750. He walked 14 times through August and September which was double his effort from the first four months of the season. His walk to strikeout ratio was 0.10 through the season’s first four months but improved dramatically to 0.50 over the season’s final two months. He had zero steals in April and May but swiped 13 bags in the final four months including six in June. He hit just .229 with a .642 OPS against righties last season but mashed lefties to the tune of a .292 average and a .817 OPS. Who is he?
  6. He had the fourth best strikeout to walk rate in the entire American League in 2010.  He had the 8th best strikeout rate in the entire American League and he also had the 12th best walk rate in the league. He tied for second with 33 games started and was in the top twenty for innings pitched.  20% of all batters he faced struck out, he was one of the ten best strike throwers in the league, and he caused batters to swing and miss at a higher rate than Justin Verlander, Josh Beckett, and Zack Greinke. This guy is good! Who is he?
  7. In the first half of the season, his strikeout to walk rate was a bad 1.5 and his ERA was 4.68.  In the second half of the season, his rate improved to 2.3 as he reduced his walks from 4.1 per nine innings down to 2.5 per nine innings and his ERA improved to 3.48. However, his swinging strike rate was only the 52nd best in the American League last season  – below soft-tossers such as Bruce Chen, Brian Bannister, and Dallas Braden. Additionally, he needs to improve is his pitches per plate appearance as he had the 20th highest rate in the American League last season at 3.9 pitches per plate appearance. Who is he?
  8. He had more swinging strikes than Jaime Garcia, Jonathan Sanchez,  and even Ubaldo Jimenez. Batters contact percentage against him is the same as their contact rate against Tim Lincecum and is better than Clayton Kershaw’s.  Admittedly, this is in an incredibly small sample size, but those numbers are surprising. Additionally, in his major league career that has spanned all of 54 innings pitches, only one batter has gone yard on him — the prodigious slugger known as Jacoby Ellsbury. Who is he?
  9. His opponents contact rate is better than everyone mentioned in #8 and equal to K-Rod’s. His swinging strike percentage was equal to Padres stud reliever Mike Adams, hot Astros rookie Bud Norris, and better than that of Edwin Jackson, Dan Haren, and Mat Latos. His percentage of throwing strikes was one of the ten best in the National League and was equal to the percentage thrown by Roy Halladay. His strikeout to walk rate was the 8th best in the National League last season at 5.4 which was better than the rates put up by Billy Wagner, Dan Haren, and Josh Johnson. Yet, he is now in his fifth organization since 2005. Who is he?
  10. He threw 106 innings of baseball last year in the minors last season and gave up just three home runs while striking out 127 batters. He faced 375 batters in AA and struck out 27% of them. He faced 64 batters in AAA and struck out 42% of them. He has faced 20 batters at the major league level and has struck out 30% of them as well. See a trend growing yet? Who is he?

How did you do?

  • 10/10 — everyday player
  • 8-9/10 – key contributor
  • 6-7/10 – bench player
  • 4-5/10 – here’s a cookie from Kevin Kennedy, thanks for playing
  • 3 or worse – Is that you, Benarzyk?

About Jason Collette

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7 Responses to How Well Do You Know Your Rays?

  1. ramedy says:

    Only missed #8.

    Incidentally, I ran a fantasy draft this weekend on MLB2K10 but let the computer sim all my minor leaguers – he ended up with the Rays. It was meant to be.

  2. buddaley says:

    I got all the hitters but did lousy on the pitchers, only getting Wade Davis. But I feel good about it because I have been very optimistic about Joyce for a while and think many analysts, especially those not focused on the Rays, overlook him as potentially a key contributor.

    Part of my optimism for 2010 is that I expected Upton to break out, and while he didn’t make a huge impression, he did show progress, so perhaps I was a year early. If he does, and if Joyce emerges as a force, the Rays offense can be just fine even without Crawford.

    I also am very optimistic about Davis who I anticipate will build on a solid rookie year.

  3. Nice job, guys.

    I’m pretty excited to see what Joyce can do as a full-timer. He only has 60 PAs in his career against lefties so I am not willing to completely write him off yet. After all, he has a .739 OPS vs LH starting pitchers in ; the LOOGY’s have eaten his lunch though.

  4. Turns out I had linked #6 wrong so if you got that wrong, adjust your score by 1 🙂

    • buddaley says:

      Great. Then I had 2 pitchers right.

      Also, as far as LOOGYs eating his lunch. That is what LOOGYs do to lefties, which is the only reason most are in the majors. Does he fare worse against them than other big LH hitters do? I do think that is why it would be useful to have a RH outfielder on the bench who can play decent defense. Ordinarily LOOGYs are disasters against righties (think Choate) which would provide a real dilemma for opposing managers.

      Of note also is that in the majors Joyce has 51 career ABs vs lefties, 25 of them last year. His atrocious numbers in that sample are about as meaningful as the .323/.364/.581 line he put up against them in 31 ABs in Durham last year-that is not meaningful at all. I don’t think it is established yet that Joyce is helpless against lefties, and I would like to see him be a regular before drawing such a conclusion. I thought he was showing better ABs against them at Durham last year than he had in the past.

      • Agreed on all accounts. I think Joyce’s struggles vs LHP are overrated because he hasn’t been given much of a chance and specialist are very effective at what they do. Minorleaguesplits doesn’t have their data up any longer but I can’t imagine Joyce’s splits were that horrendous as a prospect otherwise he would not have made it up as quickly as he did with the Tigers.

  5. Pingback: A Change of Direction |

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