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December 01, 2006

Unit's 2006 LD%

From The Hardball Times Stats Glossary -

Baseball Info Solutions tracks the trajectory of each batted ball and categorizes it as a groundball, fly ball or line drive. LD% is the percent of batted balls that are line drives. Line drives are not necessarily the hardest hit balls, but they do fall for a hit around 75% of the time.

OK, now, for 2006, if you look at all "qualified" starting pitchers in the American League, who had the best (meaning the lowest) LD% in all the land?

Randy Johnson.

I never would have guessed that one. Maybe there was an element of unluckiness to Johnson's 2006 pitching results?

Posted by Steve Lombardi at December 1, 2006 12:38 PM

Comments

Wang had the 4th lowest LD% and Moose had the 8th. Based on that, it looks like the top of 2006 rotation didn't get beat around much.

Posted by: Mike A. [TypeKey Profile Page] at December 1, 2006 12:52 PM

Randy Johnson had a pretty decent FIP. I think it was around 3.85.

Posted by: DownFromNJ [TypeKey Profile Page] at December 1, 2006 01:22 PM

It was 4.37

Posted by: Steve Lombardi [TypeKey Profile Page] at December 1, 2006 01:27 PM

If Unit had bad luck last year, it's hopefully counteracted by good luck next year. That, plus a redone back, might be indications he'll have a good year next year.

Posted by: rbj [TypeKey Profile Page] at December 1, 2006 02:11 PM

FWIW, Unit did give up a lot of HRs last year. That was probably his downfall.

Posted by: Steve Lombardi [TypeKey Profile Page] at December 1, 2006 02:22 PM

I'm sure Randy Johnson will berate the press with this stat when they bring up his ERA next spring training. "I'm not getting old, you little worms! Look at this LD percentage!"

I think we saw with our own eyes that Johnson didn't have a good year, and that he looked like an old, hollowed-out shell of his former self. He even took a steep decline from the '05 Johnson. Less innings pitched, much fewer strikeouts, more walks, etc.

We saw a pattern that remained up until the playoffs: Unit comes out looking pretty good, has a couple of good innings (sometimes perfect innings), gets to about the fifth when he hits a wall, his slider flattens out, his control falters, and then bam, by the sixth or seventh they start taking batting practice off him.

In a perfect world, Randy Johnson would not be on this team next year. He's going to be even more diminished, and even more grumpy about it.

This is waaaaay off topic here, and I apologize, but they mention in the "Post" that Omar called the Brewers about Ben Sheets (one of my personal favorites) and the Brewers shot Omar down. Anyway, they mention Sheets' BB/K ratio for last year. 11/116. 11 walks to 116 strikeouts?! That's insane. It's ridiculous.

His career BB/K is 229/942. Outside of one semi-wild year in '02, he's never walked 50 men in a year. And in his huge strikeout year of 2004 (when he struck out 264) he only walked 32. A 32/264 BB/K. That has to be at least close to historic, right?

Steve, since you love stats so much, what were the top ten power-control numbers for pitchers in the modern era?

Posted by: baileywalk [TypeKey Profile Page] at December 1, 2006 03:14 PM

I was just looking around a bit. I think Pedro might win this race: in 1999, he struck out 313 and walked 37.

If you look at Pedro's numbers from his prime years, it's hard to believe he was human.

Schilling put up some ridiculous numbers in '97-98 with the Phillies and in '02 with the D'Backs.

Same for Randy Johnson, whose IP and SO make me wish it was ten years ago.

And of course Kofax, who threw 658 innings over his last two years in the league and struck out 699.

Posted by: baileywalk [TypeKey Profile Page] at December 1, 2006 03:26 PM

I think it's because most of the homers he gave up were majestic, towering shots. His fastball is ordinary and his slider became a glider. Without the smoke to keep them off balance, he's a middle of the pack pitcher surrounded by an above average team. 15-9 with a 4.85 ERA next year, if his back and knee hold up. What amazes me is that he lost 5-7 MPH off his fastball in one off-season. Not sure how that happened, but no amount of surgery will bring back that cheese.

Posted by: #15 [TypeKey Profile Page] at December 1, 2006 03:33 PM

That's because he DIDN'T lose 5-7 miles an hour on his fastball. I'm fully convinced that no one outside of Arizona even watched Johnson pitch for the D'Backs in '04. After having surgery in '03, he no longer had his 99 mph fastball. In 2004, he was 91-96 the whole year, with the occasional 97-98 when the radar gun was being generous.

The problem for Johnson was not losing 7 miles per hour (which has him averaging about 98, which he probably never did), but losing 2 or 3.

He went from throwing around 93-94 on average to about 90-91. A 93 mph fastball is still very good. Most people don't throw, on average, that hard. But with the Yankees Johnson was featuring more of a 90-91 fastball and it was really hittable.

The Unit was still able to gun it up to 95 sometimes, but for the most part he was around 90-91 all year.

Posted by: baileywalk [TypeKey Profile Page] at December 1, 2006 03:54 PM

I'm sure Randy Johnson will berate the press with this stat when they bring up his ERA next spring training. "I'm not getting old, you little worms! Look at this LD percentage!"
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Posted by: Raf [TypeKey Profile Page] at December 1, 2006 04:50 PM

~~~Steve, since you love stats so much, what were the top ten power-control numbers for pitchers in the modern era?~~~

I don't have my CBE on the new job. But, I will look at this later this W/E.

Posted by: Steve Lombardi [TypeKey Profile Page] at December 1, 2006 04:54 PM

I have an old edition of the CBE, but this is what I have;

STRIKEOUTS/WALKS YEAR SO/BB
1 Bret Saberhagen 1994 11.00
2 Curt Schilling 2002 9.58
3 Pedro Martinez 2000 8.88
4 Greg Maddux 1997 8.85
5 Pedro Martinez 1999 8.46
6 Ben Sheets 2004 8.25
7 Greg Maddux 1995 7.87
8 Curt Schilling 2001 7.51
9 Ferguson Jenkins 1971 7.11
10 Cy Young 1905 7.00

Posted by: Raf [TypeKey Profile Page] at December 1, 2006 05:10 PM

Bailey,
In 2004 Johnson had 10.62 K/9 which is around his career average of ~10.8)., a 2.60 ERA and a WHIP of freaking 0.90. In addition, from 1999 to 2004, he was an animal (except '03 with injuries). In '05 he had 8.42K/9, and ERA of 3.79, and a WHIP of 1.13. Respectable, but those are huge swings in the wrong direction. Now the AL is a monster at the plate compared to the NL, but he clearly hasn’t dominated since coming over. When I watch him pitch, I see batters that are too comfortable at the plate, digging in, sitting on his fastball. I think it’s impossible to not conclude that he got old, and got old very fast. Same with Kevin (shudder) Brown. The Yankees got them 2 years too late. If the difference in Johnson (and Brown) is only the shift from NL to AL, please let Andy retire in Houston. He’ll be looking at an ERA of 7.00.

Posted by: #15 [TypeKey Profile Page] at December 1, 2006 05:39 PM