Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Austin Jackson and the Oddest Stats Ever

It was tough to see Curtis Granderson leave for most Tigers fans, but so far Austin Jackson has filled in admirably both at the plate and in the field. He has quite a few timely hits, and has made some Grandy-like plays out in CF so far. While Granderson is mired in a bit of a slump, AJax seems to keep chugging along, but he has some of the oddest stats you could imagine.

Everyone knows about the regular stats like batting average (.325) and the league leading strikeouts (32). A couple stats that contradict each other right off, but what about the geek stats that are out there?

Batting Average Balls in Play (BABIP) is one that should raise a few eyebrows at least. It is the amount of time when a hitter puts a ball in play that it goes for a hit minus home runs. AJax has only 1 HR so far so this is pretty easy to see. Currently according to Fan Graphs he leads the league in BABIP at an astounding .520. This means that at least every other time he puts the ball in play he is getting a hit. The league average is usually closer to .300 so this implies that he is getting a tad bit lucky so far this year.

Of course the strikeouts play a little role in this as well. Since a lot of his outs come from the KO his in play balls tend to be better hit. Although this has some effect, it still doesn't take away the fact that he is still "hitting them where they ain't" so far this season. Something that can't possibly continue and will look like you took some irvingia to his BABIP at some point most likely.

On top of the BABIP being really high, AJax is 3rd in the league with a 34.7% Lind Drive % (LD%). This stat is considered to be one of the better indicators for hitters to keep their BABIP at a higher level. Basically, the more line drives you tend to hit, the more often you do get a hit.

His Ground Ball % (GB%) is at 36.7% as well, which means that with his speed it helps even more. I'm sure you have seen him get a bunt single at least once so far this year. This leaves his Fly Ball % (FB%) all the way down at 28.6%, which means he isn't swinging for the fences much.

So...where does this leave us? To be honest I have no idea. It's really quite an interesting set of stats to me as it contradicts itself in some ways, and supports itself in others. At the very least we can probably assume that hitting .325 is quite a bit high for him, and won't continue forever. Odds are he moves down to at least the .270s-.280s eventually and standardizes there, but you never can tell.

Lions Still Looking For Linebackers. Everyone Assumes Bulluck

It's no surprise that ever since Jim Schwartz came to the Lions from the Tennessee Titans, that rumors have popped up about several former Titan players coming here. We all know that the only way to get players to come here is if they have a connection to one of the coaches, or we pay them way more than anyone else would, or both.

Look no further than the first 2 major signings this off season. Kyle Vandenboche, and Nate Burleson. VanDeboche came from Schwartz' system in Tennessee, while Burleson was drafted by Off. Coordinator Linehan when he was in Minnesota. Rumors have surfaced about signing Pacman "Make it Rain" Jones, and now Bullock continues to be brought up still with the huge need for more LBs to help prevent you from needing a sleeping aid while watching the Lions games..

Funnily enough, only Killer Kowalski still makes this sound like a real possibility even though he has reported that: In the half-dozen times I've asked Schwartz about it, he never has said, "No, we're not interested'' or "That's unlikely'' or "He doesn't really fit our plans.''

All he ever has talked about is the knee injury and never in any concrete terms. He just says, "He's got a knee'' or "He's got an ACL.''

So...he's a guaranteed IR guy for us at some point obviously.

Miguel Cabrera is Killing People

If you hadn't realized that Dave Dombrowski robbed the Florida Marlins blind the day he traded for Miguel Cabrera, it is hard to deny it now. With Cameron Maybin, and Andrew Miller showing little in the way of becoming bonafide MLB stars they were once hyped to be, and Miguel Cabrera dominating the same way he did in Florida, you have to accept it don't you? Miggy is still well below the age of needing the best wrinkle cream too at just 27 and in his prime.

After all the negative news about Click Clack and his drunken exploits in the final weeks of the 2009 season, many were very down on Miggy. His words that he had decided to get help and turn his act around fell on deaf ears for most. The way he has started this season seems to imply that he has really made this change, and is the newer, and even more focused slugger.

Game after game he is coming through in the clutch, and piling up the RBIs. Last night he hit the go ahead HR in the 9th inning in route to the Tiger win of 8-6. He leads the league in RBIs at 24 already, and it looks like he is commanding the yes of the MVP voters so far.

Lions Get Relatively High Draft Grades for 2010

It is no surprise that many gave the Detroit Lions better than average draft grades with the big time players they took. Ndamukong Suh was considered the best player in the draft by most "experts" and the Lions taking him at #2 overall was a no-brainer. The trade up into the first round to pick up the explosive RB from Cal, Jahvid Best also drew a lot of praise as he was considered to be a steal by some where they got him.

The Lions even made the trade up with a division rival in the Minnesota Vikings that cost them only a move down in the 4th round with pick swaps to move up from the 2nd round. Best is the more intriguing pick I think because he has some question marks. Many worry about a serious concussion he had last year, with a minor one earlier, as well as some other small injuries he has had. Of course he is getting praise for being a legit game breaker from many other sources as well, including head coach Jim Schwartz.

He is certainly more fun to watch on Youtube than staring at a personalized soccer balls:

The rest of the guys I don't even really care about at this point. They took CB Amari Spievy in the 3rd round, which was a huge need, but he projects more as a #2, or nickel CB. They took a gamble on an OT of Jason Fox in the 4th, and got a couple 7th rounders that we can worry little about and any impact they make is just a bonus.