Hudson’s in small group of Cy Young favorites

Sunday morning at the ballpark, Terry Pendleton and Brian McCann were busting my (chops) about not writing enough concerning Tim Hudson’s Cy Young Award bid.

Surging Braves ace has moved into the handful of contenders for the Cy Young Award.

Surging Braves ace has moved into the handful of contenders for the Cy Young Award.

I mentioned that Adam Wainwright and a couple others have been considered the front-runners for much of the season, mentioned the wins and strikeouts, and T.P. jumped on that, razzing me about knowing more about the other team’s ace than Hudson, etc.

We mention this incident because it in no way reflects upon what I’m about to write, which is that Hudson has, indeed, slowly but surely thrust himself squarely into the middle of the NL Cy Young conversation.

In fact, one might argue that he’s at least a co-favorite today, given how he has moved into the ERA lead while outperforming Wainwright, Josh Johnson, Ubaldo Jimenez and even Roy Halladay in recent weeks.

Of the perceived Cy favorites, only Chris Carpenter’s recent stats compare with Hudson’s.

Hudson is 6-0 with a 1.43 ERA in his past eight starts, with 46 strikeouts, 11 walks and only one homer allowed in 56-2/3 innings during that resounding run.

He has taken over the league ERA lead at 2.24, ahead of Philly’s Halladay (2.27), Florida’s Johnson (2.28), San Diego’s Mat Latos (2.29) and St. Louis’ Wainwright (2.30). Did we mention this might be the closest Cy race in a while? San Diego’s Latos (13-5) could also figure prominently.

Hudson (15-5) is tied for third in winning percentage at .750, behind Carpenter (14-4, .778) and Jimenez (17-5, .773). Wainwright is 10th at .654 (17-9).

Hudson is fifth in lowest opponents’ average at .220 (Latos is way ahead at .192, followed by Jimenez at .210 and Jonathan Sanchez and Wainwright at .215.

Hudson has the second-lowest slugging percentage allowed at .304, trailing only Latos (.299). This isn’t surprising if you’ve watched Hudson pitch this year – the dude might be throwing the most devastating sinkers and other pitches consistently below the knees that I’ve seen since Kevin Brown’s most dominant season with the Marlins, among pitchers that I’ve covered.

He leads the majors in percentage of grounders induced at 75.1, while St. Louis’ Jaime Garcia (71.2) and Braves teammate Derek Lowe (71.1) are the only other NL pitchers as high as 67 percent.

Tonight's starter Mike Minor has three quality starts to begin his career, something that Maddux, Glavine, Smoltz, Hudson, Hanson and Jurrjens didn't do in their first three major league starts.

Tonight's starter Mike Minor has three quality starts to begin his career, something that Maddux, Glavine, Smoltz, Hudson, Hanson and Jurrjens didn't do in their first three major league starts.

With runners on base, Hudson ranks seventh in the NL and eighth in the majors with a .199 opponents’ average, a ranking that includes all qualifying pitchers, relievers and starters. Who’s the leader? Young Jonny Venters, the Braves lefty reliever whose .168 (19-for-133) is just ahead of Latos (.169). No other qualifying pitcher in the majors is lower than .187).

The only stat that might lose some votes for Hudson is strikeouts. Some voters are inclined to give that stat more weight than it deserves in some cases. Because while strikeouts are important for power pitchers, Hudson is not going for them most of the time.

He’s trying to get the other team to put the ball in play, to keep his pitch count down, induce ground balls early in counts, let his defense work behind him and get deeper into games. And he’s done that, which saves a lot of wear on a bullpen that is starting to show some signs of fatigue after a busy season.

But if he keeps piling up strikeouts like he has lately, Hudson might get enough to satisfy voters who consider all his other stats.

The way he’s pitched lately, Hudson is definitely in the handful of favorites for the Cy Young. He’s never won the award, and how special would that be to do it in his first year back from Tommy John elbow surgery, at age 35?

Hudson could win the Comeback Player of the Year award and the Cy Young. Of course, he’d tell you he’d gladly skip either of those if he could get to the World Series with a chance to win his first ring.

Oh, almost forgot. Here’s what I was talking about, regarding the recent performance of the other top Cy Young candidates.

– Halladay is 3-2 with a 2.75 ERA and .268 opponents’ average in his past five games – still quite good, but not the overwhelming stuff he produced previously.

– Wainwright is 0-3 with a 5.21 ERA and .282 opponents’ average in hhis past three starts, with 20 hits, eighth walks and 20 strikeouts in 19 innings.

– Johnson is 1-2 with a 4.46 ERA and .275 opponents’ average in his past six starts, with 38 hits, 13 walks and 28 strikeouts in 36-1/3 innings. He lasted six or fewer innings in four of those six games.

– Jimenez is 4-4 with a 4.80 ERA and .237 opponents’ average in his past 12 starts, with 65 hits, 33 walks and 72 strikeouts in 75 innings.

– Carpenter, like Hudson, has stayed strong down the stretch, going 5-1 with a 2.23 ERA and .228 opponents’ average in his past nine starts. He has allowed 53 hits and 14 walks with 36 strikeouts in 64-2/3 innings, and the Cardinals have scored nearly six runs per nine innings he’s pitched in that period.

♣ Guess where Braves rank in NL offense this month: Considering the way some of us (my hand is raised) have criticized on the Braves’ offense in recent weeks, you might expect to find them in the bottom half of the league in terms of runs and home runs this month.

Well, that would be quite a bit off.

Would you believe the Braves lead the NL in runs and rank second in homers for the month? Well, they do.

They have a league-high 149 runs in August and rank second with 36 HRs, behind Arizona’s 38. As for the Phillies, they have 110 runs and a meager 16 HRs in August, 20 fewer homers than the Braves.

Resurgent rookie Heyward has helped Braves to highest runs total in NL in August.

Resurgent rookie Heyward has helped Braves to highest runs total in NL in August.

But here’s what we mean by erratic: In 28 August games, the Braves have scored three runs or fewer 11 times, and scored eight runs or more eight times, including 10 or more five times.

The Phillies are a head-scratcher. I keep waiting for them to make power-fueled run, but I’m starting to wonder if they really have it in them anymore, what with their injuries and other issues.

In their last 12 games, the Phillies are 5-7 with a 2.62 ERA. Who’d have thunk their pitching would have to carry them through a stretch this late in the season. Because it has. In those dozen games, they’ve hit .184 with 28 runs. Yes, 28 runs.

Freeman here Wednesday: Braves top first-base prospect Freddie Freeman leads a group of five September call-ups who’ll join the team Wednesday when rosters are expanded. The announced was made this afternoon.

And just to reiterate, anyone in the Braves organization before Sept. 1 is eligible for the postseason roster. A player does NOT have to be on the 40-man roster by that date to be eligible. Repeat, does NOT have to be on the 40-man roster by that date.

That rule changed years ago. Today, any player who’s not on the 40-man can replace a DL’d player, regardless of position, if the team decides it wants to have Freeman or any other player on the 25-man playoff roster. For example, Freeman could simply replace DL’d Chipper Jones if the Braves wanted to put him on the playoff roster.

Freeman, 20, has hit .319 with 35 doubles, 18 home runs and 87 RBIs in 127 games at Triple-A Gwinnett, with a .378 on-base percentage and .898 on-base-plus-slugging percentage (OPS). He was recently rated the best defensive first baseman in the International League in a Baseball America survey of league managers.

Freeman is expected to take over at first base for the Braves in 2011.

The Braves also announced that center fielder Nate McLouth and first baseman Troy Glaus have been recalled from Triple-A Gwinnett, with McLouth to be in uniform for Tuesday night’s game against the New York Mets and Glaus to be activated on Thursday.

Glaus has played third base for the past week at Gwinnett after being placed on the disabled list for chronic knee soreness. He was the Braves’ most productive hitter in May and part of June, but hit just .174 with two homers and 15 RBIs in his last 46 games before landing on the DL.

Pitcher Kenshin Kawakami was optioned to Danville in the Rookie League, a procedural move before he joins Freeman and four other September call-ups added to the roster on Wednesday.

The other call-ups from Gwinnett include relievers Mike Dunn and veteran Scott Proctor and catcher J.C. Boscan. Proctor had hoped to be in the majors in April or May, but his recovery from elbow surgery did not progress as planned.

Tonight’s lineup: 1. Infante 2B, 2. Heyward RF, 3. Prado 3B, 4. Lee 1B, 5. Diaz LF, 6. Gonzalez SS, 7. Cabrera CF, 8. Ross C, 9. Minor P

OK, gotta get to the ballpark. Let’s close with a pearl from the great songwriter Bruce Cockburn. Here’s a live, acoustic version of the song.

bruce_cockburn_16may08_somerville_3

“LOVERS IN A DANGEROUS TIME” by Bruce Cockburn

Don’t the hours grow shorter as the days go by

You never get to stop and open your eyes

One day you’re waiting for the sky to fall

And next you’re dazzled by the beauty of it all

When you’re lovers in a dangerous time

Lovers in a dangerous time

These fragile bodies of touch and taste

This vibrant skin this hair like lace

Spirits open to the thrust of grace

Never a breath you can afford to waste

When you’re lovers in a dangerous time

Lovers in a dangerous time

When you’re lovers in a dangerous time

Lovers in a dangerous time

When you’re lovers in a dangerous time

Sometimes you’re made to feel as if your love’s a crime

Nothing worth having comes without some kind of fight

Got to kick at the darkness till it bleeds daylight

When you’re lovers in a dangerous time

When you’re lovers in a dangerous time

When you’re lovers in a dangerous time

Lovers in a dangerous time

1,560 comments Add your comment

DC Brave

August 31st, 2010
3:31 pm

DC Brave

August 31st, 2010
3:32 pm

Yes! Wow. That was anti-climatic. At least now I can go on living.

Hillbilly

August 31st, 2010
3:33 pm

Salvation a la mode and a cup of tea.

Glen W

August 31st, 2010
3:34 pm

Freeman would be automatically eligible if he were called up today. Being called up after today, he would be eligible to replace a player put on the DL, which is not hard to do and the beginning of October.

Don’t sweat it, Freeman will be avialable to be on the post-season roster if they want him on it.

bravofan

August 31st, 2010
3:34 pm

lets get a W tonight and root root root for the dodgers

Trey

August 31st, 2010
3:36 pm

Let’s hope Freeman will do well!

Trey

August 31st, 2010
3:37 pm

Glen, he was just called up.

Trey

August 31st, 2010
3:37 pm

Well, tomorrow he is joining.

DC Brave

August 31st, 2010
3:37 pm

DOB, how has Proctor done in the past 2-3 weeks? Hoping for an indication that he turned the corner…

DC Brave

August 31st, 2010
3:38 pm

Personally I think it is great to have a 3rd catcher for a few weeks.

Nova Scotia Steve -

August 31st, 2010
3:41 pm

Pitcher Kenshin Kawakami was optioned to Danville in the Rookie League – Don’t know about anyone else – but i lol’d at this before i read the explanation.

CraZyTRaDeMaN ©

August 31st, 2010
3:41 pm

That means hes getting called up tomorrow.

Glen W

August 31st, 2010
3:41 pm

Great stuff on Huddy, DOB. Thanks!

Brightside

August 31st, 2010
3:42 pm

What about Kimbrel????????

timthebrave

August 31st, 2010
3:42 pm

Sorry to post again but don’t want it lost. Here is top WAR for 2010. Some make sense but others seem really out of place
Miguel Cabrera
Josh Hamilton
Joey Votto
Adrian Gonzalez
Jason Heyward
Jose Bautista
Aubrey Huff
Albert Pujols
Shin-Soo Choo
Kevin Youkilis
Ryan Zimmerman
Robinson Cano
Paul Konerko
Corey Hart
Scott Rolen
Carlos Gonzalez
Brian McCann

ParkerOverThere

August 31st, 2010
3:42 pm

Tale of Woe

August 31st, 2010
3:42 pm

Bobby loves to carry 3 catchers in September. He has done that quite regularly.

Trey

August 31st, 2010
3:43 pm

CraZy, it sure does. I just hope he comes close to the hype that people expect.

timthebrave

August 31st, 2010
3:43 pm

Albert Pujols might win the triple crown and still be #8 on the year

RC

August 31st, 2010
3:43 pm

Didn’t realize that J.C. Boscan was Venezuelan. Can we bring back Andres “Big Cat” Gallaraga for 1 game to field the first ever all Venezuelan infield?

RC

August 31st, 2010
3:47 pm

timthebrave,

That list is not up-to-date. The current top 6 are:

1. Hamilton
2. Zimmerman
3. Cano
4. Votto
5. Cabrera
6. Pujols

Zimmerman is the one that really sticks out to me there, but he is having a good year at a premium defensive position, so I understand why he’s there. I really don’t see a problem with any of the others…Cabrera and Pujols are actually tied at 6.0, and Votto is just barely ahead of them at 6.2.

Not sure where that other list came from.

N8

August 31st, 2010
3:48 pm

DOB, I admit that I don’t know much about Bruce Cockburn or the song chosen for today’s blog. But I absolutely LOVE the photo selected of Peter Gammons playing guitar. He looks good with his hair grown out.

What’s that? Oh… never mind.

ParkerOverThere

August 31st, 2010
3:49 pm

yea, now that McLouth is back on the team we have our postseason pinch runner.

timthebrave

August 31st, 2010
3:51 pm

RC, found it online but still why would a possible triple crown winner be #6

Glen W

August 31st, 2010
3:51 pm

There is a couple of guys Braves fans should be showing some love for. These are guys that can very unnoticed by fans while making significant contribuitions to an organization. Give it up for…

Jaime Dismuke (Gwinnett Braves hitting coach)
Kent Willis (Myrtle Beach Pelicans pitching coach)

Big contributions to the organziation this year!

GT Fan

August 31st, 2010
3:52 pm

DOB, didn’t you write in that earlier Cy Young discussion that Hudson could find himself right in the middle of contention if some of the other front-runners struggled down the stretch? I know I read that somewhere, so whoever wrote it looks quite prescient now.

N8

August 31st, 2010
3:52 pm

DOB, what’s your sense of how Cox will use Freeman? Obviously, with Lee on board he’s not going to get many starts. But do you think Cox will treat him (Lee) like he does Mac and maybe throw Freeman a start on an afternoon game after a night game to give his back a rest?

Or do you think Freeman is purely being called up for the occasional PH duty and more to be “around” the club for the stretch run? If I recall correctly, Chipper was a September 93 callup and only got a handful of AB. Don’t remember how early in September he was called up.

I do remember Klesko getting a huge PH HR against the Giants down the stretch that year. Just don’t really recall Chipper even being with the team that much that year.

NO MORE BOBBY

August 31st, 2010
3:52 pm

Dear AJC,

Those Georgia vs Florida ads are annoying as crap!!!!

CraZyTRaDeMaN ©

August 31st, 2010
3:52 pm

Glad they made the right choice for back-up to the back-up catcher I was afraid they may go with Sammons. Boscan was more deserving than Sammons.

CraZyTRaDeMaN ©

August 31st, 2010
3:53 pm

Those Georgia vs Florida ads are annoying as crap!!!!

What’s the point in going everyone knows the outcome!

chin music

August 31st, 2010
3:54 pm

should have been matt young instead of mclouth. and would love to have seen canizares up after the season he’s had at gwinnett, though freeman makes him redundant.

N8

August 31st, 2010
3:54 pm

For the record, just to remind everybody that didn’t know or perhaps forgot.

I predicted a MONSTER season from Tim Hudson around the time Wren signed him to the extension and never backed down from that sense.

Sun’s gotta shine on a dogs ass once in a while, right?

Tale of Woe

August 31st, 2010
3:55 pm

Just saw a report that Francoeur could be headed to the Rangers….

tenn braves fan

August 31st, 2010
3:55 pm

WAR = Witless And Ridiculous.

I love baseball, but the ever increasing lists of stats is annoying. I’ll stick with a grizzled old scout that looks at a guy and says he a gamer.

Bobby Hill

August 31st, 2010
3:55 pm

Tim,

It all goes back to position scarcity. The theoretical replacement player at 1B is a lot better than the theoretical replacement player at 2B, SS or CF. If Pujols was a 2B he would be at the top of the list.

Glen W

August 31st, 2010
3:56 pm

N8, you are correct to ask DOB. But my prediction is that Freeman will get a look to see how he handles major league pitching while not playing every day. Got to assess how he might perform coming of the bench in the post-season.

Shaun

August 31st, 2010
3:56 pm

I think the idea with Hudson and strikeouts is that he is getting extremely fortunate in terms of how often he is getting outs on balls in play. Now some of that is due to his remarkable ability to get groundballs. He leads the majors in groundball rate by a pretty significant margin. But many would argue that he is getting outs too often on batted balls for it to be completely because of his abilities to induce groundballs. And rewarding him the Cy Young is rewarding him for something that is not entirely because of what he’s done; that his defense and getting breaks deserve a lot of credit for his performance more so than other pitchers.

To put this argument in statistical terms, Hudson’s batting average allowed on balls in play (BABiP) is .244, the third-lowest in baseball. A typical batting average allowed on balls in play is .300. Lots of batted balls are finding gloves, some because of Hudson’s groundball inducement. But a BABiP that low indicates he’s also getting very lucky. Therefore some view Hudson getting the Cy Young as rewarding him for being lucky.

John

August 31st, 2010
3:57 pm

Where is Kimbrel?

Does anyone know Dunn and Proctors stats from AAA from the past month?? We need fresh arms!

T for Texas

August 31st, 2010
3:57 pm

Can we bring back Andres “Big Cat” Gallaraga for 1 game to field the first ever all Venezuelan infield?

Wouldn’t it make more sense to acquire Miguel Cabrera from the Tigers to round out the all Venezuelan infield? I have heard he is a good player.

cabravesfan

August 31st, 2010
3:57 pm

Kimbrel has to stay at least 10 days or until Gwinnett’s season is done…he will be back on the 7th!

RC

August 31st, 2010
3:57 pm

RC, found it online but still why would a possible triple crown winner be #6

Because he’s behind another possible triple crown winner, and a CF and 2b who are tearing up the other league, and he plays 1b, which is the easiest position to get offense from. Hamilton is batting .359 with 31 HR….if he was in the NL, Pujols wouldn’t have a shot at the triple crown.

N8

August 31st, 2010
3:57 pm

What’s that? I use “what’s that” in every post? I’m limited!

timthebrave

August 31st, 2010
3:57 pm

I like Zimmerman but I wouldn’t think he is having a better year than the guys underneath him

cabravesfan

August 31st, 2010
3:58 pm

Freddie Freeman named International League Rookie of the Year. He and Barbaro are named to the IL Postseason All-Star team. Congrats.

Awesome :D

GT Fan

August 31st, 2010
3:58 pm

N8, yeah, I don’t know how many people saw a season like this coming, but I definitely thought that signing Huddy to a bargain contract and trading either Lowe or Vaz was a no-brainer.

timthebrave

August 31st, 2010
3:58 pm

I wouldn’t put Cano or Zimmerman that high

chin music

August 31st, 2010
3:59 pm

timthebrave’s list isn’t war rankings; it’s win probability added. and fwiw, heyward leads all rookies in war (his total is the 36th best in the bigs, according to fangraphs).

Bobby Hill

August 31st, 2010
3:59 pm

Look like Chipper got 3 AB’s in 1993 and appeared in three games at SS but didn’t ever start a game.

JC Bravo

August 31st, 2010
4:00 pm

Sunday morning at the ballpark, Terry Pendleton and Brian McCann were busting my (chops) about not writing enough concerning Tim Hudson’s Cy Young Award bid.

Guessing ball-busting is frowned upon? 8)

CraZyTRaDeMaN ©

August 31st, 2010
4:00 pm

and he plays 1b, which is the easiest position to get offense from

Tell that to the Braves

timthebrave

August 31st, 2010
4:00 pm

How can Zimmerman or Cano be there? They seem out of place to me

TnBrian

August 31st, 2010
4:00 pm

I hope they can find a permanant place for Glaus, but don’t see one.

Sadly, I think his role will be reduced to a bench spot.

Glen W

August 31st, 2010
4:01 pm

But a BABiP that low indicates he’s also getting very lucky.

Theyve got a long way to go before they get me interested in that stat. I’m not against this statisitcal development, this is what progress looks like. But they’ve got a long way to go on this one, to me.

A batted ball is not a batted ball. And the quality of the pitch has a whole lot to do with how solidly that batted ball is hit.

RC

August 31st, 2010
4:01 pm

AVG HR R RBI

1. Hamilton .359 31 92 95
2. Zimmerman .301 25 78 76
3. Cano .325 26 92 90
4. Votto .325 32 92 94
5. Cabrera .332 33 94 107
6. Pujols .318 35 92 95

The only guy that sticks out there to me is Zimmerman, and I really don’t know why he’s that high except for possibly defense. But in looking at their other numbers, I don’t see any reason that Pujols WOULDN’T be below these other players.

timthebrave

August 31st, 2010
4:02 pm

I know how they are there….Just don’t think they beliong

RC

August 31st, 2010
4:02 pm

timthebrave, I don’t have an answer for the Zimmerman thing….I am really suprised he’s up there, and don’t really agree with him being on this list at all.

Glen W

August 31st, 2010
4:04 pm

I don’t have an answer for the Zimmerman thing

3B is pretty down as a position right now, in terms of talent level. A lot of utility players have played a lot of 3B this season.

RC

August 31st, 2010
4:05 pm

Here’s the list sorted by WAR….it looks like Zimmerman does get WAY too much credit for defense.

http://www.fangraphs.com/leaders.aspx?pos=all&stats=bat&lg=all&qual=y&type=6&season=2010&month=0

Taking defense out of the calculation, the list looks like this:

1. Cabrera
2. Hamilton
3. Votto
4. Pujols
5. Bautista

I’d say that’s a pretty accurate representation of hitting skill this season.

timthebrave

August 31st, 2010
4:05 pm

RC, I agree that most of them belong there. If I am to recognize the WAR stat as a really valuable tool it would have to make sense to me all the time. Zimmerman at #2 above a guy in the same league that is beating him in all categories. Pujols is very good defensively as well

Hillbilly

August 31st, 2010
4:06 pm

Proctor has been pretty good recently. Zero runs allowed in 8 of his last 9 appearances.

Plate Appearance

August 31st, 2010
4:06 pm

THE LEE FACTOR

Could it be that Derek Lee’s presence on the Braves has had a positive effect on Jason Heyward? It seems so.

Heyward’s really taken off since Lee’s joined the team.

GT Fan

August 31st, 2010
4:06 pm

Shaun, based on that argument, Maddux wasn’t all that good, he was just extremely lucky for a very long period of time.

The reason they’ve had so much success isn’t because they got lucky that all the balls were fielded. They made the hitters put the ball in play where they want them to hit them, which is generally weakly and near an infielder. Especially this season, it’s not like the Braves have played spectacular defense. Honestly, they’ve played mediocre at best defense. The great plays they’ve made are balanced out by the plays they haven’t made or have botched.

Strikeouts alone are a glamor stat, like HRs are for a batter. They have more meaning when looked at from the perspective of a stat like K:BB ratio.

Bobby Hill

August 31st, 2010
4:08 pm

Pujols and Zimmerman do not play the same position. You can’t just ignore that fact when you’re talking about WAR values.

TennesseePaul

August 31st, 2010
4:08 pm

Thanks for the work D.O’B

– Garcia is 2-1 with a 0.00 ERA and a .213 opponents average in his past three starts, with 16 hits, 7 walks and 19 strike outs in 20.1 innings. Opponents are slugging .267 against him.

McFann ♥ ;Ô; ♥ ;Ô; ♥

August 31st, 2010
4:09 pm

Thanks for the new Blog, Chief! Timmy for Cy Young!!!

Ha, yeah, guys, I gave up on that Fillies dude (for now…). Used my time a little more wisely…

GCT Brian still doesn’t block balls consistently as well as I’d like (vision? weight?)

I go with vision on that one if I had to pick…he’s not that fat.

DAP

August 31st, 2010
4:09 pm

shaun But many would argue that he is getting outs too often on batted balls for it to be completely because of his abilities to induce groundballs.

and they would be wrong.

is it possible that there is too much emphasis on the importance of striking out batters?

it is possible to induce weak contact as a pitcher, and it has very little to do with luck.

timthebrave

August 31st, 2010
4:10 pm

RC, I just don’t need stats to be broken down that much so that you assign a guy a single number. Why not just give them all letter grades if you are going to break it down like that? Give them all A+ on the year and be done with it

RC

August 31st, 2010
4:10 pm

Why is Lowe being allowed to “pitch through it”? It seems to me that he’s potentially hurting the team by going out there for 5 or fewer innings every 5th day, and with an acceptable replacement in Kawakami I don’t know why he wouldn’t skip a start or two and see if a little rest can correct the problem. We need Lowe to be healthy in October, not burning out our bullpen in August and September.

ncscoots

August 31st, 2010
4:10 pm

it looks like Zimmerman does get WAY too much credit for defense.

Run prevention and run creation are just two sides of the same coin. Frankly, it’s easier to prevent runs defensively than generate runs offensively, so I don’t think high credit for defense is out of line (at least, in the context of which you guys are speaking).

Take defense out of the calculation, and you’re not talking about the same thing, anymore. Nothing wrong with that, just different.

Jinx

August 31st, 2010
4:11 pm

Uh… Zimmerman? You mean the best 3B in the NL? On offense and defense? Oh, that guy! Yeah, he doesn’t get mentioned enough in my opinion. The guy gets better every year too.

Shaun

August 31st, 2010
4:11 pm

Glen W, the idea is that, yes, some of Hudson getting outs extremely often on batted balls is due to his skills in inducing groundballs. But for him to be getting outs as often as he is on batted balls, it seems very unlikely that it is all because of his skills in inducting groundballs.

Hudson’s career batting average allowed on balls in play is .286. That is somewhat lower than the typical BABiP. Over the course of over 2,000 innings in the big leagues, it’s safe to say Hudson’s groundball inducement leads him to have a somewhat lower than typical BABiP. But this season he’s at .244, which is extremely lower than a typical BABiP. The difference between .286 and .244 is striking. Is it all because of Hudson’s skills at inducing certain types of batted balls? Seems unlikely but tough to speculate, admittedly.

RC

August 31st, 2010
4:11 pm

timthebrave, that’s a fair enough point. I think some people just like to feel like they have a concrete number they can assign to a player’s value, and this is as good of a number as any for that.

McFann ♥ ;Ô; ♥ ;Ô; ♥

August 31st, 2010
4:12 pm

No BMac tonight, eh? I cann live with that…he’s never faced this lefty before and he’s had a good thing goin’ these last few days. Don’t need some idiot lefty to come along and spoil it. ;) Plus, he could use the rest…

And, it’s like Hillbilly said on the last Blog (dude, you read my mind)—he’s gotta get rested up for PELFREY!!! :twisted:

timthebrave

August 31st, 2010
4:13 pm

RC, I’m not saying that Zimmerman isn’t a great player…..

TennesseePaul

August 31st, 2010
4:13 pm

To put this argument in statistical terms, Hudson’s batting average allowed on balls in play (BABiP) is .244, the third-lowest in baseball. A typical batting average allowed on balls in play is .300.

So go back over the last 20 seasons and list all the players you think should have won the Cy Young, and then how many of those players had oppBABiP’s below league average. I think what you’ll find is that just about all of them had “statistical outlier” numbers in various categories. That’s generally what makes their season great. Basically, they win the award because they themselves best represent the statistical outlier. They are far and away from “norm” or the “mean.”

JC Bravo

August 31st, 2010
4:13 pm

timthebrave

August 31st, 2010
4:05 pm
RC, I agree that most of them belong there. If I am to recognize the WAR stat as a really valuable tool it would have to make sense to me all the time. Zimmerman at #2 above a guy in the same league that is beating him in all categories. Pujols is very good defensively as well

This just means that Pujols isn’t as far above an average first baseman as Zim is above an average third baseman. In other words, overall position strength affects this as much as a player’s ability.

N8

August 31st, 2010
4:14 pm

GT Fan

I didn’t expect his ERA to be as close to 2.00 as it’s been. But two things factored into my thinking he was going to have a great year. It really was pretty simple to deduct.

1) He was having a monster season in 2008 before being shut down, WITH his elbow killing him. In fact he pitched 6 shutout innings in his last start before having the surgery.

2) He looked fine last season in his handful of starts after needing only 12 months to recover from TJ surgery and stated many times that his arm felt better than it had in years.

The only real question was if he would hold up and how deep he could go in games. But it was clear to anybody paying attention that when he was going to be able to pitch, he was going to be very good.

I don’t claim to be a genius. But many people argued with me over the winter that expecting Hudson to come back strong was a mistake.

What’s that? Oh. Never mind. I’m limited according to the N8 imposter at 3:57.

Gotta love douchebags that are afraid to mock other bloggers using their usual moniker. You know…. because being on an anonymous internet blog isn’t enough of a place to “hide”.

Brian from SC

August 31st, 2010
4:15 pm

I don’t think things like BABIP should be taken into account for things like Cy Young voting. Despite the low BABIP, Hudson has done what a pitcher’s supposed to do this season: get guys out and not allow runs to score. BABIP has more predictive value…I would use it to make the projection that Hudson will not be able to maintain a 2.24 ERA next season.

TennesseePaul

August 31st, 2010
4:15 pm

it seems very unlikely that it is all because of his skills in inducting groundballs

Nice straw man here Payne, but I read Glen’s post. Nowhere in it did he say it was all because of his skill.

timthebrave

August 31st, 2010
4:15 pm

JC Bravo, When assigning value position shouldn’t matter that much. If I had 2 Pujols I could probably trade one for a pretty great third baseman

ncscoots

August 31st, 2010
4:15 pm

That’s generally what makes their season great. Basically, they win the award because they themselves best represent the statistical outlier. They are far and away from “norm” or the “mean.”

Exactly correct, and a point well made.

JML

August 31st, 2010
4:15 pm

Plate Appearance. I think you are correct. While watching the game last night, I saw Lee and Heyward talking and I thought the same thing.

Glen W

August 31st, 2010
4:17 pm

Shaun, so what would Hudson have to do to have a good year for which he gets credit?

He is having one of his very best years. He is pithing some of the best baseball of his career. And hitters are not hitting the ball as squarely against him. This does not seem that hard to me.

His best years prior to this year were 2000 and 2003 (if you look at Cy Young voting) and those are the only other seasons where his BABIP was under .260. Was he lucky then too?

mike jay

August 31st, 2010
4:17 pm

shaun,
based on your argument Glavine nor Maddox should have ever won a Cy young. That is crazy. The players are behind the pitcher to catch the ball and throw people out. it’s what they do. Getting a player to hit into a ground ball when you want them to can be incredibly diffilcult.

mr baseball

August 31st, 2010
4:18 pm

Not sure if I get all the roster moves over the last few days. The Braves send Kimbrel & Martinez back to AAA, recall Kawakami and send him back to the minors for a day, The Martinez/Kawakami swap was supposed to give the team an extra arm for a day, but what about tonight’s game.

If Minor doesn’t have it and the Braves need to go to the ‘pen early, who are they going to bring in? Ankiel?. Moylan just got a cortisone shot & 3 relievers worked at least an inning last night. Maybe Saito can go 3 innings tonight if needed. No problem.

As for the September call-ups, are the Braves going to bring up anyone who might can score from 2nd base on a single if the team needs a pinch-runner? Guess that’s going to be McLouth’s designated role. World’s most expensive pinch-runner.

timthebrave

August 31st, 2010
4:20 pm

I understand why people like WAR and I like stats as well but I think it over simplifies a season. For example Cano is having a really good season but some of that has to do with him seeing better pitches compared to Pujols where teams go into the game “trying to not let Pujols beat them”. Just my opinion

Piedmont Blues

August 31st, 2010
4:21 pm

is it possible that there is too much emphasis on the importance of striking out batters?

DAP,

That’s a great topic for debate. When the statheads started looking at BABIP, they were wondering why high-strikeout pitchers seemed to produce more consistent seasons than those who “pitched to contact.” Or, the “who would you rather have in their prime, Smoltz or Glavine” debate.

Unless you were Greg Maddux, contact pitchers tended to put up wildly inconsistent seasons, because it seems that if batters put the ball in play, they can elude even the best defenses.

Now I haven’t followed this debate for several years, so perhaps contact pitchers have figured out ways to even out their performance. (The end of the steroids/greenie eras may have something to do with it too.)

But it’s a good debate.

Me, I’d rather have a guy who can throw a 70-pitch complete game. But we’ve only seen one Bulldog, and we may never have another one.

TennesseePaul

August 31st, 2010
4:22 pm

mr. baseball Guess that’s going to be McLouth’s designated role. World’s most expensive pinch-runner.

You’re selling the man short. That is just one of his secondary roles. I believe his main role was to light a fire under Lew’s feet so that he actually picks a Braves player to blast for an entire season. Another was the role of holding the ball while standing in the outfield. Nate has dominated both of those roles this year.

ncscoots

August 31st, 2010
4:23 pm

are the Braves going to bring up anyone who might can score from 2nd base on a single if the team needs a pinch-runner?

Yeah, but who is gonna replace the player run for, in the field? You’re already playing three-fourths of the bench every day, LOL.

timthebrave

August 31st, 2010
4:23 pm

I hope Tim Hudson gets the cy young but it will be hard because voters like the strike out. He will have to get to 20 wins to have a chance. I know it shouldn’t matter for who DESERVES the cy young. He defintely deserves all the accolades he gets

Hobo

August 31st, 2010
4:24 pm

Her’s a recent Rob Neyer post on BABIP where both Hudson and Maddux are mentioned

http://espn.go.com/blog/sweetspot/post/_/id/4996/the-meaning-of-trevor-cahill

“Lately, every week in my Tuesday chat, at least one person asks me about some pitcher with a low ERA and a lower BABiP. As gently as I can, I explain that a .217 (or a .223, or a .235, or a whatever) BABiP simply isn’t sustainable. Not for Trevor Cahill or Tim Hudson or Cy Young or Greg Maddux or anyone else …It’s not sustainable, and it doesn’t matter who’s doing the pitching. Trevor Cahill is an incredibly talented young man. I would trade my left arm for his right arm (well, most of my left arm; I need some of it to do the Jim Abbott thing). But if can consistently keep his BABiP below .250 — let alone .220 he’ll be the first since the 1970s.”

This is not to say Hudson shouldn’t win the Cy Young award, it is just putting what he is doing in perspective.

Snotboogie

August 31st, 2010
4:26 pm

Why do people think Lee has been a great influence on Heyward? Because they are both tall, muscular and black? Rubbish.
Chipper has been with Heyward the entire season and is as good an influence as any for a hitter. Do you assume Chipper never gave Heyward any tips and that Lee suddenly did? Just because Heyward is feeling a little better now and is coming out of his slump, you want to attribute it to Derek Lee? Please.

Glen W

August 31st, 2010
4:26 pm

The purpose of WAR as a stat is not so that players can be ranked. The goal of trying to progressing thie stat is so that we can actually mathematically consider what a player means to the bottom line: wins (and losses).

When Hamilton has a WAR of 6.0 or so, it means that the team will win 6 more games as a result of him being on the roster when compared to an average replacement.

Not about ranking players, but rather about measuring their contribution to the bottom line.

Its not perfect yet, but it is a worthwhile development in my view.

Shaun

August 31st, 2010
4:26 pm

TennesseePaul, it’s not just below league average BABiP. It’s that Hudson is extremely below average. Tim Lincecum, for example, had a BABiP of .310 in 2008 and .288 in 2009. Hudson’s is in the .240’s. I haven’t dug into this much but I would bet Hudson’s BABiP this season is extremely low even for a Cy Young contender.

Obviously players who win awards are great players having great seasons. I agree with you there. But that’s not the argument here. The argument here is that Hudson’s defense and luck are more responsible for him getting outs more so than for other pitchers. That’s not to say Hudson is some scrub that is only good because of luck and defense. It just may mean that Hudson is a very good pitcher having a very good season and that luck and defense are making him look even better than how he himself has performed.

Hyperbolic Headline Of The Day

August 31st, 2010
4:26 pm

Ahhh the dreaded WAR debate.

Something I meant to follow up on the other blog was something that was mentioned by a couple of folks defending WAR. The point was that Zobrist’s numbers last year that put him ahead of Pujols last year would even out over the life of a career.

Probably would work out that way, but the fact is that Zobrist’s WAR rating in 2009 rated his value as higher than the NL MVP Pujols. WAR rating for 2009 should stand on it’s own if it can stand on a career. WAR rated Zobrist at a higher value. WAR rating discussion seemed to start on the previous blog based on using WAR to argue that Heyward should be the leader in the ROTY race.

WAR in a vacuum is not very convincing.

If the stats don’t bear out some folks argument, then they start tweaking the numbers themselves.

Bobby Hill

August 31st, 2010
4:27 pm

Looks to me like Maddux led the league in WAR for pitchers in 1992, 1994, and 1995. And Glavine led the league in 1991.

http://www.baseball-reference.com/leaders/WAR_pitch_leagues.shtml

eric the elder

August 31st, 2010
4:29 pm

Loved this quote from the NY Post:

The Braves continue to be the cream of the crop in the NL East, and the Mets are the fertilizer.

Hyperbolic Headline Of The Day

August 31st, 2010
4:29 pm

“Not about ranking players, but rather about measuring their contribution to the bottom line.”

so Zobrist in 2009 was a better contributor to his team’s bottom line than Pujols?

flawed stat

LPad

August 31st, 2010
4:31 pm

Why the emphasis on the amount of strikeouts a pitcher gets, when today’s hitters care less about strikeouts than hitters from any other era?

Hitters want to put the sweet spot of the bat on the ball. in other words, hitters bat with the objective to make solid contact, not to avoid a strikeout. If a pitcher forces a hitter to make weak contact, he did his job. Case in point, hitters don’t consider a softly hit ground ball to second a good job.

StingerSplash

August 31st, 2010
4:31 pm

Listening to DOB’s podcast with the atlantabaseballtalk.com guys.
Gives me the sense, listening to them, that I’ve got NPR on and they’re discussing baseball. They’ve got those NPR voices and intonations. But … they do love the Braves and it’s obvious they are fans and knowledgeable.
ended last night’s drive home with Mojo Nixon’s “Stuffin’ Martha’s Muffin” on the iPod. Saw him eons ago and he put on a terrific show.

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