Major league baseball has had 871 players born in 46 of the states so far this season. 375 of these players come from just three states: Texas, Florida, and California. Some current players may represent the best their state has ever produced Mike Trout of New Jersey, Paul Goldschmidt of Delaware, and Bryce Harper of Nevada, Shane Victorino of Hawaii. Other states like Pennsylvania have declined in recent years they have had 17 hall of famers and 258 all-star game visits all time but their current players only have had 1 all star visit by Devon Mesoraco, and almost certainly no hall of famers. Massachusets has had 12 HOFers and now their best players are Chris Capuano and Steve Cishek.
California blows all other states away with 186 players this season. San Diego alone has more players than 28 of the states (11 players) including Cole Hamels, Adrian Gonzalez, Adam Jones, Stephen Strasburg, and Aaron Harang. San Diego has 15 all-star visits by their current players this is more visits than 45 of the states' current players have. Below is another view showing how many more players are born in California than any other state. Texas and Florida already have much more than other states and California has almost as many as those two combined.
18% of his time on base he runs into an out
The other reason why Jose Altuve is overrated is that he is unable to work the count. He has the least pitches per plate appearance of anyone in the majors at just 3.25. He also has had about 4.29 pitches per out he makes so far this season which means that in an average start against Jose Altuve a pitcher would throw about eight innings before reaching 100 pitches and complete games would occur almost every other start. If everyone in the majors where more like Jose Altuve bullpens would have two or three pitchers and the extra roster space would be filled in with pinch runners who didn't get out 18% of the time on base.
An underestimated pitching style
Since the very beginning of baseball there have been pitchers who chose to throw sideways instead of overhand. The number of pitchers who throw this way has changed over the years, but in modern baseball there are usually around 10-20 MLB sidewinder every season, and with just a few exceptions (Chris Sale, Justin Masterson, and Steve Cishek) they are all middle relief quiet bullpen pitchers who are not very well known.
I will be focusing on the stats of the following sidewinders:
I chose these players because they all fit into the category of underestimated middle relievers. Combined these 5 have pitched almost 200 innings and allowed only 44 total earned runs. This means their combined ERA is a mere 2.04 this would be second best in the majors if they were one player. This raises the question: what makes these pitchers so undervalued?
One reason why these players fly under the radar is because they are lefty/righty specialists and this job is not seen as one of the highest importance. They are also put down with the argument that they only have good stats because they are only matched up with batters they can do well against, and if they were pitched against batters from the other side their stats would suffer. This is true however an out is an out and as long as there are enough lefties to make it worthwhile to have someone to get them out than lefty specialists are very helpful to success in tight games (same goes for righties). The five pitchers mentioned above against their preferred side of the plate have kept opponents to a .184 OBP and a .233 SLG which are both incredibly low. To give some perspective, this is much much better than the very best pitchers in these categories at overall batting against (OBP: Scherzer has .225 against, and SLG: Greinke has .262 against). Although perhaps the job of bullpen lefty/righty specialist isn't quite as important as a starter because these 5 have also only averaged about 39 innings pitched so far this season whereas the average starter is in the 100+ range by now, they are so good at their job it outweighs the small amount less important that this job is.
There are also a few other smaller reasons why these pitchers are undervalued these include the fact that this pitching style is unconventional and the idea that it could cause injuries. Clearly it doesn't matter if a pitching style looks strange or is unconventional as long as it works, and I have yet to see any evidence in DL times of sidearm pitchers that supports the idea that sidewinders get hurt more, but here are some facts suggesting that they aren't hurt more: Joe Smith has averaged about 58 IP per season over the past 9 seasons. Javier Lopez survived 5 full seasons in the minors followed by 13 season in the majors, and is still strong at age 37. Brad Ziegler has averaged 67 IP per season in his eight year career and his least in a season was 58.1.
The idea that sidewinders have unimportant roles on their teams or that they get hurt far more than other pitchers is wrong and clearly it doesn't matter that they're style is unconventional so we really should be giving these important bullpen pieces more credit for they're work.
In MLB history there have been 290 no-hitters. A No hitter could be the most well known single game accomplishment a baseball player can make possibly because at about twice per season (on average) it is rare enough that it is big news when it happens but it is not so rare that people haven’t heard of it. This year Chris Heston, Max Scherzer, and Cole Hamels have all pitched no-hitters. Here I will explore the odds surrounding this feat in four questions. I left most of my calculations out but they can be seen at the bottom.
1. If I went to any given MLB game today what is the chance of a no hitter by one of the two sides?
It is 0.076% or about 1/1,300 (calculations can be seen at the bottom) this means that the odds that we would have three no-hitters by this point in the season is 3.1%
2. What is the average number of no-hitters in a modern baseball season?
This means in a whole season in which there are 2,430 games (plus 22-44 games for the postseason) there would be an average about 2 no-hitters per year.
3. What game would have the highest chance of a no-hitter in 2015?
Zack Greinke has the best batting average against him of all pitchers this year (.186) and the Mets lineup has the worst AVG we can then calculate that their lineup against Greinke would have an AVG of .173 this means the odds are 1/170 or 0.59% (just for Greinke not including the odds of the opposing pitcher) This is 15 times more likely than your typical game. Sadly the Dodgers won’t be playing the Mets again this season, but they will be playing the padres multiple times and they give Greinke a 1/175 chance of a no-hitter.
b. Scherzer: 0.28% or 1/361 This year Scherzer has had the second best odds for a no-hitter (behind Greinke) the odds that he would have a no-hitter by now this year are 6.2%. This is clearly a pretty good chance considering the odds for the average starter.
c. Hamels: 0.13% or 1/797 approximately half the chance of a no-hitter in Scherzer’s game, but Hamels still had okay odds in this game better than Heston had. The odds that Hamels would have a no-no by now this year are 1.5%.
Many of the blog entries require a knowledge of baseball statistics click on the buttons below for descriptions of the stats used in the articles.