Lack of home runs highlights statistical April oddities
Posted: Tuesday May 1, 2007 11:48AM; Updated: Tuesday May 1, 2007 12:09PM
Things thought about (and looked up) regarding April, while wondering whether the big name in May is going to be Alex Emmanuel Rodriguez, Barry Lamar Bonds or Kirk J. Radomski:
Perhaps April showers (plus snow and cold) will bring May power, which was noticeably absent in the first month. Yes, home runs were down in April, way down. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, there were only 681 home runs this April compared to 845 home runs in April 2006. There are all sorts of theories, and maybe I'm naive, but I believe it's the crummy weather.
With Bonds, though, it's like the days of the flaxseed oil all over again. The man has a 1.349 OPS, which is 258 points higher than anyone else in the NL.
Second place is Miguel Cabrera (1.091), who is about half Bonds' age.
Carlos Beltran, who finished fourth in MVP voting last year, is about the best player in the National League so far (non-Bonds category). Pitchers are holding him to a .515 average (17 for 33) from the right side. Good job, fellas.
Time was, we thought of Beltran ($119 million) and A-Rod ($252 million) as overpaid. No more.
I guess that $75 million, five-year contract for Magglio Ordonez isn't so bad after all, either. If not for A-Rod, Ordonez (26 RBIs) might be AL MVP so far.
Ryan Howard and Albert Pujols, locked in one of the great MVP duels last year, have been about as equally unvaluable this year. Thus far we'd have to give the edge to Pujols (6 home runs, 15 RBIs, .250) over Howard (3, 13, .221).
I can't decide who's my favorite leadoff hitter so far: Jose Reyes, Hanley Ramirez, Jimmy Rollins or Grady Sizemore. And the Braves' Kelly Johnson isn't too far out of the argument, either.
The NL leaders in runs are just leadoff guys from the East Division. Reyes, Ramirez and Rollins have 26 apiece while Johnson has 24.
Go figure dept: Tampa Bay's Al Reyes is 9-for-9 in saves with a 1.50 ERA, Mariano Rivera is 1-for-3 with a 10.57 ERA.
Dontrelle Willis is 5-1 with a 5.35 ERA, which shows you how clutch he is. And also, how the Marlins have hit for him. They're averaging 10.7 runs per nine innings for Willis.
The Marlins couldn't hit the Atlantic Ocean from the pier in spring training. Now they lead the NL in hits, total bases and runs.
Chipper Jones isn't getting older, he's getting better.
Jeff Francoeur, who's known for winning games with his arm, saved two with his glove this week.
Francoeur will even occasionally take a walk now, too. He has nine walks, same as well-known walker Brian Giles. Last year Francoeur had 23 walks, Giles 104.
Matt Cain is holding hitters to a major-league best .109 batting average. That's 37 points lower than second best.
My apologies to Royals GM Dayton Moore. That's twice, and I feel there may have to be more to come. Gil Meche has a 2.15 ERA.
Although, the other 24 Royals may yet be as bad as I predicted.
If the Rockies would like to try to unload Todd Helton, this may as good a time as any. Helton's on-base percentage is .518, which is better than anyone else in the NL (non-Bonds category). Helton also has the best walk-to-whiff ratio, with 25 walks and only five whiffs.
Attention Moneyball lovers: Garret Anderson has one walk and 95 at-bats.
Tigers third baseman Brandon Inge is hitless in 18 of 25 games, which is tough to do.
Maybe Shawn Green (.355) isn't ready for the retirement home quite yet.
David Wright (.311) doesn't have the lowest slugging percentage in the league, but if Willy Taveras, Felipe Lopez, David Eckstein, Omar Vizquel and a few others get hot, he might.
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