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Quickie: Mike McCoy, Utility Pitcher du Jour June 13, 2011

Posted by tomflesher in Baseball.
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The Blue Jays used seven pitchers in their 16-4 loss to the Red Sox on Saturday. One of those was utility player Mike McCoy, who pitched his first major league inning in the ninth. He managed no strikeouts but also no walks, and finished with an impressive perfect inning.

McCoy is unusual among position players who pitch in that he’s pitched before professionally. Most recently, he finished a AAA game for Colorado in 2009, but he’d also finished two games in A – one in 2004 and one in 2005. His pitching history in the minors is here.

McCoy is also the first inductee into the prestigious* 2011 Spectrum Club, which is a group of players who have both pitched and played designated hitter in the same season, showing off the full spectrum of their abilities from purely offensive to purely defensive. He’s made a few appearances as a pinch runner for the DH, but back on April 6, he played a complete game as the designated hitter and so became this year’s first member.

Of course, for position players pitching, nothing beats Wilson Valdez, Utility Pitcher Extraordinaire, or Andy Marte in the Best Game Ever, but if you’re especially curious, check out last year’s Utility Pitcher Roundup.

*not a guarantee


Welcome to the Majors, Jay June 22, 2010

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Jay Sborz had a rough debut in relief of Justin Verlander during tonight’s Tigers at Mets game when there was a rain delay in the top of the 3rd. He faced seven batters in two-thirds of an inning, plunking the first two – Rod Barajas and Jeff Francoeur – and giving up hits to the last three. As Sborz, who was obviously struggling with nerves, tried to pitch his way out of the inning, Mets commentator Gary Cohen was mocking him mercilessly. “That’s got to be some kind of record,” for one.

Though Gary said it, that pinged my “Stuff Keith Hernandez Says” meter, and I trotted off to Baseball-Reference.com to look it up. Since 1973, six other pitchers who debuted in relief have two hit batsman. Were any of them as bad as Sborz?

We don’t have to go back too far to find someone who was. In 2002, Justin Miller of the Blue Jays made his debut against the Devil Rays and hit Chris Gomez, then Jason Tyner. Miller deserves special recognition – after that beautiful start, he held on to pitch 2 2/3 and got the win!

Honorable mention goes to Mitch Stetter of the Brewers. In a 2007 game against the Pirates, Stetter debuted in the last inning of a 12-2 blowout. He was on the winning side, though it ended up 12-3. Stetter hit Jack Wilson. He threw a wild pitch in the process of walking Nyjer Morgan, then iced the cake by plunking Nate McLouth. That was followed up with a groundout that scored Wilson and a merciful game-ending double play.

Wins Above Expectation (with a side of run differential) September 1, 2008

Posted by tomflesher in Baseball.
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In continuing my thoughts about the Pythagorean Expectation from about a week ago, I took a look at the MLB standings for the period ending August 31, 2008. I played with the stats a little bit, since I haven’t really thought through the basis for most of them.

Today’s project: find Pythagorean expectations for each team, then find the difference between the actual and expected win percentages (“pythagorean difference”). Apply the pythagorean difference to the total number of games played to determine a team’s Wins Above Expectation by multiplying the total number of games by the pythagorean difference.

Practical application: none.

Discussion and numbers behind the cut.


Blue Jays hate Pythagoras. August 23, 2008

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The Toronto Blue Jays won another big one today, 11-0 over the visiting Boston Red Sox. It seemed to me that between that, the 14-3 destruction of the Yankees on Thursday, and last Sunday’s 15-4 route of Boston (again), the 11-run games might have been messing with the team’s statistical expectations. Sure enough, the big run totals are increasing the Blue Jays’ pythagorean expectation, with the difference between expected win percentage and actual win percentage being higher after the all-star break than before.

Numbers are behind the cut.