May 7 MLB Stat Dump

White Sox 1B, Jose Abreu, leads the MLB with 12 home runs.  Angels 1B, Albert Pujols, has hit 10 home runs.  Pujols did not hit his tenth home run last season until June 9.
Marlins OF, Giancarlo Stanton, leads the MLB with 38 RBI.
Dodgers 2B, Dee Gordon, leads the MLB with 19 stolen bases.
Among batters with at least 110 plate appearances; Jays OF, Jose Bautista, leads the MLB with a 22.5 percent walk rate.  Brewers OF, Kris Davis, has the lowest walk rate in the MLB at 0.8 percent.  Brewers teammate and SS, Jean Segura, has the second lowest rate at 1.7 percent.
Recently optioned demoted to AAA Mariners OF, Abraham Almonte, has struck out at the highest rate in the MLB – 35.4 percent.  Tigers DH/1B/C, Victor Martinez,strikes out at the lowest rate of plate appearances in the MLB at 4.2 percent.
Rangers OF, Shin-Soo Choo, currently leads the MLB with a .443 BABIP.  Choo’s career BABIP is .353, so one would expect some regression.
Indians 3B/DH/C, Carlos Santana‘s .148 BABIP is currently the worst in the MLB.  Santana’s career .273 BABIP is a relatively low batting average on balls in play to start with.  Santana’s struggles look like more than just bad luck however.  His line drive percentage has dropped to a career low 10.8 percent.  That is a 54.4% drop from his career best line drive percentage in 2013 of 21.8 percent.
Rockies SS, Troy Tulowitzki, leads the MLB in batting average, on-base percentage and slugging percentage.  His line looks like .421/.522/.794.  Therefore his 1.317 OPS obviously is the best in the MLB.  That OPS is .259 better than second place Jose Bautista. Just to describe how big of a lead that is:  Diamondbacks OF, Cody Ross, has a .268 OPS on the season by himself.  So basically, Tulowitzki leads second place Bautista by a whole MLB player.
For those who prefer wOBA to OPS – Tulowitzki’s .549 is also best in the MLB.  Bautista is second again with a .458 wOBA.
Tulowitzki also leads the MLB with a 3.3 fWAR (Fangraphs WAR).  Second place is Angels OF, Mike Trout at 2.6.
White Sox OF, Adam Eaton, leads the MLB with 9 infield hits.
Nationals OF, Denard Span, currently has seen the highest percentage of pitches that are fastballs in the MLB at 77.2 percent.  Pirates 3B, Pedro Alvarez, has seen the lowest percentage of pitches that are fastballs at 45.6 percent.
Mariners SS, Brad Miller, has swung at the highest percentage of pitches outside of the zone – 42.9 percent.  Shin-Soo Choo, at 14.7 percent, has swung at the lowest percentage of pitches outside the zone.
Kris Davis at 16.9 percent has swung and missed at the highest rate of pitches.  Victor Martinez on the other hand has only swung and missed at 3.0 percent of the pitches he has seen – the best rate in the majors.
Base runners have stolen 22 bases with Wellington Castillo catching.  That is the most off any one catcher in the MLB.  Only 3 base runners have been caught with Castillo catching.  In comparision base runners have only stolen 8 bases with Yadier Molina catching.  Molina has thrown out 9.
Reds RHP, Johnny Cueto, has pitched 55 innings on the season to lead the majors.
Stephen Strasburg‘s 13.05 K/9 rate is the best among innings qualified pitchers.  Twins RHP, Kevin Correia, at 3.97 K/9 has the lowest strike out rate in the majors.
Cardinals RHP, Shelby Miller, at 5.26 BB/9 has walked the highest rate of batters among innings qualified pitchers.  Second place is Red Sox RHP, Jake Peavy, at 5.02 BB/9.  Somewhat surprising to me is the two pitchers with the highest BB/9 rate have have pretty good ERAs.  Miller has a 3.20 ERA and Peavy has a 2.87 ERA.  The lowest walk rate in the MLB belongs to Giants RHP, Tim Hudson, with a 0.50 BB/9 rate (3bb in 54.1ip).
The highest BABIP allowed in the MLB is .388 by Stephen Strasburg.  Johnny Cueto has only allowed a .188 BABIP, which is the lowest in the MLB.  Cueto also has a 1.31 ERA, which is best in the MLB.  Kevin Correia’s 6.09 ERA is the highest in the majors.
Among pitchers, the highest fWAR is Red Sox RHP, Jon Lester, at 1.9.  Shelby Miller has a -0.5 fWAR which is worst.
Pirates RHP, Charlie Morton, has hit the most batters in the MLB with 7.  Diamondbacks LHP, Wade Miley, has thrown the most wild pitches with 6.  Twins RHP, Samuel Deduno, has balked the most times in the majors with 3.
Angels LHP, C.J. Wilson, has received the most run support in the majors, with an average of 8.5 RS/9 (Runs support per nine innings).  Pirates LHP, Francisco Liriano, has recieved the least amount of run support at 1.67 RS/9.
C.J. Wilson has thrown 814 pitches so far in 2014 – the most in the majors.
Mets RHP, Bartolo Colon, has thrown the highest percentage of pitches being fastballs in the MLB at 88.1 percent.  Jays RHP, R.A. Dickey, has thrown the least percentage of fastballs in the MLB at 14.6 percent.  Dickey’s fastball is also the slowest average fastball so far in the MLB among innings qualifiecd pitchers at 82.0mph. Royals RHP, Yordano Ventura, at 96.7mph has the fastest average fastball velocity.
Batters have swung at 39.9 percent of Yankees RHP, Masahiro Tanaka‘s pitches outside the zone to start 2014 – the most in the majors.
Rays LHP, David Price, has thrown a first pitch strike 74.1 percent of the time – the most in the MLB.  Angels RHP, Garrett Richards has thrown the least amount of first pitch strikes – at 45.8 percent.
Among innings qualified pitchers Rays RHP, Chris Archer, takes the most times between pitches – 26.6 seconds.  The pitcher who take the least amount of time between pitches is Jays LHP, Mark Buehrle at 16.0 seconds.
As a team the Colorado Rockies have hit the most home runs in the majors, with 49.  The Kansas City Royals have hit the least with 14.  The Rockies have scored the most total runs as well with 206.  The San Diego Padres have scored the least amount of runs so far with 91.
The most stolen bases as a team belongs to the Los Angeles Dodgers with 37 (19 by Dee Gordon).  The Florida Marlins and St. Louis Cardinals each have 9 stolen bases as a team – the lowest in the MLB.
The Minnesota Twins have a 11.5 walk percentage to lead the majors.  The Padres have the lowest walk rate at 6.1 percent.
The Atlanta Braves have struck out at a major league high 24.2 percent of plate appearances.  The Royals at 15.4 percent have struck out in the least amount of plate appearances.
With a .354 OBP the Rockies lead the MLB in OBP.  The Padres and their .265 OBP bring up the rear in this category as well.
The Cleveland Indians and Dodgers each have committed 33 errors on the season to lead the majors.  The Toronto Blue Jays have committed 11, which is the least amount in the MLB.
Washington Nationals pitchers have struck out the highest rate of batters with a 9.34 K/9.  Minnesota Twins pitchers at 5.58 K/9 are the worst staff at racking up the strikeouts so far in 2014.  The Chicago White Sox are walking 4.41 batters per 9 innings – the most in the MLB.  The San Francisco Giants are best at not allowing free bases at 2.45 BB/9.
The best ERA as a team belongs to the Braves at 2.64.  The Houston Astros pitching staff has been the worst with a 5.04 ERA.
The Pittsburgh Pirates have blown the most saves as a team so far in 2014, with 9.  The Padres however have only blown 1 save.
White Sox pitchers have thrown the most pitchers as a team so far with 5,436.  The Detroit Tigers have only thrown 4,144 pitches as a team so far – the least in the majors.
Cardinals pitchers have thrown the highest percentage of fastballs so far in 2014 at 66.8 percent.  The Giants on the other hand have thrown fastballs at the lowest rate in the majors at 51.5 percent.  Florida Marlins pitchers at 93.4mph average the fastest fastballs thrown as a team.  The only team that does not average over 90mph on their fastballs is the Arizona Diamondbacks at 89.5mph.
As a team the Pirates are throwing the most first pitch strikes at 62.6 percent.  The Angels are throwing the least first pitch strikes at 54.4 percent.
The pitchers with the slowest pace in the MLB are the Rays at 26.6 seconds between pitches.  The Blue Jays at 21.4 seconds as a team average the least amount of time between pitches.
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Source:  Fangraphs and Baseball-Reference. Fangraphs stats accurate as of 4:54 AM ET, May 7, 2014. Baseball-Reference stats accurate as of 7:17 PM ET, May 7, 2014.

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My 2013 MLB All-Star Ballot

Please note:  I vote for players who I feel are currently having the best years — not just for stars.  I also try to factor the portion of of the previous season that follows the All-Star game in a little.

Catcher
American League:  Joe Mauer
National League:  Yadier Molina

First Base
American League:  Chris Davis
National LeagueJoey Votto

Second Base
American League:  Robinson Cano
National League:  Brandon Phillips

Third Base
American League:  Miguel Cabrera
National League:  David Wright

Shortstop
American League:  Jed Lowrie
National League:  Troy Tulowitzki

Outfield
American League:  Mike Trout, Jose Bautista, Adam Jones
National League:  Carlos Gonzalez, Carlos Gomez, Andrew McCutchen

Designated Hitter
American League:  Edwin Encarnacion

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Pitch Counts, Bronson Arroyo, Stat Dump

A few days ago it came to my attention that Bronson Arroyo, of the Cincinnati Reds, has not thrown 100 pitches or more in a game since September 14, 2012. This stretch totals 11 starts (Last 3 starts of 2012, first eight starts of 2013).

I personally dislike how pitchers are coddled in today’s game, and believe they should be able to throw a lot more innings and pitches.  If a pitcher has not shown any major injury concerns and has shown durable they should be able to throw 120-130 pitches if need be.  Heck, Baseball-Reference does not even have the pitch count of Nolan Ryan’s s game log until 1988!  That season, my math says Ryan threw 108.6 pitches per game.

That being said, the mythical “100 pitch count” has become more than just an arbitrary number.  It has become the standard.  A standard, which promotes pitchers just pitching through the sixth inning many times – depending on pitch efficiency and batter patience.

But I doubt even the people who believe that the 100 pitch count is a good thing for Major League Baseball see much of a difference between a pitcher throwing 97 and 100 pitches on a given start; just in terms of the number itself.  The only difference is how the given pitcher executes those three extra pitches.  *Side note:  I am in favor of some sort of pitch count for kids playing Little League.*

I make the point of 97 vs. 100 pitches because while I relate it all back to Arroyo, he has come close to throwing 100 pitches a couple times.  It is also the National League he is pitching in, so pinch hitting and game scenarios could lead him to exiting a game where an American League pitcher would not.

While I do not believe in the “100 pitch count” the point being made did spark my curiosity.  It led me into wanting to look further into what Arroyo has been doing; which I will do now:

Bronson Arroyo’s average pitch count per game with Cincinnati:

  • 2006:  109.9 (35g, 240.2ip)
  • 2007:  100.8 (34g, 210.2ip)
  • 2008:  101.0 (34g, 200.0ip)
  • 2009:  103.2 (33g, 220.1ip)
  • 2010:  98.7 (33g, 215.2ip)
  • 2011:  103.2 (32g, 199.0ip)
  • 2012:  92.4 (32g, 202.0ip)
  • 2013:  89.6 (8g, 52.2ip)

There has definitely been a drop off in terms of pitches thrown per start by Arroyo.  Keep in mind Arroyo was around the age where many players are hitting their peak, 29, to start the 2006 season.  He has started the 2013 season at age 36.

Stat Dump Time….

Bronson Arroyo has pitched 1,541,9 innings and thrown 25,165 pitches since the start of 2006.  Both rank sixth in the MLB over that time span.  Arroyo’s career total of 2,129.3 innings pitched ranks 12 among active pitchers.

Arroyo has made the All-Star game once, 2006.

Arroyo has a career .971 fielding percentage.  League average is .956 for pitchers since the start of Arroyo’s career through today.

Arroyo has a career .129 batting average with 6 home runs and 29 RBI.  He has grounded into 7 double plays over his career and stole 1 base.

Arroyo has a 1-0 record with a 4.60 ERA in postseason play over a career 29.1 innings pitched.  Most of the struggle was with Boston, because he has only allowed 1 earned run in 12.1 innings, in 2 postseason starts with Cincinnati.

Arroyo has a career 4.22 ERA while winnings 127 games and losing 119.  He has pitched 13 career complete games, 5 being shutouts.

He has led or tied for the league lead in the following categories, in the following seasons:

  • 2004:  20 batters hit.
  • 2006:  35 starts, 240.2 innings pitched.
  • 2008:  34 starts.
  • 2009:  2 shutouts.
  • 2011:  112 Earned Runs and 46 home runs allowed.

Arroyo has a career 71.9 percent left on base and a 23.4 total Fangraphs WAR.  His best Fangraphs WAR in one season was 4.1 in 2006.

Arroyo has intentionally walked 56 batters in his career, the most being 7 in 2006.  He has also hit a 94 career batters, 21.2 percent of those being his 20 hit batters in 2004.  He has balked 4 times in his career and thrown 38 wild pitches.

Arroyo has thrown a career first pitch 62.7 percent of the time.  He has a career 7.4 swinging strike percentage.

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Source:  Fangraphs & Baseball-Reference.  Stats as of Wed. May 15, 2013 5:58 AM ET

Clay Buchholz 2012 vs. 2013

Wednesday night, Toronto Blue Jays broadcasters Dirk Hayhurst and Jack Morris started the debate that has got the baseball world talking.  Buchholz pitched a good game – 7ip 2h 8k 3bb 0r – Hayhurst and Moris began questioning if Buchholz was “cheating”.

He very clearly kept going to touch his left forearm with the index and middle fingers on his pitching hand.  There was also a certain shine to that left forearm that was not there on his right arm, and that shine was not on his left arm during 2012 or Spring Training this year.

Here he is during Spring Training in 2013:
Here is a screenshot I took from that video:

clay spring training 2013

Click for Full Size.

This is Clay Buchholz, again pitching in Toronto, on September 15, 2012:

Here is a screenshot I took from this video:

clay 2012

Click for Full Size.

Here is the video that started the discussion from Wednesday.

No great spot to clearly point out the shininess in a screenshot here.  So I went to Twitter and found a picture:

Clay Wednesday

Source: Twitter

This picture is a much better close-up than the best screenshot I tried to take from the video.  But they are from the same start.

Buchholz has offered a response and many have speculated.  My opinion is that there is a very apparent shine to that arm.  But the questions “What really is it?” and “Is it cheating?” are not up to me to decide.  If I were to speculate, I would most likely be wrong too.  Is it baby lotion?  Is it pine tar?  Is sun tan lotion?  Is it something else?  Is it a combination of things?  Or is it simply that his left arm sweats more than his right arm out of the blue this season?

Here is Tom Verducci’s take on SI.com.
Here is the story by Gordon Edes on ESPN.

Here is Buchholz’s 2012, 2013 and career statistics to compare.

Year Age Tm W L ERA GS CG SHO IP R ER HBP WHIP H/9 HR/9 BB/9 SO/9 SO/BB
2012 27 BOS 11 8 4.56 29 2 1 189.1 104 96 12 1.326 8.9 1.2 3.0 6.1 2.02
2013 28 BOS 6 0 1.01 6 0 0 44.2 5 5 0 0.963 5.4 0.2 3.2 9.5 2.94
7 Yrs 52 32 3.73 111 5 3 681.0 311 282 24 1.314 8.3 0.9 3.5 6.8 1.95
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 5/3/2013.

No matter what is going on, cheating or not, Buchholz is pitching at a very high level.  There are also a few things that need to be remembered, again cheating or not.  The first thing to remember is Buchholz threw a no-hitter in his second career start, on September 1, 2007, against the Baltimore Orioles while striking out nine batters.

Buchholz was also named the No. 51 prospect in baseball at the end of the 2006 season by Baseball America.  This is before he threw the no-hitter. Then at the end of 2007, coming into 2008, Baseball America ranked him as the No. 4 prospect in baseball — only behind Jay Bruce, Evan Longoria and Joba Chamberlain.

The third thing to take into account is that before an injury plagued season in 2011, he went 17-7 with a 2.33 ERA in 2010.  He was an All-Star and finished sixth in the American League Cy Young ballot.  Which leads me to my final thing to be taken into account — he entered this 2013 season at age 28.  This is about the age where many players begin to reach their peaks.

He had the potential to be a dominate pitcher all along.  Then when he was just 25 he put up the above mentioned 2010 numbers.  So the fact that he is really good should be no surprise to anyone.  He had injury issues in 2011, only starting 14 games. Then in 2012, there was the well-publicized Boston scenario that led to their manager, Bobby Valentine, being fired after one season and them trading away star players.

Now let’s look at some interesting sabermetric differences, while keeping in mind that the sample size is pretty small – at only 44.2 innings pitched so far in 2013.

Buchholz is having a career year in terms of striking out batters.  He is currently striking out 9.47 batters per nine innings.  His career, which includes the 2013 numbers has him averaging 6.85 batters per nine innings.

Batters have also only hit a .176 average off of Buchholz so far in 2013. This is not just a “lucky” fluke because of the small sample size either.  If you add thirty-two points to his batting average allowed, which is  the difference in his career BABIP and his 2013 BABIP, hitters would still be only hitting .208 off of him on the season. That is an average allowed, that over a season most any starter would take in a heart beat.

Buchholz has also left 91.4 percent of baserunners on base so far in 2013.  Fangraphs also has him speeding up his pace, taking less time between pitches than he ever has.

Buchholz has been getting more movement on his pitches this year which is where the substance really is playing into in the minds of people and leading to the above mentioned results.
Vertical MovementHorizaontal Movement
Click for Full Sizes.

That’s it.  I have given you all the tools.  Pictures, videos and statistics.  Now you should better be able to come to a conclusion about what is going on with Buchholz and the effect of recent allegations.

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Very Veryyy Early Interesting MLB Hitting Statistics Dump (Team Edition)

The Atlanta Braves have hit the most home runs in the MLB with 38.  Justin Upton, OF, has hit 12 of the 38 home runs.  The Braves as a team have a .324/.428/.752 (OBP/SLUG/OPS) line on the season.  When you take Justin Upton out of the equation, the Braves line drops down to .312/.395/.707.

The Oakland Athletics have scored the most runs in the MLB, scoring 158.  They only scored 88 in their equivalent first 28 games in 2012.  That averages out to 2.5 runs scored per game in their first 28 games of 2012 and 5.6 runs per game in 2013.  The Athletics on-base percentage has also jumped up from .281 to .345; over the same spans.

Houston Astros batters have struck out 267 times, the most in the majors.  According to Baseball-Almanac the 2010 Arizona Diamondbacks currently own the record for most times striking out in a season with 1,529.  The Astros are currently on a pace, that has them striking out 1,602 times over 162 games to break that record.  The Braves, who have struck out the second most amount of times so far in 2013, are also on pace to break that record as well.  They are on pace to strike out 1,532 times over 162 games.

The Astros have also grounded into the least amount of doubles plays, 10, so far in 2013.  The Seattle Mariners have grounded into the most, hitting into 32 double plays.  The Mariners lack of speed has also played a key role in the fact that they have stolen the least amount of bases, 7, so far in 2013.  The high powered Athletics offense has stolen the most bases stealing, 25, so far.

The Cleavland Indians have led the league with a .200 ISO.  The Marlins are the worst with a .083 ISO.

The Boston Red Sox have a .339 BABIP to lead the MLB so far in 2013.  The Blue Jays and Cubs are tied for the worst, each with a .264 BABIP.

The St. Louis Cardinals have seen the highest percentage of fastballs, 62 percent, of the pitches they have seen.  The Los Angeles Angels are on the other side of the spectrum at 54.8 percent.  But when the Angels have seen a fastball so far in 2013, they are seeing the fastest average fastball, 91.8  mph.  The Rockies have seen the slowest average fastball, averaging 90.1 mph.

The Angels *cough Josh Hamilton cough* have swung at the highest percentage of pitches seen so far in 2013, at 48.5 percent.  The Indians have swung at only 42.1 percent of the pitches they have seen, the lowest rate in the MLB.  The San Francisco Giants have the highest contact rate in the majors at 82.3 percent.

The Milwaukee Brewers have seen the highest percentage of first pitch strikes, 63.5 percent.  The Athletics have seen the fewest percentage of first pitch strikes as a team at 55.5 percent.

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Source:  Fangraphs & Baseball-Reference.  Stats as of Wed. May 1, 2013 4:17 AM ET

Very Veryyy Early Interesting MLB Pitching Statistics Dump

Met RHP Matt Harvey and Red Sox Clay Buchholz are tied for the MLB lead with 4 wins each.  Astros RHP Philip Humber leads the MLB in losses with 4.  Giants RHP Sergio Romo has the MLB lead with 8 saves.

Buchholz has pitched 30 innings to lead the MLB.  He pitched 7 innings in each of his first two starts.  Then he pitched 8 innings in each of his third and fourth starts.

Tigers RHP Max Scherzer leads all innings qualified pitchers with at a 14.21 strikeouts per nine innings rate.  Twins RHP Kevin Correia, 3.38 K/9, is the lowest.  Correia’s has a 2.95 earned run average.  Scherzer has a 2.84 ERA.

Giants RHP Tim Lincecum so far has walked 5.56 batters per nine innings, the highest rate in the MLB.  Cardinals RHP Adam Wainwright (29ip) and Athletics RHP Bartolo Colon (19ip) each have not walked a batter in 2013.

Twins RHP Vance Worley has allowed the worst batting average on balls in play, .403, among innings qualified pitchers.  He has a career .316 BABIP allowed.  Mariners RHP Hisashi Iwakuma has allowed a MLB low .119 BABIP, so far in 2013.

Athletics LHP Brett Anderson has generated the highest ground ball rate, 65.5 percent, among innings qualified pitchers.  Orioles LHP Wei-Yin Chen, 29.7 percent, has the lowest rate.

Clay Buchholz and Nationals LHP Ross Detwiler each have a 0.90 ERA, tied for the lowest among innings qualified pitchers.  Padres RHP Edinson Volquez’s 8.84 ERA is the highest.

Adam Wainwright has the highest wins above replacement, 1.5, for a pitcher so far in 2013.

In 18.2 innings in 2013 Rays RHP Roberto Hernandez (Formerly Fausto Carmona)  has intentionally walked 3 hitters to lead the MLB.  He only intentionally walked 3 hitters in 659.1 innings pitched, 114 games, between 2008 and 2012.

Edinson Volquez has leads the MLB with 5 wild pitches.

Tigers RHP Justin Verlander has thrown 439 pitches, the most so far in 2013.

Ross Detwiler has thrown a fastball 92.5 percent of the time so far in 2013, to lead innings qualified pitchers.  Outside of Blue Jays knuckleballer, R.A. Dickey, Rangers RHP Yu Darvish has thrown the fewest percentage of fastballs, 30.6 percent.

Among innings qualified pitchers Nationals RHP Stephen Strasburg has averaged the fastest fastball, 95.7 miles per hour. When you include relievers, basically anyone who’s pitched in 2013, Cardinals RHP Trevor Rosenthal has the highest average fastball velocity at 97.7mph.

Reds LHP Aroldis Chapman’s average fastball has dipped year of his career so far and the trend has continued into 2013.

  • 2010:  99.6 mph. 15 games.
  • 2011:  98.1 mph. 54 games.
  • 2012:  98.0 mph. 68 games.
  • 2013:  97.1 mph. 10 games.

The two lowest average fastball velocities in the MLB among innings qualified pitchers, are both on the Blue Jays.  R.A. Dickey’s fastball has averaged 82.2 mph and LHP Mark Buehrle’s has averaged 84.7 mph.

Batters have swung at 39.3 percent of Adam Wainwright’s pitches outside the zone so far in 2013, to lead all innings qualified pitchers. Also among innings qualified pitchers, hitters have been most patient hitting off of Diamondbacks RHP Trevor Cahill, swinging at only 37.1 percent of his total pitches.

Hitters have only made contact on 61.7 percent of Red Sox RHP Ryan Dempster’s pitches so far in 2013, the lowest rate among innings qualified pitchers.

Cardinals rookie RHP Shelby Miller has thrown a first pitch strike 73.2 percent of the time, to lead the MLB.  Batters have a .768 On-base plus slugging after Miller starts a plate appearance with a ball so far in 2013.  When he starts the count with a first pitch strike batters only have a .404 OPS.  Padres RHP Jason Marquis has started with a first pitch strike only 46.3 percent of the time, the lowest percentage in the MLB.

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Source:  Fangraphs & Baseball-Reference.  Stats as of Sun. April 21, 2013 4:18 AM ET