Lying, Whoring Numbers: Inaugural Edition

Somebody call Jonathon Niese’s surgeon
Photo Credit: slgckgc

Statistics and baseball go hand-in-hand, like “peanut butter” and “jelly,” or “smooth ass hustla” and “Starbonell.” However, there are numerous instances in which people (fantasy owners and writers alike) misuse certain statistics and turn those once innocent numbers into lying, filthy, whoring liars. With this column, we hope to go all Chris Brown on stats that get out of line.

You see, certain statistics can look great or terrible when they stand alone, but with the help of context, we can expose them as the lying pieces of shit that they are. So without further ado, your boy Kid Clutch, in association with “Do Work Productions,” invites you to the inaugural edition of “Lying, Whoring Numbers.”

More after the jump:

The statistic: 36.8 K%
The player: Mark Reynolds
There goes Mark Reynolds again, posting a K% that is currently fourth worst in baseball (and the worst of his career). He sucks, right guys? Only thing is, he’s actually swinging and missing less. Whaaa? That’s right fools, Reynolds’ Swinging Strike Percentage (SwStr%) is currently at a career-low 16.2 percent mark. Sure that’s still a high amount, but it’s a great illustration of how a stat can be really misleading. Reynolds isn’t about to win any batting titles, but the fact that he’s walking 13.2 percent of the time is encouraging. The HRs will come (as they always do with Reynolds), so be easy homie.

The statistic: 6 HRs
The player: Matt Kemp
Although it seems like baseball heresy to say anything remotely negative about the play of Matt Kemp these days, someone has to splash cold water on the lunacy surrounding his performance. For starters, ESPN Stats & Information Group (specifically, HitTrackerOnline.com) has Kemp as the league leader in “just enough” HRs. Granted, those bombs came in LA and San Diego, where long balls are hard to come by (pause). Still, the fact that he didn’t “no doubt” the shit out of these shots shows that he had a bit of luck working in his favor. Still think Kemp will easily challenge for 50 HRs? Well, what about his 66.7 HR/FB (which is over three times higher than his mark last year)? Or the fact that he’s actually hitting a lot more grounders so far in 2012? Look, the point is that nothing in the peripheral data is reflecting that he’s actually gaining significantly more power. Can he hit over 40 HRs? Absolutely, but he’s ALWAYS had that ability in the majors. Kemp will finish with numbers very close to his 2011 performance. Sure they might be a little bit better, but they also might be just a little worse. Either way, he will not lose his stature as the best OF in fantasy (who’s laughing now Ryan Braun supporters?). You just shouldn’t expect him to be Jose Bautista 2.0 in the power department.

The statistic: 10.38 K/9
The player: Ivan Nova
Yankee players tend to be overvalued in fantasy, and seeing as how Nova is owned in over half of Yahoo! leagues despite the wealth of superior options sitting on waivers, this theory is still going strong. Unfortunately for Nova owners, the healthy strikeout totals are a total farce. Yes, Nova throws in the mid-90s and has great movement on his pitches. However, he’s a classic “pitch to weak contact” hurler who relies more on grounders than whiffs. His 6.2 SwStr% (which is actually lower than its been his entire major league career) does not portend a season chock full of missed bats, so expecting Nova to produce a K/9 that’s even above six is blindly optimistic. He might end up being a decent back-of-the-rotation fantasy SP, but that’s his ceiling.

The statistic: .115 BABIP
The player: Ike Davis
Poor, poor Ike Davis. Guy can’t catch a break. First his nose is the size of Rhode Island, and now his performance on the field is abysmal all because of some bad luck. Except, that’s not the case (well, the part about his nose is true; that shit really is enormous). Davis’ horrific BABIP is the result of poor hitting. He’s posting a paltry 14.3 LD% and a crazy high 57.1 GB%, which explains why the balls he puts into play aren’t doing much. On top of that, he’s striking out a lot (27.3 K% and 11.4 SwStr%). Davis should play better as the season goes along, but it’s worth mentioning that his LD% was never that great in the majors prior to 2012 so if he isn’t hitting a lot of HRs, his BA could be underwhelming.

The statistic: 33.3 K%
The player: Jason Bay
Going back to K%, Jason Bay is among the league’s worst in this category. However, he is pulling in the lowest SwStr% of his career right now with a solid 8.2 mark. He’s been punched out looking a few times (once on a ridiculously outside pitch last week), but four of his seven hits have gone for extra bases (including two HRs). I still think Bay has something left in the tank and he’s as cheap as they come. Putting out an offer for an owner who probably is playing him sporadically is a recommended move.

That is all for this edition of “Lying, Whoring Numbers.” I honestly could’ve gone a lot further, but figured another week or so of games would help add some size to the sample. Just remember, when you see a good-looking statistic that’s giving you the sexy eyes and beckoning you to come in, run a background check on that shit. You could be walking right into some Too Wong Foo-type shenanigans.



About Starbonell

Starbonell is the co-founder of Sons of Roto and one of the most insightful and colorful fantasy analysts in the game. Mixing intelligent and well-researched advice with an entertaining style of writing that is easy to digest, Starbonell is the king of info-tainment.