As Cheat said, this is not '07. Gone are the heaps and gobs of below replacement level plate appearances from the likes of Erstad, Podsednik, Uribe and Crede and, as I remember it, the entire lineup through April, May and into June. Ah, but there are two conspicuous returnees in that short list, most notably yesterday's hero Joe Crede. Since I've made his love of the pop up a running total in the game threads, I think some defense of my harping is in order.
So take a gander at those peripherals. Ugh. The general rule for adjusting BABIP is to take the line drive percentage and add .120 to it. Joe's LD% right now is 4%, which gives him an adjusted BABIP of .160. His current BABIP is holding steady at .391. While he's not going to continue (I hope) to hit so few line drives, it's clear that his .393/.419/.679 is hugely inflated by the bloops, duck snorts and seeing eye singles that have contributed so significantly to his batting average. And that running count of 8 pop ups in 7 games? Good for a whopping 43.8% of his fly balls. In short, he's not hitting line drives and his fly balls are by and large doing nothing for him. The only conclusion to draw, I think, is that his stroke is screwy and is in big need of fixing. Let's hope Brian Sabean sees it in his heart to take over that project.
But that's the bad news for the most part, since Javy settled down after a rough first three innings (those two doubles in the fourth were just really nice hitting) and Buehrle did a number on the Tigers in his second start. The Count is going to be a sketchy proposition until whatever it is in his body that's ailing him fixes itself. It remains to be seen if that is a matter of the cold+old equation, or something more insidious. Larry is probably right that WYSIWYG with Gavin right now. Those fly balls will either go for outs or home runs and that ratio will determine the quality of his start. Danks, thankfully, looks to have righted his ship, but after just the one start with the new cutter, the jury should be out for a while.
So the good-to-great news? Our offense. Wow. I cooked up a chart just to illustrate our awesomeness. To wit:
Anything denoted "old" is the average of the last two major league seasons for the player in question. For Joe Crede, I thought it unfair to include his '07 so I supplanted '05. For Cansequito I used the numbers from his two major league seasons, so they come with the note that they weren't exactly full nor was he super healthy in the second. The P/PA stats are from THT and everything else is from FirstInning.com.
The most notable might just be Juan Uribe. His adjusted BABIP is .300 and his actual BABIP is at .250, so if we adjust his stat lines a bit and squint, you can almost see a league average 2nd baseman. Gasp! Obviously, these come with the "it's been 7 games" caveat, but these are also numbers that should tend to normalize rapidly barring any serious streaks, good (AJ, Joe) or bad (Paulie, OC).
The overall conclusion is that everyone, except Jim Thome of all people, is beating their two year averages when it comes to their walk percentages. AJ's is inflated by his two IBB, but aside from that these are what they are: encouraging. Really encouraging. It's almost like this was planned or something. But that remains to be seen. This is as good a start as we could hope for and just maybe it isn't all smoke and mirrors. No wonder South Side Hope is acting up. Oh and if anyone wants the chart for themselves, it's available here