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Things You Might Not Know (and Random Stats)


Angelsjunky

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As we suffer through this slowest part of the year, we start digging deep for things to talk about that are baseball related. So here's a topic: What are some things that people might not know, but are true?

Here's one: Evan Longoria is still playing  baseball. Remember him? He was the third best position player in the majors from 2008-11, accoriding to fWAR, averaging 6.7 per year. Meaning, he was basically Anthony Rendon during his prime, although a lesser hitter and better defender. Longoria missed more than half of 2012, came back strong in 2013 (5.5 fWAR) and was really good for a few more years, but not like those early years. He's been a Giant for the last two years; last year he hit .254/.325/.437 with 20 HR and 2.0 fWAR. Still a solid player but years removed from stardom. Anyhow, he's a player that seems to have been forgotten about.

Here's another: You know how I said that Longoria was the third best position player from 2008-11? Well, the second best is Albert Pujols - unsurprisingly. But the best? You'll never guess: Brian McCann was the best position player in the majors from 2008-11. The new Fangraphs formula for WAR loves catchers. From 2008-11, McCann averaged 7.1 fWAR!

One more: Nelson Cruz is tied with Mike Schmidt for 10th most HR in major league history, from age 28 on. Cruz has hit 379 HR from age 28 on, or 401 total. He's the only active player other than Albert Pujols with at least four seasons of 40+ HR (Pujols has seven). 

 

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If asked how baseball has changed most over the past three decades, the answer could be the precipitous decline of the complete game. Lots of things change in scale, in frequency, in importance. But perhaps no baseball feat has traversed from routine to nearly extinct to quite this degree. In your lifetime, you might very well see the last complete game.

Just 30 years ago, there were 622 complete games, roughly four every day. There were 42 all of last year, despite there being four more teams in the league (and thus 648 more pitcher starts). 

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