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In what’s becoming an annual mid-holiday tradition, I picked up the latest copy of the Bill James Handbook this evening. If there’s one theme emerging during the first thumbing-through, it’s “Thank God for the Kansas City Royals.”
In many categories, the Sox were near the bottom of the league — but never close to last, thanks to their AL Central counterparts. I’ll go through a few of these occurrences and some other interesting nuggets.
- The Sox were second-to-last in manufactured runs (137), which should come as no surprise. Only the Royals were worse (130).
- At .370, Alexei Ramirez had the second-highest batting average against left-handed pitching. Derek Jeter hit .395.
- Scott Podsednik (5.58) and A.J. Pierzynski (5.90) finished sixth- and seventh-worst in percentage of plate appearances resulting in an RBI.
- The Sox were the sixth-worst baserunning team (-20). The Royals finished at -67. Both teams finished second-to-last in outs made advancing with 35.
- D.J. Carrasco had 25 long outings — 25 or more pitches — which was good for second in the league to Baltimore’s Brian Bass. Carrasco had three more relief innings.
- The only Sox reliever to record a save when entering with the tying run on base? Tony Pena.
- John Danks had the second-highest percentage of pitches in the strike zone to Minnesota’s Scott Baker.
- Danks, Mark Buehrle and Clayton Richard were three of six pitchers to pick off six runners or more.
- Gavin Floyd has the least-hittable curve in terms of OPS (.410).
- Chris Getz was the only infielder to show up on the plus-minus trailers list, finishing 10 plays below average, sixth-worst among major-league second basemen.
- Jermaine Dye was the worst right fielder over the last year (-28), and over the last three years cumulatively (-81).
- Carlos Quentin wasn’t much better (-20).
- Ozzie Guillen used the second-fewest relievers of any manager, five more than Don Wakamatsu.
- The Cheat received an advance copy, and noted Guillen’s regression to the mean in terms of handling starters.
- FanGraphs has James’ always-optimistic projections for 2010 in the system.