Sunday, May 5, 2019

Weird Stats

One of my favorite aspects of the young baseball season is the cherry-picking of absurd baseballer stats that, in most cases, are highly unlikely to continue.

Oh, the Seattle Mariners started the season 6-1? Of course they'll carry a .857 winning percentage all year. (They won't--and they're 12-16 since that hot start.) Cody Bellinger carries a .415 batting average and 14 homers into the second week of May, but he's not going to knock out 76 dingers or end the year with the third-highest single-season batting average of the live ball era.

These stats need time to stablize, of course, but let's take a closer look at the two players below: Dee Gordon and Zack Greinke.

Known speedster Dee Gordon has never been a bat-first type of player, and he's certainly not known for his power. Indeed, his highest single-season homerun total was just last year when he managed to push four balls over the wall (a feat he also accomplished in 2015). He's otherwise scattered seasons of zero, one, or two homers since his debut in 2011. Yet, 32 games into the 2019 season, Gordon already has two homeruns. Is this the year he can break five?

Zack Greinke, on the otherhand, has not been his sharpest this season. He's rebounded a bit after a terrible Opening Day start against the Dodgers, but his best years are definitely behind him. While Greinke's pitching prowress is well-known, it's his bat that has me watching these days. Just read this short excerpt from Devan Fink at Fangraphs:

In 13 plate appearances, Greinke has slashed .500/.545/1.300 (361 wRC+). He has hit two home runs, two doubles, and a single, all while drawing a walk without registering a single strikeout. That’s better than Barry Bonds‘ slash line after 13 plate appearances (.400/.538/.900) in 2004, when he went on to post a ridiculous 1.422 full-season OPS.
While we all know Greinke won't go on to become the next Bonds, anecdotes like these are a blast to discover. Dodger cards I need from Topps Heritage are also a blast to discover, and the Gordon and Greinke cards above come from a recent trade with Chris over at Nachos Grande

For as long as I've been in the hobby, player collecting has perhaps been the area I've been most invested. I've had a number of player PCs over recent years, Matt Kemp, Chad Billingsley, and Adrian Beltre just to name a few. And while adding to these collections is certainly rewarding, it becomes more difficult to committ to once that player is traded, released, or if they've signed with another club. My collection of Matt Kemp cards was the reason I started blogging (I needed somewhere to show that collection off), but he's since been on four teams (Dodgers, Padres, Braves, Dodgers again, and Reds) and was released by his latest team just yesterday. A few years ago I would have been thrilled to add another Kemp card to the PC, but today I'm just happy to add cards that help me build up my Dodgers flagship sets. This pair from 2015 certainly helps. 

In fact, this paif of Dodgers ups the total 2015 cards I have to 6. With 45 Dodgers in the 2015 set, I'm sitting at a measely 13% of the set. With every other set from the decade at over 60% complete, 2015 is definitely an outlier. 

Even worse, this pair of cards from 1998 were my first two cards from that year. It's a much smaller set (17 cards), but I'm sitting at just 11.8% complete. I should focus on the 90s soon.

This package from Chris also included some wonderful 1953 reprints from a recent Topps Archives set. I've never been a big collector of Archives, but I certainly do like these reprints. If only they were the real deal. 

But what's more fun then reprints? Customs! This Clayton Kershaw custom was created by a friend of Chris's, and I'm happy to add it to my Kershaw PC--a PC I won't ever tire of. 

I've been working hard behind the scenes to better catalog my cards, though I've never really thought about counting up my customs. I probably only have a handful, and most of those have probably come from Gavin over at Baseball Card Breakdown (who also recently sent me a package of cards.) I'll post about that swap soon enough, and maybe I'll have some numbers on custom cards at that point. 

Thanks again for the trade, Chris!

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