Using statistics to answer Mets related questions

Breaking the Mets doubles record?

Posted by B P on August 8, 2009

Tonight David Wright got his 30th double of the season. With about 53 games left to play, can Wright reach 44 or more doubles this year? The most he’s gotten is 42 thrice in 2005, 2007, 2008. By getting more than 44 he can break the Mets record for most doubles in a season by Bernard Gilkey in 1996. Just going off Wright’s 3ABs so far, he has 30 2Bs in 402 ABs =  0.073. If he were to get another 200 ABs this season, at the rate he’s going he’d get 14.9 2Bs. That certainly makes it look good for him. But then again this is probably not the first time he’s been this close to getting 44-45 2Bs.

There was also talk in tonight’s broadcast about Wright potentially fighting for the Batting title as well. What do you guys think?

Hanley Ramirez .344
Pablo Sandoval .334
Joey Votto .328
David Wright .326


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Starting Starry Night

Posted by birtelcom on July 14, 2009

By my count, Mets have been starters in the All-Star Game 31 times over the years. David Wright’s expected start tonight would make 32.  I haven’t found a previous list of these, so I’ve counted them myself — it’s entirely possible I missed somebody or mis-counted, so anyone willing to check my work is encouraged to do so.  A list of all NL All-Star starters is here: .   This is a list of the actual starting lineups, and thus does not include those who were elected by fans to start but because of injury or other reasons were not actually in the game’s starting lineup.

In the 1960s, only two Mets started an All-Star Game: Ron Hunt in 1964 and Cleon Jones in 1969. The list was not much longer in the 1970s, with Tom Seaver starting in the 1970 All-Star Game, Bud Harrelson in 1971 and Dave (“Kong”) Kingman starting in right field in the 1976 game.  After that the All-Star start well ran dry for the Mets until the until the ascendance of the great Mets teams under Davey Johnson in the mid-1980s.  Darryl Strawberry was the starting right-fielder for the NL All-Stars all five seasons from 1984 through 1988. Only Hank Aaron and Roberto Clemente have started in right for the NL All-Stars more often than Darryl.  Gary Carter joined Darryl as an All-Star starter in 1986, 1987 and 1988.  In 1986, Darryl and the Kid were also accompanied by Dwight Gooden as the NL’s starting pitcher and Keith Hernandez as the starter at first. That made 1986, not surprisingly, the Mets’ biggest year to date for All-Star starters, with four of the nine NL starters coming from the Mets.  In 1988, Strawberry and Carter were again joined Doc Gooden as the NL starting pitcher. Seaver’s start in 1970 and Gooden’s two starts in 1986 and 1988 have been the only All-Star starts by Mets pitchers to date.

After 1988, the Mets fortunes began to decline from their mid-80s peak, and the All-Star starts, as might be expected, declined as well.  Howard Johnson was the All-Star starting third baseman in 1989, after which the Mets had no All-Star starters until Lance Johnson started in center field in 1996.  The arrival of Mike Piazza in 1998 restored starting All-Star glamour to the Mets, and Mike represented the Mets as the starting catcher for the NL six times: 1998 and 1999, 2001 and 2002, and 2004 and 2005. Only in 2005 did Mike have a Met for company in the All-Star starting lineup, when Carlos Beltran started in left field for the NL.  Beltran made it back among the All-Star starters, now in his normal spot in center field, in 2006 and 2007, joined both years by David Wright and one other Met. In 2006, Carlos and David were accompanied by Paul Lo Duca among the NL starters, and in 2007 the third Met starter was Jose Reyes.  No starters for the Mets last season, but David Wright’s third starting appearance is in the offing tonight.

All told, Mike Piazza has the most All-Star starts as a Met with six, Darryl Strawberry is second with 5, and Carlos Beltran, Gary Carter and, if he starts as planned tonight, David Wright are next with three each. Doc Gooden with his two All-Star starts is the only other Met with more than one appearance as a Met in an All-Star starting lineup. It’s interesting that the greatest Met of all, Tom Seaver, was the starting pitcher in the All-Star game only once.

From a positional point of view, a Met has started the All-Star Game at catcher 10 different times and in right field six times.  Wright’s planned start tonight will make four Mets All-Star starts at third base, and there have been three Met All-Star starts on the mound and in center field. There have been two Met All-Star starts at shortstop, and one each at first base and second base. Odd that the only two All-Star starts for the Mets on the right side of the infield have been Keith Hernandez back in 1986 and, at second base, Ron Hunt all the way back in 1964.

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The Best Side

Posted by birtelcom on July 13, 2009

One of the many new items one can study on the extraordinary after its makeover this year (a deep site, getting ever deeper)  is team platoon advantage.  That is, one can see what percentage of each team’s plate appearances, by its hitters, are taken from the advantageous side of the plate (i.e., the hitter batting left-handed against right-handed pitchers or batting right-handed when a lefty is on the mound).

With Beltran, Reyes and Castillo all switch-hitters, and thus holding this “platoon advantage” 100% of the time, the Mets as a team have been consistently high up in the “platoon advantage” ranks for four years running now. Here are the top three teams in % of PAs with the platoon advantage for 2009 to date, and then for the past three full seasons.  Note that the major league average this season has been 55%,  and has been 54% each of the past three full seasons.  The lowest percentage each season by any team has been from 40% to 43%

Top Platoon Advantage Percentages — 2009
Yanks 70%
Mets 65%
Angels 63%

Top Platoon Advantage Percentages — 2008
Mets 71%
Rays 66%
Giants 65%

Top Platoon Advantage Percentages — 2007
Giants 67%
Yanks/Mets 64%

Top Platoon Advantage Percentages — 2006
Diamondbacks 65%
Mets 64%
Phils/Yanks 63%

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Swing Time

Posted by birtelcom on July 10, 2009

The Mets just traded Ryan Church to Atlanta for Jeff Francoeur, who was a bit of a sensation when he first came up to the majors in 2005 and did quite well. But then he seems to have gone into a steep decline to the point where he’s not hitting well enough to justify a major league outfield position.  One odd aspect of his career is that on the one hand he has successfully reduced his strikeout rate every season he has been in the majors.

% of PAs ending in a K:
2005: 21.2%
2006: 19.2%
2007: 18.5%
2008: 17.0%
2009: 14.2%

But unfortunately he also successfully reduced his home rate every season he has been in the majors.
% of PAs ending in a home run:
2005: 5.1%
2006: 4.2%
2007: 2.7%
2008: 1.7%
2009: 1.5%

Perhaps the Mets can convince him to stop worrying about striking out and just let loose?

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Save the walk

Posted by B P on July 8, 2009

Francisco Rodriguez currently has 22 saves which isn’t too far from the league leading 24 by man who replaced him on the Angels Brian Fuentes. Perhaps a few of you have noticed that a good portion of his saves this season have been more interesting than perhaps warranted. Indeed K-Rod has been pretty erratic at different points this season (what closer hasn’t?), but he’s been getting the job done for the most part. Among  all relievers with 7 or more saves this season K-Rod has a 5.05 BB/9 rate which is the 5th highest in the MLB. Matt Lindstrom on the Florida Marlins has a BB/9 of 6.21 which is the highest in MLB. On the flip side, K-Rod’s K/BB ratio is 1.82 which is tied for second worst (with Matt Caps of the Pirates) in the same group of relievers (Lindstrom has the worst at 1.30). Mariano Rivera leads MLB with a 14.00 K/BB ratio which is unreal (42 Ks / 3 BBs in 34.2 IP). However despite the high walk rate for K-Rod, he has not given up many hits (25 hits in 39.2 IP) which is his saving grace so far. He has a WHIP (Walks + Hits over Innings Pitched) of .95 which is, besides a good sign, the 7th best in the MLB. Joe Nathan of the Twins has the lowest in MLB at .76.

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Mets Weakly

Posted by birtelcom on July 7, 2009

BP posted here lasted month about the Mets’ lack of power this season showing up primarily on the home run side, with strong performances in triples and doubles continuing to show up, and also speculated that the move from homers to other extra-base hits might be largely a function of Citi Field park effects.

In the last few weeks, as key injuries have continued to accumulate, the Mets overall power numbers have deteriorated further, and right now are looking like major league weaklings, both at home and on the road.

“Isolated Power” (ISO) is a statistic, first developed decades ago by Bill James, with a very simple formula: Slugging Percentage minus Batting Average. By deducting BA from SLG, ISO measures just that part of  SLG that is derived from extra-base power — the portion of SLG that measures the ability to hit for singles is extracted, leaving just extra-base power as the quality being measured.  The Mets right now are 30th, dead last, in the majors in team ISO for the 2009 season.  The bottom 5 teams in the majors right now in Isolated Power:

Mets .124
A’s .125
Giants .129
Dodgers .131
Pirates .132

The 2009 major league average is .155.  The current top three teams in 2009 ISO are the Rangers (.199), the Yanks (.198) and the Phils (.192)

The Mets weak performance in ISO is not limited to Citi Field. In fact, the Mets have the 28th lowest home game ISO in the majors  and the 28th lowest visiting game ISO in the majors.  They are the only team that is in the bottom three both home and away.  At Citi, the Mets’ ISO is .131, that’s .032 below the league average for teams playing at home.  Away from Citi, the Mets’ .117 ISO is .030 below the league average for teams playing on the road.

The loss of Carlos Delgado has been especially tough on the Mets’ ISO.  Among over 1,700 players all-time who have accumulated at least 3,000 career MLB plate appearances, Delgado currently sits 15th in career Isolated Power, with a .266 career ISO, just behind Ralph Kiner at .269 and just ahead of David Ortiz at .262.  Babe Ruth is #1 on this list with a .348 ISO, ahead of #2 Mark McGwire at .325 and #3 Barry Bonds at .309.  Of the 229 players who have accumulated at least 3,000 career MLB PAs and debuted in the majors after 1991, Luis Castillo is 229th and last in career  ISO, with a career ISO of .063.  On that list of 229 players, Alex Cora is not far ahead of Luis, with a .100 ISO that sits 210th among those 229 players (Delgado’s .266 career ISO is 5th on this list, behind Albert Pujols at .297, Manny Ramirez at .279, and Adam Dunn and Alex Rodriguez ,each at  .272).

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The Long and Short Of It

Posted by birtelcom on June 30, 2009

Braden Looper,  formerly the late inning closer for the Mets, was the winning starting pitcher against them last night.  For a pitcher to serve over his career at some point as a closer up racking up a substantial number of  career saves and at another point as a starting pitcher with a significant number of career starts is relatively unusual in baseball history.  In a post here earlier this month I referred to the “harmonic mean of two numbers” as a statistical method of measuring the combine achievements of players in two different categories:  There the harmonic mean formula ((2*A*B)/(A+B))  was applied in the form of the “power-speed number” invented by Bill James decades ago to measure the combination of power in the form of homers hit and speed in the form of bases stolen.  We can use the same technique to assign a “Starter-Closer Number”, which is the harmonic mean of  a pitcher’s total number of career starts and total number of career saves.

The current all-time leaders in the career  “Starter-Closer Number” category are:

1. Dennis Eckersley 374.9 (361 starts, 390 saves)
2. John Smoltz 231.6
3. Tom Gordon 177.7
4. Jose Mesa 146.6
5. Ron Reed 143.4
6. Ron Kline 141.0
7. Rick Aguilera 139.1
8. Dave Giusti 138.7
9. Dave Righetti 131.5
10. Firpo Marberry 131.2

Braden Looper moved from 39th place on this list to 38th with his start against the Mets last night, and if he were to maintain his spot in the Brewers rotation every fifth day for the rest of the season, he would finish 2009 in the top 25 in all-time “Starter-Closer Number”.

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Short Production Chain

Posted by birtelcom on June 29, 2009

Continuing on the theme from the previous post, the Mets have now gone four straight games with fewer than six hits as a team in each game.  The Mets had not gone 4 games in a row with fewer than six hits in almost five years.  The last time was in September, 2004, when the streak actually reached five games, tying a franchise record set in 1963 and reached again in 1989.

Perhaps even more distressing,  the Mets have gone four straight games with fewer than seven total bases as a team in each game.  That is only the third time in franchise history the Mets have reached such a streak, and the first time in over 36 years.  The only other times the Mets had at least four consecutive games of no more than six TBs occurred way back in September, 1972, and before that in September 1963 when the  streak reached 5 games. Over the past six years, only two other teams in MLB have matched the Mets’ four game streak of fewer than seven team TBs: the Nats and Giants both did it in July last season (the Nats’ streak stretched to five games).  Prior to that no team had done it since the Tigers in 2002.

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Off Base

Posted by birtelcom on June 28, 2009

Mets were on base only 4 times again tonight. That’s the first time since September, 1990 the Mets have been held to four or fewer times on base in consecutive games. And before that, the only other times in franchise history the Mets have been held to four or fewer times on base in two straight games were once each in 1965, 1964 and 1963. Over the past three seasons, 2007, 2008 and this year, the only other MLB club held to no more than 4 TOBs in two straight was Houston last September, held down first by Carlos Zambrano in a complete game shutout and then by Ted Lilly and the Cubs bullpen.

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At A Loss

Posted by birtelcom on June 23, 2009

The Mets just brought Pat Misch up from the minors.  Thus far in his career Misch seems to be pitching under a black cloud.  He has started 11 games in his career (he has had short stints with the Giants each season from 2006 through 2009), and his team has lost every one of them.  In those 11 starts Misch is 0-7 with four no-decisions.   Going back to 1954, which is as far back as the Retrosheet data relied upon by goes, only one pitcher has ever had a longer streak  to begin his career of starts that his team has lost.  The Mariners during 1993 and 1994  were losers in the first 12 starts of John Cummings’ career, until he finally won one in his last start of 1994.  Misch is targeted for the Mets bullpen, probably not the starting rotation, so the primacy of Cummings’ streak is probably not in imminent danger.

On the other hand Misch hasn’t exactly been a good luck charm in the pen either.  In Misch’s 38 total career appearances, including both starts and relief appearances, his Giants team had a record of 5 wins and 33 losses.

All told, Misch has thus far pitched 97 innings in the majors, and has an 0-7 won-loss record.  If he were never to pitch in the majors again, his would be the seventh highest career IP total in baseball history by a pitcher with no  wins credited to him.  Number 2 on that all-time list is Bob Moorhead, whose MLB career consisted of a relief and spot starter role for the 1962 Mets and a few appearances for the 1965 Mets.  Moorhead totaled 119 2/3 IPs in his career and finished with an 0-3 win-loss record.  The only pitcher in history with more career IPs and no wins was Terry Felton.  Felton was truly a pitcher in the Charlie Brown winless tradition, finishing his career 0-16 (no one has ever lost so many career decisions in MLB without winning at least one) over four seasons with the Twins from 1979 to 1982.  After three brief stints with Minnestoa from 1979 through 1981, Felton was 0-3 and had thrown only 21 career innings.  But in 1982 the poor guy appeared in 48 games, including 6 starts,  threw 117 1/3 innings and finished the season a horrific 0-13 (yet another all-time MLB record — most losses in a winless season).  He never pitched in the majors again.

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Walking Home

Posted by birtelcom on June 22, 2009

After Pedro Feliciano walked in a run yesterday, a perceptive observer over at The Happy Recap ( pointed out that it seems that such bases-loaded walks have been more prevalent around the majors this season than in the past.  Indeed. Through Saturday’s games, there had been 187 bases-loaded walks in the majors so far in 2009, a pace that would produce about 445 such run-scoring bases on balls by the end of the season. Here are the number of bases-loaded walks accumulated in recent seasons:

2008: 372
2007: 351
2006: 319
2005: 271
2004: 329
2003: 326
2002: 268
2001: 255
2000: 397
1999: 346
1998: 322

The increase in bases-loaded walks may at least to a large extent simply be a function of there being more walks generally. MLB teams are averaging 3.54 walks a game this season, a rate that has increased every year the last few years (3.13 in 2005, 3.26 in 2006, 3.31 in 2007, 3.36 in 2008) and is now at its highest point since the home run madness of 1999-2000 (3.68 walks per game in 1999 and 3.75 in 2000). Walks were even more frequent in the late 1940s and early 1950s, hitting an all-time historical peak at over 4 walks per game in 1949 and 1950.

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Hittin Em Where They Aint

Posted by birtelcom on June 18, 2009

Ben Shpigel of the NY Times has a good article today  ,, that mentions among other things David’s crazy BABIP (batting average on balls in play) number so far in 2009. Shpigel points out that David’s BABIP through Tuesday’s game was at an all-time-major league-record-breaking level if sustained through a whole season (though don’t hold your breath for that).

Shpigel suggests David’s crazily high BABIP is likely a Citi Field generated phenomenon, and indeed it is surely partly that. But it should be noted that (which Shpigel cites elswhere in his article) shows David’s 2009 BABIP, though extremly high in Citi, has been even higher in away games in 2009. B-ref has him today at a BABIP of .443 in home games and .495 on the road. The 2009 league average for BABIP is .296 (the overall MLB average for plain old batting average in 2009 so far is .261).

By the way, Shpigel says that according to Elias Sports Bureau, David’s overall BABIP through Tuesday this week was .497.   I don’t know what formula Elias was using for BABIP to get to that number, but it seems a bit higher than the number that would have been produced by the standard formulas used by baseball-reference or ESPN. 

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Super Savers

Posted by birtelcom on June 17, 2009

With his 17th save for the Mets last night, in the team”s 62nd game of the season,  Francisco Rodriguez is on a pace for 44 to 45 saves over the whole season.  That would set a new Mets franchise record for saves in a season.

Most Saves in a Season by a Met:
Armando Benitez (2001) 43
Armando Benitez (2000) 41
Billy Wagner (2006) 40
John Franco (1998) 37
John Franco (1997) 36

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Minor League Update — 6/16/09

Posted by Dylan Nagy on June 16, 2009

Buffalo Bisons (AAA):
22-41 (17.0 games back)

BUF 5 @ SYR 4

Marco Estrada pitched seven quality innings, three earned runs on seven hits and four strike outs, for the Syracuse Chiefs (Washington Nationals) but Zechry Zinicola gave up two runs in the eighth and the Bisons went on to win the game 5-4. Justin Maxwell hit a two run homer, his eighth of the season, in the ninth inning off of Buffalo closer Elmer Dessens; the solo shot made the contest a one-run game.

  • Chip Ambres, batting third, had two hits in five at bats
  • Mike Lamb exploded for a 4 for 4 night with a triple, two runs and two hits
  • Lance Broadway allowed only one run (earned) on three hits and two walks in six innings, he struck out two and dropped his ERA to 5.97
  • Tim McNab allowed one run (unearned) on just one hit in 1.2 innings; he struck out two and now has a 1.44 ERA in 25 innings with Buffalo this season

Binghamton Mets (AA):
26-37 (9.5 games back)

BIN 2 @ HAR 3

Eric Brown made a spot start for Bingamton today and pitched seven impressive innings; however, he gave up a home run to shortstop Ian Desmond, his third of the season, with two outs in the seventh to give the Harrisburg Senators (Washington Nationals) a 3-2 lead, which was the final score.

  • Nick Evans hit two doubles in four at bats and is now batting .260 with Binghamton; it’s official, he is once again Nick “The Stick” Evans
  • Lucas Duda played left field and reached base three times, twice by hit and once by walk, in three plate appearances
  • Eric Brown allowed three runs (all earned) on nine hits and a walk, he struck out six and has a 4.81 ERA

St. Lucie Mets (A+):
30-31 (8.5 game back)

STL 0 @ DAY 6

The Daytona Cubs (Chicago Cubs) scored a run in the bottom of the first and never looked back, defeating the St. Lucie Mets 6-0. The Mets struggled offensively, only five hits, and in the field, three errors.

  • Zach Lutz hit a double in the ninth inning, St. Lucie’s only extra base hit of the game
  • Greg Veloz singled and then stole second base in the third inning, it was his 15th steal of the season
  • Jeffrey Kaplan allowed four runs (all earned) on seven hits in 5.2 innings; he took the loss (0-2) and now has a 5.06 ERA

Savannah Sand Gnats (A):
31-34 (7.0 games back)

SAV 6 @ ROM 3

The Sand Gnats took on the Rome Braves and their 19-year-old stud Brett DeVall (2.11 ERA entering the day) tonight, and punished the young gun for five runs, two home runs and a loss in six innings.

  • Jefry Marte hit two singles in four at bats; he batted second tonight and has displayed a significant level of comfortability in that spot this season
  • Wilmer Flores went 1 for 3 with a two-run homer in the fifth inning, his second of the season
  • Joshua Satin collected three hits, including a double, in four at bats and drove in a pair of runs
  • Jeurys Familia, 19 years old, won his fourth game of the season but allowed three runs (all earned) on seven hits and two walks, he struck out six and sports a 3.25 ERA

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Minor League Update — 6/15/09

Posted by Dylan Nagy on June 15, 2009

Buffalo Bisons (AAA):
21-41 (17.0 games back)

BUF 2 @ SYR 4

BUF 3 @ SYR 2

The Bisons traveled East to Syracuse to take on the Chiefs (Washington Nationals) for two seven-inning games. Syracuse won game one, led by Mike Vento’s two-hit, three-RBI game. Game two went to the Bisons, handing former Met Jorge Sosa the loss in relief.

  • Javier Castillo collected two hits and scored two runs in game one, but went 0 for 3 in the nightcap
  • Wily Mo Pena had a pair of hits in each game, he has had a hit in 18 of the last 20 games that he has played
  • Jesus Feliciano had two hits, scored a run and drove in a run, he is now batting .301
  • Pat Misch, recently acquired from the San Francisco Giants, lost in his first start with Buffalo, pitching a complete game (six innings) and allowing four runs (all earned) on six hits and a walk, he struck out five
  • Kyle Snyder allowed two runs (both earned) as game two’s starter, he pitched four innings, allowed five hits and walked one
  • Javier Valentin was placed on the seven-day disabled list

Binghamton Mets (AA):
26-36 (8.5 games back)

Binghamton had the day off and will start a series tomorrow in Harrisburg against the Senators (Washinton Nationals).

  • Josh Thole is batting .348/.418/.459/.877 in 2009 and leads the club with 18 doubles
  • Ruben Tejada, 19 years old, is batting .277/.363/.374/.737 and has stolen seven bases
  • Tobi Stoner was promoted to AAA Buffalo, he had a 2.68 ERA in 47.0 innings with Binghamton this year

St. Lucie Mets (A+):
30-30 (7.5 game back)

STL 4 @ DAY 5

St. Lucie pieced together four runs in the third inning, but poor pitching and three team errors allowed the Daytona Cubs (Chicago Cubs) to squeek by with a 5-4 victory. Jake Opitz hit a pair of doubles and drove in two for the victorious Cubs.

  • Ike Davis went 2 for 4 with a double, a walk, a run scored, and an RBI
  • Kirk Nieuwenhuis had a double in five at bats, but struck out three times
  • Angel Calero allowed four runs (only one earned) on eight hits in six innings, he struck out six and now has a 4.43 ERA

Savannah Sand Gnats (A):
30-34 (8.0 games back)

SAV 0 @ ROM 4

The Sand Gnats and Rome Braves (Atlanta Braves) held a scoreless standoff until the bottom of the sixth inning, which was when the Braves scored three times on a wild pitch and a two-run single. Dimaster Delgado pitched six scoreless innings (four hits and no walks) while striking out six, he was relieved by David Francis who was perfect for three innings, striking out three.

  • Jefry Marte was 1 for 4, but threw a ball away in the field –his 26th error of the season
  • Sean Ratliff was hitless in three at bats and struck out twice
  • Wilmer Flores collected a hit in three at bats; the 17-year-old is batting .256/.304/.314/.618 for Savannah, which is impressive considering his age and level of competition –Miguel Cabrera hit .268/.328/.382/.710 as an 18-year-old in A-ball
  • Elvin Ramirez took the loss (3-5, 3.42 ERA) after allowing four runs (three earned) on four hits and three walks in 6.2 innings while striking out five

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