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5.02.2005

The Roaring Thirties 

When facing a deadline for a 2,500 word feature, there's nothing better than taking an hour to browse through the latest Giants statistics. Such as: Hey, whaddya know! Giants, second in the NL in OBP, fourth in SLG. Second in runs scored. Fourth in SBs, but the best by a hair (over the Phils) in SB%: 15 stolen, only 2 caught.

Stolen bases are the most Darwinian of strategies: it's a good idea if you don't get caught. Unlike bunts, with which, even when successful, you give up something precious: an out. A successful stolen base sacrifices nothing.

Fun stat of the day for May 2, 2005:

Pedro Feliz career stats (1,205 ABs)
.260 / .292 / .451 (OPS .743)

Jeff Kent career stats 1992-1994* (1,216 ABs)
.270 / .325 / .451 (OPS .777)

Kent went on to post roughly the same line for another 1,000 at-bats through 1997, his first year with the Giants. He turned 30, however, and became the Jeff Kent we all know and love. I mean hate. I'm so confused.

Feliz turned 30 a few days ago with about half the number of career at-bats Kent had at that age. So far in his age-30 season Pedro has shown much better plate discipline, perhaps a function of playing every day, perhaps of maturity, perhaps of facing Rockies and Pirates pitchers. Whatever the case, he's on track for 54 walks and is hitting .287 / .337 / .489. For a cleanup hitter, which is his role in absentia Bondsii et Alouae, that's not good enough. For a #5 guy, it's not bad; for a #6 hitter, I'll take it and like it.

Will Pedro regress to the mean? Will he continue to spit on sliders in the dirt and take his base? Will he suddenly post six or seven straight years of Hall-of-Fame production and grow a porn 'stache? Would you still mock him if he becomes a steady .280 / .330 / .500 hitter and plays several positions competently?

Discuss. And if you have a fun stat of the day you'd like me to chew on, e-mail it to me and I'll pretend to write something authoritative about it.

*Help with partial career stats comes from David Pinto's Day by Day Database, one of the Web's greatest procrastination tools.

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