Jordany Valdespin’s isolated OBP, trusting Parnell, OBI% leaders

Jordany Valdespin had a strong Spring Training performance, where he posted a .361 on-base percentage. This came after a Winter League season in which he had 21 BB compared to 22 Ks. It had many people claiming that he was a young player who was figuring things out. On top of that, Valdespin got off to a terrific start the first 10 games of the year. He posted a .400/.478/.500 line and people were disappointed whenever he wasn’t in the starting lineup.

However, in his last 10 games, Valdespin has a .174/.174/.348 line. Now overall he has a respectable .745 OPS in 46 PA. Still, two things should be pointed out. First, Valdespin has a .344 BABIP. Last year in 206 PA he had a .273 BABIP so odds are that his current mark will continue to fall as the season progresses.

Secondly, Valdespin has a 4.3 BB%, right in line with last year’s 4.9 mark. If you subtract his batting average from his on-base percentage, Valdespin has an isolated OBP of .047 here in 2013. In Spring Training his isolated OBP was .048 and in 2012 he had a .045 mark. This is who he is as a player.

Valdespin bring a lot of things to the table as a ballplayer. He’s got some pop, he’s got speed, he’s not afraid of the big moment and he’s willing to play all over the field. But unless and until he improves his plate discipline, he’s a utility player. It’s hard for players to significantly improve their BB%. So, Valdespin will have to focus on making better contact and improve his 21.7 K% to take the next step.

DO YOU TRUST PARNELL YET? – It seems like Bobby Parnell has hardly gotten a chance to sink or swim as a closer because the Mets haven’t won very many close games. Yet, because of the starters’ abundance of early exits, all relief pitchers have gotten a lot of work. Parnell has appeared in nine games and is 1-0 with 2 Saves and a 1.08 ERA. Compare that to Joe Nathan, who has also appeared in nine games and who also has a 1.08 ERA, yet has 7 Saves.

Parnell has fanned 10 batters and allowed just one walk in 8.1 IP. Once a guy who was surprisingly easy to hit given that he could throw 100 mph, Parnell has sacrificed velocity for location/movement and the results have been impressive. Last year he had a career-best 8.5 H/9 and so far here in the early going has a 4.3 H/9.

In high leverage situations, opposing batters have a .282 OPS against Parnell so far here in 2013. But because he has had just 12 PA in what is considered high leverage, people still fret.

METS DOMINATE OBI% LEADERS – RBIs are a polarizing stat. Many people love them and consider it to be one of the best ways to evaluate hitters. Others point out that because they are dependent upon your opportunities, they are vastly overrated. The problem with RBIs is that you only get part of the story. Sure it’s impressive if you drive in 100 runs in a season. But it’s more impressive if you did it with 350 runners on base compared to if you came to the plate with 500 runners on.

Others Batted In (OBI) addresses this point. It takes your RBIs then subtracts out home runs, divides by the number of runners on and then multiplies by 100 to come up with OBI%. Among players who have had at least 20 runners on, the Mets have three of the top six players in MLB. Here’s how the Mets shake out so far in this metric:

28.57% – Collin Cowgill (3rd)
27.27% – John Buck (4th)
26.32% – David Wright (6th)
23.91% – Daniel Murphy
22.50% – Marlon Byrd
17.24% – Jordany Valdespin
13.21% – Ruben Tejada
6.82% – Lucas Duda
5.66% – Ike Davis

Last year, among players who came up with at least 100 runners on, Josh Hamilton led the majors with a 22.19 OBI%. In all 383 players came up with at least 100 runners on last year and the median OBI% was old pal Scott Hairston’s 14.02 mark.

LEFTIES GO LONGER – Last year Tim Byrdak was the Mets’ primary lefty reliever and in April he made 12 appearances. Of those, five were to just one batter and two more he faced only two hitters. This year, the Mets have had numerous lefty relievers and currently have three on the roster. Josh Edgin has made 10 appearances and only two of those were of the one-batter variety. Scott Rice has 12 appearances and only one one-batter game. The recently recalled Robert Carson has made one appearance and pitched 2.1 innings.

It remains to be seen if this is an actual change in philosophy or merely a matter of necessity, as the starters have left lots of innings for the bullpen to cover. If it’s the former, it would be a welcome change and one which no doubt will help out the entire bullpen.

A WEIRD STAT LINE FOR TURNER – It’s not easy to have a higher AVG than OBP but that’s exactly what Justin Turner has today. He sports a nifty .323 AVG but a .313 OBP as he has yet to draw a walk or a HBP but has a sacrifice fly. Turner’s 32 PA without a walk is the sixth most in the majors among those who have yet to earn their first base on balls.

CHECKING IN ON THE RUN DIFFERENTIAL – After 20 games last year, the Mets held an 11-9 record but had a (-22) run differential thanks to winning the close games and losing in the blowouts. This year they stand 10-10 but with a +16 run differential. The Mets are 1-4 in one-run games. After 20 games last year, they had gone 5-1 in one-run games.

Despite their early success in close games a season ago, the Mets ended up 20-22 in one-run games last year. After their first 20 games, they went 15-21 in the category. Their record caught up to their run differential and the 2012 Mets finished with a final ledger one game under their Pythagorean mark of 75-87. Their current Pythagorean record sits at 11-9.

7 comments for “Jordany Valdespin’s isolated OBP, trusting Parnell, OBI% leaders

  1. April 26, 2013 at 9:24 pm

    I’ve always been an advocate for Parnell, I agree with you that he doesn’t get the recognition he deserves.

  2. Name
    April 26, 2013 at 10:53 pm

    I guess it’s not so much as I don’t trust Parnell, but I don’t trust the Mets when Parnell is on the mound. I think we are getting to the point where the sample size is big enough that it’s not just a coincidence that the Mets as a whole play poorly/blow games when Parnell is on the mound.

    Run differential is really the key, as you said, because teams rarely outperform or underperform their Pythagorean record by more than a couple games in the long run. So I guess when the team is winning in a blowout, it never hurts to go for more.

  3. Metsense
    April 26, 2013 at 10:57 pm

    JV with his .710 ops in 2012 was an NL avg second baseman (NL avg was .713) His 2013 .745 ops ranks him as an average 2012 CF . On the 2013 squad he should be more than a utility player, he should be part of a CF platoon.
    Parnell gets my vote as closer. He has put up some solid numbers in 2012 and 2013.
    Turner and Baxter seem to always make the pitcher work, and usually make contact as pinch hitters. If I was a rival GM on a contending team, I would try to obtain either one. Is it me looking at this through Met colored glasses or are they really this valuable?
    Very nice to see the lefties go longer and tonight Familia went 2. I like this new trend.
    The Mets OBI indicates to me the Mets are playing offensively over their heads and it may get real ugly when it goes back to normal. Interesting stat. Thanks for presenting it Brian.

    • Jerry Grote
      April 27, 2013 at 6:40 am

      Not so fast Metsense, on the “things will get worse as we normalize on OBI”.

      Consider that these numbers don’t seem to be weighted; IOW, Cowgill’s small number of ABs relative to Ike Davis’ are not being reflected. I would argue that Buck’s would reverse to a mean, Cowgill is insignificant, but that Our Captain and Murph are pretty much in line.

      Which would mean that as the other two significant ABs of the D’s reverse upward, we stand to benefit positively.

      Of course, that comes from my permanent rose-colored glasses.

      • April 27, 2013 at 7:16 pm

        Last year’s OBI% leader had a rate of 22.19 — so anyone above that line is likely to regress significantly. There’s no way Murphy or Wright will finish with their current numbers. Hopefully we can say the same thing about Davis and Duda, too.

  4. Jerry Grote
    April 27, 2013 at 6:41 am

    Thanks to Brian for OBI, BTW.

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