Monday, May 21, 2018

Durham Bulls at Game 41; Charts!

This was a very successful homestand. The Bulls won 5 out of 6 games (and they've won 10 of their last 13). They are off to Gwinnett for four games and then go from there to Louisville for four more. That's 8 games on the road just to keep them out of the DBAP while the ACC tournament is going on.

They are 3½ games ahead of Norfolk in the South Division.

click on chat for larger image

Net runs scored is a pretty good indicator of them performance. By that indicator, at 41 games into the season, this is a very good Bulls team.


The Bulls have the second-best team ERA in the International League. The starters and relievers are holding about even, which is a change from previous years. Typically, the Durham Bulls relief crew does much better than the starters. But this is getting harder to sort out with the number of bullpen days, and the erratic performance on a couple of the starters.

For example, if we look at the WHIP numbers for all of the pitchers we see that three of the starters simply aren't putting up very good numbers. One of them, Chih-Wei Hu, is enduring another year where the Rays don't seem to know how they want to use him.

The biggest concern among the pitching crew is reliever Jaimie Schultz. He's had 8 appearances in May, but has just completed 6⅓ innings giving up 16 hits (2 homers), 9 walks, and 14 earned runs. We remember him as a decent starting pitcher back in 2016, but we have to admit that we're worried now.

On the positive side: the Bulls have a bunch of pitchers near the golden number of "1". Please also note that pitchers on the 40-man (marked by an *) are very often "working" on something which can mean that their stats don't necessarily reflect their value to the Rays. Also, this is very early in the season. Small sample size cautions apply.


In most years Bulls hitters are in the middle of the pack. Not this year. A team OPS of .756 is very good and rates at 4th in the International League.

Durham Bulls hitters, sorted by OPS.

Kean Wong*2327.327.397.515.911
Curt Casali2923.316.369.500.869
Joe McCarthy*2432.259.379.481.860
Jake Bauers*2237.289.361.486.847
Willy Adames2239.308.387.448.834
Andrew Velazquez#2328.301.350.462.812
Jason Coats2832.227.287.429.715
Justin Williams*2235.244.309.394.703
Jeremy Hazelbaker*3023.182.292.403.695
Adam Moore3421.250.299.375.674
Brandon Snyder3128.189.316.358.674
Christian Arroyo2317.200.235.308.543
Micah Johnson*2725.

Individually, Kean Wong stands out. Curt Casali is only playing in half the games, yet has impressive numbers. Andrew Velazquez's 11 stolen bases have been really fun to watch.


Lastly, here's our home-grown defensive measure, Unearned Run Average (unearned runs per 9 innings), which is the mirror-image of ERA. Looking good!

Friday, May 11, 2018

Bulls Win Home Stand

This was a very good home stand for the Bulls. They won 6 of 8 games, and only one of those was truly forgettable. Plus the games were against Toledo, the best team in the International League West, and Norfolk, the second-best team in the International League South.

The outcome was that the Bulls are 1½ games ahead in the IL south. Standings.


They went down the road to Charlotte last night. The Knights are not off to a good start. On the other hand, the Tampa Bay Rays, the Bulls parent club, is facing a very difficult road trip and we can expect quite a bit of roster turmoil over the next few days.

Thursday, May 10, 2018

Bulls and the Tides Back and Forth

This is just an interesting chart. For the last 11 games the Bulls and the Tides have been within a half game of each other. The Bulls are a half game in front today. After tonight's game either the Tides will be back in first place or the Bulls will open up to a game and a half.

These are fun teams to watch.

For a conventional view of the standings, click here.

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

Durham Bulls in First Place

April 30, Game 22
Durham Bulls 4; Norfolk Tides 2
Wrap, Box

For the first time in 2018, the Durham Bulls are in first place in the South Division of the International League. Congratulations to the Bulls!

They did it with solid pitching from Jose Mujica, who now holds the best won-loss record and best ERA of the Bulls' starting crew; alert baserunning from Andrew Velazquez, who stole two bases and came home to score on a throwing error; and timely hitting by catcher Adam Moore and outfielder Justin Williams.

This is a good team. Nice to see them in first place.

Monday, April 30, 2018

Georgia to Virginia

The Bulls swept the Gwinnett Stripers and now go head-to-head with the South Division leader the Norfolk Tides, the Orioles AAA franchise. The Bulls are only 1/2 game back and are on something of a roll. The Tides just finished a losing series with Charlotte.

click for larger image

The matchup is pretty close. Durham certainly has the overall edge in pitching, but otherwise, it looks as if the teams (and fans) are going to have some fun.

Friday, April 27, 2018

Bulls Off to Georgia After Great Week

The Durham Bulls did a fine job in this 6-game home stand, winning 4 games against decent North Division teams. They ended up two games below .500 and in second place in the South Division, 2 1/2 games behind Norfolk. Standings

Team ERA showed a modest improvement, going from 2.72 down to 2.63. Team OPS improvement was impressive, from .642 to .692 in just six games.

The individual player story-of-the-week was, of course, Willy Adames, who hit a grand slam on Sunday, then hit for the cycle on Monday. Those heroics were still not enough to get noticed by the Durham Herald-Sun, but did merit a mention several days later in the Raleigh News & Observer. In addition to Adames' 2 homers, we saw 5 other home runs by Jason Coats (2), Adam Moore (1), Brandon Snyder (1), and Jake Bauers (1).


The Bulls are off to Lawrenceville, Georgia to play three games against Atlanta's AAA affiliate, the Gwinnett Stripers. They then take the bus and drive past Durham to get to Norfolk for three games against the Tides.

I failed to mention that one of our favorite guys from 2016 is now with the Stripers, Jaff Decker. I liked the way he played the game in his time with the Bulls.

Monday, April 23, 2018

Slamer Shutout

April 23, Game 15
Durham Bulls 10; Lehigh Valley IronPigs 0
Wrap, Box

A grand slam off the Bull is very cool. Congrats to Willy Adames (and to Jason Coats for his homer). And the first shutout of the year is also nice. Are the Bulls getting on track? Maybe.

Meanwhile, young Andrew Velazquez at second base is a serious talent and fun to watch. Nice to know that the Bulls can deal with Kean Wong's trip to the DL without great harm.

More Press Grumbles

We didn't write all that much about Danny Farquhar while he was a Bull in 2016 (although we did misspell his name a lot — three times in one post). Still, if we had a decent sports press corps in the area we'd at least know a little bit about what now seems to be a really interesting guy. See today's USA Today.


The Buffalo Bisons suffer from playing in Buffalo — they've played four fewer games than the Bulls this year (rain, sleet, snow, etc). At that, however, they outmatch the Bulls in hitting by a quite a bit. On the other hand, the Bulls have the best ERA in the league. On the Bisons' pitching staff is young Taylor Guerrieri, a first-round pick of the Rays with 5 productive years in the system, who had two starts with the Bulls last year, and then ended up in the Blue Jays system. Looks like they are using him as a reliever.