Friday, October 3, 2014

The Durham Bulls in 2014 — The Pitchers — Part 2

This wraps up our series of four posts digging in to the individual stats of 2014's Durham Bulls. For an overview of team stats see our earlier post here. The posts on the hitters begins here, and Part 1 of this series can be reached by this link.

In addition to the players listed in this post, we will be reproducing the table from Part 1 sorted on different stats. The player discussions have been sorted by innings pitched.

Durham Bulls 2014 Pitchers Sorted by ERA

Name
Age
W
L
ERA
G
GS
SV
IP
WHIP
Kirby Yates*
27
1
0
0.36
21
0
16
25.0
0.76
C.J. Riefenhauser*
24
3
3
1.40
39
0
1
57.2
1.14
Jeff Beliveau*
27
0
0
1.50
30
0
11
36.0
0.92
Adam Liberatore
27
6
1
1.66
54
0
4
65.0
0.89
Brad Boxberger*
26
1
0
1.93
6
0
2
9.1
0.86
Steve Geltz*
26
3
3
2.38
29
0
1
41.2
1.06
Jimmy Patterson
25
1
1
2.70
5
1
0
10.0
1.30
Merrill Kelly
25
9
4
2.76
28
15
0
114.0
1.26
Cory Burns*
26
2
2
2.77
7
0
1
13.0
1.54
Juan Sandoval
33
0
1
3.12
14
1
1
26.0
1.35
Jake Thompson
24
4
1
3.15
24
1
0
34.1
1.54
Josh Lueke
29
0
1
3.38
32
0
12
37.1
1.10
Brandon Gomes*
29
0
2
3.62
27
0
0
37.1
1.29
Doug Mathis
31
2
3
3.63
26
3
0
67.0
1.64
Matt Andriese
24
11
8
3.77
28
25
0
162.1
1.24
Alex Colome*
25
7
6
3.77
15
15
0
86.0
1.33
Juan Carlos Oviedo*
32
0
0
3.86
7
0
0
7.0
0.86
Mike Montgomery*
24
10
5
4.29
25
25
0
126.0
1.31
Enny Romero*
23
5
11
4.50
25
25
0
126.0
1.43
Nathan Karns*
26
9
9
5.08
27
27
0
145.1
1.40
Jeremy Hellickson*
27
1
4
7.23
5
5
0
18.2
2.30
Braulio Lara
25
0
3
9.00
9
0
0
11.0
1.73


Data sources are BaseballReference.com and Fangraphs. Players marked with an asterisk were on the Tampa Bay Rays 40-man roster. Continuing from Part 1:

C. J. Riefenhauser* (LHRP) (57.2 innings, 39 appearances) typically came in for one or two innings. He put together a solid year with a very nice ERA of 1.40, the second best on the team after Kirby Yates’ amazing 0.36. He was called up for two games in April for his major league debut and for five appearances in September. He also had about two weeks on the DL in May. Seems to have a bright future in the Rays system. Expect him to start with the Bulls next year, unless they saw something they either liked or disliked in September. A left-handed reliever is always welcome. Stats.

Steve Geltz* (RHRP) (41.2 innings, 29 appearances) sat out for a 50-game drug use suspension that began in May. He was a steady presence thereafter with a decent 2.38 ERA and an exceptional WHIP of 1.06. The Rays called him up before the Bulls went into the playoffs and put him to work. He made 13 appearances in September for the Rays. Would love to have him back, but he may stick with the Rays. Stats.

Josh Lueke (RHRP) (37.1 innings, 32 appearances) joined the Bulls from the Rays in mid-June, immediately assuming the closer role he had shared with Kirby Yates in 2013. Solid stats with 12 saves (but 3 blown saves), and a decent WHIP of 1.10. Near the end of the season he pretty much switched to a set-up role as Adam Liberatore got some save opportunities. The Rays seem to have lost confidence in Mr. Lueke, so it is hard to say if he will be back next year. My guess is that he will opt for free agency. Owner of one of the oddest official photos on baseballreference.com. Stats.

Brandon Gomes* (RHRP) (37.1 innings, 27 appearances) also started the season with the Rays.  He was sent down in May and spent the rest of the season with the Bulls. He had one game with the Rays in August and went back up in early September. He had 8 appearances during the September for the Rays. As a Bull his numbers were below average for the bullpen crew. Stats.

Jeff Beliveau* (LHRP) (36 innings, 30 appearances) had a breakout year. Terrific numbers: 1.50 ERA and a superb 0.92 WHIP, not to mention 11 saves. He made a couple of April appearances with the Rays and then went up to stay in late July where he has done just fine in short relief. We don’t expect to see him back with the Bulls and wish him the best. Stats.

Durham Bulls 2014 Pitchers Sorted by Walks/Hits Inning Pitched

Name
Age
W
L
ERA
G
GS
SV
IP
WHIP
Kirby Yates*
27
1
0
0.36
21
0
16
25.0
0.76
Brad Boxberger*
26
1
0
1.93
6
0
2
9.1
0.86
Juan Carlos Oviedo*
32
0
0
3.86
7
0
0
7.0
0.86
Adam Liberatore
27
6
1
1.66
54
0
4
65.0
0.89
Jeff Beliveau*
27
0
0
1.50
30
0
11
36.0
0.92
Steve Geltz*
26
3
3
2.38
29
0
1
41.2
1.06
Josh Lueke
29
0
1
3.38
32
0
12
37.1
1.10
C.J. Riefenhauser*
24
3
3
1.40
39
0
1
57.2
1.14
Matt Andriese
24
11
8
3.77
28
25
0
162.1
1.24
Merrill Kelly
25
9
4
2.76
28
15
0
114.0
1.26
Brandon Gomes*
29
0
2
3.62
27
0
0
37.1
1.29
Jimmy Patterson
25
1
1
2.70
5
1
0
10.0
1.30
Mike Montgomery*
24
10
5
4.29
25
25
0
126.0
1.31
Alex Colome*
25
7
6
3.77
15
15
0
86.0
1.33
Juan Sandoval
33
0
1
3.12
14
1
1
26.0
1.35
Nathan Karns*
26
9
9
5.08
27
27
0
145.1
1.40
Enny Romero*
23
5
11
4.50
25
25
0
126.0
1.43
Jake Thompson
24
4
1
3.15
24
1
0
34.1
1.54
Cory Burns*
26
2
2
2.77
7
0
1
13.0
1.54
Doug Mathis
31
2
3
3.63
26
3
0
67.0
1.64
Braulio Lara
25
0
3
9.00
9
0
0
11.0
1.73
Jeremy Hellickson*
27
1
4
7.23
5
5
0
18.2
2.30


Jake Thompson (RHRP) (34.1 innings, 24 appearances) came up from the Montgomery Biscuits on 6 April and did a decent job for the Bulls, but he missed a month in the middle of the season and only made 4 appearances in August (although he did pitch in the postseason). Not very good numbers for the 24 year old, 3.15 ERA and a 1.54 WHIP. Nevertheless, if healthy, expect him back next year. Stats.

Juan Sandoval (RHRP) (26 innings, 14 appearances) started the season with the Bulls, but the 33 year-old was released in late May. He went on to pitch in the Mexican Triple A league for the rest of the year where he put up some impressive numbers. Stats.

Kirby Yates* (RHRP) (25 innings, 21 appearances) banged the door open to the Rays with his 0.36 ERA, 0.76 WHIP, and 16 saves over the first two months of the season. He did OK with them in 37 appearances, but his ERA as a major leaguer jumped up quite a bit, as did his WHIP. We don’t want to try to predict what the Rays might do. We would be more than happy to see him pitching for the Bulls, but that surely isn’t what Mr. Yates would want. Stats.

Jeremy Hellickson* (RHSP) (18.2 innings, 5 games) came to the Bulls on a rehab assignment as he was working his way back to the Rays starting rotation. He became something of a poster child for the downside of being a minor league fan. The net effect of his time with the Bulls was that he lost four games and thoroughly messed up the Bulls rotation. Looking back at the pitching charts we put up a few days ago, the rise you see in the starting pitching ERA pretty much matches Mr. Hellickson’s arrival with his ERA of 7.23 and WHIP of 2.30. It seemed to take the rest of the year to recover. Back with the Rays they have been better, but not by much. Stats.

Cory Burns* (RHRP) 13 innings, 7 appearances) came to the Bulls from the Montgomery Biscuits in mid-August. Plus he had three post-season appearances. Looked OK to me and I was expecting to see him with the Bulls next year. But apparently not. He was reportedly claimed by the Toronto Blue Jays after the Rays put him on waivers. Stats.

Braulio Lara (LHRP) (11 innings, 9 appearances) came up from Montgomery in early May, stayed about a month, did not do very well, and went back to Montgomery. He did not do all that well there either. We don’t expect him back next year, but lefties get lots of breaks so I could be wrong. Stats.

Jim Patterson (LHRP) (10 innings, 5 appearances) also came up from Montgomery for a couple of weeks in May. Did OK and went back. His year in Montgomery was not all that impressive. Not sure we will see him again. Stats.

Brad Boxberger* (RHRP) (9.1 innings, 6 appearances) started the season with the Bulls, put up some big numbers, went up to the Rays, and didn’t come back. He had a pretty good year with the Rays as well. Stats.

Juan Carlos Oviedo (RHRP) (7 innings, 7 appearances) was technically on a rehab assignment as the year started. He did his thing for one inning at a time in April (and did it very well, I might add) and went on up to the Rays. Fun to watch while he was here. He was released by the Rays in August. If he signed anywhere else I haven't found it yet. Stats.
—————— 
Here endeth the WDBB baseball geek stuff for 2014. Not that we won't be keeping an eye on the Bulls and adding a bit more — notably announcing the winners of the 2014 Moonlight Graham Awards — but as far as number-crunching goes, this is it folks.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

The Durham Bulls in 2014 — The Pitchers — Part 1

Twenty-six different players pitched for the Bulls this year, but when it comes to looking back I left off four of them: Erik Bedard pitched in just one game; Mayo Acosta, a catcher, pitched in 2 lost causes; infielder Robby Price in one lost cause; and reliever Bryce Stowell came up from Montgomery for two innings in the last game of the season.

This table is sorted by innings pitched, and that’s the sequence in which we’ll discuss this year’s pitchers. However, in Part 2 we’ll have tables sorted by ERA and WHIP. Players on the Rays 40-man roster are marked with an asterisk (*). Data are from BaseballReference.com, FanGraphs, and WDBB spreadsheets.

Durham Bulls Pitchers in 2014 Sorted by Innings Pitched

Name
Age
W
L
ERA
G
GS
SVIPWHIP
Matt Andriese
24
11
8
3.77
28
25
0
162.1
1.24
Nathan Karns*
26
9
9
5.08
27
27
0
145.1
1.40
Mike Montgomery*
24
10
5
4.29
25
25
0
126.0
1.31
Enny Romero*
23
5
11
4.50
25
25
0
126.0
1.43
Merrill Kelly
25
9
4
2.76
28
15
0
114.0
1.26
Alex Colome*
25
7
6
3.77
15
15
0
86.0
1.33
Doug Mathis
31
2
3
3.63
26
3
0
67.0
1.64
Adam Liberatore
27
6
1
1.66
54
0
4
65.0
0.89
C.J. Riefenhauser*
24
3
3
1.40
39
0
1
57.2
1.14
Steve Geltz*
26
3
3
2.38
29
0
1
41.2
1.06
Josh Lueke
29
0
1
3.38
32
0
12
37.1
1.10
Brandon Gomes*
29
0
2
3.62
27
0
0
37.1
1.29
Jeff Beliveau*
27
0
0
1.50
30
0
11
36.0
0.92
Jake Thompson
24
4
1
3.15
24
1
0
34.1
1.54
Juan Sandoval
33
0
1
3.12
14
1
1
26.0
1.35
Kirby Yates*
27
1
0
0.36
21
0
16
25.0
0.76
Jeremy Hellickson*
27
1
4
7.23
5
5
0
18.2
2.30
Cory Burns*
26
2
2
2.77
7
0
1
13.0
1.54
Braulio Lara
25
0
3
9.00
9
0
0
11.0
1.73
Jimmy Patterson
25
1
1
2.70
5
1
0
10.0
1.30
Brad Boxberger*
26
1
0
1.93
6
0
2
9.1
0.86
Juan Carlos Oviedo*
32
0
0
3.86
7
0
0
7.0
0.86

Matt Adriese (Right Handed Starting Pitcher) (162.1 innings, 28 games) was the best of a not particularly distinguished starting crew this year. Before the season started I was tipped that he might be the best arm of the bunch, and that’s the way it turned out for 2014. He had the most wins and the best ERA of the regular starters of 3.77; however, that ERA ranked 15th among all the pitchers. His WHIP (Walks and Hits per Inning Pitched) of 1.24 was a respectable 9th. He also led the team in home runs (18) and hit batsmen (8). The only regular starter not on the Rays 40-man, there’s a good chance he’ll be back. He induces a lot of ground balls which makes his games fun to watch. He also got two of the four postseason wins. Stats.

Nathan Karns* (RHSP)(145.1 innings, 27 games) did not have a good year as a Bull. He was one of those players for whom what the fans see is not what the big club sees. We fans saw an awful ERA of 5.08, a WHIP of 1.40, and a string of losses at the end of the season. But we have to note that he had 153 Ks, an amazing number, and he tied for the most Ks in the entire International League. (I have to point out that he also led team in walks at 62.) The Rays called him up in September where he got two starts, one very good and one not-so-good. Likely to be back next year for more development. Stats.

Mike Montgomery* (LHSP) (126 innings, 25 games) was to be this year's ace and he came out of the gate with 8 wins and no losses in his first 15 games, including 8.1 no-hit innings on 26 April. But there was a long stretch between his 8th win on 25 May and his 9th win on 10 July and his next 7 starts were either losses or no-decisions. He did finish out on an up note with an end-of-season win on 28 August, but he was the back of the rotation for the post-season, getting in 6 pretty good innings in the 4th game, 13 inning loss. If it can be figured out what happened to him in the second half of the season then maybe next year will be his breakout. Stats.

Enny Romero* (RHSP) (126 innings, 25 games) is another statistical mess that leaves you puzzled, but for him there’s an answer — not an answer that Bulls fans would appreciate, but an answer nevertheless. He’s a left-handed reliever in training. The 23 year-old only managed 5 wins in 25 starts, carried a poor ERA and a WHIP of 1.43. So why is he around? Because he routinely hits 95+ with his fastball and he’s left-handed. My guess is that the Rays will keep on stretching him out until they think he’s ready to come up as a reliever. And we have to admit that he’s fun to watch. Sure would not want to be his catcher, though. Stats.

Merrill Kelly (RHSP/RP) (114 innings, 28 appearances) was Charlie Montoyo’s go-to guy for long relief and a starter when needed. He had 15 starts, 13 relief appearances, and uncounted calls to warm up. He has the only decent ERA among the starting crew of 2.76, has a good WHIP of 1.26, and is an all-around solid performer. No reason for him not to be back next year and keeping on working towards his shot at the majors. Stats.

Alex Colome* (RHSP) (86 innings, 15 games) joined after the beginning of the season because of a 50-game drug suspension. He won three out of his first four games before putting himself into a statistical hole he had trouble getting out of before the end of the season. That was from a game in late June where he gave up 9 runs before getting the first 4 outs. Here’s the real oddity: after that game he got called up for a spot appearance with the Rays (5.2 innings and he got the win). He was erratic throughout the rest of the season, which leads us to think that he was being coached to work on specific aspects of his game. Decent overall numbers. September call-up. Stats.

Doug Mathis (RHRP) (67 innings, 26 appearances) arrived in mid-April and ended up being one of the players who got shuffled on and off the roster all year, much like Robby Price and Mayo Acosta among the position players. I count ten separate transactions, so about 5 times back and forth. One of those pairs was to/from the disabled list, but that’s hard to judge the veracity of that move. I was surprised to see how many innings he put in. He was needed for those 26 appearances. Yes, he had a poor WHIP of 1.64, but an OK ERA of 3.63. He was called on for three spot starts. He was the kind of guy that the Bulls have to have to survive the season, but I’m guessing he won’t be back. Stats.

Adam Liberatore (LHRP) (65 innings, 54 appearances) had a brilliant season. Unquestionably the star of the relief crew as he picked up 6 wins in relief, had a stunning ERA of 1.66, a vanishingly small WHIP of 0.89, and earned a bunch of kudos at the end of the season. He’s never had a shot at the majors and at 27 he’s running out of time. But he’s also banging on the door. Stats.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

The Durham Bulls in 2014 — The Hitters — Part 2

In Part 1 we put up a table of all the position players who came to bat in 2014 ordered by the numbers of games they played. Then we discussed four of those players. In this post we'll sort the table by wOBA (less two rehabbers who were left out of the sort) and continue our discussion.

Bulls Player Stats Sorted by wOBA

NameAgeGPAAVGOPSwOBAwRAA
Jerry Sands*
26
54
219
.268
.825
.369
6.8
Kevin Kiermaier*
24
34
143
.305
.823
.369
4.5
Jeremy Moore
27
55
218
.262
.827
.368
6.7
Mikie Mahtook
24
132
550
.292
.820
.366
16.1
Justin Christian
34
127
520
.271
.778
.350
8.8
Cole Figueroa*
27
71
312
.282
.761
.350
5
Vince Belnome*
26
118
492
.245
.740
.341
4.8
Jayson Nix
31
55
216
.272
.748
.339
1.6
Mike Fontenot
34
113
454
.276
.714
.328
-0.3
Curt Casali*
25
46
183
.237
.694
.322
-1
Wilson Betemit
32
111
453
.217
.694
.311
-6.5
Robby Price
26
70
249
.216
.604
.285
-8.6
Nick Franklin
23
27
113
.210
.578
.273
-5
Hak-Ju Lee*
23
93
357
.203
.563
.268
-17.2
Ray Olmedo
33
104
404
.224
.551
.259
-22.3
Tim Beckham*
24
15
65
.258
.572
.256
-3.7
Ali Solis
26
73
266
.203
.514
.234
-19.9
Mayo Acosta
26
32
94
.133
.408
.198
-9.6
Eddy Rodriguez
28
13
49
.152
.443
.198
-5.1
Wil Myers
23
7
31
.250
.961
.409
2
Brandon Guyer
28
5
26
.400
1.238
.533
4.2
   * on the Rays 40-man roster.

Wilson Betemit (111 games) was the rare power hitter in the Bulls lineup this year. But once you crunch all the numbers together he simply did not make that much of a contribution. He played mostly first base and DH and his glove appeared above average. Without drilling too deep into the numbers, our impression is that he was not improving as the year went on. Not likely to be back next year. Stats.

Ray Olmedo (104 games) is an all-time WDBB favorite player. He brings a tremendous amount of energy to the game and the sheer quickness of his hands from catch to release is a great pleasure to watch. This year he extended his repertoire of fielding positions by 20 appearances in the outfield and even had a brief moment at first base (wonder who he borrowed a glove from?). In Ray’s case I’d say the hell with the numbers and bring him back. I just like watching him play. Stats.

Hak-Ju Lee* (93 games) messed up his knee early in the 2013 season and did not return to the Durham Bulls until 23 April of this year. For a long time he has been near the top of various prospect lists, but he was one of the least productive Durham Bulls this year. Was he ready to return? Is his knee up to the job? No fan in the stands is going to be able to tell about that. We don’t think that the Rays are going to give up on the 23 year-old, but here’s hoping that in the off-season they find a way for him to work on his hitting. Stats.

Ali Solis (73 games) is the first of a cluster of four catchers we saw this year. To be perfectly honest, none of them showed Triple A caliber stuff. I hate to say that because I love watching players at that position. Catcher is a tough job at any level, but at Triple A you’ve got pitchers who are (or who think they are) right on the edge of becoming big leaguers. For the last couple of years the Rays system does not seem to be either growing or hiring good catchers. In fact, they seem to be trading some of the good guys away. But that’s for another article. Ali Solis certainly seemed to handle the pitching crew quite well, had a decent arm, and was only charged with seven passed balls. At 26 he’s still young, but his bat needs a lot of work. He did get a callup to the Rays this year and appeared in 8 games. Stats.

Cole Figueroa* (71 games) is another WDBB favorite who had a decent year, mostly at third base. His low number of game appearances with the Bulls is the consequence of his two callups to the Rays in mid-May and six weeks in July and August. He appeared in 23 Rays games after his debut on 16 May.  [Note to self: let’s not rant about the Rays pulling good players up to sit on the bench]. For reasons that are a mystery to us, he does not seem to be part of fanblog discussions over with the Rays. He should be. Otherwise, we would be more than happy to see him back with the Bulls next year. Stats.

Robby Price (70 games) was, by far, the most jerked around player on the Bulls roster this year. It seems every year they Bulls have a player who is kind of a “ghost” player. He’s on the roster for a few days then in a paper transaction is taken off for a few days and then he comes back. Robby Price (and to a lesser extent Mayo Acosta) was that guy this year, he figured in 9 different transactions. The 26 year-old’s numbers aren’t all that great, but without any consistent playing time, how can we judge? The Bulls need a guy like Price on the roster. He even pitched in three games for 2⅓ innings. I’d assume he will be a free agent next year. Here’s hoping he gets a shot with a team that will give him some playing time. Stats. [Update: Price was released by the Rays in late October.]

Jayson Nix (55 games) was apparently brought on board as a deep backup to the Rays infield. The 31 year-old was reasonably productive during his time from mid-May to 1 August. On the other hand we worried about the other infielders available (Price, Fontenot, Olmedo, Lee) who might have lost playing time while he was with the team. Nevertheless, his stats show that he was helpful. He apparently had an opt-out contract. He will likely have some place in baseball trivia questions for his trek from the Phillies to the Bulls to the Pirates to the Kansas City Royals. Not a snowball’s chance he’ll be back with the Bulls next year. Stats.

Jeremy Moore (55 games ) was our joy of the last part of the season. We’d actually forgotten about him being on the non-roster invitee list last spring training, so when he showed up from Montgomery on 25 June we didn’t know quite what to expect. Very exciting guy to watch. Reminded us a lot of Leslie Anderson, not in style, but in the excitement he brought to the game. He started off extremely hot, cooled off a bit, but the Bulls finally had a power hitting outfielder to pair with Mikie Mahtook. With 12 homers in 55 games he was on a league-leading pace. Here’s hoping that the Rays do whatever it takes to bring him back next year. He sure seems like a guy who could do the Bulls (and the Rays) some good. Stats.

Jerry Sands* (54 games) started the season with the Bulls and was doing an extraordinary job. In fact, his stats are among best of any Bull this season. He was called to the Rays at the 1st of June to fill in for an injury down there. On 22 Jun, however, he had a season-ending injury himself. We like what we saw while he was here and we’d love to see him back. We’ve seen very little about his injury status, however. Stats.

Curt Casali* (46 games) was one of the four catchers with the Bulls this year. The 25 year-old came up from the Montgomery Biscuits in early May and was called up to the Rays in mid-July. While with the Bulls he put together some decent numbers, by far the best of any of the catchers this year. His trip to St. Petersburg was not expected to last, but in fact he stayed there for the rest of the year, appearing in 30 games. However, he left Rays’ game on 25 September with a season-ending concussion. Assuming he recovers OK, he is very likely to start next year either with the Rays or the Bulls. Stats.

Kevin Kiermaier* (34 games) was with the Bulls at the beginning of the year and we could not have been more excited. We thought that with Jerry Sands and Mikie Mahtook we were going to see one of the finest outfields in Bulls history. Unfortunately, the Rays could not keep themselves healthy and once Mr. Kiermaier got to the Rays he did everything he could to make sure he would not come back, and he didn’t. He had a terrific year with the Rays, but I sure wish he’d stuck around here a bit longer. Stats.

Mayo Acosta (32 games) started the season with the Bulls and was in the dugout all year. But, as with Robby Price, the young catcher spent much of the year in paper purgatory. We cannot fault a player with such an erratic schedule for never get his timing right. So we are not sure his numbers are actually worth anything at all. Perhaps a better measure of him as a player is to note that he was the guy that got the best relief crew in International League baseball ready to pitch. And then there were the two games where he pitched for 3 innings and got 2 K’s. Stats.

Nick Franklin* (27 games) came to the Bulls as part of the big David Price trade on 1 August. Young Mr. Franklin has a solid reputation. We’ll see. So far we aren’t impressed at all. But apparently the Rays are. He got a lot of September playing time even if he wasn’t hitting. That would imply that he’s on the short list to stay with them next year. Stats.

Tim Beckham* (15 games) returned to the Bulls after surgery and a long rehab on 12 August. We’ve seen a lot of Mr. Beckham over the last few years and we like him. His bat seemed to have a bit more pop than we recall and his speed is still up there. We look forward to seeing him at second or shortstop next year, at least at the start of the season. Next year could be his year. Stats.

Eddy Rodriguez (13 games), the fourth catcher in a Bulls uniform this year, was released in early May when Curt Casali was called up from Montgomery. To be honest, we are a bit surprised he did not catch on somewhere else, but we haven’t found him, so we guess that he’s retired from the game. Update: Thanks to Doug (see comments), we now know he caught on with the Red Sox in a coaching job. Good for him.  Stats.

Wil Myers played in 7 games and Brandon Guyer played in 5 games on rehab assignments. Both did reasonably well and both seemed to be playing hard. Not always the case with rehabbing major leaguers.

Monday, September 29, 2014

The Durham Bulls in 2014 — The Hitters — Part 1

This is the first of a two-part piece on the Bulls hitters in 2014.

In 2014 21 different ballplayers came to bat in a Durham Bulls uniform. That’s a couple more than in 2014 (19), but quite a few less than in previous years. Lack of turmoil may have helped the Bulls, at least a little bit. 

Of those 21, two were on rehab assignments, Wil Myers and Brandon Guyer, so we won’t be paying much attention to their numbers.

We’ll put up two tables as we go along, the first sorted by number of games played and in the next post we’ll put the same table sorted by wOBA. The less familiar stats such as weighted on-base average (wOBA) and weighted runs above average (wRAA) are explained at the links. Players with an asterisk are on the Rays 40-man roster. Data sources are Baseball Reference.com and Fangraphs. We’ll talk about the players listed by number of games played.

Bulls Player Stats Sorted by Games Played

NameAgeGPAAVGOPSwOBAwRAA
Mikie Mahtook
24
132
550
.292
.820
.366
16.1
Justin Christian
34
127
520
.271
.778
.350
8.8
Vince Belnome*
26
118
492
.245
.740
.341
4.8
Mike Fontenot
34
113
454
.276
.714
.328
-0.3
Wilson Betemit
32
111
453
.217
.694
.311
-6.5
Ray Olmedo
33
104
404
.224
.551
.259
-22.3
Hak-Ju Lee*
23
93
357
.203
.563
.268
-17.2
Ali Solis
26
73
266
.203
.514
.234
-19.9
Cole Figueroa*
27
71
312
.282
.761
.350
5
Robby Price
26
70
249
.216
.604
.285
-8.6
Jayson Nix
31
55
216
.272
.748
.339
1.6
Jeremy Moore
27
55
218
.262
.827
.368
6.7
Jerry Sands*
26
54
219
.268
.825
.369
6.8
Curt Casali*
25
46
183
.237
.694
.322
-1
Kevin Kiermaier*
24
34
143
.305
.823
.369
4.5
Mayo Acosta
26
32
94
.133
.408
.198
-9.6
Nick Franklin
23
27
113
.210
.578
.273
-5
Tim Beckham*
24
15
65
.258
.572
.256
-3.7
Eddy Rodriguez
28
13
49
.152
.443
.198
-5.1
Wil Myers
23
7
31
.250
.961
.409
2
Brandon Guyer
28
5
26
.400
1.238
.533
4.2


Mikie Mahtook (132 games) led the 2014 Durham Bulls in just about every offensive category. He played in the most games, had the best wRAA, the most RBI, most stolen bases (only 18 though), and more. With maybe just one more hit in the last couple of games he would have finished above .300. He spent about half his time in center field and the rest pretty much divided between center field and left field. In a perfect world we’d like to see a slightly better walk to strikeout ratio. His was 0.34 (the team best, Cole Figueroa, was 1.50). At 24 he is one of the true prospects on the team and we expect the Rays are going to have to put him on the 40-man next season. Even so, we expect to see him back in Bulls uniform next season and we’ll be happy to see him. Stats

Justin Christian (127 games) had a fine year with the Bulls. The 34 year old right hand batting outfielder batted leadoff much the year and fairly equally divided his time between the outfield positions.  That would be because much of the year the Bulls only had two true outfielders and he and Mahtook had to cover the deepest fields of whatever park they were in, while an infielder played the shallowest field. Will he stick with the Rays system? Hard to say. Certainly the Bulls needed him this year and we were glad to have him. Our hope would be for him to return. Stats.

Vince Belnome* (118 games) had a very disappointing year, although things picked up near the end. He never looked very comfortable at the plate and was nothing like the star we watched in 2013, where his numbers eclipsed anyone’s on this year’s team by far. What the Rays (and the Bulls) are going to have to figure out is whether 2013 or 2014 should be the expectation. Mr. Belnome did get his first callup this year, appearing in 4 games with the Rays and picking up a double and an RBI. Will he stay on the 40-man? Hard to say. At a guess, the Rays are going to give the 26 year-old another year. Stats.

Mike Fontenot (113 games) is a favorite of WDBB and we were somewhat surprised at his low wRAA stat. It seemed to us that he was doing better over the year. He did a solid job at second base. I was also a bit surprised to see that he only stole 5 bases. Sure seemed like he was a threat out there. At 34 he’s probably heading back into the free agent pool. He’s given the Bulls two good years and no reason not to have him back for another, depending on what the Rays are looking for in the future. Stats.

Monday, September 22, 2014

The Durham Bulls in 2014 — Charts

Over the next week or so we’ll be putting up various charts and tables describing the 2014 season. The Bulls themselves have an interesting summary here that’s worth reviewing. And the David Egbert over at Rays Colored Glasses has taken a look at the season from the Rays perspective.

Overall, the Durham Bulls had 26 pitchers get up on the mound in 2014 and 21 different ballplayers came to bat. Overall stats. We’ll take a look at the individuals later.

The first chart shows the Bulls off to a hot start. Remembering that early in the season the Bulls play mostly against their South Division competitors, those couple of weeks pretty much set the stage for the first half. However, the Bulls peaked at the exact mid-season, game 72 on June 15, at 14 games above .500. A huge fall-off from there to the All-Star break was followed by a fairly stable won-loss pattern for the rest of the year. In the meantime, only the Norfolk Tides (Baltimore) made a serious run at the South Division title, but they peaked at 7 games below .500.

This is a striking difference from last year when the Bulls finished 30 games above .500. Nevertheless, enough to win the South and that’s good.

[Note: in all cases clicking on the chart will get you a larger image]


The cumulative runs scored less runs allowed chart follows a similar pattern and points out that the Bulls simply didn’t score a lot of runs this year.



The Bulls strength this year was pitching. This chart tracks the ERA of the team after the first couple of weeks of the season. Notice how it jumps up at exactly the same time that the Bulls fell off their games above .500 high mark in mid-season. However, as a group, the 2014 starting crew really wasn’t all that good. At their best, the starters were a little above 3.50 and by season’s end they were around 4.25. Again, a distinct difference from the 2013 crew. However, the performance of the relievers was simply stunning. They were extraordinary at the start of the season, had some troubles mid-season, but certainly looked great at the end of the year.



The 2014 hitters, not so good. In fact, the Bulls had the worst batting average in the International League, .248, and were 12th of 14 in team OPS. This busy-looking chart is a plot of the game-by-game OPS of the last half of the season. The red line is a trend. What’s important to note is how rarely it even approaches an “average” OPS. Not a good year at bat.



What's missing from all these charts is the good time we had at the ballpark this year. Lots to cheer about, a lot of terrific baseball was witnessed, and a pretty terrific renovation. More about that later.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Game 5; The Last Hurrah

Wool E. Bull waves good-bye
Chris Baird, WRAL

International League Governors’ Cup (Best of 5); 2-3
Wrap, Box, Herald-Sun, International League, News & Observer

It seems to strange to not have a game to look forward to, but that is how the end of the season feels.

Last night the Bulls were out-hit and out-pitched and now they’ve scattered, mostly, to their homes.

We are going to be a long time trying to forget how they were one strike away from another championship. But surely the Pawtucket Red Sox feel the same way. I wrote much earlier that sometimes the playoffs come down to who has the better AA team, and that was a piece of it. Two pitchers and a hitter were new to the Sox and they did just fine the last two games. They helped.

The Pawtucket Red Sox took the trophy away. Maybe next year. In the meantime, plenty to like about this year.

I’ll dig back into my numbers and put up some thoughts about this year’s team and this year’s season. All things considered. It worked out just fine.

Outside the game —

  • Nick Franklin, Alex Colome, and C. J. Riefenhauser were called up to the Tampa Bay Rays. Colome will be getting a start with the Rays tomorrow. All the best to all of them. Sure wish that Adam Liberatore had gotten a shot as well.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Game 4 to the PawSox; Tonight's the Night


DBAP, 7 am, 13 Sep


International League Governors’ Cup (Best of Five); 2-2
Wrap, Box, Herald-Sun, International League

It must have been tough to be on the grounds crew last night. A game was lost, but fireworks show went on as advertised. So they had to fix the field and spread the tarp because it looked like rain (and it did). Must have been 1 o’clock in the morning after a long, long losing game. But it looks like they got the job done early this morning. Thank you!

Merrill Kelly is up tonight. One more trek back to the DBAP. Here’s hoping the weather holds and the Bulls come back. Last chance.