Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Bulls Back in First Place

May 28, Game 49
Durham Bulls 5; Louisville Bats 1

New guy, righthander Andrew Moore, in trade from the Seattle system, pitched his first game as a Bull and did just fine. He only allowed one run over his 5+ innings. He is on the Rays' 40-man roster. Catcher Adam Moore, the second half of the Moore/Moore battery contributed 3 hits and 2 RBI.

Meanwhile, Norfolk's winning streak got broken and the Bulls are back in first place as they come home to play Rochester. Here's hoping the field is dry and has survived the ACC's depredations.

Monday, May 28, 2018

Durham Bulls Drop Out of First Place

May 27, Game 48
Durham Bulls 0; Louisville Bats 5

The Norfolk Tides have run off 6 wins in a row as the Bulls have lost 5 of 7 on this 8-game road trip. Time to come home.

Saturday, May 26, 2018


May 25, Game 26
Durham Bulls 8; Louisville Bats 1
Box, Wrap

Four home runs (2 by Jason Coats, 1 each by Kean Wong and Andrew Valazquez) and 3 doubles (Wong, Hazelbaker, & Johnson) were enough to add a substantial tick upwards in the Durham Bulls' Team OPS, break a losing streak, and help Chih-Wei Hu get his first win.

Friday, May 25, 2018


May 24, Game 45: Durham Bulls 1; Gwinnett Stripers 7, Box

Bulls coaches should be concerned with the dramatic rise in mistakes by their position players. In the last two games Gwinnett scored 7 unearned runs, running up the Bulls' very respectable uERA (unearned run average) of .385 to .533. Yes, the roster has been chaotic, but this is very worrisome.

On a side note, changing their name hasn't made a difference for the "Stripers" down at Coolray Field. The stands were essentially empty for all four games (paid attendance around 1,300 each game).

Thursday, May 24, 2018

Minor League Blues; Pitching Efficiency

Game 43: Durham Bulls 3; Gwinnett Stripers 9; Box
Game 44: Durham Bulls 4; Gwinnett Stripers 5; Box

So here we see some of the perils of being a minor league fan, even when your team is doing well. In the first game, a highly-regarding major leaguer comes to town on a rehab start in place of this year's most productive young pitcher. The pitcher, Nathan Eovaldi gives up 10 hits and 8 runs over his 4 innings.

In the second game, a completely reconfigured infield (Pena catching his first game, Kean Wong at 3B, Andrew Valazquez at SS, Micah Johnson at 2B, Joe McCarthy at 1B) allows in 3 unearned runs.

Chart of the Day

Here's a home-grown stat: Pitches per out. It sort of tells you how hard a pitcher has to work. Small sample size warning.

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.