Accentuate the Negative! Negative American League (AL) Baseball Statistics for 2011

All baseball fans concentrate on statistics, sometimes the positive statistics, sometimes the negative. How fans treat statistics usually depends on their favorite teams.

So, for the AL, who “led the league” in negative statistics during the 2011 season?

Starting and Reliving Pitchers:

Losses – The Baltimore Orioles’ Jeremy Guthrie led the negative league in this category with 17. He won nine games. Odd that Derek Lowe of the Atlanta Braves in the National League, who also led this category, had the same record. Guthrie had an earned run average (ERA) of 4.33. Not good, but not bad. However, Guthrie pitched for the AL East division’s last place team.

Blown Saves – While he did save 32 games, Jordan Walden of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim failed in the saves category 10 times. Walden, with a 2.98 ERA, was either very good or very bad.

Hits Surrendered – The Minnesota Twins’ Carl Pavano led the negative “hit parade,” with 262. Surprisingly, C.C. Sabathia of the New York Yankees was second in this category (230). Pavano’s ERA was 4.30. Sabathia’s was 3.00. So, the Yankees’ ace gave up hits, but less runs.

Runs Allowed – Fausto Carmona of the Cleveland Indians led in this category with 125. Not surprisingly, his ERA was 5.25. His won-loss record, again, not surprisingly, was 7-15.

Earned Runs – The Boston Red Sox John Lackey led the AL in earned runs with 114. His ERA was an outrageous 6.41 in 28 starts. I think the “lack” of the Red Sox making the playoffs was Lackey. He sure didn’t help.

Walks Allowed – Gio Gonzalez of the Oakland Athletics led in this category with 91. However, other than leading the league in walks, Gonzalez’s record was decent. He went 16-12 for Oakland, with a very respectable 3.12 ERA. Another statistic that helped Gonzalez’s cause was giving up only 175 hits in 202 innings.

Walks and hits per innings pitched (WHIP) – The Detroit Tigers’ Brad Penny has the dubious “lead” in this category, with a 1.56 WHIP. Penny is lucky that he played for the hard-hitting Tigers, because he had 11-11 won-loss record, even with a 5.30 ERA. I haven’t heard Penny’s name mentioned in this year’s post season.

AL Hitting:

My rule is to include players with over 500 at-bats (ABs).

Lowest Batting Average – Vernon Wells of the Los Angeles Angels batted .218 in 505 ABs. He did hit 25 home runs (HRs), but produced just 66 runs batted in (RBI). That’s a ratio of 2.64 per HR.

Least Hits: Surprise! Surprise! If one has the lowest average in the league, odds are you’ll have the least hits. Vernon only had 110.

Lowest Runs Scored – Casey Kotchman had exactly 500 ABs. He saw the plate 500 times when batting. He didn’t see it much scoring. Kotchman, of the Tampa Bay Rays, scored just 50 times. It doesn’t take a math wiz to figure out that Kotchman scored once every 10 ABs.

Most Strike Outs – Mark Reynolds, with the Arizona Diamondbacks of the National League, led the league in this negative category. Now he’s done it in the AL, with 196 strikeouts. However, Reynolds had 37 HRs and 86 RBI for the Orioles.

Caught Stealing – I think Juan Pierre of the Chicago White Sox should reconsider his base stealing abilities. Pierre did steal 27 bases, but he was caught stealing 17 times.

On-Base Percentage – Vernon Wells of the Angels did not have a good year. He had an unbelievably low on-base percentage of .248, to go with the lowest batting average and the least hits in the AL with players who had over 500 ABs. A few years ago, Wells was a legitimate star (not to mention an offensive force) with the Toronto Blue Jays. What happened?

Slugging Percentage – Juan Pierre might also consider lifting weights in the off-season. In 639 ABs, with 178 hits, Pierre only had 23 extra base hits. Consequently, his slugging percentage was the lowest in the league (.327).

Most Errors By Position:

Here is a list of the players who made the most errors at their positions. The rule is these players (with the exception of pitchers and catchers) must have played 130 or more games at one position.

Pitcher – A three-way tie at five between Justin Verlander (Detroit Tigers), Ervin Santana (LA Angels) and A.J. Burnett (New York Yankees). All three are starters, and pitched many innings. Thus, they were on the mound a lot. Verlander led the league in innings pitched (251). Ervin Santana was on the mound for 228.2 innings. A.J. Burnett pitched 190.1 innings. So, Burnett gets the “award.”

Catcher – Miguel Olivo of the Seattle Mariners played 120 games at the catching position, and committed 11 errors. By the way, the New York Yankees’ Russell Martin, in 118 games behind the plate, made 10 errors.

First baseman – In 152 games, another Miguel, whose last name is Cabrera, led in this negative category with 13 miscues. I think his bat makes up for it.

Second baseman – The Texas Rangers’ Ian Kinsler led in this category with 11 errors. He started 144 games at the position. Kinsler was fourth in the league in total chances (TCs) with 677. Robinson Cano of the New York Yankees led the league in TCs with 100 more then Kinsler, and made 10 errors.

Third baseman – With those over 130 games, Danny Valencia of the Minnesota Twins led the league in errors (18). However, the Orioles’ Mark Reynolds had 26 errors at third in 111 games. In the field or at bat, this guy is allegoric to the ball.

Shortstop – Up the middle, at least in the infield, the Rangers aren’t that good. The club’s Elvis Andrus, in 142 games at short, made 25 errors. He was third in the league in TCs with 677. The league leader in TCs was the Kansas City Royals’ Alcides Escobar (745). He made 15 errors.

Left field – Juan Pierre of the White Sox doesn’t hit long balls, nor can he catch them. In 152 starts in left, he made seven errors. For the record, Delmon Young who spent time with the Twins and the Tigers, made as many errors in 115 starts in left. Delmon should consider a DH role.

Center field – Adam Jones of the Baltimore Orioles made eight errors in 145 games.

Right field – The Kansas City Royals Jeff Francouer made five errors in 152 starts in right. However, in just 115 games, Jose Bautista of the Toronto Blue Jays made six errors.

Sources: American League Pitching Statistics: American League Batting Statistics: Final 2011 Standings: Fielding Statistics:

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