Reading Into Early Numbers

Credit: Kelly O'Connor

Photo credit: Kelly O’Connor

Small Sample Sizes can skew stats.

Say that ten times fast.

While we can’t take the numbers literally right now after only a few games, we can look at some of the highs and lows to try and determine which players are playing well over their heads, which are doing as expected and which might see a rise in production soon.

All stats as of Monday morning before the game against TB.

David Ortiz: .444/.475/.694 – No one expects Ortiz to hit over or even close to .400 for the entire season. However, he did make a significant change last season that allowed him to cut down on strikeouts and increase productivity against left handers. So far, through only ten games, Ortiz has continued doing exactly what he did last season. He has only struck out in 15 percent of his plate appearances and has six hits in 13 at-bats against lefties. Of course, his .500 BABIP will fall, but it will be interesting to see if the strikeout rate remains this low a month from now and if he still finds the same amount of success against left-handed pitching.

Cody Ross: .241/.343/.517 – Due to injuries, Ross has been “forced” into regular playing time and has produced pretty much as expected. He has crushed lefties (.400/.500/.800), but struggled to find a groove against righties (.158/.261/.368). I expect both extremes to correct, but for the split stats to continue to greatly favor his plate appearances against left-handed pitching.

Mike Aviles: .290/.313/.548 – I know there aren’t a plethora of great options with Ellsbury out, but Aviles is not a leadoff hitter of any kind. His track record proves that he has a very limited amount of plate discipline and the early goings of this season have shown nothing to the contrary — Aviles has a .318 career OBP and has walked in less than three percent of his plate appearances in the young season. The longer Bobby V sticks with Aviles in the leadoff spot, the worse off the Sox are.

Kevin Youkilis .200/.265/.233 – Youk sat out yesterday’s game due to a groin injury and he has apparently been playing with some discomfort for a little while. Because of that, I discard these numbers completely. However, I won’t discard the issue of his health for the entirety of the 2012 season. If healthy, I believe he’ll hit and get on base like he always has. The problem is, nowadays that’s a big if.

Ryan Sweeney and Kelly Shoppach: .476 and .455 BABIPs respectively – Obviously, both BABIPs will regress with more plate appearances. At least in Sweeney’s case it’s nice to see that his plate discipline and contact skills are in mid-season form.

Categories: Boston Red Sox Cody Ross David Ortiz Kelly Shoppach Kevin Youkilis Mike Aviles Ryan Sweeney

Charlie first started writing about baseball back in 2008 when he opened Fantasy Baseball 365. Since graduating college with a degree in English, he has spent time coaching baseball as well as working in several minor league front offices. He also writes for The Outside Corner and contributes to Project Prospect and ESPN's Sweet Spot. Writer from August 3, 2010 - May 6, 2012

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