The VORG’s 2014 World Series Preview

We’ve finally reached the World Series, and with it the established institutions will of course give you the standard previews of the Royals/Giants showdown.

But this is the VORG … we don’t do “standard” … we do factoids, minutiae, trivia, oddities, random bits of info on all the major participants for both teams.

Here now … with major thanks to Baseball Reference and its Play Index, the VORG 2014 WORLD SERIES PREVIEW

ROYALS

Nori Aoki : As a member of the Yakult Swallows, was a teammate of former Royal Aaron Guiel for five years (2007-2011). Has finished in top 10 of most ABs per strikeout in all three seasons in MLB. OPS last three seasons: .787, .726, .710.

Billy Butler : Was second consecutive alliterative pick in first round of 2004 draft (after Bill Bray), and was one of four “B.B.s” Royals took during that draft. Compiled second-worst OPS amongst those with 250 or more plate appearances as a DH in 2014.

Lorenzo Cain : Had the highest BABIP (.380) of batting title qualifiers in 2014. Led the Majors with a .364 average batting eighth in the order, for those with at least 100 PAs there. He also tied Juan Uribe for highest batting average in the seventh slot in the order (.325) for those with at least 130 PAs there.

Christian Colon : Fourth pick in the 2010 draft, behind Bryce Harper, Jameson Taillon and Manny Machado. Was a teammate of the Giants’ Gary Brown at Cal State Fullerton. In 2010, Colon led the Titans in homers, while Brown led in batting.

Wade Davis : Holds the active record with 103 straight relief appearances without yielding a homerun, the 10th longest streak in history. His nine wins were the most for an AL reliever since Jesse Crain had 12 in 2005. Graduated from Lake Wales High School, the same institution that gave us 1992 World Series MVP Pat Borders.

Jarrod Dyson : With 120 stolen bases in 140 career attempts, his 85.7 percent success rate ranks fourth all-time for those with as many attempts. Has already amassed the highest WAR of anyone taken with the 1,475th overall pick in the draft. He was taken in the 50th round of that year’s draft (2006). The Giants’ Buster Posey was taken in the 50th round of the 2005 draft by the Angels, but did not sign.

Alcides Escobar : First with the given name of “Alcides” to play in the Majors. Has hit between three and   five homeruns and driven in between 41 and 52 men each of the last five seasons. One of only four players to appear in 162 games this season.

Brandon Finnegan : The first “Finnegan” to play the Majors. The only player taken in the first round of the 2014 June draft to appear in a MLB game this year. Has had a whirlwind 2014, pitching in the College World Series for TCU, then in the Royals’ minor league system, then getting into seven games with the big club in September, and appearing five times in the playoffs to this point. Here are his combined stats for the year:

 

2014 W L G IP ERA R ER H HR SO BB
TCU 9 3 17 105.7 2.04 26 24 79 3 134 29
MINORS 0 4 13 27 1.33 10 4 20 3 26 4
REG. SEA. 0 1 7 7 1.29 1 1 6 0 10 1
POST. 1 0 5 4.3 4.15 2 2 4 0 3 3
TOTAL 10 8 42 144 1.94 39 31 109 6 173 37
PER 9  6.81 0.38 10.8 2.31

 

Jason Frasor : Has compiled the highest WAR of any pitcher ever drafted out of Southern Illinois University Carbondale. The only “Frasor” to ever play the Majors. Batters have a .682 OPS against him in his career, but he limited opponents to a .569 OPS in his 23 games with the Royals this season. His 3.4 walks per nine in 2014 was the lowest since 2009 (2.5).

Alex Gordon : Part of a tremendous group of talent taken in first round of 2005 draft:

 

Pick Tm Name WAR G
1 Diamondbacks Justin Upton 20 1034
2 Royals Alex Gordon 28.6 1032
4 Nationals Ryan Zimmerman 34.3 1198
5 Brewers Ryan Braun 36 1079
7 Rockies Troy Tulowitzki 37.6 961
11 Pirates Andrew McCutchen 33.2 880
12 Reds Jay Bruce 14.3 966
23 Red Sox *Jacoby Ellsbury 24.4 864
25 Twins Matt Garza 15.2 221
28 Cardinals *Colby Rasmus 13.2 793
42 Red Sox *Clay Buchholz 13 151

 

Has compiled a 121 OPS+ since 2011, and his 157 doubles in the last four years ranks fourth in the Majors. Has stolen successfully 23 out of 29 times (79%) over last two seasons. Far and away the best defensive left fielder in 2014, according to UZR (nearly double the next best) and DRS.

Terrance Gore : First “Terrance” in MLB (we’ve had Terrence and Terrances that went by “Terry”). Stole 168 out of 185 bases (91%) in the Minors, but also compiled a measly .614 OPS there. As a pinch-runner extraordinaire, scored five runs despite only two plate appearances, but that’s still only tied for fourth-best all-time for those with two of fewer PAs in a season.

Jeremy Guthrie : Despise the win all you want, but there are only seven other pitchers with as many as the 28 wins (and 414 innings pitched) of Guthrie the last two seasons. Led the American League in losses twice (2009, 2011) with 17 each season. He is the only active pitcher to lead his league in losses more than once.

Kelvin Herrera : After having approximately one out of every seven flyballs leave the yard in 2013, now has an active streak of 95 games without yielding a homerun. Hits per nine innings last three seasons: 8.4, 7.4, 6.9. Allowed career-low 21% (nine of 43) inherited runners to score.

Greg Holland : Was the winning pitcher in relief for the Royals on May 19, 2011, when the opposing starting pitcher was Derek Holland. This is the only instance in which both “Hollands” have appeared in the same game. His 34.1 K% is the fourth-highest amongst active relievers with at least 250 appearances. Has saved 93 out of 98 opportunities (95%) last two seasons.

Eric Hosmer : He and James Loney were the only 1Bs to appear in at least 130 games and hit fewer than 10 homers in 2014. He is the current playoff leader in career batting average, on-base percentage, slugging percentage and OPS. His swinging strike percentage (S/Str) has declined every season in the Majors.

Omar Infante : “Second baseman Omar Infante” anagrams to “Menacer abandons manifesto.” Devil in the details: became the seventh batter with exactly six homers and 66 RBI in a season. Has the highest career batting average (min. 25 PAs) versus R.A. Dickey (.500).

Mike Moustakas : Second-lowest slugging percentage amongst active 3Bs with at least 1,000 plate appearances (.379). Had the third-lowest batting average (.212) of anyone with 500 plate appearances in 2014. A graduate of Chatsworth High School in California; Dwight Evans is the only alumnus to make an All-Star team.

Salvador Perez : The only “Salvador” to ever play the Majors (there have been plenty of players going by “Sal”). BA, OBP and SLG have declined every year in Majors. Caught stealing percentage has declined from 42% to 35% to 30% this season. Only third catcher to make at least 143 starts behind the plate in a season since 2000.

James Shields : “Big Game James” is a lifetime .647 pitcher versus opposing pitchers below .500, and .496 against pitchers at or above it. But when he DOES lose, he rarely bombs out. His 6.02 ERA in losses is actually the fifth-lowest amongst active pitchers with at least 75 losses. Aaron Rowand, a cousin of Shields, went 1-3 lifetime versus him.

Jason Vargas : Despite pitching three years in Seattle and one in Kansas City, has yielded the ninth-most homers (111) since 2010. Has yielded 16 homers in 121 innings in Kauffmann Stadium, and his 1.18 homers per nine are the fourth-highest among active pitchers with at least 100 innings pitched there. Has worn five different uniform numbers in his career (38, 43, 51, 56, 60).

Yordano Ventura : First “Yordano” in the Majors. First Royal to make at least 30 starts in a season at age 23 or younger since Zack Greinke in 2005. Allowed a mere .505 OPS with two outs and runners in scoring position in 2014, tied for sixth-lowest amongst pitchers with 80 such batters.

GIANTS

Jeremy Affeldt : He and Troy Afenir are the only players in history whose last names begin with “Af.” One of 77 players to have suited up for both the Giants and Royals (he was drafted by KC). Post a career-best 1.102 WHIP in 2014. The only player to ever be drafted out of Northwest Christian High School in Washington.

Joaquin Arias : Back in 2004, the Yankees sent him and Alfonso Soriano to the Rangers for someone named Alex Rodriguez. The Rangers then traded him in 2010 to the Mets for Jeff Francoeur, who would in 2011 have a career year for the Royals and collapse thereafter.

Brandon Belt : The only “Belt” in MLB history. Has had some combination of 3-0-6 as his OBP in each of his four seasons in the Majors (.306, .360, .360, .306). Has amassed a greater WAR than all other picks of the Giants’ draft of 2009 combined (though Zack Wheeler will make a run at him).

Gregor Blanco : The only “Gregor” in the Majors history. Another one of the 77 players to don the unis of both the Giants and Royals. OPS in seasons with more than 400 PAs: .676, .676, .690, .707.

Madison Bumgarner : First player with the first name of Madison in the Majors. During his MLB career, pitchers Pat Neshek and Mike Gosling are the only players in the Majors from Madison, Wisconsin. Bumgarner had four homers and 15 RBI in 78 plate appearances this year. 93 non-pitchers had fewer homers and RBI in at least that many PAs in 2014.

Santiago Casilla : Retired Alexi Casilla (the only other Casilla in the Majors) two out of the four times they’ve faced each other (including one walk). He and Dan Otero are the only active players to have pitched exclusively for the A’s and Giants. Since 2010: 2.10 ERA, but a 3.47 FIP.

Brandon Crawford : One of 16 “Brandons” active in the Majors in 2014. Batting average last three seasons: .248, .248, .246. OBP and SLG have increased each season in his career. Became the 25th shortstop to amass 20+ 2Bs, 10+ 3Bs and 10+ homers in the same season.

Tim Hudson : Won nine games this year, just missing joining Mark Buehrle and CC Sabathia for most 10+ win seasons among active pitchers (they have 14). Has the second-highest WAR of active pitchers and his 214 career wins is the most amongst active hurlers. Holds record for fewest innings pitched in debut while striking out 10 or more (June 8, 1999).

Travis Ishikawa : First “Ishikawa” to play in the Majors. Has had at-bats in seven different seasons in the bigs, but only one season with more than 175 plate appearances. Only the second graduate from Federal Way High School in Washington to make the Majors.

Javier Lopez : Since 2010, 351 appearances, 223.2 innings, only six homers allowed. Has the second-most appearances of less than one inning (239) in the last five seasons. Yielded two hits in three at-bats versus catcher Javy Lopez in his career.

Jean Machi : The first “Machi” to ever play in the Majors. Had the fourth-lowest BABIP (.237) of any reliever with 70+ appearances in 2014. He induced the third-highest double-play percentage of all pitchers with at least 50 innings in the season:

 

NAME DP DP%
Martin Perez 14 35.9
Zach Britton 14 32.6
Jean Machi 14 31.1

 

Mike Morse : First “Morse” in the Majors since 1929. Only the fourth MLBer from Nova High School in Florida. His 3-for-29 stint with the Orioles in 2013 left him with the second-lowest OPS in Baltimore history for any non-pitcher with at least 30 plate appearances (.237). Hit .309/.369/.502 at home this season.

Joe Panik : First “Panik” in MLB history. Outperformed (by OPS, batting average and WAR) another “shortstop” from the 2011 draft, highly-touted Javier Baez. Hit .373 but walked only once in 84 plate appearances versus lefties.

Jake Peavy : A “peavy” is a wooden lever with a metal pointed end and a hinged hook, used for handling logs. Has pitched 13 seasons, unanimously won the Cy Young in 2007, and not received a single Cy Young vote in any other season. According to friends of the VORG @williamnyy23 and @dakern74, Peavy is the only one of the 16 unanimous Cy winners to never receive another vote.  Had the fifth worst AB/SO rate amongst National League pitchers (as hitters).

Hunter Pence : First “Pence” in the Majors since 1922. Has hit between 17 and 27 homers in each of his first eight seasons, becoming the first player to do so in history. Also one of 16 players to hit at least 26 doubles in each of his first eight years. As a result, he’s one of only four players in MLB history with at least 17 homers and 26 doubles in each of his first eight seasons (Pujols, Teixeira and a guy named Ted Williams).

Juan Perez : Compiled a .494 OPS in 100 at-bats in 2014, the 11th-lowest out of 436 such players (non-pitchers). His -1.0 WAR was the second-lowest of those with as many as the 109 plate appearances he had.

Yusmeiro Petit : The one and only “Yusmeiro” in MLB history. One of three pitchers to start 10 games and finish 10 others as a reliever in 2014. Had tossed only 282 innings between 2006 and 2013 before his career-high 117 this year. His name anagrams to “pious temerity.”

Buster Posey : Composite 2012-2014: .314/.381/.497, 150 OPS+. Has nailed exactly 30% of attempted base-stealers in each of the last three seasons. Hit .354/.403/.575 after the All-Star Break this year. Trailed only teammate Mike Morse in batting average on the first pitch of at-bats this season (.492).

Sergio Romo : One of only four relievers to make at least 64 appearances each of the last five years. Composite 2010-2014: 331 appearances, 283.2 innings, 0.920 WHIP, 10.2 K/9, 6.0 K/BB. Nine of the 43 hits he allowed this year left the yard, leaving him with a career-high .363 opponent’s slugging.

Pablo Sandoval : Has hit 10 homers at Petco, tying him for the most by an opposing player since 2008 (Justin Upton). If you believe that he weighs only 245, then he has the most seasons of at least two triples by anyone 5’11” and under and at least 240 pounds in history. In 2009 he hit two triples off the same pitcher (J.C. Gutierrez) in the only two official at-bats he had against him.

Hunter Strickland : Has appeared in four games in the postseason, and allowed a homer in three of them. Has yielded five hits in his four innings of work, and four have left the yard. He’s faced 18 batters, struck out five, walked one and with those four homers, he’s left with eight “balls in play.” That means his playoff BABIP is .125 (1/8).

Andrew Susac : First “Susac” in MLB history. Had a 1.063 OPS with two outs (30 plate appearances), the fourth-highest in 2014 with at least that many PAs. Went 3-7 versus Clayton Kershaw. For someone with “sac” in his name, he only had three sac bunts and five sac flies in 989 minor league plate appearances.

Ryan Vogelsong : First “Vogelsong” in MLB history. Pitched the fourth-fewest innings of anyone who made at least 32 starts in 2014. One of 12 to pitch for only the Pirates and Giants exclusively in their careers. Walked a career-low 2.8 per nine innings this year.

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