Saturday, November 21, 2015

All Time Greatest Breakouts

Jeff Sullivan ran a post for Fangraphs/Fox Sports suggesting Bryce Harper's 2015 season was a breakout for the ages. This is undoubtedly true, but I ran a few queries that seem to better quantify the "breakoutness" of a breakout.

Jeff did a number of year 1/year 2 queries that look at the greatest improvements from one year to the next. This can be misleading in terms of a breakout season because the player could just as easily have had an off-year or an injury year prior to his "breakout" and create the illusion of a major jump in performance.

So here we are looking at the greatest jumps in wRC+ from a player's breakout year to his previous high. I used the same 300 PA requirement used in the article for both seasons.

Harper falls to 29th on the list of greatest breakouts by this method, comparing his 197 wRC+ in 2015 season with his previous high of 137 in 2013 nets him a jump of 60 points, not quite as high as the top ten:

All time Breakouts 
#NameAgeSeasonwRC+PAprevios high wRC+JUMPprevious high seasonprevious high PAYears since previous highYears since breakout
1Al Kaline2019551566817680195453512
2Tito Francona2519591684439276195650033
3Cito Gaston2619701446296876196941913
4Chick Hafey2419271593948475192537523
5Fernando Tatis2419991416396774199835012
6Eli Marrero2820021004462674199934335
7Fred Dunlap25188421447814272188136934
8Clyde Barnhart2719231503867872192150523
9Devin Mesoraco2620141464407472201335213
10Danny Thompson2519721006242971197031822

Devin Mesoraco's showing inside the top ten is surprising to me, perhaps he's been forgotten about already since a dismal injury-plagued follow-up in 2015.

Al Kaline jumps from fifth in the article to number one here, but with just two full seasons before his breakout year.

Other recent notables include Jose Bautista's 2010 breakout at #19, Justin Turner and Brandon Moss at #26 and Alex Avila's standout 2010 tied with Harper.

And personal favorite John Lowenstein broke out in his 12th year as a major leaguer to hit for a 173 wRC+ 65 points higher than his next best performance previously. He was 35 years old.

Here is the top 100:

Here is a picture of a face, parts of it belonging to the author, parts to John Lowenstein:

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Doctored Ball Ejections

-- Courtesy of David Vincent

06/11/1920 Slim Sallee       CIN  Throwing doctored ball (ejected)
06/14/1922 Sam Jones         NYA  Throwing cut ball (not ejected)
07/27/1922 Dave Danforth     SLA  Throwing doctored ball (cover of ball cut, ejected)
08/01/1923 Dave Danforth     SLA  Throwing doctored ball (discolored. ejected)
08/14/1924 Bob Shawkey       NYA  Throwing doctored ball (discolored, ejected)
07/20/1944 Nelson Potter     SLA  Spit ball (ejected)
04/27/1968 Rich Nye (and others)  Spit ball (six automatic balls called in game; Durocher ejected)
08/18/1968 Phil Regan        CHN  Vaseline ball (three ejected in rhubarb; ruled twice in game)
07/14/1978 Don Sutton        LAN  Scuffed ball (ejected)
09/30/1980 Rick Honeycutt    SEA  Sandpaper and tack (ejected)
08/23/1982 Gaylord Perry     SEA  Throwing doctored ball (ejected)
08/03/1987 Joe Niekro        MIN  Emery board in back pocket (ejected)
08/10/1987 Kevin Gross       PHI  Sandpaper on glove (ejected)
10/08/1988 Jay Howell        LAN  Pine tar on glove (NLCS Game 3, ejected)
05/01/1999 Brian Mohler      DET  Sandpaper on left thumb (ejected)
06/09/1999 Byung-Hyun Kim    ARI  Heat balm on bandage in sleeve (ejected)
05/17/2003 Zach Day          MON  Glue on hand (ejected)
08/20/2004 Julian Tavares    SLN  Pine tar on cap (ejected, 10-day suspension)
06/14/2005 Brendan Donnelly  ANA  Pine tar on glove (ejected)
10/22/2006 Kenny Rogers      DET  Foreign substance on heel of pitching hand (World Series, not ejected)
06/19/2012 Joel Peralta      TBA  Pine tar on glove (ejected before pitching)
04/23/2014 Michael Pineda    NYA  Pine tar on neck (ejected)
05/21/2015 Will Smith        MIL  Foreign substance on non-pitching arm (rosin and sunscreen; ejected)
05/23/2015 Brian Matusz      BAL  Foreign substance on non-pitching arm (ejected)