John Danks – John Danks added his 10th quality start in 15 games started this season last night. He allowed one run over 6 innings while striking out 5 and walking none. Posting a 2.90 ERA entering that start, Danks is having a very solid sophomore season, but is he for real? Danks has a pretty solid K rate and K/BB ratio, and there is nothing abnormal about his BABIP (.299). However, Danks has a LOB% of 80.1%, and he is unlikely to strand runners at such a high rate for the duration of the season. Also, Danks’ current HR/FB% of 6.8% is a number we should most likely see rise, probably nearing double digits by the end of those season. So, we should see a rise in Danks’ ERA based off those two numbers, but I do not expect it to be such a significant rise that he won’t still be an effective starting pitcher. As I said Danks’ K rate is solid, and he is not getting lucky with balls in play. That is keying his success along with his transformation from a FB pitcher to a GB pitcher. Last season, Danks had a 5.50 ERA while having a GB/FB ratio of .76; this season Danks’ GB/FB ratio is 1.45.
Aubrey Huff – Looks like Joe was dead on in his suggestion last week that Huff’s hot bat would result in a few long balls pretty soon. Huff hit his 13th and 14th homers of the season last night. Since his breakout 2003 season in which he hit 34 HR, Huff’s HR totals have decreased every year. Last season he hit just 15 out of the park. This season, though, Huff is on pace to hit around 31 homers. Last season, it appears that Huff was just unlucky, posting HR:FB% of 8.5%, which is much lower than his career average of 14.1%. This year Huff is benefiting from a HR:FB% (13.3%) that is much more in line with his career average as well as from the fact that he is posting the best FB% (39.8%) of his career. Huff’s power seems legitimate, so look for him to hit 30 or more for only the second time in his career.
Magglio Ordonez – I’m on board with Tony’s assessment that we will not see the same type of year out of Ordonez that he had last season. The reason for that is Ordonez was due for a drop in average, which also means that his RBI’s would drop. I say Ordonez was due for a drop in average because last season, Ordonez had a ridiculously high singles average of .309, which was 47 points above his three year established level of .262. Not coincidentally, Ordonez singles average this season is .262, exactly back at that established level. So, in reality, Ordonez is a .300 hitter and not much more, and there is nothing wrong with that as long as you realize that last season’s .363 was a fluke and do not expect it to repeat.
Ervin Santana – Ervin Santana pitched wonderfully last night. He lasted 7 strong innings versus a Phillies team that has been crushing the ball as of late. Over the course of those 7 innings Santana gave up just 1 run off of 2 hits and was able to whiff 9 batters while only allowing 2 to reach via a free pass. Santana received the win giving him 9 on the season, and he is having the best season of his career. Looking at the numbers, a key for Santana’s success has been improved control. A reduction in his walk rate has allowed Santana to post an impressive K/BB ratio of 3.96. Santana’s previous high in that regard was 2.17. The numbers also show that Santana was a bit unlucky during last year’s disastrous season. Last year he had a BABIP of .333 as well as a low LOB% of 67.3%. Those numbers have been more normal this year allowing Santana to have a good amount of success that should continue for the rest of the season.
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