Numbers game tells the story of first month
Good, bad or ugly, they don't lie, but they could change quickly
April statistics are fleeting and fluky, and therefore quite fun. We know well enough not to pay too much attention to them, and yet we still can't help ourselves.And so, with April in the books and the season just starting to find its footing, here are some of the more absurd, instructive or just plain interesting numbers from the first month: .389: Derek Jeter's batting average, including four home runs (after hitting six all of last year) and 12 multihit games. He's partying like it's 1999. 247: Number of players (and counting) who have hit a home run before Albert Pujols. .181, .313: Batting average and slugging percentage for Jose Bautista. So Pujols has some company in the Slow Starting Superstar Society. 8: Number of home runs by Blue Jays third baseman Edwin Encarnacion. Bautista has three. Raise your hand if you saw that coming. 9: Number of games by which the Angels trail the Rangers in the AL West. No team in the division-play era has overcome such an end-of-April deficit to finish first. 8: Number of scoreless starts by Nationals starters. Washington became the first team in the modern era to get eight such starts in the first 21 games of a season. 4: Home runs allowed by Nats starters. 10: Home runs allowed by the Angels' Ervin Santana. 12: Home runs hit by Matt Kemp. 9: Home runs hit by the Chicago Cubs. 29: Runs created by Josh Hamilton, the best player in baseball not named Matt Kemp. 5.39: Runs per game for the Rangers. 5.68: Combined runs per game for the A's (3.04) and Pirates (2.64). 2: Days that elapsed between Cliff Lee's 10 shutout innings against the Giants and the announcement that he was going on the disabled list. 47: Extra-base hits by Phillies batters, the fewest in the Majors. 3: Number of players among the Majors' top 10 in OPS who are 35 or older -- Jeter (1.012), David Ortiz (1.184) and Paul Konerko (1.123). .231/.368/.513: The very Adam Dunn-ian numbers posted by Adam Dunn. Looks like he's back to his old self. 5.2, 25.0: Home run and strikeout percentages for Yoenis Cespedes, who appears to have a little Adam Dunn in him. 1.89: Combined ERA by the White Sox's Jake Peavy and the Mets' Johan Santana. Shoulder concerns? What shoulder concerns? 10.9: Strikeouts per nine innings for Santana, who struck out 7.4 per nine in the first three years of his Mets career. 5.7: Number of infield shifts per game by the Tampa Bay Rays, who led the Majors with 1.3 shifts per game last season. 0: Number of AL Central clubs with a winning record at home. 5: Games won by the Orioles when trailing after seven innings. It took them all of 2011 to record that same total. 1.97: Walks per nine innings allowed by Cardinals pitchers, the best such rate in baseball. 4-0, 1.33: Record and ERA by Lance Lynn, who is only in the Cards rotation because of the Chris Carpenter injury. 12: Consecutive games lost by the Royals within their first 17 games of the season. 1: Number of shutouts, in 149 career Major and Minor League starts, tossed by Phil Humber before he threw a perfect game against the Mariners on April 21. .951: OPS by 5-foot-5 second baseman Jose Altuve, a little man who is coming up big for the Astros. 2.70: Walks and hits allowed per inning by Marlins closer Heath Bell. 5.87: ERA by Red Sox relievers. And that's accounting for the 1.06 ERA they posted last week. 0.53: Indians designated hitter Travis Hafner's strikeout-to-walk ratio, the best in baseball. His career mark, entering this season? 1.59. 2.6: Strikeouts per nine by Indians veteran Derek Lowe. And yet he's 4-1 with a 2.27 ERA. 0: Number of players who had hit three home runs in a game at Petco Park, before Brewers slugger Ryan Braun did it Monday night. 0.90: ERA by the D-backs' Joe Saunders, best among all qualifying starters. It helps that only 21.4 percent of the balls put in play against him have gone for hits. 8.69: ERA by the Boston's Clay Buchholz, worst among qualifying starters. It doesn't help that 13.7 percent of the fly balls he's allowed have cleared the wall. 11: Doubles by the Red Sox's Ryan Sweeney, matching his 2011 output for the A's. 7.13: Combined ERA by Max Scherzer and Rick Porcello, a big reason the Tigers are off to a pedestrian start. 1.05: ERA of Brandon Beachy, a big reason the Braves are off to a strong start. 17: Strikeouts logged by Braves lefty Jonny Venters in just 8 2/3 innings. 18: Strikeouts logged by Reds reliever Aroldis Chapman before he issued his first walk. 20.4: Percentage of Joey Votto plate appearances that have resulted in a walk. Plus-56: Run differential for the Rangers, best in baseball. Minus-37: Run differential for the Twins, worst in baseball. Minus-20: Run differential for the Mets. And yet they're 13-10. 49 years, 151 days: Exact age of Jamie Moyer when he became the oldest pitcher ever to record a victory in the big leagues on April 17. 19 years, 195 days: Exact age of Bryce Harper when he made his Major League debut against the Dodgers on April 28. .293: On-base percentage by Jose Reyes, who entered the year with a career .341 OBP. .444: Slugging percentage by Prince Fielder, who entered the year with a career .540 SLG. .274: OBP by Chone Figgins, who replaced Ichiro in the Mariners' leadoff spot. .494: OBP by David Wright. Not a bad start to a contract year. 1.016: OPS by Buster Posey. Not a bad return to form. 28: Errors committed by the Padres ... in just 24 games. 86: Percentage of the season still left to be played, offering opportunity to render much of the above moot.
Anthony Castrovince is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his columns and his blog, CastroTurf, and follow him on Twitter at @Castrovince. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.