Sunday, May 4, 2014

Jonathan Villar & Mike Zunino

For those of you... uh.... able to get the CSN telecast today, Bill Brown and Alan Ashby had an interesting discussion about the two number 9 hitters.

For the Mariners, Mike Zunino was in the number nine slot.  He was hitting, entering today's game, an interesting .272/.294/.494.  The .494 was the highest slugging percentage on the Mariners team.  Next highest: .457 (Kyle Seager).

For the Astros, Jonathan Villar was in the number nine slot.  He was hitting, entering today's game, a very interesting.241/.305/.448.  The .448 leads the Astros in slugging.  Next highest: .419, Jason Castro.

So, the two number nine hitters have the highest slugging percentage on their respective teams.

When was the last time that happened?? Did Babe Ruth ever hit 9th as a pitcher??  Is there a quiet Micah Owings - Rick Ankiel matchup out there where that has occurred before?  This is what makes baseball interesting - during a normal game, there is something that makes it stand out, potentially historically.

That said, even more interesting is that after the game, Jonathan Villar is now hitting .256/.323/.511.  That is after a 2-3, 3B, HR day, where he drove in 3.  He has 6 SB on the year, versus 1 CS.  People aren't excited about his defence, but he is far from a liability out there.

He ranks second in AL shortstops in slugging - behind the similarly-mercurial Alexi Ramirez.  In OPS, Villar ranks third, behind Ramirez and the bunteriffic Jed Lowrie.

Villar is quietly having a nice season.  0.8 WAR (Fangraphs), 131 wRC+, .363 wOBA - before his terrific May 3 game. (Apologies - includes that game).