The Super SSS Dodgers

We all know about Matt Kemp's MVP-caliber year. We all know about Clayton Kershaw turning into the best young pitcher in all of Major League baseball (and is so good that the "young" qualifier soon might not be necessary). And we know about James Loney's roller coaster season, Andre Ethier's gimpy leg and Dioner Navarro's weird existence on a major league roster for months.

But what about those other guys? The ones at the end of the bench, the ones who were called up for a few days then headed back to traveling around the PCL or Southern League in buses? The guys that had some part of their body give out after a short period of time with the Dodgers?

I'm talking about the SSS guys. I mean the guys with extremely small sample sizes. These are the guys you will likely say, "Oh, that guy played this year?" Or, since we are obsessive about the Dodgers over here at TBLA, "Oh, man, I wish I could forget that guy played this year..."

Let's celebrate these guys.

To qualify to be a small sample size player, in this post at least, a hitter must have had less than 86 plate appearances and less than 30 IP. Why those two numbers? Because that is less plate appearances than Kershaw had this year and the inning amount will include Dana Eveland. In other words, its an arbitrary end point.

The Hitters

There were ten Los Angeles Dodgers hitters (non-pitcher division) with less than 86 plate appearances. Just missing out was Trent Oeltjen who had 91 plate appearances (including an inside-the-park home run).

Here they are in descending order of plate appearances:

Marcus Thames 70 .197 .243 .333 -0.3
Jay Gibbons 62 .255 .323 .345 -0.3
Russ Mitchell 58 .157 .259 .294 -0.2
Eugenio Velez 40 .000 .075 .000 -0.7
Ivan DeJesus 35 .188 .235 .188 -0.5
Tim Federowicz 16 .154 .313 .154 0.1
Juan Castro 15 .286 .333 .286 0.0
Xavier Paul 11 .273 .273 .273 -0.1
Hector Gimenez 7 .143 .143 .143 -0.1
Jamie Hoffmann 4 0 .000 .000 -0.1

Some notes on the SSS hitters*:

  • As you can see from the difference in average and slugging, only Mitchell, Gibbons and Thames had any extra base hits.
  • The only SSS hitters without a walk were Hoffmann and Gimenez. Hoffmann never got on base in two games and a scant 4 plate appearnaces.
  • The only SSS guy to steal a base was Velez, who had exactly one stolen base in 34 games.
  • Three SSS hitters grounded into double plays in the year: Thames (4), Mitchell (3) and De Jesus (1).
  • Of these ten players, only Hoffmann and Federowicz had positive UZR (0.1 and 1.0).
  • Gimenez had the highest K% (42.9%) while Mitchell had the lowest (17.2%).
  • Though this is the non-pitching division, I have to give props to both warriors Javy Guerra and Matt Guerrier. They each had one plate appearance and the slash line of .000/1.000/.000. John Ely had 4 PA and a line of .000/.250/.000 while Eveland had a .000/.100/.000 line in 11 PA, beating out Garland's .000/.083/.000 line in 16 PA.
  • Oh, and Velez had a .000 BABIP. Extremely bad luck.

* Yes, these numbers mean nothing. They are small sample sizes. Still, why not obsess over them with me?

The Pitchers

There were seven pitchers with less than 30 innings pitched this year. Only two started a game and one appeared in nearly 1/4 of the Dodgers' games.

Here they are in descending order of innings pitched:

Josh Lindblom 29.2 27 2.73 2.35 0.6
Dana Eveland 29.2 5 3.03 3.19 0.6
Hong-Chih Kuo 27.0 40 9.00 5.06 -0.4
Ramon Troncoso 22.2 18 6.75 5.19 -0.2
Lance Cormier 13.2 9 9.88 6.90 -0.3
Jonathan Broxton 12.2 14 5.68 5.63 -0.3
John Ely 12.2 5 4.26 4.68 -0.1
Vicente Padilla 8.2 9 4.15 2.68 0.2

The start of the season is apparently a very distant time back, as I don't recall Jon Garland starting 9 games and throwing 54.0 innings. Hell, I don't remember Padilla pitching in 9 games either!

Anyway, some notes on the SSS pitchers:

  • The best K/9 of the bunch belongs to Kuo, at 12.00.
  • The worst BB/9 of the bunch belongs to Kuo, at 7.67.
  • The highest WHIP? Cormier at a rusty (opposite of sterling, right?) 1.98. Four other SSS pitchers had WHIPs of at or above 1.50: Broxton (1.89), Troncoso (1.85), Kuo (1.74) and Ely (1.50).
  • Hitters had a .413 BABIP against Troncoso. Cormier was second by having hitters hit .333 on balls put in play.
  • Lindblom led this bunch with 3 wild pitches. Kuo, Troncoso and Cormier each had 2.
  • Eveland, Lindblom and Kuo each hit two batters.
  • I believe this means that Kuo had control problems.
  • Cormier had the lowest fastball percentage on the team -- 18.7%. The next closest was Eveland at 42.5%.
  • These pitchers threw a combined 156 innings. Kenley Jansen threw 53 2/3. The SSS pitcher brigade had 133 strikeouts to Jansen's 96.
  • OK, this isn't on this list at all, but Jansen had more strikeouts than Rubby de la Rosa and Garland combined, in 61 fewer innings.

So what does this tell us? Well, nothing. But I had a bunch of time to waste and, if you read all of this, so do you.

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