Team Stats vs. Perception

Just tooling around Baseball Reference, comparing team stats, and a few gaps jump out between perception of the Angels and reality:

Perception: The Angels have a shoddy offense. Reality: We're 7th in the league in runs per game, at 4.95 (higher than in 2008, 2006 and 2005); better than the league average of 4.81, and (given the extreme difference in ballpark effects) better (on an average basis, anyway) than the Texas offense of 4.97. This while Kendrick stank and Vladdy didn't contribute (though a couple of guys have hit quite a bit better than expected).

Perception: The Angels play National League-style small ball. Reality: The team is exactly tied in sacrifice bunts with -- wait for it! -- Billy Beane's Oakland, with 18. American League teams average 17 sacrifices; the NL 29. Still, the AL runs a helluva lot more than the NL, averaging 49 steals in 64 attemps versus 39 in 55 (Scioscia, true to his form, is near the top in baseball, at 68 and 89). In fact, the American League has been stealing slightly more often than the National League, on average, all decade, so I don't even know what "National League-style small ball" means anymore, aside from "I'm an announcer and I'm lazy."

Perception: The Angels depend on a high-contact, high-average, high baserunning model for success. Reality: OK, that remains totally true. We're first in Batting Average (just like 2007!), 11th in strikeouts (just like 2008 and 2006!), 11th in walks (2002!), 12th in home runs (2007, 2006!), and 2nd in stolen bases (2008, 2007!). The good news, for those of you who have grown weary of this type of offense, is that at least we seem to be following the '07/'04/'02 model, instead of the '08/'06/'05/'03. Check out how bizarrely close these groups are to one another:

2009 .282/.342/.429 4.95
2007 .284/.345/.417 5.07
2004 .282/.341/.429 5.16
2002 .282/.341/.433 5.25

2008 .268/.330/.413 4.72
2006 .274/.334/.425 4.73
2005 .270/.325/.409 4.70
2003 .268/.330/.413 4.54

I figure with the warming weather, and the return of Vlad, this offense will be above 5 runs per game, and within the top 5-7 in the league. I have also been known to be optimistic.

A final note: The last two years the Angels have hit into an awful lot of double plays -- 140 and 146. So far this year we're on pace for just 107, which would be the second-lowest total in the Scioscia era (2002, even with all those men on base, produced just 105). Though now that Vlad's back expect the GIDPs to come back with him.

This Fan-Post is authored by an independent fan. Tell us what you think and how you feel.

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