First month's stats revealing, deceiving
Early numbers provide food for thought, but can be light on meat
April numbers are either instructive or destructive -- the harbinger of bigger things to come or the creator of false hope and unnecessary stress.
You never know what to read into April numbers. You just know they're fun to read.
And so, with the first month of the 2013 season just about in the books, let's take a look at some of the more interesting numbers April has wrought. All stats are through Monday (or more accurately, in the case of the A's and Angels, Tuesday morning):
9, 22: Combined home runs and RBIs logged by the Orioles' Chris Davis in the four previous Aprils in his big league career.
9, 28: Home runs and RBIs logged by Davis this April.
13.5: Strikeouts per nine innings logged by both the Rangers' Yu Darvish (in 32 2/3 innings) and the Tigers' Max Scherzer (in 31 1/3). The full-season record belongs to Randy Johnson (13.4 in 2001).
3: Number of Tigers starters averaging more than a strikeout per inning pitched: Scherzer, Justin Verlander (9.2 K/9) and Anibal Sanchez (11). No team in history has had three such starters over the course of a full season.
17.2: Percentage of games in which a team has logged a shutout. If that were to hold up for the whole season, it would be the highest such rate since 1972.
.219/.267/.323: Slash line for Josh Hamilton, before Monday night. Bad.
.202/.246/.298: Slash line for Josh Hamilton, after Monday night, when he went 0-for-8 with three strikeouts in a 19-inning loss. Worse.
58: Percentage of Rick Ankiel plate appearances ending in a strikeout. He has 29 strikeouts and just one walk, and he fits right in on an Astros team striking out more than 10 times per game.
23: First-pitch temperature for a game between the Rockies and Braves at Coors Field on April 23, shattering a Colorado record. But that was merely the first game of a doubleheader. By the first pitch of the nightcap, it had warmed to a balmy 30.
5-0: April record for the Rays' Matt Moore, making him just the third AL pitcher under the age of 24 to post that record in a season's first month. The others? Greg Swindell (1988) and Babe Ruth (1917).
423.5: Average distance of Justin Upton's Major League-leading 12 home runs, the highest such average this season among those who have hit at least five, according to ESPN Stats & Information Group.
35: Strikeouts logged by the Cardinals' Adam Wainwright before he issued his first walk. A new record. His strikeout-to-walk ratio is now 37/1.
9: Starting pitchers used by the Dodgers in their first 23 games of the season. We knew they had a lot of options in that department; we just didn't know they'd have to use all of them in April.
54.9: Ground-ball percentage for the Cardinals' starting staff, the best in baseball.
10: Number of times Shin-Soo Choo has been plunked by a pitch, more than most teams. In the modern era, no player has been hit by more pitches in a single season than Ron Hunt (50, 1971). Choo could reach that record or land on the disabled list, whichever comes first.
8: Number of batters plunked by Doug Fister, who hit just seven all of last season and has walked just six guys in 34 innings. (And no, Fister has not faced Choo.)
9: Homers hit by 20-year-old Bryce Harper in the Nationals' first 24 games. The only other player under 21 to hit that many homers within his team's first 24 games was Hall of Famer Mel Ott, with 10 for the 1929 Giants.
1-for-2: Success rate for the Brewers' Jean Segura at stealing second base -- in a single inning. It's too ridiculous to recap quickly, so just watch it here.
6-0: The A's record against Houston. It is widely expected that the winner of the AL West will stock up on W's against the rebuilding, relocated Astros.
2-4: The Mariners' record against Houston. It is widely expected that the West teams that don't take care of business against the Astros will be kicking themselves.
26: Walks for Joey Votto.
29: Hits for Joey Votto.
11.5: Walk percentage for the A's offense.
Minus-45: The Marlins' run differential.
4.22: Brett Myers' home runs-per-nine-innings rate, in 21 1/3 innings of work before the Indians put him on the DL.
1-for-39: The A's Josh Reddick, with the bases empty.
8-for-27: Josh Reddick, with runners in scoring position.
4-6-5-6-5-3-4: Routine triple play turned by the Yankees against the Orioles on April 12.
5, 20: Homers and RBIs for Yuniesky Betancourt, second on the Brewers only to Ryan Braun, while playing primarily first base. What a world.
5-11: Philadelphia's record in games started by Cole Hamels, Roy Halladay and Cliff Lee.
7-3: Philadelphia's record in games started by Kyle Kendrick, John Lannan and Jonathan Pettibone.
2.00: Ervin Santana's ERA for the Royals. He had a 5.16 ERA with the Angels last season.
0-12: The Astros' record when their opponent scores first.
9: Pirates quality starts, fewest in the NL Central.
15: Pirates victories, most in the NL Central.
17: Games in which the Royals have gotten at least six innings out of their starting pitcher. They didn't get their 17th such start in 2012 until May 22.
.202: Jeff Keppinger's batting average.
.198: Jeff Keppinger's on-base percentage (he has no walks and two sacrifice flies).
3-7: The Blue Jays' record in one-run games.
6-0: The D-backs' record in extra-innings games.
2.23: Lowest ERA among free-agent pitchers who changed teams over the winter. And that ERA belongs to the Twins' Kevin Correia.
8-unassisted: Double play turned by the Rays' Desmond Jennings against the A's on April 20, the first such DP in 10 years.
3 2/3: Formal Spring Training innings logged by Kyle Lohse this year.
2.53: Kyle Lohse's ERA, in five starts for the Brewers.
2.10: Joe Blanton's WHIP. Yikes.
.871: David Ortiz's slugging percentage in his first eight games back from the DL.
1.68: Combined ERA for Clay Buchholz and Jon Lester. Boston's back.
6.36: Combined ERA for Matt Cain and Ryan Vogelsong. A Giant hangover?
23: Major League-leading number of errors committed by the Nationals, with seven of those coming from shortstop Ian Desmond.
35: Home runs hit by the Yankees, most in the AL. Without Alex Rodriguez. And Curtis Granderson. And Mark Teixeira.
4: Twins games postponed by inclement weather, all in an eight-day span from April 14-22.
21: Road home runs hit by those surprising Colorado Rockies, tied with the Indians for the most in baseball. They are not just a Coors concoction.
65-0: Final score of an Ohio high school game between Licking Heights and Harvest Prep. It was called in the third inning. So April's absurdity is clearly not reserved for the big leagues.