When Marlins broadcasters go wrong

I don’t mean to rub it in, but unfortunately, I feel the need to point out these mistakes by Marlins broadcasters. It really does make me sort of mad when these guys, who are the voices of the Marlins, spout misconceptions as facts.

A couple nights ago, Rich Waltz said that Nick Johnson’s arrival and ability to grind out at-bats has really rubbed off on the Marlins. In particular, he mentions that while guys like Chris Coghlan and John Baker were already doing that, now that Johnson is here, guys like Jorge Cantu and Dan Uggla were getting into the act as well.

I’d like to present the Marlins’ leaders in pitches/plate appearance and walk rate for the season among qualifying players. Walk rates according to Baseball-Reference.com, pitches/PA according to StatCorner.

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Uggla's pretty patient...

Yea, Rich Waltz, Dan Uggla doesn’t need any help in plate discipline. Also, it’s a bit surprising to see Hanley Ramirez taking the fewest pitches on the team among the qualifiers. Also, Jeremy Hermida takes the most pitches on the team? Well, he also takes bad pitches, so he’s got that going for him.

Also, tonight radio announcer Dave van Horn mentioned that the Marlins were struggling on getting runners in from third base with less than two outs. He pointed out that the Marlins have only 24 sacrifice flies, which is second lowest in the National League. Well, if we once again go to Baseball-Reference.com, we can check out how the Marlins are doing in just that situation.

Small Sample Size Alert! The Marlins have gotten into a situation wit a runner on third with less than two out 218 times this season. The Marlin on third has scored in such instances 127 times, 58% of the time. In comparison, the entire National League has run into the same situation a total of 3951 times, scoring the runner 1991 times, or around 50% of the time. In other words, the Marlins have been above average this season at this supposed “fundamental.” Did it ever occur to van Horn that perhaps you can score the runner by getting a base hit?

Interesting note, Hanley leads the Marlins with over 20 PA’s in that situation by scoring the runner 61% of the time (31 PA). Most people would probably be unhappy to hear that Jeremy Hermida has plated the runner 8 out of 13 PA’s in this situation. Of course, small sample sizes, but it kind of deflates the whole “Hermida is a terrible clutch hitter and that’s the reason why he sucks” bit most people use to bash him. Guys, he’s bad because he’s the worst defensive right fielder in the game, not because he can’t hit.

Anyway, the lesson here? Broadcasters don’t know the stats as well as some people. Listen to them call the game, but take any statistical analysis from them with a HUGE grain of salt.

Topics: Chris Coghlan, Dan Uggla, Dave Van Horn, Jeremy Hermida, John Baker, Jorge Cantu, Miami Marlins, Nick Johnson, Rich Waltz

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  • Stan Makowski

    How about checking how many pitches the Marlin batters see per at bat both before and after Johnson arrived. That shold validate or disprove your stats. Are the TV announcers paid by the Marlins or the TV stations themselves. It can make a great deal of difference in objectivity. Did anyone besides myself ever hear that the TV men were forbidden to praise Gerardi after his run in with Loria?

  • michaeljong

    Stan,

    That would be difficult to do given the availability of the statistics, but I’ll check out what I can dig up from Baseball-Reference. Based on the numbers I’ve been evaluating all year, however, and based on the small sample size that we have since Johnson arrived, I’d say that if there was any difference up or down, it’s likely just statistical noise. All year long, the guys who walked and didn’t walk were consistent.

    I hadn’t heard this, but I don’t think it’s the case. When the Yankees came into town I heard Rich and Tommy saying very good things about Girardi and his time here. If anything, they might have been restricted in talking about the terms of his release.

    Also, welcome to the comments Stan! I’ve enjoyed your emails so far, and am still reviewing some of the stuff you sent me, I’ve been really busy.