Saturday, April 29, 2006

AJ's Hot Lukewarm Start

As I was looking at the American League hitting leaders marveling at Paul Konerko's lofty .386 average, I was a little surprised to see AJ Pierzynski rolling in at #9 with a .359 average. I was vaguely aware that AJ was hitting in the mid-.300's, but didn't know he was putting up a .359/.395/.408 line.

The reason I was not as aware is that I track ERV, not average. And on the ERV front, AJ has been below average. He simply isn't producing runs offensively at the pace suggested by his AVG and OBP. As of last night's game, he is -3.19 ERV, meaning that an average hitter would have produced 3 more runs than AJ given the runners on base and outs presented to AJ. And, indeed, if you look back game by game over the season, AJ has failed to get a clutch hit with runners on base a number of times. Sure enough, AJ is hitting .250/.318/.300 with runners on base, while putting up a gaudy .484/.500/.548 line with the bases empty. This is how AJ can hit .359 and only have 5 RBI.

AJ's -3.19 ERV puts him well behind a number of Sox hitters. Obviously, he is behind Thome (16.24), Konerko (13.19), and Dye (11.42), but also Pablo Ozune (3.62), Joe Crede (3.44), Tadahito Iguchi (2.08), Ross Gload (-0.31), Chris Widger (-1.98), and Juan Uribe (-2.12).

The good news is that AJ's performance is not a character defect.
Last year, he hit .294/.361/.492 with runners on base.

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