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White Sox Wed Jun 18 2014
Tony Gwynn, who passed away at a much too young age of 54 on Monday, was an excellent hitter by every measure. And by every measure, I'm talking about all the wacky splits he put up.
The internet as a whole shared some of his best stats, crazier figures than when he almost hit .400 (finishing at .394) in 1994. My favorites included that Gwynn hit .408 over a 180-game stretch in 1993-1994, that he never struck out against Greg Maddux in 107 plate appearances, and that he could have closed his career with 295 consecutive 0-for-4 games and still finished with a career batting average over .300. My goodness, he was great.
Splits are fun, and they are so uniquely baseball. After perusing Gwynn stats for a few hours, my mind wandered to the Sox. I got sucked into the statistical worm hole and examined some of my favorite splits from this Sox team (All stats from baseball-reference.com). No, they don't measure up to Gwynn.
• Tyler Flowers has 27 career home runs. Only one pitcher has allowed Flowers to go deep off him more than once: Justin Verlander.
• Gordon Beckham used to love trips to Minnesota. He was 15-for-34 with three HR (1.281 OPS) at the Metrodome, and 26-for-111 (.580 OPS) at Target Field.
• Breaking news, I know, but Adam Dunn is the anti-Gwynn: the most plate appearances he's had against any pitcher without striking out is 14, against Garrett Stephenson.
• Alejandro De Aza is 2-for-42 against lefties this year.
• In day games this season, Dayan Viciedo is 27-for-83 with a 168 OPS+. In night games he's 33-for-163, with a 53 OPS+.
• It's good that the Sox have 10 games left against the Royals, because Alexei Ramirez owns James Shields. He's 21-for-50 against him over his career.
• In a related note, John Danks has a 1.90 ERA in 61 innings at Kauffman Stadium. Danks also has only three innings pitched in the ninth inning over his career, but it's been a perfect nine up, nine down.
• Jose Quintana has proved to be a pretty solid starter over his three years with the Sox. His best games come against National League teams, where he has a 2.08 ERA and 1.14 WHIP in 10 games of interleague play.
• First pitch strike? It doesn't matter. Jose Abreu has 11 home runs this year after an 0-1 count, and has a better OPS after 0-1 (.982) than after 1-0 (.878). Also, according to ESPN's Home Run Tracker, Abreu has both the highest home run (160 foot apex, against Cleveland) and the home run with the steepest angle (45 degrees, against Colorado) off the bat.
• We don't necessarily need stats to back this up, but Chris Sale has been excellent for the White Sox in his three years as a starting pitcher. Since 2012, Sale has had 13 games with 10 or more strikeouts, and the rest of the Sox pitchers combined for five such games.
• Time will tell if Paul Konerko is remembered as one of the best bats of this generation, but this split says he should: In the fourteen seasons from 1999 to 2012, Konerko had 13 seasons where he had an OPS+ over 100 and less than 110 strikeouts. He averaged 30 home runs and 93 RBIs with a .866 OPS in that span.