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2006 OQ REPORT

2006 OFFENSIVE LEADERS BY POSITION

AMERICAN LEAGUE  
     
C Joe Mauer  
1B Paul Konerko  
2B Robinson Cano  
SS Carlos Guillen  
3B Alex Rodriguez  
LF Manny Ramirez  
CF Grady Sizemore  
RF Jermaine Dye  
DH Travis Hafner  


NATIONAL LEAGUE  
     
C Paul Lo Duca  
1B Albert Pujols  
2B Ray Durham  
SS Bill Hall  
3B Miguel Cabrera  
LF Jason Bay  
CF Carlos Beltran  
RF J.D. Drew  

Bold
indicates 2005 leaders.

To qualify for this list, a player must play at least half his teamís games at the defensive position indicated.

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2006 AMERICAN LEAGUE OQ LEADERS

 
Rank
 
Player
Team
OQ
 
 
 
 
 
1
 
Hafner
CLE
174
 
 
2
 
Ramirez
BOS
170
 
 
3
 
Ortiz
BOS
163
 
 
4
 
Thome
CHI
157
 
 
5
 
Giambi
NY
148
 
 
6
 
Dye
CHI
146
 
 
7
 
Mauer
MIN
138
 
 
8
 
Thomas
OAK
135
 
 
9
 
Rodriguez
NY
131
 
 
10
 
Guillen
DET
131
 
 
 
 
 
11
 
Konerko
CHI
131
 
 
12
 
Morneau
MIN
131
 
 
13
 
Guerrero
LA
130
 
 
14
 
Sizemore
CLE
126
 
 
15
 
Teixeira
TEX
125
 
 
16
 
Jeter
NY
124
 
 
17
 
Wells
TOR
124
 
 
18
 
Glaus
TOR
123
 
 
19
 
Swisher
OAK
122
 
 
20
 
Overbay
TOR
120
 
 
 
 
 
21
 
Posada
NY
119
 
 
22
 
Ibanez
SEA
119
 
 
23
 
Martinez
CLE
118
 
 
24
 
Cuddyer
MIN
118
 
 
25
 
Matthews
TEX
117
 
 
26
 
Cano
NY
117
 
 
27
 
Tejada
BAL
116
 
 
28
 
Damon
NY
114
 
 
29
 
Sexson
SEA
114
 
 
30
 
Youkilis
BOS
112
 
 
 
 
 
31
 
Johnson
TOR
111
 
 
32
 
Chavez
OAK
110
 
 
33
 
Brown
KC
109
 
 
34
 
Catalanotto
TOR
109
 
 
35
 
Hunter
MIN
108
 
 
36
 
Millar
BAL
108
 
 
37
 
Ordonez
DET
108
 
 
38
 
Crawford
TB
107
 
 
39
 
Hernandez
BAL
107
 
 
40
 
Lowell
BOS
107
 
 
 
 
 
41
 
Crede
CHI
106
 
 
42
 
Young
TEX
105
 
 
43
 
DeRosa
TEX
105
 
 
44
 
DeJesus
KC
104
 
 
45
 
Markakis
BAL
104
 
 
46
 
Granderson
DET
102
 
 
47
 
Monroe
DET
101
 
 
48
 
Beltre
SEA
101
 
 
49
 
Iguchi
CHI
101
 
 
50
 
Inge
DET
99
 
 
 
 
 
51
 
Suzuki
SEA
98
 
 
52
 
Cabrera
NY
98
 
 
53
 
Roberts
BAL
97
 
 
54
 
Anderson
LA
96
 
 
55
 
Rodriguez
DET
95
 
 
56
 
Johjima
SEA
95
 
 
57
 
Pierzynski
CHI
93
 
 
58
 
Cabrera
LA
93
 
 
59
 
Punto
MIN
92
 
 
60
 
Blalock
TEX
91
 
 
 
 
 
61
 
Castillo
MIN
91
 
 
62
 
Figgins
LA
90
 
 
63
 
Mora
BAL
90
 
 
64
 
Grudzielanek
KC
90
 
 
65
 
Kotsay
OAK
90
 
 
66
 
Hill
TOR
90
 
 
67
 
Michaels
CLE
89
 
 
68
 
Payton
OAK
89
 
 
69
 
Peralta
CLE
89
 
 
70
 
Kennedy
LA
88
 
 
 
 
 
71
 
Lopez
SEA
85
 
 
72
 
Kendall
OAK
85
 
 
73
 
Podsednik
CHI
85
 
 
74
 
Loretta
BOS
84
 
 
75
 
Betancourt
SEA
84
 
 
76
 
Berroa
KC
65
 

The 2006 American League base-to-out ratio was .730.

This list includes every player who had at least 3 (at bats + walks) for each game his team played.

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2006 NATIONAL LEAGUE OQ LEADERS

 
Rank
 
Player
Team
OQ
 
 
 
 
 
1
 
Pujols
STL
177
 
 
2
 
Howard
PHI
173
 
 
3
 
Berkman
HOU
165
 
 
4
 
Cabrera
FLA
152
 
 
5
 
Beltran
NY
151
 
 
6
 
Johnson
WAS
146
 
 
7
 
Atkins
COL
144
 
 
8
 
Bay
PIT
140
 
 
9
 
Holliday
COL
138
 
 
10
 
Burrell
PHI
135
 
 
 
 
 
11
 
Drew
LA
133
 
 
12
 
Ensberg
HOU
133
 
 
13
 
LaRoche
ATL
132
 
 
14
 
Hawpe
COL
132
 
 
15
 
Delgado
NY
132
 
 
16
 
Wright
NY
131
 
 
17
 
Helton
COL
129
 
 
18
 
Hall
MIL
129
 
 
19
 
Soriano
WAS
129
 
 
20
 
Jones, A
ATL
128
 
 
 
 
 
21
 
Ramirez
CHI
128
 
 
22
 
Durham
SF
127
 
 
23
 
Utley
PHI
126
 
 
24
 
Dunn
CIN
126
 
 
25
 
Rolen
STL
125
 
 
26
 
Garciaparra
LA
120
 
 
27
 
Gonzalez
SD
119
 
 
28
 
Hatteberg
CIN
118
 
 
29
 
Willingham
FLA
117
 
 
30
 
Cameron
SD
117
 
 
 
 
 
31
 
Kearns
CIN/WAS
116
 
 
32
 
Reyes
NY
114
 
 
33
 
Fielder
MIL
113
 
 
34
 
Ramirez
FLA
113
 
 
35
 
Sanchez
PIT
112
 
 
36
 
Zimmerman
WAS
112
 
 
37
 
Furcal
LA
112
 
 
38
 
Jones
CHI
111
 
 
39
 
Hudson
ARI
110
 
 
40
 
Jackson
ARI
109
 
 
 
 
 
41
 
Uggla
FLA
109
 
 
42
 
Rollins
PHI
109
 
 
43
 
Giles
SD
108
 
 
44
 
Murton
CHI
108
 
 
45
 
Jacobs
FLA
108
 
 
46
 
Gonzalez
ARI
108
 
 
47
 
Renteria
ATL
107
 
 
48
 
Jenkins
MIL
106
 
 
49
 
Tracy
ARI
106
 
 
50
 
Carroll
COL
105
 
 
 
 
 
51
 
Byrnes
ARI
104
 
 
52
 
Walker
CHI/SD
102
 
 
53
 
Freel
CIN
101
 
 
54
 
Nady
NY/PIT
101
 
 
55
 
Green
ARI/NY
100
 
 
56
 
Lofton
LA
100
 
 
57
 
Lopez
CIN/WAS
99
 
 
58
 
Roberts
SD
98
 
 
59
 
Lo Duca
NY
98
 
 
60
 
Encarnacion
STL
97
 
 
 
 
 
61
 
Vizquel
SF
97
 
 
62
 
Bell
PHI/MIL
96
 
 
63
 
Vidro
WAS
96
 
 
64
 
Phillips
CIN
95
 
 
65
 
Giles
ATL
95
 
 
66
 
Barfield
SD
93
 
 
67
 
Biggio
HOU
92
 
 
68
 
Francoeur
ATL
92
 
 
69
 
Wilson
HOU/STL
92
 
 
70
 
Winn
SF
91
 
 
 
 
 
71
 
Feliz
SF
89
 
 
72
 
Pierre
CHI
86
 
 
73
 
Castillo
PIT
83
 
 
74
 
Wilson, J
PIT
83
 
 
75
 
Eckstein
STL
80
 
 
76
 
Taveras
HOU
78
 
 
77
 
Everett
HOU
77
 
 
78
 
Cedeno
CHI
69
 
 
79
 
Barmes
COL
68
 

The 2006 National League base-to-out ratio was .713.

This list includes every player who had at least 3 (at bats + walks) for each game his team played.

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HOW SOON THEY FORGET

On more than one occasion San Francisco trotted out a starting outfield of Barry Bonds in left, Steve Finley in center, and Moises Alou in right. This was the first time in major league history that an outfield of three 40-year-olds started a game.

Speaking of graybeards, did you catch the nationally televised battle between Roger Clemens and Greg Maddux on July 19? It was one of the few games in major league history featuring two starters with 300 wins to their credit.

The ESPN graphic showing the history of these games, however, was incorrect. According to ESPN, the first battle of 300 game winners took place in 1986. But there were actually 4 of these in the 1890s, each featuring righthanders Jim Galvin (born December 25, 1856) and Tim Keefe (born January 1, 1857). These took place on July 17, 1890 (Keefe won); July 9, 1891 (Galvin won); July 4, 1892 Galvin won); and July 21, 1892 (Keefe won).

These were interesting matchups. Keefe was a handsome power pitcher who spent much of his career in glamorous New York. Galvin was a finesse pitcher who looked like David Wells and spent most of his career in Buffalo (then a major league city) and Pittsburgh.

Another 300-game winner of this era, John Clarkson, never faced Galvin or Keefe after winning his 300th game in 1891.

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RUSSELL BRANYAN UPDATE

Russell Branyan will be 31 in December, and it still doesnít look as if anyoneís going to offer him a job as a regular. He posted typical Russell Branyan numbers again for the Devil Rays and Padres in a platoon role, but time is running out. Iíll update what I said last year:

During the past nine seasons Branyan has played for the Indians, Reds, Brewers, and Devil Rays (nonwinners all) before striking playoff gold with the San Diego Padres this year. But no team has ever rewarded him with everyday status.

Although Branyan is a mediocre defensive player, he is no worse than a guy like Adam Dunn, and heís versatile in the field. He can play third base, first base, or a corner outfield position.

Like Dunn, Branyan bats lefthanded. They say he canít hit lefthanded pitchers, but heís never had a real chance to prove it.

Like Dunn, Branyan strikes out a lot. But Dunn has a full-time job. Why not Branyan? Iíd like to see some team put Branyan in the lineup and leave him there for a full season. Make him the DH if you must, but give him full-time work. Give him one fair shot to see what he can do in an entire season!

Branyanís production per 500 at bats, 708 minor league games:

AB
R
H
2B
3B
HR
RBI
AVG
BB
SO
BTOR
 
 
500
89
128
24
4
39
105
.256
73
190
.941
 

Branyanís production per 500 at bats, 627 major league games:

 
AB
R
H
2B
3B
HR
RBI
AVG
BB
SO
BTOR
 
 
 
 
500
69
116
24
2
33
80
.232
69
201
.813
 

This type of season would produce an OQ of about 115. Thatís baseline, and thereís no reason to think he wouldnít improve on that with full-time duty.

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A DROP OF COFFEE

Through the years Iíve read about players whose major league careers were very brief, meaning one inning or less as a defensive replacement, pinch hitter, or relief pitcher. The briefest may have been that of pitcher Larry Yount. Yount entered the record books on September 15, 1971. Making his big league debut in the uniform of the Houston Astros, he took the mound in the ninth inning. While warming up Yount felt a twinge in his elbow, whereupon manager Harry Walker removed the young righthander before he could throw an official pitch. But because Yountís name was inscribed on the lineup card and announced, this counted as an official appearance. The sore-armed Yount never appeared in another major league game.

I can imagine a big league career even shorter than this. Letís start with a commonplace incident. On April 22, 1961, the New York Yankees gave 25-year-old Lee Thomas his first big league opportunity. With the Yankees trailing 5-3 in the ninth inning at Baltimore, Thomas, a lefthanded batter, was announced as a pinch hitter to face Oriole righthander Hoyt Wilhelm. Thomas singled off Wilhelm to begin an eight-season, thousand-game career as a big leaguer.

Imagine, if you will, an alternate scenario. As soon as Thomas is announced, Baltimore manager Paul Richards yanks Wilhelm and substitutes southpaw Billy Hoeft. Not to be outdone, New York skipper Ralph Houk counters by calling Thomas back and sending up veteran righthanded batter Joe DeMaestri. The next day Thomas is farmed out, gets hurt in the minors, and never plays again. Being ďannouncedĒ constitutes an official appearance. Larry Yount, at least, actually ascended the mound. In this scenario, Thomas never gets to the plate!

I wonder if it has ever happened: a career that consisted of one announcement, one occasion in which you are officially in the lineup, but pinch hit for before you get a chance to bat or play in the field.

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RUMINATIONS

* I may be prejudiced because Iím a sucker for players who have two first names. Still, Iíve got to tip my cap to ďMister Juanderful,Ē the amazing Juan Pierre. Although at 6í0 and 180 heís taller and heftier than he might appear, heís the 21st centuryís foremost proponent of ďsmall ball.Ē Pierre proves that you can have a career as a regular outfielder in the major leagues even if youíre a slap-happy free swinger with no power who gets caught stealing a lot. I think the fans appreciate him because (1) he never gets hurt and (2) itís immediately obvious that his game is not, and could not be, enhanced by steroids.

Juan Pierreís OQ history:

  2000
76
 (after August callup)  
  2001
101
   
  2002
80
   
  2003
94
   
  2004
99
   
  2005
83
   
  2006
86
   

Will Pierre ever break the 100 OQ barrier (that is, contribute offensively at or above the league average) again? Heíll have to hit at least .320 to do it, and heís been nowhere near that level for two seasons. Is Pierre blazing a trail that others will follow? Keep your eye on Kansas City flyhawk Joey Gathright, a speedy baserunner who canít seem to lift his OQ out of the 70s.

* Houstonís Brad Ausmus, at age 37, led the National League in games caught with 138. Ausmus has now caught 1,682 games. He is the Jim Hegan of the modern era, a weak-hitting receiver whose defensive attributes are so valuable that you want him out there as often as possible.

Ausmus is a durable catcher who has never been on the disabled list, and he showed no signs of slowing down in 2006. Still, heíll need to catch 544 games to equal Carlton Fiskís record for games caught, and thatís not going to happen. Ausmus will turn 38 on April 14.

Few fans remember that Ausmus was originally signed by the Yankees, then selected by the Rockies in the 1992 expansion draft. He never played for either team.

* Oaklandís Frank Thomas played 137 games in 2006 and hit just 11 doubles. Needless to say, there were no triples (or stolen base attempts). Although Thomas is no speed merchant, he hit 39 balls over the fence, increasing his career total to 487. Heíll be DHing for someone in 2007.

* Aching Eric Chavez had a subpar (for him) season with the bat in 2006, posting a 110 OQ while producing 124 runs in 137 games. But consider the alternative. Oaklandís third base backup, Antonio Perez, hit just .102 (10 hits in 98 at bats, with a whopping 44 strikeouts) in the 57 games he got into. Once hailed as ďthe other Tony Perez,Ē the redoubtable A.P.ís 47 OQ may have punched his ticket out of the major leagues. A team can tolerate a pitcher who hits like that, but never a position player.

* Another fellow who could use a remedial course in strike zone judgment is outfielder Laynce Nix. Texas gave up on Nix after just 9 games, and they palmed him off on Milwaukee as part of the Carlos Lee swap. The Brewers saw all they needed to see in the 10 games he played for them. In total Nix got 67 at-bats in which he produced just 11 hits (.164 BA, OQ of about 40). He struck out 28 times, and he did not draw a walk. For what itís worth, he is the only Laynce ever to play in the major leagues.

* Nomar Garciaparra reminds me a lot of Fred Lynn. Lynn was 22 when he came up, Garciaparra 23. Both enjoyed immediate success with the Red Sox, and great careers were predicted for them. For a while they were the toast of the town.

After just a few seasons, though, the bloom was off the rose. They were on and off the disabled list, begged out of the lineup annoyingly often although they insisted they were healthy, failed in the clutch, were suspected of malingering and not hustling, couldn't get along with teammates. Their popularity waned, then they left Boston and bounced from team to team, never fulfilling their early promise. To the bitter end Lynn continued to draw exorbitant salaries based more on wishful thinking about what he might do than what he was actually doing. I see Nomar going down the same path. (I wonder if any of the cognoscenti or the sportswriting pundits of the Hub have made this comparison. I doubt it. They probably can't remember that far back.)

* Did anyone notice that B.J. Surhoff didnít return for what would have been Year 20?

* Has a 22-year-old rookie pitcher ever looked worse than Clevelandís Fausto Carmona? Although this guy was completely overmatched and had no idea where his pitches were going, the Indians named him their closer and kept sending him out there with the game on the line. The handling of Carmona exemplified the muddle-headed management that doomed this talented team to also-ran status.

* Gary Matthews Jr: how did this erstwhile stiff suddenly become a star at age 32? It must be the genius of Buck Showalter.

* Watch 2007 turn into a Barry Bonds love feast. The only thing that can stop this steamroller is an indictment.

* When in Mauritius, stay at the Hotel Le Touessrok.

October 2006

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