Big League Stew - MLB

Each week, Big League Stew stat doctor Alex Remington will bring you a few baseball numbers you need to know.

The average velocity of Daniel Ray Herrera's(notes) screwball*, one of the slowest pitches in the majors. Herrera is a self-described junkballer, a 5-foot-6 lefthander with one of the slowest fastballs in the majors — his average velocity is 82.4 miles per hour, still a tick ahead of Jamie Moyer's(notes) speed of 81.2.

Moyer and Tim Wakefield(notes) might be slower pitchers, but Herrera is probably the slowest reliever in the league and his repetoire is actually good. Herrera has an ERA of 2.16 for the Cincinnati Reds this season and his ERA was 3.06 last year. Keep throwing slow, Danny!

* -- It's listed as a change-up in Pitch F/X, but it's really a screwball.

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Andre Ethier's(notes) position on the batting average, home run and RBI leaderboards, which wins him the Triple Crown after the first month of the season. Ethier has often been overshadowed by his teammates in the Dodger outfield, Manny Ramirez(notes) and 30-30 hopeful Matt Kemp(notes), and last year, he was one of the quieter members of the 30-homer club. But this year, he appears poised to take another leap forward. And all for nearly one-quarter the price of Manny Being Manny. Not bad.

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The number of seven-game losing streaks the Houston Astros have had this season. They began the year 0-8, then went 8-2 in their next 10  games, and then they promptly embarked upon their current 0-7 streak. They've already suffered four series sweeps this year, at the hands of the Giants, Phillies, Reds and Braves, and their ineptitude is the only thing keeping the Pirates out of last place in the NL Central.

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The major league-worst winning percentage of the Baltimore Orioles, the only team with fewer wins than the Astros. However, the Orioles also have a much, much tougher division and the Orioles have been holding their own of late. They're 5-5 in their last ten games, all against the Yankees and Red Sox.

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The major league-leading stolen base total of the White Sox and Padres, though the Padres' 83.7 percent success rate is far better than the White Sox's rate of 72.1 percent. The Padres have been paced by surprise burner Chase Headley(notes), who is third in the league with eight stolen bases and perfect in eight attempts. He set a personal record last year with 10 stolen bases, after never having more than four in any professional season, majors or minors, and is almost sure to pass that in the next couple of weeks. Headley leads the league in steals without being caught; second is his teammate, Will Venable(notes), who's seven for seven. Both have a long way to go before they match Chase Utley's(notes) 23-for-23 last year, however.

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The number of intentional walks Albert Pujols(notes) has been issued, more than every other team in baseball other than the Dodgers, who have nine — three of them to eighth-place hitters Jamey Carroll(notes) and Russell Martin(notes), to bring the pitcher to bat. Pujols is on pace for 50 IBB, which would be the most since Barry Bonds(notes) set an all-time record with 120 in 2004. (Bonds received his eighth free pass of that season on April 23, a twelve-inning game in which the Dodgers intentionally walked him four times.)

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The number of games in which Kevin Jepsen(notes) has recorded a hold for the Angels. He had an ERA of 4.94 as a rookie last year, but this year he's been one of the best setup man in baseball, striking out 12 men in 11 innings with a 4.0 K/BB ratio and a 1.64 ERA. (For the statheads, his 2.38 xFIP is perhaps even more impressive, a mark that only Jonathan Broxton(notes) surpassed last year.)


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