For those of you who like your stats and keep an eye on the National Baseball League, there is some news that will hopefully be of interest. (It’s a good job I’m not writing this on Twitter, or I’d have no characters left to tell you what it is.) The news, which I’ve now built up too much (unless you like your numbers as much as I do), is that the end-of-season domestic stats update is complete, which includes updated career stats, player awards, and the like. Please feel free to stop by and have a browse, but if you are short of time then maybe you’d prefer to read some firings from my grey matter, which I jotted down when I was knee deep in HTML.
The Most Valuable Batter and Most Valuable Pitcher awards could hardly have been simpler to select. Ryan Bird was hoping to become the first player to claim three straight Most Valuable Batter awards, but Daniel Williams of the Mets set new modern single-season records for batting average (.579) and on-base average (.647) and was thus an easy choice as Most Valuable Batter. Similarly, Jason Roberts’ new all-time mark of 15 wins made him an almost automatic pick as Most Valuable Pitcher.
Jason Roberts also set a new modern single-season mark of 15 complete games, but he was not the only pitcher to be setting a record in this category. Two players moved past Alan Smith’s modern career record of 24 complete games – Henry Collins of Bracknell ended the season on 26, but Matt Gilbert finished two better with 28 to become the new leader. Gilbert’s total is almost certainly lower than it should be, as stats from his spell in the top tier with the Cambridge Monarchs in the late 1990s were – unfortunately – not preserved. While it is important to note that the shift to 7-inning contests in recent years has made it easier for pitchers to rack up complete games, there is no doubt about Roberts’ in-game durability. For instance, in the first of his two nine-game opportunities this season he threw 200 pitches and navigated a 30-minute break for rain to go the distance.
On the subject of durability, Trask proved his value to Bracknell behind the plate on their penultimate weekend of the season. He’s made a name for himself in the tools of ignorance with his aggressive arm this year, but it was his knees that impressed most against Croydon. He caught seventeen straight innings, with the second 7-inning contest requiring three extra frames for its resolution (it was Trask who drove in the deciding run with a cool, intelligent opposite field lob). If this is a record – and if it isn’t I’d love to hear details – then it is only a joint one, as he was matched on the day by Croydon’s Matt Schwartz. If it went to a tie-breaker, the latter would edge it, as his effort involved 296 pitches, to Trask’s “mere” 256.
Trask completed his 11th straight season in the National Baseball League, and in that time he has chalked up some milestones. This season saw him tally his 200th run, and he was just short of the 100 stolen base mark. He finished on 99, and so we’ll have to wait to 2011 for that one, but this was good enough to dislodge Alan Bloomfield’s modern (i.e. post-1994) record of 97 from the leaderboard.
Finally, Pirates go-to slugger Maikel Azcuy finished his fifth straight season with the first team after a couple of years before that with the now-defunct Croydon Pilots (Pirates II). In this time he has accumulated the 225 top-tier plate appearances minimum to qualify for modern career records, and his stats are good for two of them. His career slugging average of .787 is enough to uproot Roddi Liebenberg’s previous best, while his on-base plus slugging average (OPS) of 1.285 is a new wooden-bat (i.e. post-2000) record. His figures were aided by six homers in 2010, which gave him the home-run title. Felicitaciones!