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It’s time to forget about Cliff Lee, about RISP, about 13:1 K/BB ratios, about a 2-1 series deficit, about Cliff Lee, about a Game 7 started by Cliff Lee, about the 9th inning bullpen implosion, about the Yankees’ starter this evening and about, of course, Cliff Lee.  Let’s focus on Tommy Hunter.  There are a few things about him that you’re gonna want to know.

1. There were 71 pitchers in the American League in 2010 who threw more than 100 innings.  Of those pitchers, Tommy Hunter had the 9th highest FIP.  This is bad.  FIP is an acronym for Fielding Independent Pitching.  It examines the pitcher’s strikeouts, walks and home runs and tells you how well a pitcher pitched regardless of his fielding.  While there’s legitimate dispute about whether a pitcher can control his home run rate, FIP cuts down on a lot of the noise present in ERA due to fluctuations in BABIP and defense. What I’m trying to tell you is that Tommy Hunter does a poor job at controlling the things he’s supposed to control.

2. Of the 71 AL pitchers with 100 innings in 2010, Tommy Hunter’s strikeout rate is eleventh worst.  He was beat out in the race to the bottom by such luminaries as Nick Blackburn, Ryan Rowland-Smith and Joe Saunders.  Maybe next year, Tommy.

3.  This is a real-life picture of Tommy Hunter when he was pitching for the Rangers’ Double-A affiliate, the Frisco Roughriders:

hunter

Seriously.

4.  Tommy Hunter had the 2nd highest strand rate of the 71 AL pitchers with 100 innings or more.  The first highest was Brian Duensing.  Hunter’s strand rate was 10% higher than the average of 71%. It’s probably safe to bet that he won’t replicate these results in the future.

5.  Tommy Hunter’s nickname is “Canada’s Country Gentleman”.  Oops, wrong Tommy Hunter.  I was thinking of the 73 year old Canadian country music performer, best known for hit singles such as “Bill Jones General Store”, “Born to be a Gypsy” and “Walk with Your Neighbour” (note the Canadian spelling).  There was another Tommy Hunter from North Carolina known for his fiddlin’, but sadly he passed away in 1993.  According to Wikipedia, this Tommy Hunter doesn’t have a cool nickname like Canada’s Country Gentleman.  However, Wikipedia does provide this lovely picture of him:

hunter

Derp.

6.  When I said that Wikipedia doesn’t list a cool nickname for Hunter, I didn’t mean that he doesn’t have one at all.  He has one but Wikipedia, and presumably the world, doesn’t know it yet.  If you check out his Baseball Reference page you find that it’s sponsored by two individuals known as “Joe and Dan”.  Unfortunately, Joe and Dan didn’t link to any website, so I’m left to assume that they’re just two dudes with a love for high FIP pitchers.  Regardless, they say his nickname is “Big Game”.  Big Game Tommy Hunter.  Tommy Big Game Hunter.  Either one just rolls right off the tongue.

7. Tommy Hunter had the 2nd lowest ERA-FIP discrepancy and the third lowest BABIP.  So if you happen to wander into a 7-Eleven  at the same time as Tommy Hunter be sure to ask him to buy you a lotto ticket before his good luck train runs out of fuel, careens off the tracks and explodes and melts in the white hot flames of statistical  regression.

8.  Per Aaron Gleeman, Hunter gave up 21 home runs in 128 innings.  Gleeman notes how bad this is: “Among all the AL pitchers who threw at least 120 innings this season only Javier Vazquez and Brian Bannister had a higher home run rate. And he’ll be facing a Yankees lineup that was one of just three MLB teams to smack 200 or more homers this season.”  Yes, yes he will.

9.  Tommy Hunter is worse against left-handed batters than righties.  In fact, he’s somewhat terrible against lefties.  Maybe it’s his sub-par arsenal, maybe it’s his inexperience, but lefties make Canada’s Country Gentleman sing the blues.  Here’s Gleeman again:

“During his 250-inning career left-handed batters have hit .285 with an .832 OPS against Hunter, compared to .241 with a .678 OPS by right-handed batters. Not surprisingly in two previous starts against the Yankees he’s 0-1 with a 6.75 ERA, allowing seven runs on 14 hits in 9.1 innings. He also lasted just four innings against the Rays in Game 4 of the ALDS, taking the loss.”

Lovely.  My best guess for tonight’s lineup is Jeter-Swisher-Teixeira-Rodriguez-Cano-Posada-Berkman-Granderson-Gardner.  That’s Derek Jeter, Alex Rodriguez and seven lefties.  If they’re going to pound a starter in the playoffs, tonight’s the night to do it.

10.  AJ Burnett has a better FIP, xFIP, strikeout rate, ground ball rate, tERA and SIERA than Tommy Hunter.  He also doesn’t have a fluky BABIP or strand rate.  It’s not much, but I’ll take it.

26 Responses to “10 Tommy Hunter facts to warm your heart”

  1. Yeah, but look at his winning percentage. This guy’s a beast. Yanks in BIG trouble tonight.  (Quote)

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    Stephen R. Reply:

    Haha, thats a good one. Nicely played.  (Quote)

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  2. I am confused by all of the numbers in your post. Are you saying that Tommy Hunter is a Great Pitcher, or The Greatest Pitcher?  (Quote)

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    Stephen R. Reply:

    He is the preeminent pitcher of our generation.  (Quote)

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  3. I really hope we can just get some runs on the board in the first 2 innings maybe if we can beat up on Hunter and run him from the game real early it will give the Yanks that much needed confidence going into game 5.  (Quote)

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  4. So you have these 10 reasons he sucks…. if we can’t beat him and win the game then what?  (Quote)

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    Stephen R. Reply:

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    T.O. Chris Reply:

    ROFL I actually laughed out loud at that one… I just hope it doesn’t come that, I don’t doubt we will score on Hunter I just hope Burnett doesn’t waste whatever offense we put up by exploding.  (Quote)

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    Stephen R. Reply:

    I know. Hopefully we can get the bats going.  (Quote)

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    T.O. Chris Reply:

    Ironically AJ pitched well despite the HR at the end and you could say that the offense spoiled his first 5 innings by not getting more runs when they had opportunities and in turn Burnett spoiled the runs we did get with the HR to Molina.

    Very telling of the season we have had this year.  (Quote)

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  5. I think it’s mostly a matter of believing. Tommy Hunter just needs to believe a little harder…kinda like Rudy.

    Funny post, man. Here’s to “believing” in AJ tonight.  (Quote)

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  6. Seriously?  (Quote)

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    Moshe Mandel Reply:

    Only partially.  (Quote)

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    Stephen R. Reply:

    Seriously.

    /flexes  (Quote)

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  7. Poking fun at Big Game doesn’t neccesarily provide assurance that the contrary won’t be teeing off on A.J.’s impotent arm either!  (Quote)

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    Stephen R. Reply:

    Dude, I know. This is all tongue-in-cheek, I’m pretty frightened by Burnett on the mound tonight.  (Quote)

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  8. Don’t you feel good that the pitcher you have on the mound almost didn’t even get put on the playoff roster?
    He’s going to get roughed up too and the way our bats are swinging, I can only assume we’ll win by 4 or 5.  (Quote)

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    Stephen R. Reply:

    Now that you mention it…aw man now i feel awful!

    You’re making tons of good points such as: “nuh uh, we’re better” and “we’re going to win by a lot” and it’s impossible to argue with that sort of brilliant logic. I admit defeat.  (Quote)

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    T.O. Chris Reply:

    I also forgot the part where Burnett barley made the roster… he was always going to have to start at least 1 game if we went to the CS and he was never expected to be left off the roster…. that was Javy Vazquez.  (Quote)

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  9. Lol let’s throw up some nerd stat y don’t u that’s gotta be one of the lamest things I’ve ever heard…that being said he can’t pitch as bad as the yanks 1 and 2 pitchers CC and Hughes…Rangers have outscored the yanks 20-8 I’ll take Tommy big game hunter against AJ all day  (Quote)

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    T.O. Chris Reply:

    Nerd stats? I never really thought of it like that before… Why would I ever have believed in stats I kind of feel like my whole baseball life has been a lie… I’m going to my mathletes meeting to get away from this depression.  (Quote)

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    Stephen R. Reply:

    See you there!  (Quote)

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  10. So is the criteria for getting the nickname “big game” giving up 20+ HRs a year? Shields and Hunter…. can we start calling AJ “big game” Burnett?  (Quote)

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  11. Scoreboard, douche!
    Keep hatin’ on Big Game…  (Quote)

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    Stephen R. Reply:

    im sad for you that this is your life.  (Quote)

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    T.O. Chris Reply:

    I would respect it had “big game” actually lasted 4 innings but he didn’t and even as anemic as the Yankees offense is right now they bumped him from the game and an opportunity to put up 5 or 6 runs on him had his pen not bailed him out.  (Quote)

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