Thursday, June 09, 2011

Carlos Quentin's Quiet Quality Season

The Chicago White Sox aren't having a banner season. Ozzie Guillen has already had two or three fun media events as only he can provide them. Two amazing things have been lost in the shuffle of all that losing. One is that Paul Konerko is following his monster season of a year ago with another really good one. The second is that Carlos Quentin is having his best season since 2008. And thanks to a team that is markedly malformed, he has one of the most interesting statistical anomalies that make us all smile. First to the good part.

Quentin has played 61 games and has compiled 59 hits in 218 at bats. Of those 59 hits, 37 of them have been for extra bases. He has 17 homers and 20 doubles. Somehow, he's done all that with only a 12+ percent line drive percentage. Apparently, when Quentin hits the ball hard, he's got an arc to it. The extra base hits make up 63 percent of his hit total. While that is pretty rare in and of itself, it's not the fun stat that we will get to in a minute. Quentin has driven in 45 runs in his 61 games. He has a slash line of .271/.373/.596. Naturally, the slugging percentage is magnificent as long as you don't compare it to a guy like Jose Bautista.

His stats further show that he is performing well against every pitch type. That means that there isn't a weakness in his arsenal this season for pitchers to exploit. His walk percentage isn't great at nine percent and Quentin still chases a few too many pitches outside the strike zone. His BABIP is very low at .255, which probably ties in to his low line drive percentage. But when he hits the ball hard, it goes a long way.

All of this is good news for White Sox fans as Quentin has been kind of lost the last couple of years. Sure, injuries had something to do with the loss of production. He's only averaged 116 games a season the last two prior to this one. But even as his numbers were down along with his slugging percentage, he did manage to hit 47 homers during those two seasons. But across the board, his numbers were down. His wOBA, wRC+ and, yes, batting average all took hits. His lack of production overall gave him negative numbers in WPA in each of the last two seasons. After his monster 2008 season, he was missed, especially since he was a big part of the White Sox' plans for those seasons.

Perhaps Quentin is healthier this season. He has good fielding numbers for the first time after disastrous ones the past two seasons. That could indicate better health. Whatever the reason, Carlos Quentin is back to where he was in 2008 and in many cases better. His current wOBA is higher than his 2008 season. And, as you can probably imagine, his ISO is the highest of his career.

That fun fact? Okay. Here it is. And the Fan can't claim any kudos for discovering it. The fact is actually found in a post over at While Carlos Quentin has driven in 45 runs with his extra base hit power, he has scored only thirty runs. If you are keeping score, Quentin has scored less runs than his extra base hits. That's only been done five times over a full season in major league history. At this pace, he'll play in about 141 games and is on pace to hit 39 homers and 49 doubles. But his pace of scoring runs comes to 69. To look at it another way, he's guaranteed to score on his homers (well, duh). He's hit 17. So of all the other times he's been on base, he's scored all of 13 runs. Jiminy Crickets!

Part of the low total may be that Quentin is not a good base runner. But even so, there must be a vast wasteland behind him in the line up. And yes, Adam Dunn, this Fan is looking at you. But not you alone.

The bottom line here is that Quentin is having a very good season, which happily led to the alliteration in the heading of this post. His stats point him out as one of the few brights spots in a struggling White Sox season. But his stats also show, with his runs scored, the deep problems the White Sox have in a line up that can only feature Quentin and Konerko as any kind of success story.

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