Wednesday Morning Rockpile: Not all hot streaks are the same

Brief mentions in each Denver paper's beat reporters' notes of current hitting streaks by Rockies caught my attention this morning. From the Post :

Finally heating up, Yorvit Torrealba doubled for the third straight game and has hit safely in seven of his last eight games.

And from Ringolsby's recap in the News:

With a third-inning single, Todd Helton extended his hitting streak to 10 games, his second 10-game streak of the season. He is one of seven players to have two double-figure hitting streaks this season. Third baseman Garrett Atkins is one of the others, having had streaks of 14 games and 12 games

Consecutive game hitting streaks are probably among the most misleading stats in baseball. This used to drive me crazy with Aaron Miles, when reporters -and our manager- would focus on the single hashmark he'd have in the hit column day after day rather than the piles of outs he was accumulating. In the two cases above, there's a good contrast between a player having a legitimate hot streak and another just going along as he usually does, only with the benefit of that consistent "1" in the hit column to make him look more productive. It's simple to see, just look at their AVG/OBP/SLG lines over their streaks and compare them to the full season numbers.

For Torrealba, over the eight games that Renck's notes mention, he's hitting .241/.250/.345, that's a whopping OPS of .595. His full season line is .227/.268/.348, which means this "heating up" has actually lowered his on base and slugging percentages. Clearly this is some sort of math trickery perpetrated by Jhouys Chacin, but it looks like the only thing really heating up with Yorvit is his temper, which itself might not be a bad thing. By the way, our other catcher, who really has been cooling down over his last eight games, has a line of .238/.304/.571 in them. I'll take CDI's passionless production over Yorvit's fiery out-making any day of the week, thank you.

Heating up at the plate would be something like Helton, who over his ten game hit streak is hitting .387/.524/.645, mostly on the road, compared to a full season line of .292/.421/.429. Every time we seem ready to write the old guy off, he kicks into gear, so maybe we should just say he's finished and out of place in the offense more often.

Alright, it was beautiful to see an effective start by Francis last night, but let's not jump the gun and say he's solved all his problems based on one outing. His last start at Dodger Stadium in April was just about as effective as this one, so unless he starts reeling off performances like last night's outside of LA, I'm still concerned about issues such as those brought up here.

It's interesting to read Dodger fan accounts of what instigated last night's brawl. Apparently, Yorvit was supposed to say "Pardon me, Mr. Kemp, but you're in my way of doing my job, and while I really appreciate  how you've stepped on my face, I kind of need the paycheck."  and we'd all be good. Glad that's cleared up.

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