Much of the baseball writing industry is based off of the fun fact. The morsel of information that proves a point quickly and concisely. "So and so is hitting .450 over his last 10 games." "Player X hits .600 during day games after it rained the day before." And on and on we go.
The problem with most of these fun facts is that the endpoints to them are arbitrary. The time frame or parameter has been selected in order to make the writer's point as strong as possible. There is no reason one should pay attention to a certain time frame of plate appearances or batters faced.
In this way, as Sam Miller of Baseball Prospectus likes to point out, every fun fact is a lie.
So what I have for you are some stat lines. I did pick endpoints, but these endpoints hopefully have a little more meaning. These are some hand picked players over their last 162 games in the major leagues. I picked 162 games for the obvious reason that it is a full season worth of games. While the endpoints are still somewhat arbitrary, I at least chose them for that reason.
Manny Machado over his last 162 games: .293/.366/.545 147 wRC+ 35 2B, 42 HR
The OPS, wRC+, and home runs would all be season highs if they occurred in the same season rather than over the past two. Manny Machado has been great and is continuing to get better and all anyone can talk about his trying to extend him.
Enjoy the ride for a while and then right before you go to sleep at night think about the extension for some good nightmare fuel.
Chris Davis over his last 162 games: .265/.373/.568 153 wRC+ 30 2B, 49 HR
The OPS, wRC+, and home runs would all be Davis' best season since 2013 if they occurred in the same season rather than over the past two. Coming off of his big contract Davis has been pretty good thus far in 2016.
His walk rate has shot up to 14.1 percent which would be a career high for him. He is still striking out too often, but he has been one of the Orioles most productive players to date this season.
Adam Jones over his last 162 games .247/.289/.425 91 wRC+ 27 2B, 27 HR
Hey, that's pretty bad. The power is still there for Jones over the last 162, but the average has cratered. Hopefully more of an aberration due to some untimely injuries over the past two seasons, but being on the wrong side of 30 and putting up a mediocre line over his 162 games is not exactly encouraging for Jones.
Matt Wieters over his last 162 games .273/.315/.434 102 wRC+ 31 2B, 20 HR
This line is fine and being just above average offensively for Wieters is not so bad. But, in order to get to 162 games played for Wieters I had to go all the way back to August 23rd, 2013.
Some of that is that even if he is healthy, being a catcher certainly limits playing time, but also it gets to the point that Wieters really has not played all that much the past two seasons. The Orioles have to be hoping he can play his way into another qualifying offer scenario this year.
Mark Trumbo over his last 119 games .290/.344/.508 135 wRC+ 17 2B, 25 HR
See what I did there? I used an arbitrary endpoint. I however, am trying to make a couple of points. First, Mark Trumbo has been pretty good for a while now, a 119 game sample is nothing to sneeze at.
Also, all of Trumbo's number last season were dragged down by an absolutely horrendous June in which he played in 22 games and posted a -6 wRC+. That's right a negative wRC+ for an entire month. In all other months he posted a 134, 118, 126, 148, and 123 wRC+. So this guy might actually be pretty good.
A Tale of Two Lead Off Men
Player A has a 10.6 percent walk rate and a 14.9 percent strikeout rate while putting up a .862 OPS and a 137 wRC+
Player B has a 5.2 percent walk rate and a 20.7 percent strikeout rate while putting up a .622 OPS and a 68 wRC+.
Do you know which player is which? That's right, Player A is Joey Rickard against left handed pitching and Player B is Joey Rickard against right handed pitching. I tricked you. I'm sorry.
Which one of the two do you think should be leading off? To be fair to left handed pitchers Rickard has only had 47 plate appearances against them so he might be bad against them as well.
At this point, it makes no sense for Rickard to continue to lead off games especially against right handed pitching. For some reason Hyun Soo Kim and Nolan Reimold, both of whom have played pretty well in their short opportunities to do so, have not gotten an opportunity. Only Buck knows.