I’m a sucker for freak stats, so I love the fact that Cla Meredith recorded more groundball outs in 2007 than did Chris Young despite pitching less than half as many innings. Meredith gave up a lot more hits last year than he did in his rookie campaign, but despite the high batting average, the overall line against him was .296/.334/.387 — that’s sort of like Willie McGee, Luis Polonia, Lance Johnson, or any number of other “slap-and-go” hitters from the ’80s and ’90s; Mickey Rivers if you want to go old-school, Mark Grudzielanek if you want to update it. In other words, it’s a pretty empty .300
One strange aspect of Meredith’s ’07 season involved his performance at home and on the road. Those who believe that all humans interact with their environment in exactly the same way assure us that every pitcher benefits from Petco Park. Still, we wouldn’t necessarily expect an extreme groundball pitcher to be aided by a park that is most known for killing fly balls. And yet, there it is, undeniable:
- Home: .238/.268/.320 (think ex-Padres Dave Campbell and Andy Sheets with better batting average)
- Road: .345/.388/.444 (sort of a cross between Ichiro! and John Kruk — which I would pay good money to see, BTW)
I can’t explain this. On a more general level regarding Meredith, my personal suspicion is that people had unreasonably high expectations for him based on his ridiculous ’06 season. Without those expectations, last year’s performance looks pretty darned good. Seems to me he should be able to more or less duplicate that effort, and possibly improve on it a little: 70 IP, 3.23 ERA.