“People ask me what I do in winter when there’s no baseball. I’ll tell you what I do. I stare out the window and wait for spring.”
-Rogers Hornsby

I’m gonna let the Carlos Ruiz and the first pitch thing go sometime soon. Promise. I mean, not today. But soon.

Here are Ruiz’s numbers overall from last year and in his plate appearances that ended on the first pitch:

 
AB

AVG

OBP

SLG

OPS
Ruiz ’07 374 .259 .340 .396 .735
1st pitch 50 .140 .173 .220 .393

In looking at numbers that compare what a hitter did on the first pitch to what he did overall, it’s important to remember that he can’t walk on the first pitch of his at-bat, which would help his on-base percentage and OPS. With that in mind, in his plate appearances that ended on the first pitch, Ruiz went 7-for-50 with three singles and four doubles. In the 50 at-bats he had seven hits, hit into five double-plays and sacrificed three times. The formula for outs is AB (50)-H (7)+CS (0)+GIDP (5)+SH (3)+SF (0). Thanks to hitting into five double-plays on the first pitch, Ruiz created more outs putting the first pitch into play, 51, than he had at-bats (50).

That’s just fantastic. But not in a good way. Kind of like the Beowulf movie.

And here’s what Ruiz’s numbers from last year look like if you take out all of the plate appearances that ended with one pitch:

 
AB

AVG

OBP

SLG

OPS
w/o 1st pitch 324 .278 .363 .423 .786

That doesn’t mean that Ruiz’s numbers overall would have been that good if he hadn’t ever swung at the first pitch. Among other things, pitchers would have adjusted to him never swinging on the first pitch. Twice in ’07 he was hit on the first pitch. But still. The difference is dramatic. By comparison, Aaron Rowand’s OPS when his plate appearance ended on one pitch (.808) was a little worse than the OPS he posted overall for 2007 (.889). He put up a 309/374/515 line overall — if you take out his first pitch plate appearances and recalculate his line it comes out as 308/377/523 (a .900 OPS). A little better, but nowhere near the dramatic change with Ruiz’s numbers.

The Mets claimed reliever Ruddy Lugo off of waivers.

This suggests that the Phillies should trade for Matt Morris and then trade Adam Eaton to the Twins. I think the Phillies would have a hard time trading Eaton at all given his contract and how badly he struggled last season. Matt Morris at $9.5 million might be a tough sell to some in the Phils’ front office in the light of how the Freddy Garcia and Eaton signings have panned out.

The Phils still think they can play with the Mets in a post-Santana world. As well they should. As a side note, you hear a lot about how the Twins made a terrible deal and didn’t pull the trigger on better offers from Boston and the Yankees. The flip side of that I haven’t heard as much about is that the Mets just made a fantastic deal and somehow managed to get Santana with a weaker hand.