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3 ridiculous small-sample stats after the first Oakland A’s game of 2017

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Yesss, finally started shaving.
Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

The Oakland A’s are one game into their 2017 season, and so far they’re 1-0 after winning on Opening Day. Woohoo! First place in the AL West!

Now that we have some actual stats in the books, it’s tempting to start looking for conclusions and takeaways and narratives. But let’s be real — it’s been one game, and we know more or less as much as we did 24 hours ago.

So, instead let’s have some fun with silly stats. They get more and more ridiculous the smaller the sample size, and when will we ever have a smaller sample than one game? Here are three of my favorites. Please don’t take these numbers seriously, other than to note that these players had a really good day on Monday.

Khris Davis | 844 wRC+

In the season opener, Davis went 3-for-4 with two homers, good for a line of .750/.750/2.250 — that’s an OPS of 3.000, with the maximum possible being 5.000 (Adam Lind currently has that perfect mark, with one HR in one plate appearance).

As you can imagine, a 3.000 OPS is quite a bit higher than the current league average. How much higher? According to his 844 wRC+, he’s been more eight times better than the average hitter. OPS+ isn’t quite as impressed, giving him “only” a 699 mark (or, seven times better than the average hitter).

(For context, Peak Barry Bonds topped out at a 244 wRC+ and a 268 OPS+ over a full season.)

While Davis’ wRC+ mark is the best in the AL, he’s only third in MLB. Lind is first, but of course the other guy ahead of Khris is a pitcher — that dastardly Bumgarner! Oh, and Khrush is also on pace for 324 home runs.

Ryan Dull | -2.93 FIP

The FIP stat is meant to be read like an ERA. It’s what the pitcher’s ERA should theoretically be, based on “fielding-independent” things like his strikeouts, walks, and homers. Dull’s peripheral stats currently suggest that he should allow negative-three runs per nine innings.

In the season opener, Dull threw one inning, faced three batters, and struck out all of them. Fanning every hitter you face is a perfect outcome as far as FIP is concerned, since you’re retiring every batter yourself and leaving nothing to chance with the defense behind you. And with this extreme of a case, the scale gets completely broken and spits out a negative number.

Forget bringing in Dull to hold a close lead. Call on him when we’re down a run and he might give us the lead!

Santiago Casilla | 1-for-1 save conversion
Mark Melancon | 0-for-1 save conversion

LOL

The Giants let Casilla walk last winter, and then gave Melancon a huge four-year contract. The A’s picked up Casilla on the cheap.

Melancon will almost certainly be better over the next four years. This is just one day in the volatile, inconsistent life of relief pitchers. But still. Lol.

* * *

There’s one more stat that you might have noticed last night, and that was Kendall Graveman’s velocity. Specifically, he touched 97 mph on a regular basis in the early innings.

But let’s hold our horses before getting too excited. As Dave Cameron of FanGraphs notes, MLB has switched from measuring velocity with PITCHf/x to using Statcast’s Trackman radar, and the difference is currently being hypothesized as an extra 1 mph bump across the board.

So, perhaps Graveman was really touching 96 in those early innings, while Sean Doolittle was more in the 94-95 range. Still good, on both counts! But not quite as eye-popping as they initially appeared. The better news, as relayed by Jeff Sullivan of FanGraphs, is that Graveman’s velocity has been consistently creeping up for a couple years now and was still at a career-high level on Monday even after accounting for the Statcast switch.

Oh, and Marcus Semien (career .303 OBP) is tied for the AL lead in walks (2).