Grand Cards: The Dane Sardinha Experiment Is Over

Monday, June 22, 2009

The Dane Sardinha Experiment Is Over

How's that for dramatizing a mundane backup catcher roster change?

Dusty Ryan was called up at the start of the weekend to replace Dane Sardinha as the Tigers backup catcher. Normally, that sentence is all that is warranted for a move like that. However, there is a curious statistical anomaly associated with this move that I noticed back when the Tigers were in Baltimore.

Dane Sardinha played in the Saturday game of the Tigers/O's series, during the game, on Camden Yards' big new scoreboard, I noticed something odd.

Batting Avg: .095
On Base %: .091


Now, I consider myself knowledgeable in the ways of baseball, but this one had me stumped. How could your On Base Percentage be lower than your batting average? I asked around the stands and everyone was stumped. One person offered up that perhaps Sardinha tried to stretch a double and got thrown out, which would count as a hit but he wasn't on base. Not a bad guess, but it just didn't sit right.

I thought perhaps it was a statistical error, so I looked up his stats. Hmm... Apparently he has had this dubious statistical distinction for the whole year, and now, having been sent down to the minors, leaves the team with a .097 Batting Average and a .091 OBP. This adds to the already abysmal track record of Tigers backup catchers, given that Matt Treanor ended his season this year batting .000 (but an OBP of .071!)

But that still doesn't answer the question of how that is possible. A look at the game log reveals that this has been the case since his second game of the season. That 1-4 day looks pretty straightforward to me. Back to his first game, then. There it is in big bold letters: SF: Dane Sardinha.

For those of you in the know, a Sacrifice Fly does not hurt your batting average, as they do not consider it an At Bat due to its positive outcome and your willingness to give yourself up. However, Sacrifice Flies are considered in calculating your on base percentage, as it is a plate appearance in which you do not end up on base. In order to have a higher Batting Average than On Base Percentage you need to have more Sacrifice Flies than you do Walks.

Sardinha's totals: 1 SF, 0 BB.

So now you know, and knowing is half the battle.


  1. Excellent research! Between this and Ervin Santana being born Johan Santana, my head is just reeling, and it is only Monday.

  2. Hey guy, while I appreciate your enjoyment of the tigers you didn't notice something odd during the O's/Tigers series in Baltimore. You were sitting near myself and my friends who discussed this exact phenomenon and solved the anomaly. Please give the credit where credit is due like a true tigers fan would.

  3. Oh Anonymous, I don't know you and you don't know me, but congratulations on your discovery and subsequent solving of this particular situation while at the game. In my section, however, the same question was raised and nobody in my cohort or the surrounding seats could figure out why. If only Matt Wieters had transferred his all-seeing and all-knowing powers to me during that game, I could have read your mind and this post would never have had been written. Sadly, that didn't happen and I had to actually notice that peculiarity for myself and *gasp* try to figure out why it happened on my own a few days ago when I saw that he got sent down. Next time, make sure you bring a bigger bullhorn to the game to make sure that I hear you and don't steal your intellectual property again.

  4. Apology accepted.