Which number do you think is lower: Lincecum's ERA+ or Pujols' OPS+? Lincecum has 57 and Pujols has 68 (100 is average in each case and so this means each guy is performing well below average). Who would have thought this at the beginning of the year? Lincecum might be a victim of bad luck. Here are some key stats each year of his career:
He is doing well in strikeouts and HR prevention. But his hits and walks are high and some of the bad luck might just be the high average on batting average on balls in play, which pitchers don't have as much control over. But he just happens to be pitching poorly with runners in scoring position and with with runners on. That is not true for his whole career. The next table shows this:
This year he has done well with no runners on but in other cases not so well. He has no problem like this over his career and so I think his ERA+ should rise over the season.
Pujols has a career OPS+ of 168 and last year it was 148. So the 68 so far in 2012 is pretty shocking with more than 25% of the games played. He only has a .224 BABIP while his overall AVG is .213. For his career, those numbers are .309 and .325. So it does not look like any bad luck on balls in play.
His line drive % is 20% while for his career it is 21%. So nothing major there. But hit HR/FB rate is 5.3% while it is 15.3% for his career. This year 18% of his flyballs have been in the infield while his career rate is 11%. Maybe he is popping up alot.
His GB/FB rate is .70, same as it is for his whole career.
If his HR% this year was the same as it was last year (6.4%), he would have 11 HRs and his AVG would be .253 (assuming it was 7 FB outs turned into HRs). So maybe he is not hitting the ball far enough.
If he wants to bat .299 this year (as he did in 2011), he needs to bat .337 the rest of the way (assuming he gets 579 ABs).
Last year his April & May OPS+'s were 112 & 113. This year they have been 61 & 70. To reach an OPS+ of 148 this year (what he had in 2011), he needs an OPS+ of 181 the rest of the way. Last year, his post May OPS+ was 172.
This year his SO/AB rate is .129, just a little higher than his career rate of .112. But his BB/AB rate is only .045 while it is .113 for his careeer (in both cases, intentional walks were taken out). So he is not walking alot and maybe he is swinging at too many pitches.
In his last 9 games or 36 ABs, he has 10 hits, good for a .278 AVG. But if he does that the rest of the way, he ends up hitting just .258. He does have 1 2B and 3 HRs in the last 9 games. So his SLG over this stretch is .556. If he did that the rest of the way he still finishes with just a .487 for all of 2012.