It is said numbers can be made to jump through hoops to prove a point.
Baseball, then, has an endless supply of points.
The stats and numbers are the very essence of the game, giving fans and historians mountains of topics to scale while they are sitting around that hot stove in winter.
Numbers don’t tell the whole story of the trials and tribulations of the Hagerstown Suns in 2011, but here are some, mostly pertaining to standing in the South Atlantic League, to tell part of the team’s story.
*Catcher David Freitas
Freitas leads the South Atlantic League with 82 walks and is third with a .410 on-base percentage. He is 16th in the SAL batting race at .288. He is the best defensive catcher in the league with a .996 fielding percentage, committing just three errors in 691 chances when behind the plate.
* Infielder Blake Kelso
Kelso is second in the SAL with 144 hits, trailing Kannapolis’ Dan Black by two. He is tied for 15th in the SAL batting race at .289. He ranks fifth in the league with 499 at bats. Kelso also had a streak of 34 consecutive games of reaching base, which was third best in the league. Kelso was one of four players to have a 16-game streak, the SAL’s third longest of the season.
* Second baseman Adrian Sanchez
Sanchez is third in the SAL with 140 hits, but leads the league with 529 at bats. He leads SAL second basemen with 122 games played. Sanchez is one of 11 players in the SAL to have a five-hit game.
* Outfielder Bryce Harper
Although Harper spent just over half a season with the Suns, he was recognized as the Most Outstanding Prospect in the SAL in end-of-the-season league voting. Harper’s 18-game hitting streak from April 26-May 14 was the second longest in the SAL this season. It was only eclipsed by a 26-game streak by Greenville’s Bryce Brentz, which started nine days before Harper’s and ended the day after. Harper led the SAL with seven intentional walks.
* Reliever Paul Applebee
Applebee allows the fewest walks per nine innings (1.06) of any reliever in the SAL. He also allows the second fewest base runners per nine innings (9.66).
* Quick Hits
Matt Grace leads the SAL with 12 wins. … Wilson Eusebio is tied for third in the SAL with nine holds. … Shortstop Jason Martinson is fifth in the SAL with 141 strikeouts.
* It’s a team game
^ The Suns own the fourth best batting average in the SAL (.264), 13 points behind league leader Asheville. Hagerstown is four points better than the league average.
^ The Suns are fifth in the SAL with 102 home runs. Asheville leads with 163.
^ The Suns own the eighth best team ERA (4.14). Savannah is tops with a 3.27.
^Hagerstown pitching is third in the SAL with 12 shutouts. Savannah and West Virginia have recorded 13 each.
^ Suns pitching has allowed the second fewest walks with 354, trailing only West Virginia (330). It also has the league’s sixth most strikeouts with 1,032, 135 behind SAL-leading Hickory.
^ The Suns are seventh with a .968 fielding average. Hagerstown committed 165 errors in 5,172 chances. The Suns turned the second least double plays (109).
^ The Suns are 54-2 when leading after eight innings and 59-7 when leading after seven. They are 8-47 when trailing after seven. They are 23-19 in one-run games, sixth best in the SAL. They are 10-11 in games decided by two runs and 9-10 in games decided by three. Hagerstown is 7-7 in extra innings, 9-8 in doubleheaders and leads the league at 12-5 in shutouts.
^ The Suns were victims of the only two-hit games, the best outings of the season, in the SAL. Kannapolis’ Ryan Buch threw a rain-shortened, five-inning 6-1 victory on May 19, while Kannapolis’ Paul Burnside recorded a 3-0 victory in the opening game of a May 30 doubleheader.
Welcome to the club
The Hagerstown Suns Fan Club handed out their annual season-ending awards on Friday.
Relievers of the Year - Matt Swynenberg and Paul Applebee
Closer of the Year - Ben Graham
Starters of the Year - Taylor Jordan and Matt Grace
Hitter of the Year - David Freitas
Unsung Heroes - Michael Taylor and Kevin Keyes
Community Service Award - Shane McCatty
Most Valuable Player - Blake Kelso
Special Awards - Jason Martinson was recognized for hitting the most home runs (18) by a shortstop in Suns history.
Bat boys Juan Campbell and Aaron Waters, clubhouse manager Mike Jech and assistant clubhouse managers Cody Strakonsky and Jon Weinberg were given appreciation awards.
Bob Parasiliti covers the Hagerstown Suns for The Herald-Mail.