This post is probably, in some way, inspired by Isaac Asimov's Foundation series. While I can safely be called a nerd, I haven't read that much sci-fi. But I read those books sometime in middle school and I think they appealed to me for much the same reason baseball stats did - they allowed me to recede from reality entirely, while imagining I had some privileged knowledge about how it would unfold.
The technology at the center of Foundation was a system for collecting information in order to predict the future. This is what we try to do when we use statistics, but it's usually not completely satisfying. We know Drew Stubbs makes an out about 70% of the time. Johnny Cueto yields a ground ball about half the time. Ryan Ludwick makes us complain much less than we ever imagined possible.
But are there events this season that have been a virtual certainty? That allow us to feel like prognosticators in some very narrow, ultimately unsatisfying way?
I think I found a few:
Johnny Cueto: No one will hit Cueto in those hard-to-reach places
By looking at batting averages in different zones in Cueto's BP pitcher profile (below), it's clear that if he ever wants to get that three-digit ERA down, he should only ever pitch in the corners, outside the zone. I can't imagine there would be any consequences to this. If you include the four outermost corners of the grid - and the box second from the top left - hitters are 0-25. These are low percentage zones for most pitchers anyway, but Cueto is also getting impressive swing rates to go along with the 0-fer.
*Bonus predictable event: Cueto (in partnership with Ryan Hanigan) is no longer perfect on the base-paths. But baserunners are just 1-8 (88%, against a league average of 28%) against him and he's racked up 7 debasers, which leads the majors and is a way hip name for a pick-off. (Cueto has made the 12th-most pick-off throws in the NL.)
Only Dickey and Zambrano have a lower caught-stealing-against rate (0%) rate among qualifying pitchers, but runners have made a total of just 3 attempts on both.
Mike Leake: No one hits a HR off his four-seamer
Also, Leake leads the majors in put-outs, while Cueto and Latos are also in the Top 15. Reds pitchers are ground-balling more than Woodstock hippies.
Homer Bailey: No one will ever bunt for a hit
Homer Bailey's ERA is 3.74. We should celebrate that. A very small potion of Homer's Best ERA ever is the fact that no one has gotten a bunt hit on him so far this year.
Mat Latos, Almost completely predictable event: Base runners will never be caught stealing.
Latos' caught stealing rate this season so far is 6%.
Aroldis Chapman: Lefties will hit just one extra base hit off Aroldis Chapman
It was a double. I don't expect it to happen again.