Thursday, July 10, 2008

A website about more than one player? That's crazy.

As you may recall, last year Craig Biggio retired, falling just short of the all-time record for getting hit by pitches. With Biggio's retirement, it's been difficult to find one player who has one stat that's interesting enough, and data-rich enough to write an entire blog about. Sure, Frank Thomas is only 8 Sacrifice Flies away from the all time record in that category, but he's only got 1 this year - he's not exactly charging toward immortality at lightning speed there. And sure, Jason Kendall is up to 227 career HBPs, but he still needs 1 more just to break the Jason Kendall Era Record (227 by Craig Biggio and Jason Kendall). He's got a long way to go to catch Hughie Jennings.

But there are other potentially interesting records to chase and break out there. Last season, for example, while the eyes of HBP fans were focused on Craig Biggio, 4 players broke the single season plunk records for their franchises - Chase Utley (Phillies), Ryan Garko (Indians), Jose Guillen (Mariners) and David Dejesus (Royals). This season Kevin Kouzmanoff is already 1 away from the Padres single season record, and might even threaten the Padres career record - although Khalil Greene might beat him to it. The Cleveland Indians are on pace to get hit 103 times, which would be an American League record and the most in either league since 1899 - they could be the most plunked team ever that didn't have Hughie Jennings on it. There could also be runs at the single season records for the Yankees, Brewers, White Sox and Cubs franchises.

Along with the historical records, there is also a whole lot of new data available about major league baseball, and with new data we can invent new records. Data from MLB.com's Gameday
tells us that the fastest pitch to hit a batter this season left the hand of pitcher Florida's Matt Lindstrom at 99.2 mph, but slowed to 92 mph by the time it hit Colorado's Brad Hawpe. The slowest plunk was thrown by Livan Hernandez and hit Gerald Laird at 52mph, if Gameday can be trusted. Also, the longest plate appearance to result in a plunk this year was 11 pitches, but HBPs most commonly occur on the 3rd pitch of a plate appearance (22.8%).

So obviously, someone needed to create a website to keep everyone informed of all these important items, and maybe the occasional non-plunk related story. Which explains why this website is here.

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