Monday, September 29, 2008

The 2008 Cleveland Indians

I wrote about this years Cleveland Indians over at Let's Go Tribe on Friday, but now that the final totals are in, I thought it would be good to go into a little more depth. You know, 'cause I never quite go into enough depth on these various matters of people getting hit by pitches.

First, let's take a look at those Cleveland Indians who got hit by so many pitches this year:
Ryan Garko - 15
Kelly Shoppach - 11
Grady Sizemore - 11
David Dellucci - 11
Jamey Carroll - 9
Franklin Gutierrez - 8
Casey Blake - 7
Ben Francisco - 6
Shin-Soo Choo - 5
Travis Hafner - 5
Asdrubal Cabrera - 4
Jhonny Peralta - 4
Sal Fasano - 3
Jason Michaels - 1
Andy Marte - 1
Jason Tyner - 1
Victor Martinez - 1


The Indians got the most get-hitting out of the designator get-hitter position, with 16, but another 15 HBPs were racked up by Indians playing 1st Base or Catcher. Really the only part of the defensive lineup that didn't pull an equal load was the left side of the infield - they got just seven HBPs from their third basemen and four from the shortstops. Every other position had at least 10 HBPs and they got two as pinch hitters. Although, none of the Indians pitchers managed to get hit by a pitch. The Indians at least tied for the American League lead in HBPs at 3 different positions (although Jermaine Dye could take the RF lead today or tomorrow if he gets hit twice). Shin-Soo Choo was there most versatile plunk victim, having been hit by a pitch while playing 4 different positions (RF, LF, DH, PH). He's tied for the league lead in that category.

The Indians were hit 103 times by 72 different pitchers. Those pitchers were, on average, 28 year and 10 months old, 6 ft 2.9 inches tall, and 208 pounds. They averaged 4.7 years of major league experience before this year, but 19 of their plunks were thrown by pitchers in their first season in the league. 57 of the plunks were thrown by pitchers with 3 years of prior experience of less. The pitches they plunked Indians with left their hands at an average of 86.9 miles per hour, and hit the Indians at an average of 79.8 miles per hour.

Here's the full list of pitchers with how many Indians they plunked this year:
Justin Verlander (DET) - 6
Josh Beckett (BOS) - 3
Freddy Dolsi (DET) - 3
Armando Galarraga (DET) - 3
John Lackey (LAA) - 3
Kenny Rogers (DET) - 3
Chad Billingsley (LAD) - 2
Daniel Cabrera (BAL) - 2
D.J. Carrasco (CWS) - 2
Alberto Castillo (BAL) - 2
Johnny Cueto (CIN) - 2
Jorge De La Rosa (COL) - 2
Jeff Francis (COL) - 2
Mark Lowe (SEA) - 2
Darren O'Day (LAA) - 2
Darren Oliver (LAA) - 2
Vicente Padilla (TEX) - 2
Scott Richmond (TOR) - 2
Carlos Silva (SEA) - 2
Javier Vazquez (CWS) - 2
Edinson Volquez (CIN) - 2
Jered Weaver (LAA) - 2
Scott Baker (MIN) - 1
Brian Bass (MIN) - 1

Miguel Batista (SEA) - 1
Denny Bautista (DET) - 1
Nick Blackburn (MIN) - 1
Shawn Camp (TOR) - 1
Manny Delcarmen (BOS) - 1
Lenny DiNardo (OAK) - 1
Justin Duchscherer (OAK) - 1
Scott Feldman (TEX) - 1
Keith Foulke (OAK) - 1
Jason Frasor (TOR) - 1
Chad Gaudin (OAK) - 1
Roy Halladay (TOR) - 1
Felix Hernandez (SEA) - 1
Fernando Hernandez (OAK) - 1
Jim Johnson (BAL) - 1
Chris Lambert (DET) - 1
Jon Lester (BOS) - 1
Aquilino Lopez (DET) - 1
Javier Lopez (BOS) - 1
Mike MacDougal (CWS) - 1
Greg Maddux (SD) - 1
Shaun Marcum (TOR) - 1
Dustin McGowan (TOR) - 1
Zach Miner (DET) - 1
Mike Mussina (NYY) - 1
Joel Peralta (KC) - 1
Elizardo Ramirez (TEX) - 1
Clay Rapada (DET) - 1
Dennys Reyes (MIN) - 1
Greg Reynolds (COL) - 1
Josh Rupe (TEX) - 1
Adam Russell (CWS) - 1
Ervin Santana (LAA) - 1
Joe Saunders (LAA) - 1
Bobby Seay (DET) - 1
Greg Smith (OAK) - 1
Joakim Soria (KC) - 1
Justin Speier (LAA) - 1
Ryan Speier (COL) - 1
Matt Thornton (CWS) - 1
Ramon Troncoso (LAD) - 1
Tim Wakefield (BOS) - 1
Chien-Ming Wang (NYY) - 1
Jarrod Washburn (SEA) - 1
Ehren Wassermann (CWS) - 1
Chris Waters (BAL) - 1
Jamey Wright (TEX) - 1
Barry Zito (SF) - 1
Eight of those guys hit Cleveland Indians exclusively this season - Elizardo Ramirez, Scott Richmond (twice), Clay Rapada, Ehren Wasserman, Keith Folke, Jason Frasor, Freddy Dolsi (three times), and Fernando Hernandez. Also, eight of those pitchers threw their first career HBP at the Indians this year - Chris Lambert, Scott Richmond, Clay Rapada, Freddy Dolsi, Armando Galarraga, Zach Miner, Fernando Hernandez and Darren O'Day. The next best team in that category got hit by just 4 pitchers with their first career plunk. There are some repeats in those lists, including Freddy Dolsi who has now hit three batters in his career - all Indians. Also, 5 of those 8 guys who hit an Indian for their first hit batter play for the Detroit Tigers, who plunked the Indians a total of 21 times this season. That's more than any team has hit any other team since sometime before 1957, if it ever happened at all.

Here's the list by team:
DET - 21
LAA - 12
CWS - 8
BOS - 7
SEA - 7
TOR - 7
BAL - 6
COL - 6
OAK - 6
TEX - 6
CIN - 4
MIN - 4
LAD - 3
KC - 2
NYY - 2
SD - 1
SF - 1


Detroit's impressive 21 plunkings of the Indians includes 5 of those pitchers who had never hit a batter before. Detroit's Justin Verlander hit 6 Indians, for the league lead, and he's one of only two pitchers to hit an Indian this season that they had also plunked in a previous season. And the other is also a Detroit Tiger.
Kenny Rogers hit Casey Blake on June 7th of this year and on September 23, 2003. Justin Verlander hit Ryan Garko on August 28 and April 17 this year, and July 5th last year... and May 31st last year. But no other time... so far. Garko vs Verlander was the only matchup that resulted in two HBPs for the Indians, even though there were 28 other matchups league-wide where a pitcher hit a batter twice, and one 3 plunk matchup. So Garko was the only Indian to get hit twice by the same pitcher among all 103 HBPs. Also, Detroit's Christ Lambert was the only pitcher to plunk an Indian in his first Major League appearance. Cleveland only hit the Tigers 7 times, so it remains unclear what the Tigers were so angry about.

Maybe the Tigers wouldn't have hit the Indians so much if they saw the following stats about how much better the Indians bats work in games in which they get hit by pitches.
HBPs in gameGamesRunsRBIHitsHRtotal HBPs
0904113657881040
1452322144073545
2231311212172746
34302842512
1 or more7239336366667103


HBPs in gameGamesABAvgSLGOBPOPS
09030850.2550.42o0.3230.743
14515300.2660.4140.3470.761
2237870.2760.4430.3660.809
341410.2980.5040.4120.915
1 or more7224580.2710.4280.3570.785

Yes, that's 365 RBI in 90 games without a plunk and 363 RBI in 72 games with at least 1 plunk. The only they they do slightly worse when they're getting hit by pitches is hit homers. But, they're not much better in games when they hit homers than in games when they get hit by a pitch - they were 57-39 (.594) when they hit a home run in 2008, and 42-30 (.583) when they got hit by a pitch. And anyway setting the MLB hit by pitch record is much more important than those wins and loses, and they weren't going to set any home run records now that they test for steroids.

If you check out the splits page over at baseball-reference.com you can find out a whole bunch of other interesting stuff about the Indians 103 HBP season. Such as, they got hit 44 times on two strike counts, but only 5 times on 3 ball counts. They never got hit on a 3-0 count, or even during an at-bat that started with 3 balls. Only 17.4% of the Indians plunks occured on the first pitch of the plate appearance, but for the rest of the league, 18.1% of plunks occur on the first pitch. The Indians got hit 25 times in plate apperances that lasted 5 or more pitches - 6 more than the next best team in that category this year.

Once again, it was a great season for the Indians - the 8th best in major league baseball history, and the best in Major League Baseball history (the capitalized version considers such records to begin in the year 1900, except sometimes when the don't). But they could get hit by even more pitches next season. Ryan Garko, for example, was 5 HBPs short of his career high of 20 last season (when he broke the Indians franchise record). Grady Sizemore was 6 short of his 2007 total. So, we can only hope that 2009 will bring even more amazing HBP achievements for the Cleveland Indians. (As long as they don't get hurt... nobody sets HBP records from the disabled list.)

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