Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Where the weather is still warm and the plunks are still flying

There have been 23 plunks in the Major League postseason so far this year, which isn't bad - it's actually the most plunks in the pre-world series rounds since 2005. But it's hard to keep interested in major league postseason plunkings when it seems like they're taking a week off between each game. But, there are alternatives. New seasons have already begun in the Arizona Fall League, the Venezuelan Winter League (Liga Venezuela Beisbol Profesional), the Mexican Pacific League (Liga Mexicana del Pacifico), and the Dominican Winter League (Liga de Beisbol Dominicano). The Puerto Rican league starts up next month. 84 batters have already been plunked in the Venezuelan League, 59 in the Mexican League, 37 in the Arizona Fall League and 11 in the Dominican League.

So, here are some leaders in winter league plunkings. Some of these players may be the Major League HBP heros of the future for your favorite team. Annoyingly, the MLB.com stat pages for these leagues don't list HBPs- but that's why we have the internet.

Daryl Jones is tearing up the Arizona Fall league so far, having been hit by 4 pitches in 10 games for the Surprise Rafters. He's a Cardinals minor leaguer, and he only got hit 6 times in AA level ball in 2009. But, in 2008 he's had 3 double digit plunk seasons in the minors, and a total of 50 minor league plunks. There are only three other batters who have been hit more than once in the Arizona Fall League, and the player's major league parent club is in parenthesis next to their names for the ones I bothered to look up.

NameTeamHBPPlate AppearancesHBP per PA
Daryl Jones (STL)
Surprise Rafters4470.085
Jose Tabata (PIT)
Scottsdale Scorpions2420.048
Nevin Ashley (TB)
Phoenix Desert Dogs2310.065
Ruben Tejada (NYM)Surprise Rafters2360.056

The Dominican League is only a week and a half into there season, and Pablo Ozuna is the only player to be plunked twice so far. You may remember him from such teams as the Chicago White Sox from 2005 to mid-2008, but he spent 2009 hanging around the Phillies farm system, and is currently a free agent - perhaps hoping his Dominican league efforts at getting hit by pitches will land him an offer.

NameTeamHBPPlate AppearancesHBP per PA
Pablo OzunaEstrellas de Oriente2220.091
Juan RichardsonEstrellas de Oriente1210.048
Hector Luna
Aguilas Cibaenas1180.056
Josh PressleyEstrellas de Oriente1110.091
Matt Tupman (KC)
Tigres del Licey1150.067
Matt Carson (OAK)
Aguilas Cibaenas1160.063
Jose CampusanoGigantes del Cibao190.111
Elian HerreraAguilas Cibaenas1100.1
Jamie HoffmannLeones del Escogido1160.063
Tony Abreu (ARI)
Aguilas Cibaenas1180.056

In the Mexican League, Heber Gomez is leading with 4 HBPs, with Roman Orantes chasing him at 3 HBPs. Neither of them is currently affiliated with a Major League club.

NameTeamHBPPlate AppearancesHBP per PA
Heber GomezVenados de Mazatlan4470.085
Ramon OrantesCaneros de los Mochis3470.064
Javier RoblesMayos de Navojoa2490.041
Refugio CervantesTomateros de Culiacan2530.038
Abel MartinezMayos de Navojoa2580.034
John Mayberry (PHI)Yaquis de Obregon2380.053
Said GutierrezYaquis de Obregon2480.042
Daniel FornesYaquis de Obregon2480.042
Francisco AriasMayos de Navojoa2600.033
Neil Sellers (PHI)Yaquis de Obregon2570.035
Sandy MaderaCaneros de los Mochis2620.032

Lastly, we have the Venezuelan League - which so far has been the plunkiest league of all with a batter getting hit about once every 53.5 plate appearances. Adam Heether and Jon Jay have each been hit 5 times in Venezuala so far, and they play for the same team. No word yet on whether Hugo Chavez plans to cease those plunks for the government any time soon. Heether is a Brewers minor leaguer, and appears to have played at every level of their organization except the majors - and at every position. Jon Jay is a Cardinals minor leaguer who got hit 12 times for AAA Memphis in 2009. Also notable is Brendan Katin, with 3 plunks in just 31 plate appearances so far - he's been hit 40 times at various minor league levels for the Brewers system.
NameTeamHBPPlate AppearancesHBP per PA
Adam Heether (MIL)
Leones del Caracas5680.074
Jon Jay (STL)
Leones del Caracas5710.070
Ezequiel Carrera (SEA)
Navegantes del Magallanes4700.057
Dennys AbreuBravos de Margarita3330.091
Luis GonzalezCaribes de Anzoategui3580.052
David Paisano (TEX)
Tiburones de La Guaira3490.061
Brendan Katin (MIL)
Aguilas de Zulia3310.097
Daniel Dorn (CIN)
Caribes de Anzoategui3450.067



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