Thursday, March 26, 2009

Braves Preview

The Braves have a demographic problem. There are too many of them that are just too old or too young to get hit by a lot of pitches, and that's why they only had 42 plunks in 2008 (5th from the bottom in HBP per plate appearance), and why they might not be much better in 2009 (at getting hit by pitches).

From 1986 to 2008, 38% of all HBPs have been recorded by players in a narrow band of ages from 26 to 29. 19.9% of HBPs in that span landed on players past their 27th birthday but before their 29th. The record breaking 2008 Indians, for example, got 52 out of their 103 plunks out of guys aged 26, 27 and 28. But the 2008 Braves only had 4 guys in that age range at any point last season - Mark Teixeira turned 28 last April but got traded in July, Omar Infante was 26 for the whole season, as was Kelly Johnson, and Josh Anderson turned 26 in August. So the Braves batters in the core age group for HBP production produced a total of 7 plunks for the team in 2008.

For 2009, they have a few more players moving into that prime age range. Josh Anderson is 26, and turns 27 (the most popular age for getting plunked) in August. Maybe he can beat his career season high of two HBPs now, but the people over at the Talking Chop blog seem to think he'll be playing a backup role to the younger Jordan Schafer (Schafer turns 23 in September and got hit once in winter ball this year). Kelly Johnson is 27 for the whole season, and he should be able to beat his career high of 4 plunks. Omar Infante will also be 27 for the whole season, but he's never been plunked more than 3 times in a year. The 26 year olds are a little better with Yunel Escobar's 5 HBPs last year, and Casey Kotchman showing potential with 9 HBPs in 2008. If Kotchman continues to improve into his prime HBP years, he could do well. The same goes for Jeff Francouer, who is still just 25 but got hit 10 times last year at age 24.

The question remains, though, if the younger players will form a core who embrace the HBP, or if they'll follow the team's veteran leaders, who are among the best at not getting hit by pitches. Chipper Jones is not going to inspire anyone to get hit by a pitch. He's been hit just 16 times in 8,677 plate appearance. Only 12 players in major league history have had over 8,000 plate appearances and been plunked less than Chipper Jones, and only one of them is still in the league - Garrett Anderson. It's as if the Braves saw a specific need for another guy who will turn 37 this season and has less than 20 career HBPs. Because Greg Norton and Chipper Jones weren't enough to fill that role. Garrett Anderson has only been hit 6 times in 8,480 plate appearance. There is nobody in major league history with over 8,000 plate appearances who got hit fewer times than Garrett Anderson.

On the pitching side, the Braves threw 42 plunks last season, exactly matching the number of HBPs on the batting side. That number should increase this year just because of the addition of Javier Vazquez. Vazquez, Tim Hudson and Derek Lowe are all capable of double digit hit-batters in a season, even though none of them has done that recently. And, if Jeff Bennett doesn't get gut, he's a guy who can come in and hit batters out of the bullpen.

UPDATE: The Braves traded Josh Anderson to Detroit on March 30th, so that's one less player in the most popular "target demographic".

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

WBC Final Wrap-up

Japan won it's second consecutive WBC championship last night beating Korea 5 to 3 in 10 innings, but the real victory of the tournament goes to Korea's Shin-Soo Choo, who also plays for the Cleveland Indians, who lead the WBC in total HBPs with 3. Congratulations Shin-Soo Choo!

Choo collected his third plunk of the tournament in the semi-finals game against Venezuala, on a pitch thrown by Carlos Vasquez. In the finals, Japan was the only team to get plunked - Hiroyuki Nakajima got hit by Chang Young Lim in the 10th inning, but that was after Japan had scored their two runs, so the plunk didn't contribute to the final score. Through the course of the tournament, 42 batters got hit by pitches, but they only scored 7 runs as a result of those plunks. None of those plunks occured with the bases loaded.

Also, Korea led the tournament in total HBPs on the batting side with 7. Australia got 6 plunks and 5 baseballs hit Mexico. Japan and USA got hit 4 times, Venezuela and Cuba took 3 plunks, and the Netherlands, Panama, Puerto Rico and Italy all got hit twice. The Domincan Republic and Canada only got hit once a piece, and every baseball missed China, Taiwan and South Africa.

21 of the 42 WBC plunks were recorded by players who are not on Major League 40-man rosters, and American League players slightly edged the National Leaguers in the HBP category 11 to 10. The Phillies and Indians tied with 4 plunks each by their players.

On the pitching side, Ismel Jimenez of Cuba led the tournament with 3 batters hit, and helped his Cuban team to a total of 8 to lead the tournament. Mexico and Venezuela hit 5 batters, and the Dominican Republic managed to hit 4 batters without making it out of the first round. The Netherlands and China hit 3 batters, and the US, Puerto Rico, South Africa, Italy, Japan and Korea threw 2 plunks each. Taiwan only hit one batter as did Australia. Canada and Panama were the tournament pacifists with no batters hit. This leads to the possibility that there is an inverse relationship between the number of plunks a WBC team throws and the number of occurrences of the letter A in the country's name.



Here's the final totals for pitchcounts for Major Leaguers (some may be non-roster invitees):
MLB TeamPitcherWBC TeamPitchesIPOutsRough Outings*
ARITravis BlackleyAUS74170
ARITony PenaDOM2260
ATLJorge CampilloMEX135260
ATLJavier VazquezPUR127280
BALJeremy GuthrieUSA106111
BOSFernando CabreraPUR3460
BOSEnrique GonzalezVEN152290
BOSJavier LopezPUR3570
BOSDaisuke MatsuzakaJPN249440
CHAMatt ThorntonUSA61141
CHNTed LillyUSA98190
CHNCarlos MarmolDOM4251
CINJohnny CuetoDOM71140
CINRamon RamirezVEN103160
CINPedro ViolaDOM1330
CINEdinson VolquezDOM5890
CLERafael PerezDOM3590
COLManny CorpasPAN3160
COLJason GrilliITA62110
COLUbaldo JimenezDOM65120
DETArmando GalarragaVEN143220
DETFu-Te NiTPE2640
FLAChristopher LerouxCAN3450
FLAMatt LindstromUSA3360
FLARick VandenHurkNED127161
HOULaTroy HawkinsUSA47111
HOURoy OswaltUSA201340
KCALenny DiNardoITA1400
KCAJoakim SoriaMEX2060
LAAFrancisco RodriguezMEX3260
LAAScot ShieldsUSA75131
LAARich ThompsonAUS4890
LANJonathan BroxtonUSA71121
MILMark DiFeliceITA45120
MINLuis AyalaMEX68101
MINJesse CrainCAN1840
NYADamaso MarteDOM2660
NYNElmer DessensMEX81200
NYNPedro FelicianoPUR4290
NYNNelson FigueroaPUR110220
NYNOliver PerezMEX149201
NYNJ.J. PutzUSA4591
NYNFrancisco RodriguezVEN98171
OAKBrad ZieglerUSA76102
PHIDrew NaylorAUS2011
PHIJ.C. RomeroPUR5180
PITDavid DavidsonCAN1730
PITJohn GrabowUSA68131
PITIan SnellPUR122240
SDNHeath BellUSA82112
SDNJake PeavyUSA110151
SEAFelix HernandezVEN147260
SEACarlos SilvaVEN177371
SFNJonathan SanchezPUR119201
SLNAdam OttavinoITA5090
SLNDennys ReyesMEX4351
TBAJ.P. HowellUSA44100
WASJoel HanrahanUSA80150
WASSaul RiveraPUR48110

*-Outings with more than 20 pitches per inning

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Friday, March 20, 2009

Cardinals Spring Preview

The St. Louis Cardinals got hit by 42 pitches last season, which tied them for 25th place in the Major League HBP standings. But, Baltimore and Atlanta got their 42 HBPs in slightly fewer plate appearances, so the Cardinals had the 4th worst plunks per plate appearance in the majors, at 0.0066. That means they got hit just once every 151.67 trips to the plate. 42 HBPs is the Cardinals lowest total since 1998, but the team has made some changes and should see improvement in the 2009 plunk total.

Ryan Ludwick led the team with 8 HBPs last season, which was a career high for him and something he should be able to build upon in '09. Rick Ankiel also had a career high with 5 plunks last year, but maybe he'd like to get hit by as many pitches as he thrown in a single season, which would be 6. Jason LaRue and Albert Pujols got hit by 5 pitches last year, but that's probably right at the level you can expect for them in '09. LaRue passed the 100 plunk milestone for his career last season, so there's always the chance of a post-milestone let-down. They lost Cesar Izturis at shortstop, who overachieved with 6 HBPs last season, but they've replaced him with Khalil Greene, who got hit 5 times for the Padres last year, before getting all mad about his inability to hit the ball and breaking his own hand in an altercation with a dugout wall. Greene is someone who can get hit by a fair number of pitches - his career high is 8, and he's got 32 in his career.

The biggest week link in the Cardinals HBP offense was the 2nd base position. The Cardinals 2nd basemen only got hit once in 694 plate appearances, which as you might have guessed, puts them dead last in the Major Leagues. Based on the pitchers they faced, and the number of plate appearances they had against each of them, the Cardinals 2nd basemen should have gotten hit about 6 times last year, so they underachieved by 5 hbps. "Should have" doesn't mean they deserved to get plunked that many times, just that would have been the expected value based on the season HBP rates of the pitchers faced by Cardinals 2nd basemen. There expected plunks was still only 25th in the league, which means that the pitchers they faced didn't give up a lot of plunks on average, but they still should have been able to do better than 1 HBP on the whole season. The only pitcher to plunk a Cardinals 2nd baseman in 2008 was Randy Wolf of the Astros (now with the Dodgers).

The Cardinals 2nd basemen were so bad at getting hit by pitches last season, that they've taken the radical approach of not having any 2nd basemen on their roster this year. Skip Schumaker is listed on the depth chart as the starting 2nd basemen, but he's still listed as a left-fielder because they've developed a new kind of defensive shift where they play two left fielders and have one of them playing really shallow and shifted around to the right side of the field. And that guy has to cover 2nd base in all the situations where a 2nd baseman would, but he's a 4th outfielder, not an infielder. This is the kind of creativity Tony La Russa is known for.

The other big underachievers in the HBP category were the pitchers. We can't really expect pitchers to take a lot of plunks, but the Cardinals should have had about 3 but didn't get plunked at all. Maybe they could at least chip in with 1 this year? On the other hand though, the Cardinals were best in the National League and tied for best in the Majors in pinch-hit plunks, with 5. Hopefully they can keep that up.

On the pitching side, the Cards hit 51 opposing batters last season, which is their lowest total since 1996 when they hit just 35. But, 51 hit batters put the Cardinals in a tie for 17th in the Major League standings, so that's just a little bit below the median. They can probably be expected to be right around that area again in 2009 - unless someone makes them angry.

WBC Plunks - 3/19/09

They wrapped up the 2nd round of the WBC last night, with the game to determine if Korea or Japan was the winner of their pool, but they also determined that Korea can get hit by as many pitches as Australia - though it's taken Korea 4 more games. Korean right field Yong-Kyu Les got plunked by Japan's Tetsuya Utsumi, and unfortunately had to leave the game because of it. But, it put Korea in a tie with Australia for the most HBPs in the tournament, with 6 each.

Of the teams moving on to the semi-finals, Korea has been plunked 6 times, the US has 4 HBPS, and Japan and Venezuela have been hit 3 times each. Through the first 2 rounds, players from the Phillies 40-man roster have been hit the most with 4 HBPs, and the Cleveland Indians WBC representatives have been plunked 3 times. Baltimore, the Yankees, the Mets, and the Twins have all had their players get hit twice in the WBC. That could be a good sign for the Mets and Twins who were the worst teams in their respective leagues in the category of getting hit by pitches.

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Thursday, March 19, 2009

WBC Plunks - 3/18/09

Team Cuba was eliminated from WBC competition last night, but they hit one more batter on their way out - a 9th inning plunking of Japan's Hiroyuki Nakajima on a pitch from Vladimir Garcia. That brings Cuba's total plunks thrown to a tournament leading 8. It'll take some work for any of the semi-finalists to match that number in only 2 remaining games, at most. Venezuela is the leader among the remaining teams with 4 hit batters, the US has two, and Japan and Korea have each hit just one batter.

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Wednesday, March 18, 2009

WBC Plunks - 3/17/09

In WBC 2nd round action yesterday Shuichi Murata of Japan got plunked by Jung Keun Bong of Korea, but it was Korea that won the game, earning a spot in the semi-finals and sending Japan to an elimination game again Cuba - a re-match of the 2006 WBC. Murata has now been plunked twice in the WBC. In the other game yesterday, Adam Dunn and Jimmy Rollins helped team USA earn a spot in the semi-finals by getting plunked by Puerto Rico's Jonathan Sanchez and Nelson Figueroa. Figueroa is listed as a non-roster invitee to Mets training camp, and maybe showing the ability to plunk Phillie Jimmy Rollins will earn him a spot on the Mets roster. Either that or Rollins has developed an interest in being hit by baseballs after filming his recent TV ad for Dick's Sporting Goods. (They couldn't get Chase Utley for that role?)


Here's the pitchcounts for WBC pitchers on major league rosters (or at least with invites to major league spring training camps).
MLB TeamPitcherWBC TeamPitchesIPOutsRough Outings*
ARITravis BlackleyAUS74170
ARITony PenaDOM2260
ATLJorge CampilloMEX135260
ATLJavier VazquezPUR127280
BALJeremy GuthrieUSA5460
BOSFernando CabreraPUR3460
BOSEnrique GonzalezVEN84180
BOSJavier LopezPUR3570
BOSDaisuke MatsuzakaJPN151300
CHAMatt ThorntonUSA49111
CHNTed LillyUSA98190
CHNCarlos MarmolDOM4251
CINJohnny CuetoDOM71140
CINRamon RamirezVEN74110
CINPedro ViolaDOM1330
CINEdinson VolquezDOM5890
CLERafael PerezDOM3590
COLManny CorpasPAN3160
COLJason GrilliITA62110
COLUbaldo JimenezDOM65120
DETArmando GalarragaVEN64120
DETFu-Te NiTPE2640
FLAChristopher LerouxCAN3450
FLAMatt LindstromUSA3360
FLARick VandenHurkNED127161
HOULaTroy HawkinsUSA2680
HOURoy OswaltUSA135230
KCALenny DiNardoITA1400
KCAJoakim SoriaMEX2060
LAAFrancisco RodriguezMEX3260
LAAScot ShieldsUSA65121
LAARich ThompsonAUS4890
LANJonathan BroxtonUSA71121
MILMark DiFeliceITA45120
MINLuis AyalaMEX68101
MINJesse CrainCAN1840
NYADamaso MarteDOM2660
NYNElmer DessensMEX81200
NYNPedro FelicianoPUR4290
NYNNelson FigueroaPUR110220
NYNOliver PerezMEX149201
NYNJ.J. PutzUSA4591
NYNFrancisco RodriguezVEN77140
OAKBrad ZieglerUSA6072
PHIDrew NaylorAUS2011
PHIJ.C. RomeroPUR5180
PITDavid DavidsonCAN1730
PITJohn GrabowUSA2560
PITIan SnellPUR122240
SDNHeath BellUSA5981
SDNJake PeavyUSA110151
SEAFelix HernandezVEN147260
SEACarlos SilvaVEN137330
SFNJonathan SanchezPUR119201
SLNAdam OttavinoITA5090
SLNDennys ReyesMEX4351
TBAJ.P. HowellUSA1030
WASJoel HanrahanUSA50100
WASSaul RiveraPUR48110

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Tuesday, March 17, 2009

WBC Plunks - 3/16/09

Mexico was eliminated from the WBC by the Cubans last night, but at least they got hit by a couple of pitches on their way out. Marlins 3rd-baseman Jorge Cantu, playing for Mexico, was plunked in the 4th inning by Cuban pitcher Norge Vera. In the 7th inning, Mexcio's Christhian Presichi was plunked by Pedro Luis Lazo. But, Mexico couldn't capitalize on either of those free base runners to score a run. Cuba has thrown 20% of the 35 WBC plunks so far, with a total of 7. Mexico has thrown the 2nd most with 5, but they missed their last chance to add to that total. If you picked Australia in the always popular "office pool to pick which WBC team will get plunked the most", you have the lead so far. Australia got plunked 6 times before their elimination, but Korea is right behind them with 5 and still alive in the tournament.

For those of you more worried about how many pitches are thrown, rather than how many pitches hit people, the New York Mets pitchers are leading the tournament with 439 pitches thrown. Seattle is a distant 2nd with 284, and Red Sox pitchers have thrown 279 for third place.

MLB TeamPitcherWBC TeamPitchesIPOutsRough Outings*
ARITravis BlackleyAUS74170
ARITony PenaDOM2260
ATLJorge CampilloMEX135260
ATLJavier VazquezPUR127280
BALJeremy GuthrieUSA5460
BOSFernando CabreraPUR2560
BOSEnrique GonzalezVEN84180
BOSJavier LopezPUR1940
BOSDaisuke MatsuzakaJPN151300
CHAMatt ThorntonUSA3581
CHNTed LillyUSA3690
CHNCarlos MarmolDOM4251
CINJohnny CuetoDOM71140
CINRamon RamirezVEN74110
CINPedro ViolaDOM1330
CINEdinson VolquezDOM5890
CLERafael PerezDOM3590
COLManny CorpasPAN3160
COLJason GrilliITA62110
COLUbaldo JimenezDOM65120
DETArmando GalarragaVEN64120
DETFu-Te NiTPE2640
FLAChristopher LerouxCAN3450
FLAMatt LindstromUSA3360
FLARick VandenHurkNED127161
HOULaTroy HawkinsUSA2680
HOURoy OswaltUSA135230
KCALenny DiNardoITA1400
KCAJoakim SoriaMEX2060
LAAFrancisco RodriguezMEX3260
LAAScot ShieldsUSA5381
LAARich ThompsonAUS4890
LANJonathan BroxtonUSA4290
MILMark DiFeliceITA45120
MINLuis AyalaMEX68101
MINJesse CrainCAN1840
NYADamaso MarteDOM2660
NYNElmer DessensMEX81200
NYNPedro FelicianoPUR2970
NYNNelson FigueroaPUR69150
NYNOliver PerezMEX149201
NYNJ.J. PutzUSA3461
NYNFrancisco RodriguezVEN77140
OAKBrad ZieglerUSA6072
PHIDrew NaylorAUS2011
PHIJ.C. RomeroPUR2860
PITDavid DavidsonCAN1730
PITJohn GrabowUSA2560
PITIan SnellPUR122240
SDNHeath BellUSA3660
SDNJake PeavyUSA110151
SEAFelix HernandezVEN147260
SEACarlos SilvaVEN137330
SFNJonathan SanchezPUR56120
SLNAdam OttavinoITA5090
SLNDennys ReyesMEX4351
TBAJ.P. HowellUSA1030
WASJoel HanrahanUSA3780
WASSaul RiveraPUR2780

*- Rough outings are appearances with 20 or more pitches thrown per inning worked.

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Monday, March 16, 2009

WBC Plunks - 3/15/09

Shuichi Murata became the first batter plunked in round 2 of the WBC when he took an 80mph 5th inning plunking yesterday for Japan. His plunk resulted in one of Japan's 5 runs, when Murata scored on a Seiichi Uchikawa single. Murata's plunk was thrown by Cuban pitcher Ismel Jimenez, who has now thrown a tournamnet high 3 HBPs.

Daisuke Matsuzaka started that game for Japan yesterday, and became the first pitcher to pass 150 pitches in the WBC. But, he cruised through 6 innings on 86 pitches, with no walks.

MLB TeamPitcherWBC TeamPitchesIPOutsRough Outings*
ARITravis BlackleyAUS74170
ARITony PenaDOM2260
ATLJorge CampilloMEX65140
ATLJavier VazquezPUR127280
BALJeremy GuthrieUSA5460
BOSFernando CabreraPUR1350
BOSEnrique GonzalezVEN61120
BOSJavier LopezPUR1940
BOSDaisuke MatsuzakaJPN151300
CHAMatt ThorntonUSA3581
CHNTed LillyUSA3690
CHNCarlos MarmolDOM4251
CINJohnny CuetoDOM71140
CINRamon RamirezVEN5990
CINPedro ViolaDOM1330
CINEdinson VolquezDOM5890
CLERafael PerezDOM3590
COLManny CorpasPAN3160
COLJason GrilliITA62110
COLUbaldo JimenezDOM65120
DETArmando GalarragaVEN64120
DETFu-Te NiTPE2640
FLAChristopher LerouxCAN3450
FLAMatt LindstromUSA3360
FLARick VandenHurkNED127161
HOULaTroy HawkinsUSA2680
HOURoy OswaltUSA135230
KCALenny DiNardoITA1400
KCAJoakim SoriaMEX2060
LAAFrancisco RodriguezMEX1520
LAAScot ShieldsUSA5381
LAARich ThompsonAUS4890
LANJonathan BroxtonUSA4290
MILMark DiFeliceITA45120
MINLuis AyalaMEX6171
MINJesse CrainCAN1840
NYADamaso MarteDOM2660
NYNElmer DessensMEX81200
NYNPedro FelicianoPUR2550
NYNNelson FigueroaPUR69150
NYNOliver PerezMEX149201
NYNJ.J. PutzUSA3461
NYNFrancisco RodriguezVEN54100
OAKBrad ZieglerUSA6072
PHIDrew NaylorAUS2011
PHIJ.C. RomeroPUR1640
PITDavid DavidsonCAN1730
PITJohn GrabowUSA2560
PITIan SnellPUR50120
SDNHeath BellUSA3660
SDNJake PeavyUSA110151
SEAFelix HernandezVEN61120
SEACarlos SilvaVEN137330
SFNJonathan SanchezPUR56120
SLNAdam OttavinoITA5090
SLNDennys ReyesMEX4351
TBAJ.P. HowellUSA1030
WASJoel HanrahanUSA3780
WASSaul RiveraPUR1950

Friday, March 13, 2009

WBC Plunks - 3/12/09

Mexicon and Cuba played the final game of the first round of the WBC last night, and once again there were plenty of international HBPs. Mexican starting pitcher Pablo Ortega through his 2nd HBP of the tournament, hitting Michel Enriquez of Cuba in the first inning, and Mexican reliever Dennys Reyes hit Leonys Martin. Cuban starting pitcher Luis Rodriguez hit Mexico batter Agustin Murillo in the 2nd inning.

After the first round of the WBC, Cesar Izturis of Venezuela, Brad Harman of Australia and Shin-Soo Cho of Korea are all tied for the WBC lead with 2 HBPs each. Australia, however, will not be moving on to round 2. On the pitching side, Johnny Cueto of the Domincan Republic, Pablo Ortega of Mexico and Ismel Jimenez of Cuba are leading the tournament with 2 plunks each.

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Thursday, March 12, 2009

WBC Plunks - 3/11/09

There were just 3 WBC games yesterday, and people only got hit by pitches in two of them. Derek Jeter got hit by Orber Moreno of Venezuela, which will probably earn him a contract with the Red Sox, but American pitcher Brad Ziegler (of the A's) returned the favor by hitting Cesar Izturis in the following inning. That's the 2nd of the tournament for Izturis. In the Mexico vs Australia game, Australian pitcher Brendan Wise hit Jorge Alberto Vazguez. There's one last 1st round game today, between Mexico and Cuba, and then round 2 starts Saturday.

So far, Travis Blackley has led the WBC in pitches thrown, among pitchers who are on Major League spring training rosters, but if fans are concerned about WBC pitch counts, you should also be worried about Miguel Cabrera, who is wearing out his arms swinging his bat 34 times so far. Jorge Cantu has swung 32 times and Luke Hughes 31 times. But, here's the pitch counts of the Major League-ish pitchers in the WBC:

MLB TeamPitcherWBC TeamPitchesIPOutsRough Outings*
ARITravis BlackleyAUS74170
ARITony PenaDOM2260
ATLJorge CampilloMEX65140
ATLJavier VazquezPUR60130
BALJeremy GuthrieUSA5460
BOSFernando CabreraPUR1350
BOSEnrique GonzalezVEN61120
BOSJavier LopezPUR1430
BOSDaisuke MatsuzakaJPN65120
CHAMatt ThorntonUSA1160
CHNTed LillyUSA3690
CHNCarlos MarmolDOM4251
CINJohnny CuetoDOM71140
CINRamon RamirezVEN5990
CINPedro ViolaDOM1330
CINEdinson VolquezDOM5890
CLERafael PerezDOM3590
COLManny CorpasPAN3060
COLJason GrilliITA62110
COLUbaldo JimenezDOM65120
DETArmando GalarragaVEN64120
DETFu-Te NiTPE2640
FLAChristopher LerouxCAN3450
FLAMatt LindstromUSA2140
FLARick VandenHurkNED72100
HOULaTroy HawkinsUSA1850
HOURoy OswaltUSA65110
KCALenny DiNardoITA1400
KCAJoakim SoriaMEX1130
LAAFrancisco RodriguezMEX1520
LAAScot ShieldsUSA4251
LAARich ThompsonAUS4890
LANJonathan BroxtonUSA3160
MILMark DiFeliceITA45120
MINLuis AyalaMEX2940
MINJesse CrainCAN1840
NYADamaso MarteDOM2660
NYNElmer DessensMEX68180
NYNPedro FelicianoPUR2550
NYNNelson FigueroaPUR46110
NYNOliver PerezMEX6361
NYNJ.J. PutzUSA2131
NYNFrancisco RodriguezVEN3260
OAKBrad ZieglerUSA2741
PHIDrew NaylorAUS2011
PHIJ.C. RomeroPUR1640
PITDavid DavidsonCAN1730
PITJohn GrabowUSA220
PITIan SnellPUR50120
SDNHeath BellUSA1930
SDNJake PeavyUSA5890
SEAFelix HernandezVEN61120
SEACarlos SilvaVEN58120
SFNJonathan SanchezPUR56120
SLNAdam OttavinoITA5090
SLNDennys ReyesMEX2140
TBAJ.P. HowellUSA1030
WASJoel HanrahanUSA2950
WASSaul RiveraPUR1440

*- Rough Outings are games with 20 or more pitches per inning. This is not a metric anybody has proven to mean anything, as far as I know. Basically, I made it up, but pitchers throwing over 20 pitches per inning are probably working harder than normal.

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Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Mariners Spring Preview

The Mariners finished 2nd to last in the majors in HBPs in 2008, and that's pretty bad. On the other hand, they were first in the majors in plunks recorded by players born in Japan, so that was good. They were also tied for 15th in hit batters by their pitchers, and that's just right in the middle.
But, the real problem was that only 39% of the Mariners 38 plunks were recorded by players born in the United States. That's up a bit from the past two seasons, but since the beginning of 2006, only 35% of the Mariners HBPs were produced by American born batters. Obviously, outsourcing has been all the rage in the past decade, with globalization and all that fun stuff, but if some management consultant went into the Mariners front office sometime in 2006 and sold them on the idea that outsourcing their team's HBP production to other countries would somehow lead to prosperity, they've been led down the wrong path. American's are still the best in the world at getting hit by pitches in Major League Baseball games.

Last season, the Mariners were led by Kenji Johjima with 8 HBPs, and Ichiro behind him with 5. Jeff Clement also chipped in with 5 HBPs - but he showed some promise for 2009, since he got those 5 plunks in just 66 games. But the other American players not named Jeff Clement only got hit by 10 pitches. And, the American contribution to the 2009 Seattle Mariner's plunk count may be minimized even more, now that the team has added Franklin Gutierrez, who got plunked 8 times with the record setting 2008 Indians, and fellow Venezuelan Jose Lopez should be bringing in some plunk momentum to the season after getting plunked 7 times in the Venezuelan Winter League in 187 plate appearances. The only cause for hope that the American Mariners will step up their HBP contribution is the presence of Mike Sweeney at spring training, as a non-roster invitee, and maybe the leadership of Ken Griffey Junior, who has been hit 80 times in his career. Sweeney has had a 15 plunk season before, and that would equal the American contribution to the 2008 Mariners if he could make the team and do that again.

But the real point isn't that the American Mariners need to get hit more than the foreign born Mariners - it's a team effort and they all need to improve to get out of the basement of the HBP standings - which will very likely bring them out of the basement in the win/loss columns. But the US players should be living up to the standards of the rest of the league - last year, US born players got hit once every 104 plate appearances. No country with more than 10 players in the league had a higher rate of taking plunks for their team. So, don't let anyone come in and tell your team that it could be better off bringing in foreign players to deal with their getting hit by pitches, because they can't do it better than Americans... except for a few stray Australians and Koreans. They're pretty good.

Here's the 2008 plunk rates by country of birth, just because you need to know these things (countries with 0 HBPs excluded):
CountryBattersPA per HBPHBP
Australia639.52
South Korea4845
USA938104.51274
D.R.126116.5167
Mexico20119.18
Panama5122.97
P.R.37140.651
Venezuela83140.799
Cuba13152.312
CAN17163.820
Japan19185.521
Colombia3467.73

WBC Plunks - 3/10/09

It was a shocking day in the WBC yesterday - TWO Minnesota Twins players got hit by pitches. That's certainly shocking. AND, Pedro Martinez hit a batter from the Netherlands... that's not that shocking, except that he did it in a game that his Dominican Republic team lost to the Netherlands, knocking the Dominican Republic team out of the tournament. (Honestly, we should have seen this coming the day Alex Rodriguez said he'd play for them... even though he never actually played). Pedro Martinez hit Dutch batter Gene Kingsale in that game, and the Dominican's Miguel Tejada, also of the Astros, got hit by Netherlands pitcher Leon Boyd.

The Cuban team plunked Australia 3 times in a 5-4 victory. Ismel Jimenez threw two of those - at Ben Risinger, and Phillies prospect Brad Harman. Also, Cuban pitcher Danny Betancourt hit Twins prospect Luke Hughes.

Nick Punto was the other Twin to get plunked yesterday, playing for Italy, which now means Punto's WBC plunk total this year matches his Major League career total for HBPs - 1. He got hit by Ramon Ramirez of Venezuala. Also in that game, Italian pitcher Tiago De Silva hit Venezualan Cesar Izturis, of the Orioles. And, Enrique Gonzalez of Venezuala, who is also listed among the Non-Roster Invitees to the Boston Red Sox training camp, made a shrewd move to make that team - he plunked Italian batter Francisco Cervelli, who is a triple-A catcher for the Yankees.


Here's the report on pitch counts for all you people convinced that the WBC is going to somehow cause your favorite pitchers to melt down in mid-September:

MLB TeamPitcherWBC TeamPitchesIPOutsRough Outings*
ARITravis BlackleyAUS74170
ARITony PenaDOM2260
ATLJavier VazquezPUR60130
BOSFernando CabreraPUR520
BOSEnrique GonzalezVEN61120
BOSDaisuke MatsuzakaJPN65120
CHAMatt ThorntonUSA730
CHNCarlos MarmolDOM4251
CINJohnny CuetoDOM71140
CINRamon RamirezVEN5990
CINPedro ViolaDOM1330
CINEdinson VolquezDOM5890
CLERafael PerezDOM3590
COLManny CorpasPAN3060
COLJason GrilliITA62110
COLUbaldo JimenezDOM65120
DETArmando GalarragaVEN64120
DETFu-Te NiTPE2640
FLAChristopher LerouxCAN3450
FLAMatt LindstromUSA2140
FLARick VandenHurkNED72100
HOULaTroy HawkinsUSA1230
HOURoy OswaltUSA65110
KCALenny DiNardoITA1400
KCAJoakim SoriaMEX1130
LAAFrancisco RodriguezMEX1520
LAAScot ShieldsUSA3031
LAARich ThompsonAUS4890
LANJonathan BroxtonUSA1830
MILMark DiFeliceITA45120
MINLuis AyalaMEX2940
MINJesse CrainCAN1840
NYADamaso MarteDOM2660
NYNElmer DessensMEX68180
NYNPedro FelicianoPUR2040
NYNNelson FigueroaPUR3280
NYNOliver PerezMEX6361
NYNJ.J. PutzUSA2131
NYNFrancisco RodriguezVEN1730
OAKBrad ZieglerUSA2131
PHIJ.C. RomeroPUR1640
PITDavid DavidsonCAN1730
PITJohn GrabowUSA110
PITIan SnellPUR50120
SDNHeath BellUSA1930
SDNJake PeavyUSA5890
SEAFelix HernandezVEN61120
SEACarlos SilvaVEN58120
SLNAdam OttavinoITA5090
SLNDennys ReyesMEX2140
TBAJ.P. HowellUSA1030
WASJoel HanrahanUSA2950
WASSaul RiveraPUR1130


*-Rough outings are my count of pitching appearance that averaged over 20 pitches per inning. This may or may not be an accurate measure of pitching appearances that were somewhat stressful for a pitcher - basically I made it up. But, the 2008 average was about 16 pitches per inning, so if a pitcher is breaking that 20 pitch mark, he might be working a little harder than normal. It also lines up nicely with a pitcher breaking the 100 pitch mark in 5 innings of work.

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Tuesday, March 10, 2009

WBC Plunks - 3/9/09

In WBC action yesterday, team Puerto Rico collected two HBPs, both by current members of the New York Mets, and coincidentally the topics of yesterday's post on this site. Carlos Delgado got hit by David Bergman of the Netherlands, and Alex Cora got hit by Juan Carlos Sulbaran. Also, Erubiel Durazo of Mexico got hit by South African pitcher Shannon Ekermans. None of yesterday's plunks resulted in the plunk batter scoring a run, though.


Here are the updated WBC to-date pitch counts for pitchers currently on Major League spring training rosters:
MLB TeamPitcherWBC TeamPitchesIPOutsRough Outings*
ARITony PenaDOM1430
ATLJavier VazquezPUR60130
BOSFernando CabreraPUR520
BOSDaisuke MatsuzakaJPN65120
CHAMatt ThorntonUSA730
CHNCarlos MarmolDOM1630
CINJohnny CuetoDOM71140
CINPedro ViolaDOM1330
CINEdinson VolquezDOM5890
CLERafael PerezDOM2160
COLManny CorpasPAN3060
COLJason GrilliITA62110
DETArmando GalarragaVEN64120
DETFu-Te NiTPE2640
FLAChristopher LerouxCAN3450
FLAMatt LindstromUSA2140
FLARick VandenHurkNED72100
HOULaTroy HawkinsUSA1230
HOURoy OswaltUSA65110
KCALenny DiNardoITA1400
KCAJoakim SoriaMEX1130
LAAFrancisco RodriguezMEX1520
LAAScot ShieldsUSA3031
LAARich ThompsonAUS3360
LANJonathan BroxtonUSA1830
MILMark DiFeliceITA45120
MINLuis AyalaMEX2940
MINJesse CrainCAN1840
NYADamaso MarteDOM1330
NYNElmer DessensMEX68180
NYNPedro FelicianoPUR2040
NYNNelson FigueroaPUR3280
NYNOliver PerezMEX6361
NYNJ.J. PutzUSA2131
OAKBrad ZieglerUSA2131
PHIJ.C. RomeroPUR1640
PITDavid DavidsonCAN1730
PITJohn GrabowUSA110
PITIan SnellPUR50120
SDNHeath BellUSA1930
SDNJake PeavyUSA5890
SEAFelix HernandezVEN61120
SEACarlos SilvaVEN58120
SLNDennys ReyesMEX2140
TBAJ.P. HowellUSA1030
WASJoel HanrahanUSA2950
WASSaul RiveraPUR1130


*- Rough outings are my un-scientific count of games in which a pitcher threw more than 20 pitches per inning. The 2008 MLB average was about 16 pitches per inning, so if a pitcher is getting over 20, they might be working a little harder than normal.

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Monday, March 9, 2009

Mets Spring Preview

The Mets had a strange year last year in the HBP stat column. Their pitchers tied for the National League lead in dishing out plunkings to opposing batters with 70, but their batters got hit an NL worst 39 times. On the pitching side, they should be near the top of the National League again in 2009, with top plunkers Mike Pelfrey and Oliver Perez returning. Aaron Heilman and Pedro Martinez hit a combined 15 batters, and have moved on, but the Mets have 5 non-roster invitees to camp with over 50 career HBPs, so they ought to be able to pick some replacements who will do the job from that group. Among them are Livan Hernandez, who has a 4 plunk game on his resume, and Casey Fossum who is the only retro-sheet era player to hit a batter in 10 consecutive pitching appearances. So the pitching staff looks okay in the plunks category, but the batters really need to step it up.

Carlos Delgado led the Mets in HBPs last year, but he only had 8, and perhaps with a little more leadership on his part, he could inspire the rest of the team. Damion Easley got hit 7 times last year, but he's been replaced by Alex Cora who got hit 9 times in 2008 (in just 75 games). So that should help, but the rest of the team is largely the same, and will require inspiration to achieve the modest goal of getting out of last place in the National League HBP rankings.

So, here are a few things Carlos Delgado can do to inspire the rest of the team to get hit by more pitches:
  • Get hit by 13 pitches - If Delgado can get hit by 13 pitches this season, he'll bring his career total with the Mets to 42, which would break the franchise record held by Ron Hunt. Surely the excitement caused by that record breaking plunk would inspire younger players on the team to set their sites on such an low and achievable career franchise record. Chase Utley has been hit by more than 42 pitches in just the past two years, so if any of the Mets could put up those kind of numbers they'd have a spot in Mets history - of course they'll have to catch Delgado still.
  • Get hit by 14 pitches - Obviously the 13 pitch mark would come first, so everyone would already be excited about getting hit by pitches, but if Delgado can get to 14 plunks this season he'll own the Mets single season record as well as the Mets career record. Ron Hunt got hit 13 times in 1963 for the Mets, and John Olerud got 13 plunks for the Mets in 1997. This record should be especially embarrassing for the Mets now that Kevin Kouzmanoff broke the Padres single season record, leaving the Mets with the lowest single season plunk record of any Major League team. It's time for this record to be improved upon.
  • Get hit by 16 pitches - It might not be as inspiring on a team level, but if Delgado can collect 16 plunks this season, he'll bring his career total to 184, which would be the all time HBP record for left-handed batters. (Tommy Tucker and Dan McGann were switch hitters, but they probably got most of their HBPs batting right handed - unfortunately which side of the plate they got plunked on is probably lost to history). But, maybe if young left-handed batters on the team see Delgado break the all time left-handed plunk record, they'll realize that getting hit by pitches isn't just for right-handers, and maybe they too could aspire to climb the HBP list even farther than Delgado. And, by showing he can get hit by that many pitches in his career, he'll show the younger players that you can get hit by a few pitches now and then and still stay healthy enough to have a long and productive career. Also, he's only 11 plunks ahead of Jason Giambi, so if Delgado wants the record he better get their quick. Or, just keep playing longer than Giambi does. That could work too.
Hopefully this advice will help and the 2009 Mets will have more success than last year's team. At least in the HBP standings, if not those abstract win-loss standings that they use to decide who goes to the playoffs. Who understands those things anyway, other than the nerdiest of baseball nerds?

WBC Plunks - 3/8/09

Last season, the Detroit Tigers hit the Cleveland Indians with 21 pitches, but it looks like they just couldn't wait to get 2009 started. Detroit's Amando Galarraga, pitching for Venezuala, hit Mark DeRosa of the US and the Cleveland Indians in the 2nd inning of yesterday's WBC game. Galarraga hit 3 Indians last season, but DeRosa was with the Cubs then. Welcome to the Indians, Mark.
Keeping with the Indians theme, Shin-Soo Choo collected his 2nd HBP of the WBC yesterday, thrown by Quoqiang Sun of China. That makes the Indian's outfielder the HBP leader in the WBC. Korea got hit 3 times in all by the pitching staff from China, with Bum Ho Lee getting plunked by Dawei Zhu and Taek-Keun Lee getting hit by Kai Liu.

That wasn't the only 3 plunk game yesterday though - Mexico plunked Australie 3 times as well. Oliver Perez of the Mets, pitching for Mexico hit Australia's Brett Roneberg. Brad Harman of the Phillies got hit by Pablo Ortega, and Justin Huber got hit by Francisco Rodriguez - that's the not the Mets Francisco Rodriguez, but the Angels back-up Francisco Rodriguez. Because they had a spare.

Cincinnati's Johnny Cueto, who was last year's rookie leader in plunks, hit 2 batters pitching for his native Dominican Republic. He hit Ruben Rivera and Luis Durango of Panama.

Rounding out yesterday's big day of WBC plunkings, Alfredo Depaigne of Cuba got hit by Gavin Jeffries of South Africa.



Here's the WBC to date pitch counts for guys on MLB spring training rosters (including some Non-Roster invitees)
MLB TeamPitcherWBC TeamPitchesIPOutsRough Outings*
ARITony PenaDOM1430
ATLJavier VazquezPUR60130
BOSDaisuke MatsuzakaJPN65120
CHAMatt ThorntonUSA730
CHNCarlos MarmolDOM1630
CINJohnny CuetoDOM71140
CINPedro ViolaDOM1330
CINEdinson VolquezDOM5890
CLERafael PerezDOM2160
COLManny CorpasPAN3060
COLJason GrilliITA1810
DETArmando GalarragaVEN64120
DETFu-Te NiTPE2640
FLAChristopher LerouxCAN420
FLAMatt LindstromUSA2140
HOULaTroy HawkinsUSA1230
HOURoy OswaltUSA65110
KCALenny DiNardoITA1400
LAAFrancisco RodriguezMEX1520
LAAScot ShieldsUSA3031
LAARich ThompsonAUS3360
LANJonathan BroxtonUSA1830
MILMark DiFeliceITA45120
NYADamaso MarteDOM1330
NYNNelson FigueroaPUR3280
NYNOliver PerezMEX6361
NYNJ.J. PutzUSA2131
OAKBrad ZieglerUSA2131
PITDavid DavidsonCAN1730
PITJohn GrabowUSA110
SDNHeath BellUSA1930
SDNJake PeavyUSA5890
SEAFelix HernandezVEN61120
SEACarlos SilvaVEN58120
SLNDennys ReyesMEX2140
TBAJ.P. HowellUSA1030
WASJoel HanrahanUSA2950
WASSaul RiveraPUR1130

*- Rough outings are my un-scientific count of games in which a pitcher threw more than 20 pitches per inning. The 2008 MLB average was about 16 pitches per inning, so if a pitcher is getting over 20, they might be working a little harder than normal. Of course, it might not matter at all, but in 2006 a lot of people seemed to be convinced that pitching in the WBC ruined their favorite teams pitchers for the regular season. Then again, maybe it doesn't make a difference and there are enough ups and downs of pitching performance from season to season that it was just a coincidence and people blamed the WBC for no good reason.

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Sunday, March 8, 2009

WBC Plunks - 3/7/09

In World Baseball Classic action yesterday, Shin-Soo Chu of Korea got hit by a pitch from the hand of Japan's Minoru Iwata, making Korea and the Cleveland Indians proud. Matt Stairs of Canada and the Phillies got hit by Jake Peavy of the US and the Padres, Bobby Abreau of Venezuela and the Angels got hit by Cody Cillo of Italy, and Randall Simon of the Netherlands got hit by Carlos Marmol of the Dominican Republic and the Cubs.

Obviously nobody wants their favorite players from their favorite Major League teams to get injured on an HBP in the World Baseball Classic, but on the other hand it has to be an honor to take a pitch for your country in an international competition, and if they can do it without getting injured it should serve as good practice for the upcoming season.

Another thing MLB fans and teams seem to worry a lot about is their pitchers getting worn out by throwing too much in the WBC. So, for your reference, I'll be keeping track of pitches thrown by MLB pitchers in WBC games. The chart is organized by Major League team so you can see if your team's pitchers are being overworked, or comfortably mowing down the international competition.


MLB TeamPitcherWBC TeamPitchesIPOutsRough Outings*
ATLJavier VazquezPUR60130
BOSDaisuke MatsuzakaJPN65120
CHAMatt ThorntonUSA730
CHNCarlos MarmolDOM1630
CINEdinson VolquezDOM5890
CLERafael PerezDOM930
COLJason GrilliITA1810
DETFu-Te NiTPE2640
FLAChristopher LerouxCAN420
HOULaTroy HawkinsUSA1230
KCALenny DiNardoITA1400
LAAScot ShieldsUSA3031
MILMark DiFeliceITA45120
NYADamaso MarteDOM1330
NYNNelson FigueroaPUR3280
NYNJ.J. PutzUSA2131
PITDavid DavidsonCAN1730
SDNJake PeavyUSA5890
SEAFelix HernandezVEN61120
SEACarlos SilvaVEN58120
TBAJ.P. HowellUSA1030
WASJoel HanrahanUSA1530
WASSaul RiveraPUR1130
* - Rough outings are my unscientific count of outings with an average of more than 20 pitches per inning. The 2008 Major League average was about 16 pitches per inning, so if a pitcher averages 20 pitches per inning, he might be working a little too hard in that game.

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Friday, March 6, 2009

1st 2009 WBC plunk

Korea second baseman Keun-Woo Jeong got hit by a Chen Lee pitch in his first plate appearance of today's game against Chines Taipei (we have to call Taiwan that because otherwise the People's Republic of China will take their ball and go home). Jeong claims the first HBP of the 2009 World Baseball Classic.

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Monday, March 2, 2009

Twins Spring Preview

Let's just say, based on last year's performance in the HBP categories, the 2009 Minnesota Twins have room for improvement. They finished dead last in both getting hit by pitches (36 in 2008) and hitting opposing batters with pitches (just 31).

On the pitching side, it's probably going to be more of the same in 2009. The Twins organization preaches command and control and control and command and control. Oh, and command. Any interview with anyone involved with the Twins pitching staff at any level of their organization will involve the words "command" and "control" more times than the total number of batters the Twins are likely to plunk this year. They threw the fewest balls per pitch, and per batter faced in the majors last year, so it's no surprise that they're not hitting anyone. Stephen Colbert would not approve of their ball ratios. The Twins entire spring training roster has only hit a career total of 112 batters - that's not even enough to bring down David Eckstein (he's been hit 125 times, and he's still going). However, it should be noted that opposing batters should not just sit back and assume that the Twins CAN'T hit them with pitches. Given their ability to hit the strike zone as often as they do, they ought to be really good at hitting a batter if they wanted to. In fact, remember those gulf war bomb camera videos where the smart bombs would fly in through a 4th floor window, take the escalator down to the basement, give the secret password, sneak in through the door to the underground bunker, and then explode? Think of that with a baseball and a batter.

On the batting side, though, the Twins really could get hit by some more pitches. A lot of websites might just point that out, and mock the Twins inability to get hit by pitches, and maybe post a picture of the Twins not getting hit by a pitch with the word "FAIL" in big letters, or a kitten in a Twins uniform with a caption that says "I canz not get hit by pitchez?", but this site is meant to be a little more helpful than that. So, here are a few ways the Twins batters can get hit by some more pitches, and maybe even get out of last place in the HBP category.

  • Give Joe Crede lots of playing time at third base - Crede isn't going to lead the league in HBPs, but in seasons when he plays over 130 games, he averages close to 8 plunks. He hasn't had one of those seasons in a couple of years, and maybe getting hit by pitches isn't the best way to stay healthy, but the 2008 Twins got a total of 1 HBP from guys playing third base. That wasn't only 2nd to last in the league, but only because the Phillies 3rd basemen didn't get hit by any pitches at all. 2nd to last is really the best you can hope for when you get hit by 1 pitch, so Crede should be an upgrade.

  • Give Carlos Gomez more playing time in the leadoff spot - This might be counter-intuitive, since Gomez got hit once per 63.3 plate appearances in the 9th spot in the order, and only once per 103.75 plate appearances batting 1st. But, Gomez tied for the team lead in HBPs, and the leadoff spot was the only spot in the batting order where the twins cracked the top 10 in the league HBP rankings. They need a guy who can get hit by some pitches leading off the batting order, setting the tone for the rest of the team.

  • Be a little more patient at the plate - The Twins were 22nd in the Majors in pitches per plate appearance. Guys like Kevin Youkilis and Jason Giambi get hit by a lot of pitches because they stand around and watch a lot of pitches. If you wait around for a few pitches, maybe you can give the pitcher a chance to make a mistake that gives you a free base.
  • Less Joe Mauer, more Mike Redmond - This one could cause civil unrest in Minnesota, but the Twins were dead last in HBPs recorded by catchers last year. Redmond and Mauer each got plunked just once, but at least Redmond has been hit 52 times in his career. Mauer's got a career total of 7. Carlos Quentin got hit in 6 consecutive games last year, but Mauer has only been plunked 7 times in 561 career games. Obviously, you can't put a number on the value Joe Mauer brings to his team when he's in the lineup and handling the pitching staff from behind the plate - but that's exactly the problem! Do you want to go along with the thing you can't put a number on but seems pretty good, or do you want to follow the easily proven stats that the Twins had a .594 win percentage when they got hit by at least one pitch, and only a .527 win percentage when they didn't. They were 1-0 when Mauer got hit by a pitch, so if he'd just take a few more for the team that would solve the problem, but if he can't do it, they should go with the guy who's been hit more than 7 times in the majors.
  • Move Delmon Young to DH - Designated Hitter was another problem area for the Twins, in the HBP category, which is sad for a position once held by Don Baylor. The came in 14th in the majors in HBPs by DHs, which is also known as dead last among teams that actually use the DH. Delmon Young tied for the team lead in HBPs last year with 7, so he might be the man to step into the DH role and get hit by some pitches. The Twins Designated Hitters only got plunked twice last year, and neither of those plunks involved Jason Kubel. Kubel got most of the DH plate appearances last year, and looks to be the Twins DH for 2009
  • Sign Luis Matos to play outfield - He's a non-roster invitee in the Twins training camp, but he got hit 7 times in the winter leagues this past offseason - and that's showing more potential than most of the team.
  • Stand closer to the plate, and stop ducking out of the way - You really just should have thought of this on your own.
  • Face more pitchers who hit a lot of batters - This is really just a trick of the schedule, but only 34.7% of the Twins plate appearances in 2008 were against pitchers who hit a batter more often than once per 100 batters faced. That's only 19th in the majors in that stat - the Yankees faced a pitcher who hit at least one in every 100 batters in 43.2% of their plate appearances. Perhaps this year's Interleague schedule against the NL Central can help with that
  • Be more like the Indians - that's not exactly conventional wisdom in baseball, but the Indians got hit by 103 pitches last year, setting a new modern record. Learning from their example couldn't hurt. (okay, poor choice of words there). Also, maybe if you watch the Indians too closely they'll take it the wrong way and have their pitchers throw a couple of brush-back pitches.


Hopefully these suggestions will find their way to the Twins and they can have a more successful 2009. Good luck Twins.

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