Friday, October 30, 2009

Yankees plunked 100 times in Postseason History

Along with being the first player ever plunked on October 29th, Mark Teixeira had the honor of recording the 100th postseason HBP in the history of the New York Yankees. It was Teixeira's first postseason plunk ever; recorded in the 8th inning against Ryan Madson, who had never before hit a batter in the postseason. Teixeira is now the 57th batter to be plunked in the postseason while batting for the Yankees.

For the Yankees franchise, it was the 49th HBP they've been thrown in the World Series, and the 30th World Series in which they've been hit by at least one pitch. The Tigers are a distant 2nd in World Series plunks with 20, but they've only been hit in 9 different World Series. The Red Sox have been hit 19 times in 10 World Series. On the overall postseason list, the Red Sox are a distant 2nd with 44.

Last nights plunk was the 12th in Yankees history in game 2 of the World Series, but they've been hit more times in game 3 with 14 plunks. Another 10 Yankees have been plunked in World Series Game 1, 6 in game 5, 5 in game 4, and 2 in game 6. But no Yankee has ever been hit by a pitch in game 7 of a World Series. Miguel Cairo got hit in ALCS game 7, in 2004, but that's the only game 7 the Yankees have been plunked in.

Here's the full break down of the Yankees 100 postseason plunks, by round and game:

GameALDSALCSWorld SeriesTotal
Game 18
Game 27
Game 34
Game 43
Game 53
Game 6n/a
Game 7n/a1

Of the 100 baserunners the Yankees have gotten by being hit by pitches, only 16 of them have actually come around to score a run. The last time a plunked batter came around to score was that ALCS game 7 plunk in 2004 by Miguel Cairo (that includes plunks on which a pinch runner took the place of the hit batter, and the pinch runner scored). Cairo has scored 3 times after reaching on HBPs - all in the 2004 ALCS. Derek Jeter is the only other Yankee to score runs after plunks twice. The others to do so are Nick Johnson, Jason Giambi, Chuck Knoblauch, Jim Leyritz, Randy Velarde, Rick Cerone, Elston Howard, Tony Kubek, Hank Bauer, Phil Rizzuto, Joe Dimaggio, and Billy Johnson. Only Mike Stanley, George Pipgras and Earle Combs have been hit with the bases loaded in the postseason for the Yankees - once each.

Overall, the Yankees have won 53 postseason games in which they've been hit by at least 1 pitch, and lost 31. In games when they've been hit twice, they're 11-5. 59 of their 100 postseason plunks have been recorded in series that the Yankees went on to win. They've won 34 of the 50 postseason series in which they've been hit by a pitch at least once - they have a 17 and 5 series record when they get hit once, 10-6 when plunked twice, 3-3 when they get hit 3 times, and 4-1 when they get hit 4 times in a series, and 0-1 when hit 7 times in a postseason series (that was the '04 Red Sox). Overall, they've won 46 postseason series and lost 21 so they actually have a slightly better record of winning their series when they don't get hit by any pitches, at 11-5.

Tino Martinez has the Yankees postseason record for total plunks with 6, but he never got hit in the World Series. Derek Jeter, Yogi Berra, Elston Howard and Reggie Jackson all got hit 3 times in the World Series, so that's the record for that round. Miguel Cairo is the only Yankee to get hit 4 times in a single postseason, and he actually did all of them in a single series - the 2004 ALCS. That's not just a Yankee record, it's an MLB record for both most HBPs for a batter in a single series, and for a single postseason. The first Yankee ever to be plunked in the postseason was Mike McNally in the 1921 World Series (game 3). The first ALCS plunk for the Yankees landed on Rick Cerone in the 4th inning of game 2 of the 1981 ALCS - but Greg Nettles got hit two innings later. Randy Velarde recorded the first ALDS plunk in Yankees history in game 1 of the 1995 division series. Mike Gazella was the only Yankee ever plunked in extra innings of a postseason game, getting hit in the 10th inning of game 5 in the 1926 World Series. Chuck Knoblauch was the only player plunked as the first Yankee batter of the game in the postseason, and he did so twice - in ALDS game 1, and ALCS game 5 of 1998. Knoblauch's 1998 postseason for the Yankees was the only time in major league history a batter got hit in all 3 rounds of the postseason.

Pedro Martinez is responsible for more plunkings of Yankees than any other postseason pitcher, with 4. No other pitcher has thrown more than 2. The Dodgers are the franchise who has hit the Yankees the most, having thrown 16 World Series plunks against the Yankees. The Red Sox have hit them 12 times. They've been plunked by 21 of the 29 other Major League teams - 9 from the AL and 12 from the NL. The only teams that haven't hit the Yankees at least once in the postseason are the Astros, Brewers, Rockies, Nationals, Rays, White Sox, Blue Jays and Royals.

Here's the complete list of every Yankee plunked in the postseason:
Tino Martinez - 6 (2001 ALDS x2, 1999 ALCS, 1998 ALCS, 1996 ALCS, 1997 ALDS)
Derek Jeter - 5 (2003 WS, 2001 WS, 1996 WS, 2001 ALDS, 2000 ALDS)
Alex Rodriguez - 5 (2004 ALCS x2, 2005 ALDS x2, 2006 ALDS)
Miguel Cairo - 4 (2004 ALCS x4)
Jason Giambi - 4 (2006 ALDS x2, 2003 WS, 2002 ALDS)
Chuck Knoblauch - 4 (1998 WS, 2000 ALCS, 1998 ALCS, 1998 ALDS)
Yogi Berra - 3 (1953 WS x2, 1955 WS)
Elston Howard - 3 (1964 WS, 1962 WS, 1960 WS)
Reggie Jackson - 3 (1978 WS x2, 1977 WS)
David Justice - 3 (2000 WS x2, 2001 ALCS)
Alfonso Soriano - 3 (2003 ALCS, 2001 ALCS, 2002 ALDS)
Bernie Williams - 3 (2000 ALCS, 1999 ALDS, 1997 ALDS)
Scott Brosius - 2 (2000 WS, 2001 ALDS)
Robinson Cano - 2 (2009 ALCS x2)
Mariano Duncan - 2 (1996 ALCS, 1996 ALDS)
Lou Gehrig - 2 (1936 WS, 1932 WS)
Jim Leyritz - 2 (1996 ALDS, 1995 ALDS)
Raul Mondesi - 2 (2002 ALDS x2)
Joe Pepitone - 2 (1964 WS, 1963 WS)
Jorge Posada - 2 (2004 ALCS, 2000 ALCS)
Babe Ruth - 2 (1932 WS, 1922 WS)
Hank Bauer - 1 (1953 WS)
Aaron Boone - 1 (2003 ALCS)
Rick Cerone - 1 (1981 ALCS)
Chris Chambliss - 1 (1976 WS)
Earle Combs - 1 (1927 WS)
Frankie Crosetti - 1 (1938 WS)
David Dellucci - 1 (2003 ALCS)
Bill Dickey - 1 (1932 WS)
Joe DiMaggio - 1 (1950 WS)
Joe Dugan - 1 (1922 WS)
Karim Garcia - 1 (2003 ALCS)
Mike Gazella - 1 (1926 WS)
Tommy Henrich - 1 (1941 WS)
Billy Johnson - 1 (1947 WS)
Nick Johnson - 1 (2003 ALDS)
Tony Kubek - 1 (1960 WS)
Tony Lazzeri - 1 (1937 WS)
Johnny Lindell - 1 (1947 WS)
Billy Martin - 1 (1952 WS)
Hideki Matsui - 1 (2003 WS)
Gil McDougald - 1 (1953 WS)
Mike McNally - 1 (1921 WS)
Graig Nettles - 1 (1981 ALCS)
John Olerud - 1 (2004 ALDS)
Herb Pennock - 1 (1923 WS)
Lou Piniella - 1 (1977 WS)
George Pipgras - 1 (1928 WS)
Phil Rizzuto - 1 (1951 WS)
Eddie Robinson - 1 (1955 WS)
Joe Sewell - 1 (1932 WS)
Bill Skowron - 1 (1962 WS)
Mike Stanley - 1 (1997 ALDS)
Johnny Sturm - 1 (1941 WS)
Nick Swisher - 1 (2009 ALCS)
Mark Teixeira - 1 (2009 WS)
Randy Velarde - 1 (1995 ALDS)

In summary, I find this much more impressive than the 26 championships. But I still don't like the Yankees.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Pedro vs the Yankees

As you may have noticed, nobody got hit by a pitch in World Series game 1 last night. That made it the 4th consecutive year that nobody got hit in game 1 of the World Series, and the 68th plunk-free World Series game 1 of all time. But tonight, Pedro Martinez is facing AJ Burnett. Burnett hit 4 batters in the first two rounds of the postseason this year, which means he's tied with Roy Oswalts 2005 postseason, and Pedro Martinez's 2004 postseason for the most plunks by a pitcher in a single postseason run. Pedro, meanwhile, is facing the Yankees. He's already hit them 4 times in the postseason - no other pitcher has plunked the same team more than 3 times in his post season career. He has also hit 17 Yankees in the regular season, which is more than any other active or recently active pitcher.

On the other hand, of those 21 regular season and postseason plunks Pdro has thrown at the Yankees, only 4 hit a batter who was in last night's yankees line-up. He's hit Alex Rodriguez twice (both times in the 2004 ALCS), and he's hit Derek Jeter and Jorge Posada just once each. He's never hit Damon, Matsui, Cano, Cabrera, Teixeira or Swisher. But there's a first time for everything.

Also on the list of never-done-before feats of plunkery, there has never been a major league HBP on October 29th - every other day in October has had at least one plunke recorded, but no one has ever been hit on the 29th. But, there has also never been a game on the 29th of October (which just brings up the question one more time of why this is the latest starting date for a world series ever - a day later than the 2001 world series game 1 which was postponed for legitimate reasons, and in a year when neither LCS went 7 games. Stop it MLB, just stop it.)

Lastly, the Yankees have been hit 99 times in postseason history. Wouldn't it be nice to have Pedro's name go into the history books as the pitcher who threw the 100th pitch to hit a Yankees batter in the postseason?

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 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


Friday, October 23, 2009

Burnett fails to break Yankee's record for postseason plunking

Postseason HBPs of note: October 22, 2009

AJ Burnett went into last night's ALCS game 5 having already hit 4 batters this postseason - that's the most batters any Yankee has plunked in a single postseason, but for career postseason plunks, he's tied with 4 other Yankees pitchers. Roger Clemans, David Wells, Jeff Nelson and Orlando Hernandez have all hit 4 batters in their postseason careers with the Yankees, but Burnett failed to break his tie with them last night. He didn't hit anyone.

Robinson Cano got hit by Brian Fuentes, in the only plunking of the game. Fuentes had never hit a batter before in the postseason, but Cano has now been hit twice this year in postseason play. He's tied with Mike Napoli, Jimmy Rollins, Russell Martin and Shane Victorino for the most HBPs in this years playoffs, and he's the 21st Yankee with at least 2 postseason HBPs. That was also the 99th time a Yankee batter has been plunked in postseason play, and the third Yankee plunked on October 22nd.


Thursday, October 22, 2009

Rollins becomes first batter plunked twice while clinching NLCS

Postseason HBPs of note: October 21, 2009

Jimmy Rollins got hit by two pitches last night making him the first batter ever to get plunked twice in the clinching game of the NLCS. That also puts Rollins in a tie for the most postseason plunks in Phillies franchise history, with Greg Luzinski, Garry Maddox and Shane Victorino - who got his 2nd postseason plunk last night as well. The Phillies are the 3rd team to get hit 3 times while clinching the NLCS, along with the 2002 Giants and 1999 Braves.

George Sherrill hit Victorino, making that the 3rd time he's hit a batter in the 2009 postseason. That ties him with Tommy John and Don Sutton for 1st place on the Dodgers all time postseason hbp list. He and Tommy John are the only Dodgers pitchers to hit 3 batters in the postseason in a single year. Sherrill also now holds the postseason plunking record for pitchers born in Tennessee with his 3 hit batters. No other person born in Tennessee has hit more than 1 batter in the post season.


Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Ervin Santana breaks Angel's postseason plunking record!

Postseason HBPs of note: October 20, 2009

Ervin Santana hit Nick Swisher with a pitch last night, making that the third time Santana has hit a batter in the postseason... which is a new franchise record for the Angels. Paul Byrd and Jarrod Washburn had each hit two postseason batters for the Angels, but Santana has now hit 3. Santana is also the 16th pitcher to hit at least two Yankees batters in postseason play, but he'll have to hit two more Yankees just to tie Pedro Martinez in the category of hitting Yankees in the postseason.

Nick Swisher was the 56th batter plunked for the Yankees in the postseason, and they've now been hit 98 times in postseason play.


Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Ruiz plunk leads to walkoff win

Postseason HBPs of note: October 19, 2009

Phillies catcher Carlos Ruiz stepped to the plate down by 1 run in the 9th inning last night, with one out and a runner on first, and did what needed to be done - he got hit by a pitch. But two batters later, he came around to score the game's winning run on a walkoff double by Jimmy Rollins. As you may recall, the last time a batter got hit by a pitch that put him on base to score the winning run in a walkoff was game 3 of the world series last year, when it was Carlos Ruiz himself hitting the game winner, driving in Eric Bruntlett who had reached on a plunk. The only other plunk in postseason history that resulted in the game ending run being scored by the plunked runner was in NLDS game 1 between the Marlins and Giants in 1997. Charles Johnson got plunked in the 9th in that one, and scored the winning run on an Edgar Renteria single.

Shane Victorino also got plunked yesterday, but he got his in the 8th inning, and did not score a run. But that made him the first player born in Hawaii to get hit by a pitch in a postseason game in the Majors. Ruiz was the first player born in Panama to get a postseaon plunk.

George Sherrill threw Victorino's plunk, giving him 2 this postseason, which leaves him tied for 2nd on the Dodgers career list, behind Tommy John and Don Sutton who both hit 3 batters in postseason play for the Dodgers. John threw all 3 in 1977, so Sherrill is one short of the Dodgers single-postseason record as well. 8 other pitchers have hit 2 postseason batters for the Dodgers. Jonathon Broxton became the 11th pitcher from Georgia to hit a batter in the postseason.


Monday, October 19, 2009

LCS plunk rates

Here are the game-by-game plunk rates for each League Championship Series. Because you need to know these things. (This year is not included).

American League Championship Series plunk rates by game:
GamePA per HBPTotal HBP

National League Championship Series plunk rates by game:
GamePA per HBPTotal HBP

NLCS game 3 -also plunkless

Nobody got hit in yesterday's NLCS game 3, making that the 26th time the 3rd game of the NLCS has been plunkless. Last season, two batters were hit in game 3 of the NLCS, setting a record for NLCS game 3.
The Phillies still have not been plunked this season, even though their franchise record is right there waiting to be broken at just 2 HBPs. Chase Utley and Ryan Howard are both one postseason HBP behind Phillies record holders Greg Luzinski and Garry Maddox, who both got hit twice in the postseason while playing for the Phillies. Last year, the Phillies didn't get hit by a pitch until game 3 of the World Series.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

AJ Burnett becomes first two plunk two in two games

Postseason HBPs of note: October 17, 2009

AJ Burnett hit Kendry Morales and Chone Figgins in yesterday's Yankees win over the Angels, and that performance made Burnett the first pitcher ever to have two multi-plunk games in the same postseason. Burnett hit two Twins on October 9th. He joins Tim Wakefield, Mark Mulder and Mike Boddiker as the only pitchers with 2 multi-plunk postseason games in their career, but none but Burnett had both games in the same year. Burnett is up to 4 HBPs this season, which ties him with Pedro Martinez in 2004 and Roy Oswalt in 2005 for the most plunks in a single postseason. And the chances look good that Burnett will get another opportunity to pitch this postseason, and to break the single year plunking record.

On Friday, Pedro Martinez hit Russel Martin, giving Pedro 7 career postseason plunks, which is more than any two othe pitchers from the Dominican Republic, and behind only Tim Wakefield and Greg Maddux on the career postseason plunks list. Martin has now been hit 4 times in the postseason, which moves him into the all time lead for Canadian postseason HBPs, ahead of Larry Walker and Corey Koskie. Martin is also the Dodgers all time leader in postseason plunks, in case you missed it last week.

Friday, October 16, 2009

NLCS game 1 - plunkless

Historically, batters have been hit 51.2% more often in NLCS game 1 in odd numbered years than in even numbered years, so that should have made this a good year for NLCS game one plunks. But there weren't any. Nobody got hit in this years NLCS game 1... so MAYBE the plunk rates in odd years versus even years isn't that relevent. On the other hand, NLCS game 1s played in years evenly divisible by 3 have HBP per plate appearance rates 23.2% higher than years no divisible by 3, so that makes sense since 2009 is not divisible by 3. And yet, 2009 is evenly divisible by 7, and plunk rates in NLCS game 1 in years evenly divisible by 7 are 107.8% higher than in NLCS game 1s in other years, which makes this year's lack of plunks a mystery once again. This is the first year in which an NLCS has been played that's also divisible by 7 in which a batter wasn't plunked in NLCS game 1. So that's weird.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

2009 season final difficulty ratings

Since there seems to be a lull in the HBP action this offseason, here's a look at the final standings in difficulty ratings for various stats for the 2009 season. Difficulty ratings are explained here or here. Maybe.

Chase Utley got hit by a lot of pitches, but he didn't do it by stocking up on plunks against pitchers who throw them in excessive numbers. In fact, the pitchers who plunked Utley where, as a group, right on the major league average in plunks thrown per batter faced. Kelly Shoppach, on the other hand, got a lot of relatively cheap and easy plunks, being hit by pitchers who just hit a lot of batters. By difficulty rating, Shoppach's 19 plunks were only equivalent to 13.8 plunks against average pitchers. Kevin Youkilis and Jason Kendall, on the other hand, got some style points by being hit by guys who don't throw a lot of plunks, so they would have each needed another 2 plunks to equal their difficulty scores if they only got hit by average pitchers.

PlayerHBPDifficulty RatingAverage Difficulty
Chase Utley242819117.4
Jason Kendall172305135.6
Kevin Youkilis162127133
Carlos Quentin152078138.5
Shin-Soo Choo171945114.4
Ryan Braun131796138.2
Andre Ethier131656127.4
Brandon Inge17165597.3
Kelly Shoppach18162090
Kevin Kouzmanoff111514137.6
Josh Willingham121373114.4
Chris Iannetta111352122.9
Russell Martin111288117.1
Aaron Rowand14128291.5
Hanley Ramirez91247138.5
Marlon Byrd101230123
Ryan Garko101221122.1
Matt Diaz13121793.6
Milton Bradley111181107.4

Hit batters
Just like it's easier to get hit by Dave Bush than is to get hit by Andy Pettitte, it's much easier to plunk Brandon Inge than it is to plunk Chone Figgins, so we can apply the same theory to the pitchers and rank their Hit Batter totals by difficulty rating. Dave Bush may have hit the most batters, but Joba Chamberlain did the best job hitting batters who don't get hit very often. Tim Stauffer really went for the difficulty ratings, coming in fourth with only 5 plunks thrown - he was the only pitcher to hit Rafael Furcal in 680 plate appearances, and the only pitcher to plunk Dexter Fowler in 518 plate appearances.

PlayerHit Batters
Difficulty RatingAverage Difficulty
Joba Chamberlain121846153.8
Chad Gaudin81768221
David Bush151756117.1
Tim Stauffer51461292.2
Kevin Millwood111453132.1
Jeff Suppan111380125.5
A.J. Burnett101336133.6
Edgar Gonzalez61329221.5
Johnny Cueto14132294.4
Brian Bass51297259.4
Vicente Padilla81255156.8
Rich Harden61236206
Fausto Carmona81232154
Scott Feldman91184131.6
John Lackey91171130.1
Jorge De La Rosa91158128.6
Chris Perez61041173.4
Ervin Santana101027102.7
Jamie Moyer101007100.7

Home Runs
These are the players who were the best at hitting a lot of home runs, and hitting them against pitchers who give up relatively few home runs. Miguel Cabrera hit 34 homers, but didn't make the list because he's rated as the most guilty of pumping up his home run totals against pitchers who give up a lot of longballs. His 34 real life homers had a difficulty rating equal to just 28 homers against average pitching.

PlayerHRDifficulty RatingAverage Difficulty
Mark Reynolds44199145.3
Prince Fielder46189741.2
Ryan Howard45181440.3
Albert Pujols47167135.5
Adrian Gonzalez40144636.1
Adam Dunn38144438
Kendry Morales34138440.7
Jayson Werth36138338.4
Ryan Zimmerman33135641.1
Raul Ibanez34135239.8

Home Runs Allowed
These are the pitchers who gave up the most homers to guys who are not normally what you'd consider homer run threats. Braden Looper tops the list mostly on sheer volume, but Jonathon Sanchez comes in second thanks largely to being the only pitcher to give up a homer to Luis Castillo in 580 plate appearances. That's... probably not good.
PlayerHRDifficulty RatingAverage Difficulty
Braden Looper39178245.7
Jonathan Sanchez19157682.9
Bronson Arroyo31139044.8
Derek Holland26136052.3
Jeremy Guthrie35132237.8
Kevin Millwood26122647.2
Johnny Cueto24120650.2
Chris Volstad29118740.9
John Danks28115641.3
Luke Hochevar23108847.3

Strikouts (pitchers)
Overall, batters struck out once every 5.6 plate appearances so you can see that the batters struck out by Justin Verlander and Tim Lincecum were pretty close to average on the difficulty rating. CC Sabathia is the standout of the group since his 197 strikeouts would have been equivalent to 215 strikouts against average batters.
PlayerKDifficulty RatingAverage Difficulty
Justin Verlander26915305.7
Tim Lincecum26114425.5
Zack Greinke24213945.8
Jon Lester22513275.9
Javier Vazquez23812945.4
Felix Hernandez21712735.9
Dan Haren22312185.5
C.C. Sabathia19712006.1
Josh Beckett19911946
Adam Wainwright21211725.5

Strikeouts (batters)
Mark Reynolds strike out with ridiculous frequency, but a lot of those strikeouts were against pitchers who strike out lots of batters. His 223 strikeouts only had a difficulty rating equal to 213 strikeouts against average pitchers. Of course 213 strikeouts is still awful, just not as bad as 223. Good thing he hits a lot of homers.

PlayerKDifficulty RatingAverage Difficulty
Mark Reynolds22311915.3
Jack Cust18510715.8
Ryan Howard18610375.6
Adam Dunn1779715.5
Brandon Inge1709495.6
Jason Bay1629385.8
Carlos Pena1639095.6
Russell Branyan1498635.8
Mike Cameron1568495.4
Chris Davis1508445.6

Walks (not including intentional walks)
Chone Figgins appears to be a big fan of inflating his walk total against pitchers who throw a lot of walks. Maybe his new "patience at the plate" the TBS announcers have been talking about is really just a better understanding of which pitchers give up a lot of walks, and therefor are the ones you should swing less against. Anyway, walks were handed out to about 1 in every 12.1 batters, so Figgins' 101 walks were equivalent in difficulty to about 97 walks against average pitchers.
PlayerBBDifficulty RatingAverage Difficulty
Adam Dunn100130313
Adrian Gonzalez97122112.6
Nick Johnson95120412.7
Chone Figgins101118111.7
Nick Swisher95114912.1
Marco Scutaro90112612.5
Kosuke Fukudome90111012.3
Jason Bay90109712.2
Jack Cust88109612.5
Lance Berkman83106812.9

Walks Allowed (not including intentional walks)
Here are the guys who walked the most batters who don't get issued a lot of walks. Dodgers starter Clayton Kershaw really went out of his way to walk some guys that no one else wanted to walk - he was the only pitcher to walk Adam Wainwright this year, as well as the only pitcher to walk Jason Hammel - and he did that twice.
PlayerBBDifficulty RatingAverage Difficulty
Doug Davis102123812.1
Clayton Kershaw87117713.5
A.J. Burnett97115611.9
Yovani Gallardo89105911.9
Jorge De La Rosa80104013
Jonathan Sanchez8399412
Ubaldo Jimenez7998312.4
Chad Billingsley7997712.4
Ian Snell8097712.2
Jason Marquis7496513

Sacrifice Flies
Sacrifice Flying is largely a lost art... or a never found art. But Casey Blake sacrificed in the most fly manner this year, accumulating a difficulty score equivalent to 12.7 sac flies against average pitching in only 10 Sacrifice Flies. Adrian Gonzalez also hit some impressively unlikely sacrifice flies, including the only one allowed this year by Paul Maholm (836 total batters faced), and the only one allowed by Charlie Morton (416 batters faced).
PlayerSFDifficulty RatingAverage Difficulty
Casey Blake101738173.8
Bengie Molina111580143.7
Garret Anderson91503167
Adrian Gonzalez41473368.3
Ryan Zimmerman91347149.7
Jeff Francoeur91299144.3
Todd Helton101232123.2
Randy Winn81207150.9
Bobby Abreu91181131.2
Fernando Tatis41179294.8

Sacrifice Flies Allowed
Grady Sizemore was nearly shut out in the Sac Fly column in 2009, in 503 plate appearance, but Armando Galarraga gave one up to him. Nobody else did. Jeremy Guthrie gave up Johnny Damon's only sac fly in 626 plate appearances. (By the way, sacrifice flies occured 7.8% more often at this season's yankee stadium than they did at last season's yankee stadium, so not every ball flies out of the new park. Although, the increase in sac flies may be due to more batters thinking that every fly ball will be a homer due to the April hype, and swinging for the fences more often)

PlayerSFDifficulty RatingAverage Difficulty
Armando Galarraga111566142.4
Jeremy Guthrie81517189.7
Chad Billingsley111499136.3
Chad Gaudin81429178.7
Livan Hernandez101401140.1
Zach Duke101254125.4
Brian Bannister101227122.7
Felix Hernandez111166106
Jason Marquis101138113.8
Brian Tallet71113159

Hits occured about once every 4.3 plate appearances in 2009, so most of these guys faced pitchers who were really close to the league average. (There just isn't that much variance from pitcher to pitcher in hits allowed per plate appearance, compared to something like HBPs per plate appearance). But, it looks like Robinson Cano found a few extra hits against weak pitching to put him over the 200 hits mark. His total difficulty score for his 204 hits was equivalent to just 195 hits against average pitching.
PlayerHDifficulty RatingAverage Difficulty
Ichiro Suzuki2259704.3
Derek Jeter2128954.2
Miguel Tejada1998814.4
Ryan Braun2038774.3
Miguel Cabrera1988454.3
Robinson Cano2048404.1
Aaron Hill1958364.3
Hanley Ramirez1978314.2
Felipe Lopez1878234.4
Joe Mauer1918204.3

Hits Allowed
This would be the list of pitchers who gave up the most hits to batters who did get a lot of hits, but most of these pitchers faced groups of batters who were just about average. James Shields is down the list somewhat from his total hit rank, because he gave up more hits against batters who are easy to give up hits to.
PlayerHDifficulty RatingAverage Difficulty
Cliff Lee24510574.3
Nick Blackburn24010234.3
Jon Garland22510084.5
Derek Lowe2329984.3
Braden Looper2269974.4
James Shields2399924.2
Zach Duke2319924.3
Roy Halladay2349914.2
Carl Pavano2359884.2
Jason Marquis2189644.4

Foul Balls Hit
Once again, there just isn't that much variation among foul ball rates for pitchers.
PlayerfoulsDifficulty RatingAverage Difficulty
Brian Roberts57432465.7
Andre Ethier53830905.7
Pablo Sandoval52930105.7
Todd Helton53130085.7
Carl Crawford52629515.6
Ryan Howard50329155.8
Jose Lopez51229065.7
Jayson Werth50829035.7
Ichiro Suzuki50728835.7
Aaron Hill50428815.7

Foul Balls Allowed
Sure, why not.
PlayerFoulsDifficulty RatingAverage Difficulty
Justin Verlander86048845.7
Scott Baker80545235.6
Cliff Lee75842695.6
Randy Wolf70139735.7
Edwin Jackson68038745.7
Matt Cain67338605.7
Roy Halladay65237415.7
C.C. Sabathia65537235.7
Matt Garza63436775.8
Jon Lester64636765.7

Missed Swings
These are the batters who swung and missed the most against pitchers who don't cause that many swinging strikes (not to be confused with actual strikeouts - these are just swinging strikes, with difficulty based on swinging strikes per pitch). Whiffs occured about once every 11.8 pitches, so Mark Reynolds swung and missed 478 times against a group of pitchers who caused slightly more swings and misses than average. Russel Branyon, Jack Cust and Miguel Olivo did more swinging and missing against pitchers who don't make a lot of batters miss.
PlayerWhiffsDifficulty RatingAverage Difficulty
Mark Reynolds478554211.6
Ryan Howard446530011.9
Russell Branyan337420112.5
Carlos Pena346417912.1
Jack Cust316396412.5
Brad Hawpe324396212.2
Miguel Olivo312388512.5
Chris Davis315372711.8
Brandon Inge308359511.7
Shin-Soo Choo298354811.9

Whiffs Caused
Justin Verlander caused 442 missed swings, and those batters he caused to swing and miss averaged a whiff every 12.3 pitches - which means they whiffed less often then the league average which is 1 miss per 11.8 pitches. But he also caused the most overall swings and misses, before applying the difficulty score. CC Sabathia was especially good at getting batters who don't miss the ball often to miss against him. His 391 whiffs caused had a difficulty equal to 420 swinging strikes against average batters.

PlayerWhiffsDifficulty RatingAverage Difficulty
Justin Verlander442543412.3
C.C. Sabathia391497112.7
Javier Vazquez410474711.6
Rich Harden372454912.2
Tim Lincecum371445712
Felix Hernandez383442211.5
Jon Lester364435612
Cole Hamels364434211.9
Dan Haren365432011.8
Zack Greinke344416112.1

So, this information will probably help you when you least expect it. Better print it out and carry it around in your pocket.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Division Series wrap-up

Nobody got hit by a pitch in yesterday's final division series round game, but overall 12 batters were hit in the first round of this year's playoffs. That's the most plunks in the divisional round since 2005, when that year's playoff teams combined for a record 20 division series HBPs. In terms of HBPs per game, it was the fourth most ever, with .923 HBPs per game. The Red Sox didn't move on to the next round, but they did defend their lead on the all time list of teams who have hit the most batters in the divisional round. They hit 3 Angels batters this year, bringing their DS total to 25 plunks. The Yankees are right behind them with 24 division series plunks thrown, but third place belongs to Cleveland with 13 plunks.
The Yankees weren't plunked in the Division Series, but they've still been hit more times than any other team in the Division round with 25 plunks.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Mike Napoli ties Angels record

Postseason HBPs of note: October 11, 2009

Mike Napoli was the only batter hit by a pitch in Sunday's Division Series action. He got hit by Clay Buchholz, bringing his career postseason total to 3 - which ties him with Bengie Molina and Bobby Grich for the most postseason plunks in Angels team history. And, since the Angels finished off the Red Sox, he'll have at least 4 more games to take sole possession of the record, against the team who led the AL in plunks thrown in the 2009 regular season.

Buchholz became the 40th pitcher in Red Sox history to hit a batter in the post season, dating back to October 3, 1903 when Cy Young was the first Sox pitcher to plunk someone in the World Series.


Friday, October 9, 2009

Plunked batters got 3 for 3

Postseason HBPs of note: October 8, 2009

Troy Tulowitzki got hit by a pitch yesterday afternoon for the Rockies, and the Rockies went on to win the game. Jim Thome got hit for the Dodger, leading to a Dodgers win, and Torri Hunter got hit by a pitch during the Angels win. All three batters who got hit by a pitch went on to victory, which is no coincidence - prior to this year, the team that gets hit by more pitches has won 254 postseason games, and lost 171. That's a .598 win pct for the team with more plunks, but that's actually slightly less than the combined regular season win pct for the more plunked team from 1960 to 2008, of .599. In Division Series games though, teams that get hit by more pitches than there opponents have won 70 games and lost 34 prior to this year - for a .673 win pct. Wednesday, Matt Tolbert got hit by a pitch and lost with the Twins, while the Dodgers and Cardinals plunked each other and equal number of times, so this year's tally is 3 wins and 1 loss for the team who gets plunked the most.

Thome's plunk was the third of his postseason career, and the first postseason plunking thrown by Adam Wainwright. That was also the 30th plunk in postseason history for the Dodgers franchise. Troy Tulowitzki got first postseason HBP, but it was the 2nd time Brett Myers has hit someone in a postseason game. And, Torri Hunter got plunked by Ramon Ramirez, which tied Hunter for the all time postseason HBP record for batters born in Arkansas, with 1. Willie "3-dog" Davis (1965) and Taylor Douthit (1928) were the other two Arkansas born batters plunked in post season play.


Thursday, October 8, 2009

Cards and Dodgers plunk each other 4 times

Postseason HBPs of note: October 7, 2009

Matt Tolbert was on the receiving end of the first HBP of the 2009 postseason, getting hit by CC Sabathia pitch, but it was the Dodgers and Cardinals who really got things going. They plunked each other a total of 4 times, with each team throwing 2 plunks. That's the first Division Series ever to include 4 HBPs, and the first National League playoff game with 4 HBPs. Previously only 2 playoff games have ever included 4 HBPs, were ALCS game 5 in 1987, and ALCS game 5 in 1997.

Russel Martin got plunked with the bases loaded in the 6th inning, by Cardinals pitcher Kyle McLellan, making that the first postseason RBI plunk since October 6, 2005. That one was also thrown by the Cardinals, during NLDS game 2 against the Padres Xavier Nady. That was just the 12th RBI plunk ever achieved in postseason play. Martin has now been hit 3 times in postseason play, which is now the Dodgers franchise record. Pedro Guerrero, Dusty Baker, Jim Gilliam, and Steve Sax were all tie with Martin at 2 plunks in Dodgers postseason history before yesterday.


Wednesday, October 7, 2009

2009 American League Awards for outstanding achievement in the field of excellence, or at least weird stats no one else is looking at

Most Plunkable Player Award - AL (most HBPs by a batter):

Kelly Shoppach (Indians) - 18 HBPs

Shoppach led all American League batters by getting hit by 18 pitches, and even more impressively he did that while only playing 89 games. He got hit once every 18.2 plate appearances, which means his rate of plunks per plate appearance was 57.6% better than overall leader Chase Utley's. If he had as many plate appearances as Utley, and maintained the same rate, Shoppach would have been hit around 37 times.

The Phil Knell Award - AL (most batters plunked by a pitcher):

Joba Chamberlain (Yankees) - 12 HBPs

Joba had only hit 3 batters coming into this year, so he was a surprise winner of the AL Phil Knell Award - named after the old American Association pitcher who once hit 54 batters in a season. Because pitching awards need to be named after someone, for some reason.

Mitch Williams Award - AL (most hit batters by a relief pitcher):

Jamey Wright (Royals) - 7
Brandon League (Blue Jays) - 7

Wright has made an impressive transition from hitting a lot of batters as a starter, to hitting a lot of batters as a reliever. He adds this award to the two seasons he led the NL in overall plunks. Brandon League tied for the American League lead in relief plunkings, but he led the Brandon League in overall plunks, beating Brandon McCarthy (3), Brandon Medders (3), Brandon Lyon (2) and Brandon Webb (1) in total hit batters.

Plunked Rookie of the Year - AL (most HBPs by a rookie):

Chris Getz (White Sox) - 6
Elvis Andrus (Rangers) - 6
Gordon Beckham (White Sox) - 6

The Gus Weyhig Award - AL (most plunks thrown by a rookie):

Ricky Romero (Blue Jays) - 10

Sandy Alomar Award - AL (most plate appearance without an HBP):

Orlando Cabrera (A's/Twins) - 708 plate appearance, 0 HBPs

The Chick Fraser Award - AL (most batters faced without hitting anyone)

Scott Richmond (Blue Jays) - 610 batters faced, none hit

Most Plunked Team - AL (the plunk pennant):

Cleveland Indians - 81 HBPs

I bit of a slow year after their modern record 103 plunks last season, but still 11 more than the next most plunked AL team

Least Plunked Team - AL:

Texas Rangers - 37 HBPs

Most Plunks Thrown - AL:

New York Yankees - 71 hit batters

Fewest Plunks Thrown - AL:

Oakland A's - 36 hit batters

American League All Plunk Team:

1st Base: Kevin Youkilis (Red Sox) - 11 HBPs at 1B, 16 overall (Teixeira also had 11 as a first basemen, but he had only 12 overall)

2nd Base: Placido Polanco (Tigers) - 9 HBP, all as 2B

Short Stop: Nick Green (Red Sox) - 8 HBP, all as SS

3rd Base: Brandon Inge (Tigers) - 17 HBP, all as 3B

Left Field: Carlos Quentin (White Sox) - 15 HBP, all as Left Fielder

Center Field: Marlon Byrd (Rangers) - 9 HBPs as Center Fielder, 10 overall

Right Field: Shin-Soo Choo (Indians) - 14 HBPS as Right Fielder, 17 overall

Catcher: Kelly Shoppach (Indians) - 17 HBPs as Catcher, 18 overall

Designated Hitter: David Ortiz (Red Sox) - 5 HBP, all as DH

2009 AL BACON Title:

Ichiro Suzuki (Mariners) - .894 BACON

It may only have been Ichiro's 4th best season in total hits, with 225, but it was his most consistent season, with an .894 Bacon. Ichiro only had 68 at-bats in games in which he didn't have a hit. He batted .352 overall, and .394 in games in which he had at least one hit. When studies of Bacon get further back into baseball history, this will stand out as one of the best seasons ever. Ichiro's prior best season Bacon was in his 2001 season, when he had a .883.

2009 AL BACON x HBP Title:

Shin-Soo Choo (Indians) - 12.16

An impressive year for Choo in a stat that looks like fun, but doesn't make a lot of sense. It might show that Choo balanced the two skills of getting hit by a lot of pitches, and getting hits consistently from day to day.

2009 AL BACON x Hits Title:

Ichiro Suzuki (Mariners) - 201.06

Most Swings - AL (not including bunt attempts):

Aaron Hill - 1,293 swings

Most Swings that Missed - AL (not including bunt attempts):

Carlos Pena - 346 whiffs

Save a Tree award - AL (most plate appearances in which the batter did not risk damaging his bat by swinging it, not including intentional walks... or, most plate appearances with 0 swings):

Marco Scutaro - 78 swingless plate appearance. If only MLB kept stats on broken bats, we could calculate how many trees he save by just standing and watching pitches in those 78 plate appearances.

Most Foul Balls - AL

Brian Roberts - 574 foul balls

Best Contact PCT - AL

Marco Scutaro - 93.7% (Scutaro edged Placido Polanco 93.67% to 93.61%)

Fastest recorded plunk Received - AL

Paul Konerko (White Sox) - 98.2 MPH thrown by Daniel Bard (Red Sox) on August 24th

Fastest recorded plunk Thrown - AL

Daniel Bard (Red Sox) - 99.1 MPH thrown at Raul Ibanez (Phillies) on June 12th

Teen Wolf Award - AL (Most Home Runs on dates of full moons)

Grady Sizemore (Indians) - 4

(This would have been an HBP stat, but Teen Wolf seemed like a ball hog on the basketball court, which implies he'd have been more inclined to try to hit solo homers all day rather than help his team with an HBP)

Most plunks by day of the Week - AL

Sunday - Jason Bay (BOS), Adrian Beltre (SEA), Russell Branyan (SEA), Kelly Shoppach (CLE), - 4
Monday - Adam Jones (BAL) - 3
Tuesday - Kevin Youkilis (BOS) - 4
Wednesday - Gerald Laird (DET), Carlos Quentin (CHW) - 4
Thursday - Shin-Soo Choo (CLE) - 4
Friday - Brandon Inge (DET) - 5
Saturday - Carlos Quentin (CHW), Paul Konerko (CHW), Kevin Youkilis (BOS) - 5

Most plunks against a single team - AL

Brandon Inge - 6 plunks vs the Minnesota Twins, not counting the one that he didn't get in the playoff game.

Most plunks against pitchers from Canada - AL

Carlos Quentin - 3

Inge denied 18th plunk

HBPs of note: October 6, 2009

Brandon Inge stepped to the plate in top the 12th inning with the bases loaded and a chance to drive in a go-ahead run or four, in last nights tiebreaker playoff game at the Metrodome. He also stepped to the plate with 17 plunks on the season, one behind Kelly Shoppach for the American League HBP title. The first pitch appeared to brush Inge's shirt, which would have driven in the go-ahead run for the Twins, but the umpire ruled that it didn't hit him. That may have cost the Tigers the game, and a trip to the playoffs, but more importantly it cost Inge a share of the AL Most Plunkable Player award. Now, if the umpire had any question in his mind about whether or not the ball hit Inge, maybe he should have been aware the he'd already been hit 6 times this season by the Minnesota Twins and 17 times overall. If it had been any other player, it would be pretty safe to assume the Twins had not plunked him, but that was Brandon Inge - the only player in the past 25 years to get hit 6 times by the Twins.

There were two official HBPs in the game - Brendan Harris got plunked by Zach Miner in the 6th inning, becoming the first player hit by a pitch in a tiebreaker playoff game since Jeff Kent got plunked by Steve Trachsel in the 1998 AL Central playoff game. Also, Aubrey Huff got plunked by Jesse Crain in the 10th inning, and his pinch runner came to score a go ahead run - though the lead did not hold. Also, #9 hitter Nick Punto jumped out of the way of a sure plunking in the bottom of the eleventh inning that would have loaded the bases with 1 out and the top of the Twins batting order coming up - which may have ended the game quicker than the inning ending double play Punto eventually hit into (on a shallow attempt at a sacrifice fly). But, Punto has only been hit twice in 2,530 plate appearances, which is third worst in the majors among batters who have been hit at least once. When you don't develop good getting-hit skills in games throughout the season, you'll never be able to get that clutch HBP when you're team really needs it, Nick Punto. Fortunately for him, his teammates found a way to win in the 12th.

Huff's plunk was the only HBP ever recorded in an extra inning of a one game playoff, but back when the National League used to play 3-game playoff series to break ties for the pennant (before 1962), Dodgers catcher Joe Pignatano got plunked by Joey Jay in the 11th inning of game 2 of the 1959 NL Pennant playoff series.


Tuesday, October 6, 2009

2009 National League awards for outstanding achievement in the field of excellence

Since the National League finished their season when they were supposed to, we can hand out various awards for the year.

Most Plunkable Player Award - NL (most HBPs by a batter):

Chase Utley of the Phillies - 24 HBPs.

This is Utley's third consecutive National League Most Plunkable Player award, which makes him the first player since Craig Biggio to win the award in three consecutive years. Biggio did that in 1995, '96 and '97. Jason Kendall is the runner up this season, with 17 HBPs.

The Phil Knell Award - NL (most batters plunked by a pitcher):

Dave Bush of the Brewers - 15 hit batters.

Dave Bush became the first National League pitcher to hit 15 batters in a season since Dontrelle Willis in 2006.

Mitch Williams Award - NL (most hit batters by a relief pitcher):

Carlos Marmol - Cubs - 12 hit batters.

Plunked Rookie of the Year - NL (most HBPs by a rookie):

Kyle Blanks - Padres - 6 HBPs.

Some voters who have a greater understanding of more complicated statistical methods argued that Adam Rosales of the Reds should win this award because his 5 plunks had a higher lever of difficulty than Blanks' - many of them were Reds fans arguing that Blanks got to get plunked by Johnny Cueto and Rosales didn't. But, these voters were shouted down as nerds, and painted by the media as soft on crime. Or, there were never any voters.

The Gus Weyhig Award - NL (most plunks thrown by a rookie):

Alberto Arias - Astros - 6 hit batters.
Ronald Belisario - Dodgers - 6 hit batters.
Kenshin Kawakami - Braves- 6 hit batters.
JD Martin - Nationals - 6 hit batters.
Randy Wells - Cubs - 6 hit batters.

Sandy Alomar Award - NL (most plate appearance without an HBP):

James Loney - 651 plate appearances, no HBPs.

The Chick Fraser Award - NL (most batters faced without hitting anyone)

Yusmeiro Petit - 407 batters faced, none plunked

Most Plunked Team - NL (the plunk pennant):

Brewers - 71
Phillies - 71

Tie goes to the Brewers on head to head plunkings - they got hit 7 times by the Phillies, but only hit 3 Phillies.

Least Plunked Team - NL:

Mets - 36

Most Plunks Thrown - NL:

Phillies - 75 (The Phillis lead both leagues in hitting batters, after making a 13 plunk charge in the final two weeks of the season)

Fewest Plunks Thrown - NL:

Giants - 41

National League All Plunk Team:

1st Base: Nick Johnson - 11 HBPs while playing 1st, 12 overall

2nd Base: Chase Utley - 24 HBP - all as 2nd baseman

Short Stop: Miguel Tejada - 11 HBP - all at short

3rd Base: Kevin Kouzmanoff - 11 HBP - all at 3rd

Left Field: Ryan Braun - 12 HBP while playing LF - 13 overall

Center Field: Aaron Rowand - 14 HBP - all as Center Fielder

Right Field: Andre Ethier - 13 HBP - all as Right Fielder

Catcher: Jason Kendall - 17 HBP - all as catcher

Pitcher: Kyle Lohse - 2 HBP - and he hit at least one batter in each game in which he got hit.

Pinch Hitter: Wes Helms - 3 HBP

2009 NL BACON Title:
Felipe Lopez - Diamondbacks/Brewers - .800

Lopez batted .310 overall, and .387 in games when he had at least one hit, for an .800 BACON. Scott Rolen would have finished a few thousandths ahead of him if he had enough plate appearance in the NL to qualify for the title, and Carlos Beltran would have beaten them both handily if he had held up his .860 BACON over more than 81 games.

2009 NL BACON x HBP Title:

Chase Utley - 16.69

BACON x HBP measure a batters ability to get hit a lot while hitting consistently, showing that Utley's 24 plunks didn't leave him with any lingering injuries that would cause him to tough through games without being able to hit the ball. Or, it's just a stat I like and doesn't mean much of anything.

2009 NL BACON x Hits Title:

Ryan Braun - 159.2

BACON x Hits is a stat that measures a batter's ability to get a lot of hits, and get them in a consistent manner. Braun led the NL with 203 hits and had an impressive .784 BACON.

Most Swings - NL (not including bunt attempts):

Ryan Howard - Phillies - 1,385 swings

Most Swings that Missed - NL (not including bunt attempts):

Mark Reynolds - Diamondbacks - 478 whiffs

Save a Tree award - NL (most plate appearances in which the batter did not risk damaging his bat by swinging it, not including intentional walks... or, most plate appearances with 0 swings):

Prince Fielder - Brewers - 65 swingless plate appearances

Most Foul Balls - NL

Andre Either - Dodgers - 538

Best Contact PCT - NL

Luis Castillo - Mets - 93.7%

Fastest recorded plunk Received - NL

Raul Ibanez - Phillies - 99.1 mph - thrown by Daniel Bard (BOS) on June 12th

Fastest recorded plunk Thrown - NL

Waldis Joaquin - Giants - 98.7 mph - hit Everth Cabrera (SD) on October 3rd

Teen Wolf Award - NL (Most Home Runs on dates of full moons)

Ryan Ludwick - 4

Most plunks by day of the Week - NL

Sunday - Matt Diaz (Braves) - 5
Monday - Chase Utley (Phillies) - 5
Tuesday - Prince Fielder (Brewers), Willie Harris (Nationals) - 4
Wednesday - Aaron Rowand (Giants) - 5
Thursday - Jason Kendall (Brewers), Ben Francisco (Phillies) - 4
Friday - Chase Utley (Phillies) - 6
Saturday - Kevin Kouzmanoff (Padres), Kyle Blanks (Padres) - 4

Most plunks against a single team - NL

Chase Utley - 6 HBPs vs the Nationals

Most plunks against pitchers from Canada - NL

Ryan Braun - 3 HBPs vs Canadians

Monday, October 5, 2009

2009 award for most plunks in parks named after beer

There's still one game left in the 2009 season, but it's going to be played in the Metrodome, which I'm fairly certain is not named after a beer company. That means we're all set to award the 2009 award for most HBPs at parks named after beer. And this year it's Jason Kendall of the Milwaukee Brewers, appropriately enough. He got hit 12 times this year at parks with beer names, 11 times at Miller Park and once at Coor Field. That's tied for the 5th best season in beer park plunks in modern history (or rather, Jamie Moyer Era history). Fernando Vina holds the record with 15 in 2001 (for the Jamie Moyer Era... or, since 1986).

Here are this year's top HBP leaders in parks with beer names:

Jason Kendall (MIL) - 12
Ryan Braun (MIL) - 8
Clint Barmes (COL) - 7
Matt Diaz (ATL) - 5
Albert Pujols (STL) - 5
Brendan Ryan (STL) - 5
Chris Iannetta (COL) - 5
Dan Uggla (FLA) - 4
Hanley Ramirez (FLA) - 4
Mike Cameron (MIL) - 4

Especially impressive on that list is Matt Diaz who does not play his home games at a park named after beer. Also of note, in case you hadn't payed much attention to the Marlins this year, their landlord made a naming rights deal earlier this season which had them playing most of the year at a park under the name Land Shark Stadium. That's named after Land Shark Lager, so plunks occuring after May 15th in that park count toward the beer park standings.

This was the first season Jason Kendall has claimed the beer park HBP title, but he's up to 36 career beer park plunks. Only Albert Pujols is ahead of him among active players, with 43. 36 plunks in beer parks ties Kendall with Craig Biggio's total for such plunks, but the leader among the recently retired Moyer Era players is Larry Walker, who got hit 70 times in ballparks named for beers. Fernando Vina had 48, Geoff Jenkins had 41 and Andres Galarraga had 40. Matt Holiday is the next best active player at being plunked in parks named after beer, with 34.

On the pitching side, Jeff Suppan and Dave Bush both hit 7 batters at ballparks named after beer, which leaves them tied for the league title.

(Jamie Moyer Era note: since Jamie Moyer is the longest serving active player this season, and he started playing in 1986, I like to use 1986 as the starting point for the loosely defined "modern era". Since no one playing in 2009 played before 1986, that seems like a good starting point - and saves me from having too big a database of HBPs to manage. This approach may have to be adjusted next season, if Moyer does something crazy like retires.)


Season winds down with final plunks... except for the American League

HBPs of note: October 4, 2009

9 batters were hit by pitches on the final day of the National League version of the 2009 season, but the American League couldn't finish on time and has to play one more game on Tuesday. For some reason, the Detroit Tigers have been granted one more game for Brandon Inge to catch Kelly Shoppach on the AL HBP leader board for the year, but he'll have to do it against the Twins.

Randy Johnson hit Everth Cabrera with a pitch yesterday, which makes just 2 HBPs for the season for Johnson. That was his 190th career hit batter. The only other season Johnson has played in when he only hit two batters was 1996, but he only pitched in 14 games that year.

Edwin Encarnacion got his 45th career plunk, Guillermo Mota threw his 20th and Ron Mahay threw his 10th.


Sunday, October 4, 2009

Kouzmanoff Breaks Padres Plunk Record!

Finally! He's only been tied with Gene Tenace since August 26th.

HBPs of note: October 3, 2009

Kevin Kouzmanoff got hit by a 3rd inning pitch from Giants starter Matt Cain yesterday, bringing his career total to 36. He the first player ever to get hit by 36 pitches for the Padres, breaking Gene Tenace's 29 year old record. Tenace got his 35th plunk with the Padres on... ready for this?... October 3, 1980. Matt Cain his hit Kouzmanoff twice now, and the Giants have thrown one-sixth of his total HBPs with 6. No other team has hit Kouzmanoff more than 3 times. That's also the 8th plunk on a Saturday for Kouzmanoff, while he hasn't been hit more than 6 times on any other day of the week. Since 1980, aside from Kouzmanoff, there have been 172 instances of a player getting hit 36 times for a major league team, including 11 batters who were hit at least 36 times for 2 different teams, and 1 batter (Andres Galarraga) who did it for 3 different teams. The Twins have had 12 different players get hit 36 times since 1981, but it took the Padres until yesterday to have one player do so. Every other team except the Rays has had at least one player get hit by 36 pitches since 1981, although the Mets, Dodger and D-backs have only had 1 each.

In other plunk news, Carlos Quentin was hit twice yesterday, bringing his total to 15. He could be planning an unprecendented 4 plunk day today to catapult himself into the American League plunk lead. Or, perhaps he'll just get hit once more by a pitcher who doesn't throw many plunks to try to go for the highest plunk difficulty rating in the league, and count on sophisticated voters familiar with new plunk difficulty rating statistics to vote him into the AL Most Plunkable Player award. You know, if it actually existed and was voted on. Those plunks were number 53 and 54 for Quentin's career.

Jerry Hairston Jr. also got plunked twice yesterday, both times by Jeff Niemann. Those were the 68th and 69th of his career.

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Saturday, October 3, 2009

plenty of good plunks still available in the 2009 season

HBPs of note: October 2, 2009

Eleven plunks were thrown in Friday's baseball action, and 6 of them were recorded in the 8th inning of various games. That's the most 8th inning plunks in a single day of baseball since August 29, 2004. It's only the second day this season on which 6 batters have been plunked in a particular inning - joining the 7th inning of April 10th.

Alex Gonzalez got hit twice for the Red Sox yesterday, and managed to get those two plunks from two different pitchers who had hit him once before - Jeremy Sowers and Kerry Wood.

Melvin Mora got his 110th career HBP, putting him at 51st place on the all time list, tied with George Burns. He's now been hit 58 times at Camden Yards, which is just 8 away from Brady Anderson's park record 66.


Friday, October 2, 2009

Races to watch on the final weekend of 2009

Most of this year's playoff races have been over for a long time, with the exception of a couple of teams torturing their fans by refusing to clinch their divisions, but there are some statistical races of note that could still come to exciting conclusions in these last three games, if you're willing to care about some things that maybe not everyone is excited about.

First, and possibly most importantly, is the American League Most Plunkable Player race. Chase Utley has the NL locked up, but the AL race looks like this:
Kelly Shoppach - 18
Brandon Inge - 17
Shin-Soo Choo - 17
Kevin Youkilis - 16

It might be tough for Youkilis to take 3 plunks in meaningless games while resting for a playoff chase, so he's probably not going to do catch Shoppach. Brandon Inge, on the other hand, is still trying to clinch a division title for the Tigers, so he might be doing whatever it takes to get on base. So there could be an exciting finish there.

And, since this is Friday, lets look at the foul balls race. Brian Roberts is leading the American League, and has the overall lead with 553 foul balls this year. He's got a commanding lead over 2nd place AL foul ball hitter Carl Crawford who has 517. But in the NL, Andre Ethier, Todd Helton and Pablo Sandoval are all close with 532, 530 and 523. Just for fun, imagine a world in which suddenly people cared about this and Todd Helton went out on Sunday with the sole purpose of winning the NL Foul Ball title. Like when David Robinson wanted to beat Shaq for the scoring title in 1994 and scored 71 points. Just Todd Helton out there fouling balls off all afternoon. How long would the other team put up with that before just throwing at him or walking him? Could he work through three relief pitchers in one plate appearance? Would the sports pundit world have to tranquilized by a special team of government operatives sent out to save the industry from itself?

Another close one you might not have noticed is the Sacrifice Fly race in both leagues - in the NL, Bengie Molina has a slim lead with 11 sac flies, but Todd Helton and Casey Blake are right behind him with 10. In the AL, Orlando Cabrera, Marlon Byrd and Nick Markakis are all tied with 10. So there could be an exciting moment this weekend when one of these guys has a runner on third and is desperately hoping his foul ball to center field comes down on the warning track for a title winning sacrifice fly instead of just one more unimportant home run. It could happen.

On the pitching side of things, Dave Bush is just one plunk ahead of Johnny Cueto for the National League plunking title with 15 hit batters, so that could lead to some excitment with both scheduled to pitch on Saturday. On the AL side, Joba Chamberlain leads the league with 12 plunks, but Kevin Millwood and Matt Garza have 11, and Tim Wakefield, Ervin Santana, Ricky Romero, and AJ Burnett have 10 each.

Back in the generally unheralded batting statistics, Ryan Howard looks to have locked up the 2009 NL title for total swings of the bat with 1371 so far. Mark Reynolds is next with 1247, so he probably can't catch Howard unless he goes on a foul ball tear like Todd Helton is planning. In the AL, Aaron Hill has swung his bat 1,266 times this year, which sounds tiring, but he's only 37 swings ahed of Derek Jeter. Jeter has an outside show at catching Hill. Back in the National League, Ryan Howard has more swings but he trails Mark Reynolds by 15 whiffs. Reynolds has swung and missed a league leading 460 times, while Howard has whiffed 445 times. They're both far ahead of American League leader Carlos Pena who has missed 346 times but isn't far ahead of Russel Branyan's 337 misses. Reynolds leads qualified batters with a miss percentage of .369 - he misses the ball with 36.9% of his swings, while his closest competitor, Ryan Howard misses at a .325 clip. Chris Davis leads the AL in miss rate at .364, and probably won't be caught by Miguel Olivo who has missed at .355. On the other end of that same idea, Placido Polanco has led the American League this year, making contact with 93.71% of his swings, though Marco Scutaro is right behind him at 93.67% so that's race could go to either of them. In the NL, Luis Castillo has made contact 93.63% of the times he's tried to, with Juan Piere right behind him at 93.57%. Dustin Pedroia is fifth overall in the majors, and has a shot to catch the AL leaders with his contact percentage at 93.41%.

In the statistical category I call BACON, Ichiro Suzuki still has a chance to be the first player in Bacon history to break .900. Though Bacon history only goes back to 2005, because that's all I've done with it. Ichiro made it until this week before going hitless in two consecutive games. In the past 5 seasons, no other players has had fewer than 3 instances of back to back hitless games. That's just some amazing consistency there. In the NL, there is a tight race for the top BACON among qualified batters (500 plate appeances, about) - Felipe Lopez and Hanley Ramirez are both at .796 right now, and Albert Pujols is right behind them at .786.

And one last thing to watch for is whether or not Jeff Weaver will plunk anyone to catch Tim Wakefield for the most plunks of the 00s. Wakefield has hit 107 batters from 2000 to 2009, and is likely done for the season unless someone poisons the rest of the red sox staff and no one else can pitch or something. Weaver may get an opportunity in any of the final games, and has hit 106 batters. He would probably have an easy win in this category if he had played at all in 2008.


Kendall reaches 248 plunks, 500 pitchers hit a batter this year

HBPs of note: October 1, 2009

Jason Kendall has now been hit by 248 pitches, following yesterdays plunking by Aaron Cook. But, that was the first time Kendall has ever been plunked in the month of October. Aaron Cook has now plunked Kendall twice this season, having previously plunked him on June 11th. Cook is the 6th pitcher to plunk Kendall in two different games in the same season joining Dave Weathers, Mike Maddux, Jamey Wright, Chris Young and Wayne Franklin - although Franklin got in a total of 3 plunks in the two game he plunked Kendall in 2003. Kendall's plunk was the 898th HBP ever recorded at Coors Field, and Troy Tulowitzki was hit later in the game for the 899th.

In other plunk action yesterday, Jeremy Bonderman, Rich Thompson and Clay Condrey all threw there first plunk of the 2009 season - which means that Condrey is the 500th pitcher to plunk a batter this season. This is the first year ever in which 500 pitchers have plunked at least one batter. 664 different players have thrown a pitch this year, which is two short of the record for most pitchers used in a season.

Scott Rolen got plunked again for the Reds, bringing his career total to 112. Chris Carpenter threw that one, putting Rolen in sole possession of 47th place on the all time list, but he's first among batters from Indiana. Carpenter has hit 64 batters in his career.

Shin-Soo Choo got his 17th plunk of the season, putting him one plunk behind teammate Kelly Shoppach for the AL lead in the race for the American League most plunkable player award. Daniel Bard threw that one, but it was only moving 86.5 mph when it left his hand. Bard's other two plunks this year were the two highest velocity HBPs of the season, both over 98 mph. The top ten fastest plunks this season can always be found on the interactive bruise board on the right of this page. Choo is the all time leader in plunks by player born in South Korea, which means that the plunk record holders from Indiana (Rolen), California (Kendall), South Korea (Choo), and the Netherland Antilles (Andruw Jones) were all plunked yesterday.

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Thursday, October 1, 2009

Wakefield plunks 107th batter of the 00s

HBPs of note: September 30, 2009

Red Sox senior citizen Tim Wakefield went into yesterday with 106 plunks thrown in the decade of the 00s. He was tied with Jeff Weaver for the decade record going into his final start of the season, but apparently he wasn't satisfied with a tie. So, he plunked John McDonald of the Blue Jays. Wakefield has now hit 27 in Blue Jays uniforms in his career, but more importantly he's up to 107 plunks to lead the 00s. Jeff Weaver could respond at any time, since he's pitching middle relief for the Dodgers, rather than being on a starter's set schedule.

Aaron Rowand got his 109th career plunk, putting him in a tie for 52nd place on the all time list. He's the 8th most plunked batter of the 00s so far.

Tyler Flowers got plunked by Fausto Carmona in the 4th inning at Cleveland yesterday, which made that the 800th plunk ever recorded at Progressive (formerly Jacobs) Field.

Pedro Martinez threw his 141st career hit batter, plunking Houston pitcher Brian Moehler - who had never been plunked before. But, it was only moving 64mph when it hit Moehler, so Pedro showed some restraint. Martinez is the all time hit batters leader among pitchers from the Dominican Republic. Tim Wakefield is the all time hit batters leader among pitchers born in Florida, and they both hit a batter yesterday. And, not to be left out, Roy Halladay holds the all time plunk record for pitchers from Colorado, and he hit a batter yesterday - the 56th of his career. Aaron Rowand is the HBP record holder for Oregon born players, so there were a lot of record holders extending their records yesterday. Moehler was the 2nd pitcher plunked on a Wednesday this season with no outs in the 2nd inning.

Seth Smith got hit by a Jeff Suppan pitch, making Smith the only left fielder batting left handed to score a run after reaching base on a plunk thrown by a right handed pitcher in the month of September this year. That's probably one of his contract incentives.


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