Archive for January, 2009

batting with plunked runners (2008 leaders)

Saturday, January 24th, 2009

Craig Biggio once said, on the subject of HBPs, “they don’t hurt as bad if you score”. Lucky for him he had Jeff Bagwell around to help him out with that, among others. But neither of them are still playing the game so it’s left to others to hit the ball after the ball has hit one of their teammates. In 2008, major league batters averaged .273 hits per at bat with a runner on first base, but if that batter got their by getting hit by a pitch, they batted .282. They only batted .274 when the guy on first got their on a single, and just .246 when they got there on an intentional walk. When there was a runner on any base who initially reached on an HBP, batters hit for a .278 average and slugged .465 in the 2008 season.

If you’re the kind of batter who gets hit by a lot of pitches, and you’d like to turn those plunks into runs, you might want to get yourself into a batting order with Vernon Wells behind you. Wells had 11 plate appearances in 2008 where there was at least one batter on base who had been hit by a pitch. The plunked runner was driven in for a run on 6 of those occasions. Wells hit 3 singles and 2 sacrifice flies to drive in plunked runners, and knocked in one more on a force out. Wells had the best success rate in the league for knocking in plunked base runners, at 54.5%.

Ryan Garko only knocked in 40% of the plunked runners on base when he stepped to the plate, but he had 20 such opportunities, playing for the frequently-plunked Cleveland Indians. The allowed him to drive in 8 runners who reached base on an HBP. Pat Burrell drove in the bruised base runner 7 times in 18 opportunities, and his teammate Ryan Howard drove in a plunked runner 6 times. But, Howard had a league high 35 plate appearance with at least one runner on base who had been hit by a pitch, so he was only successful in making those plunks hurt less, like Biggio said, 17.1% of the time.

In a lot of those plate appearance for Howard, it was Chase Utley who was on base after being plunked, but Utley wasn’t very helpful to other batters who got plunked in front of him. Utley had 20 plate appearances with a plunked runner on base, and didn’t drive in any of them. He batted .278 and was plunked once in those situations, but never put a ball in play that allowed his runner to score. Vlad Guerrero was similarly unhelpful, failing in all 14 opportunities to drive in the plunked runner, and batting .181 in the process.

As a team, the the Texas Rangers had the best success at driving in plunked base runners, doing so in 19% of the plate appearances they had in those situations. The Indians drove in 31 such base runners, but had a league high 187 plate appearances with a runner on base, which makes sense since they broke the post-1900 record for team HBPs in 2008. On the other end were the Cincinatti Reds, who had 77 plate appearances with a plunked runner on base, and only drove him in 6 times – just 7.8% of the time. That’s not so good.

The Florida Marlins led the league in slugging percentage with plunked runners on base at .717. Overall, they slugged .411 with runners on base, so having runner who got hit by pitches really helped them out. They led the league with 11 home runs with runners who had been plunked. On the other end, the Braves slugged .410 with runners on base in 2008, but when you narrow it down to specific instances where at least one of those base runners was plunked, they only slugged .308 with no home runs.

Here are the top 10 in 2008 batting average with runners on base who had been plunked (minimum 10 plate appearances):
Ben Francisco – .700 (12 PA, 10 AB)
Ty Wigginton – .600 (11 PA, 10 AB)
Prince Fielder – .556 (13 PA, 9 AB)
Mike Jacobs – .529 (19 PA, 17 AB)
Jason Michaels – .500 (12 PA, 10 AB)
Ryan Garko – .500 (20 PA, 18 AB)
Franklin Gutierrez – .467 (16 PA, 15 AB)
Austin Kearns – .462 (13 PA, 13 AB)
Stephen Drew – .455 (12 PA, 11 AB)
Marco Scutaro – .455 (12 PA, 11 AB)

And the bottom 10 (with ties):
Bobby Crosby – .000 (10 PA, 9 AB)
Andy Marte – .000 (10 PA, 8 AB)
Melky Cabrera – .091 (11 PA, 11 AB)
Hunter Pence – .100 (10 PA, 10 AB)
Luis Rivas – .111 (10 PA, 9 AB)
Derrek Lee – .111 (11 PA, 9 AB)
Mike Lowell – .111 (11 PA, 9 AB)
Chris Young – .111 (12 PA, 9 AB)
Miguel Cabrera – .125 (10 PA, 8 AB)
Jacoby Ellsbury – .143 (17 PA, 14 AB)
Rich Aurilia – .143 (14 PA, 14 AB)
Khalil Greene – .143 (12 PA, 7 AB)
Geovany Soto – .143 (10 PA, 7 AB)
Jason Kendall – .143 (10 PA, 7 AB)

Here’s the top 10 in slugging pct, with at least one runner on base who had been plunked:
Ben Francisco – .700 (12 PA, 10 AB)
Mike Jacobs – .529 (19 PA, 17 AB)
Mike Cameron – .375 (10 PA, 8 AB)
Jeremy Hermida – .429 (10 PA, 7 AB)
Prince Fielder – .556 (13 PA, 9 AB)
Ty Wigginton – .600 (11 PA, 10 AB)
Mark Teahen – .300 (10 PA, 10 AB)
Jason Giambi – .444 (14 PA, 9 AB)
Manny Ramirez – .286 (10 PA, 7 AB)
Jack Cust – .364 (11 PA, 11 AB)

And the bottom 10:
Bobby Crosby – .000 (10 PA, 9 AB)
Andy Marte – .000 (10 PA, 8 AB)
Melky Cabrera – .091 (11 PA, 11 AB)
Hunter Pence – .100 (10 PA, 10 AB)
Luis Rivas – .111 (10 PA, 9 AB)
Derrek Lee – .111 (11 PA, 9 AB)
Mike Lowell – .111 (11 PA, 9 AB)
Rich Aurilia – .143 (14 PA, 14 AB)
Khalil Greene – .143 (12 PA, 7 AB)
Geovany Soto – .
143 (10 PA, 7 AB)
Jason Kendall – .143 (10 PA, 7 AB)

And here’s the full list of 2008 teams, sorted by batting average in situations with at least on plunked runner on base:

Team AVG SLG AB H PA HR HBP
Rangers .376 .624 93 35 105 6 0
Twins .367 .531 49 18 56 1 0
Marlins .340 .717 106 36 126 11 0
Blue Jays .333 .429 105 35 124 1 1
Astros .326 .535 86 28 94 5 2
Pirates .323 .394 99 32 118 0 1
Giants .323 .403 62 20 68 1 0
Orioles .319 .551 69 22 80 3 0
Indians .307 .497 153 47 187 6 7
Dodgers .302 .460 63 19 77 3 2
Brewers .297 .574 101 30 126 6 2
Cardinals .296 .519 54 16 63 3 0
A’s .295 .508 61 18 71 2 2
Diamondbacks .282 .465 71 20 87 3 2
Cubs .278 .486 72 20 85 3 2
Braves .277 .308 65 18 75 0 0
Royals .276 .500 76 21 81 4 1
Rockies .274 .488 84 23 100 4 1
Mets .270 .365 63 17 68 1 0
White Sox .267 .395 86 23 103 2 1
Phillies .267 .491 116 31 130 7 1
Padres .263 .342 76 20 92 0 2
Red Sox .259 .444 108 28 131 5 1
Angels .256 .354 82 21 100 2 2
Mariners .254 .339 59 15 64 1 0
Rays .253 .421 95 24 122 4 3
Nationals .250 .356 104 26 124 3 3
Yankees .242 .425 120 29 133 4 1
Tigers .241 .500 58 14 70 3 2
Reds .215 .400 65 14 77 3 0

presidential plunks

Thursday, January 22nd, 2009

With the book closed on the Bush administration, it sounds like it’s about time to take stock of the historical significance of his presidency, and of course around here we judge things not by approval ratings, or scandals, or foreign policy failures, but by HBPs. And by THAT measure, George W. Bush had the most successful term in office of any president.

During the 8 baseball seasons of the Bush administration, 14,376 batters were hit by pitches in major league games. That is the most HBPs ever during the term in office of a single President of the United States. Clinton’s 8 year term spanned 10,886 HBPs, so the Bush administration expanded that total by 32%. Some of that improvement was due to expansion of the league, since Bush had 30 MLB teams during his entire 8 years in office, but there was also a 21% increase in HBPs per plate appearance during the Bush administration over the rate of plunks during the Clinton years. Batters were hit about once every 104 plate appearances during Bush’s years, which is the highest frequency of plunkings since the McKinley administration. I would think it’s safe to say that the presidents had something to do with this, under the widely used media theory that everything that ever happens can be attributed, positively or negatively, to either the President or the quarterback, depending on what we’re talking about. One could argue that due to the Bush administrations foreign policy, a pitcher might assume that he could get away with hitting a few more batters, because the batter’s reaction to being hit by a pitch would be to follow the administration’s example and charge the third baseman. Especially if the third baseman is kind of jerk and might deserve it. This doesn’t explain things very accurately because the rate of HBPs peaked, and set a post 1900 record, in the 2001 season, most of which occurred before the nation was thrown the savage bean ball on 9/11, and the subsequent charging of third base by the US military, which was easier to find than that elusive pitcher. But this kind of thinking could certainly have helped the high plunk rates since 2002, even if they haven’t quite matched that 2001 season.

Jason Kendall gets the title of the most plunked player during the Bush years, with 127 HBPs, but David Eckstein was close behind him with 125. Jason Giambi was third with 122, and Craig Biggio was fourth with 116 HBPs, even though he retired a season before Bush’s term ended. Kendall’s 127 plunks is well short of the record for most HBPs during one presidency – Ron Hunt had 165 while Nixon was in office, and Biggio had 151 during the Clinton years. Also ahead of the Kendall/Bush team are Don Baylor‘s 149 plunks under Reagan, Minnie Minoso‘s 132 during Eisenhower’s term, and Hughie Jennings total during the McKinley administration, which was somewhere between 131 and 145 depending on how many of Jennings 12 HBPs in 1901 occurred before September 14th when McKinley was assassinated. Probably by Yankees fans.

Speaking of the Yankees, they were hit by 600 pitches during the Bush presidency (despite his sense of patriotism). That was second only to the Pittsburgh Pirates who got hit 613 times. The Milwaukee Brewers were third with 566, and the Indians got hit 556. Toronto got hit 546 times, but since they’re Canadian, that might not be relevant here. The Houston Astros, whose games were often attended by Bush’s parents, got hit 542 times during the W. presidency.

On the pitching side of things, the pitchers for the Boston Red Sox threw the most pitches at opposing batters during Bush’s term, with a total of 632. The Tampa Bay Devil Rays hit 593, and the Texas Rangers hit 551 batters (possibly feeling they could get away with it more while their former owner was in the White House). Tim Wakefield was the leading plunk thrower under the Bush administration, with 93, but Wakefield’s knuckleballs echoed the Senior President Bush’s call for a kinder, gentler HBP. Vicente Padilla hit 90 batters during the term of the 43rd US president, and Jeff Weaver hit 86. Randy Johnson hit 81 batters.

So, despite it’s many other flaws, which can be picked apart by bloggers and historians for years, one thing is clear – during the presidency of George W. Bush, more major league batters were hit by pitches than ever before, and at rates not seen since the golden age of HBPs at the end of the 19th century. The art of getting hit by pitches has taken a big step forward in the past 8 years. Perhaps the Obama administration can do even better, inspiring a new generation of players to ask not what a home run swing can do for them, but what refusing to get out of the way of an inside fastball can do for their team.

Padres upgrade their get-hitting.

Friday, January 16th, 2009

The Padres have had a somewhat odd offseason – they got rid of Khalil Greene, when he was just 4 HBPs away from breaking the franchise career record, but now they’ve brought in David Eckstein, who greatly increases their potential to get hit by pitches. Eckstein has been hit once every 8.5 games over the course of his career, which means if he could stay healthy for two seasons, and play 298 games at that rate, he’d own the Padres career HBP record (currently just 35). But, the Padres only signed him to a one year deal.

Among players who have ever spent time with the Padres, only Gary Sheffield has more career HBPs than Eckstein, but Eckstein is only 8 plunks behind Sheffiled, 133 to 125. No player who ever spent time with the Padres and played over 100 big league games has had a games per plunk ratio lower than 12, compaired to Eckstein’s 8.5. The best prior Padre in this category is Kevin Kouzmanoff, who’s been hit once per 12.6 games so far, and broke the team’s single season record last season, when he got hit 15 times. Could the Padres be bringing in the veteran Eckstein specifically to mentor Kouzmanoff in the fine art of staying in the way of pitches? We shall see.

Winter league update – pitchers

Thursday, January 15th, 2009

While many baseball fans have been busy enjoying freezing weather, snow, ice storms causing power failures, and other joys of winter, a lot of baseball players have been hanging around the various Caribbean leagues playing winter ball and getting hit by pitches. Which means it’s time to take a look at who’s been hitting the most batters in the winter leagues.

Arizona Fall League
The Arizona Fall League wrapped up their season in November, with Braves prospect Tommy Hanson winning the league MVP. But, Hanson only hit 3 of the 124 batters he faced in AFL play, which was good for only 8th place on the hit batters list. Sergio Perez was the biggest threat to batters safety in the league, hitting 6 batters, and only not hitting 100. He works for the Astros and could be plunking opposing batters for them in spring training soon.

Arizona Fall League hit batter leaders

Name Team HB Batters Faced HB per BF
Sergio Perez Scottsdale Scorpions 6 106 0.057
Rowdy Hardy Surprise Rafters 5 103 0.049
Gaby Hernandez Peoria Javelins 4 136 0.029
Joe Woerman Peoria Javelins 3 62 0.048
Jeff Sues Scottsdale Scorpions 3 71 0.042
Shane Lindsay Phoenix Desert Dogs 3 96 0.031
Phil Hughes Peoria Javelins 3 124 0.024
Tommy Hanson Mesa Solar Sox 3 124 0.024
Dan Cortes Surprise Rafters 3 132 0.023
Kevin Pucetas Scottsdale Scorpions 3 146 0.021
Jeff Manship Phoenix Desert Dogs 3 167 0.018

Hawaii Winter League
The Hawaii Winter League also finished play in November, despite the name, and their leader in throwing baseballs at opposing hitters was Chris Salberg of the Orioles farm system. He hit 7 of the 136 batters he faced. But, right behind him was Steve Edlefson of the Giants system. He drilled 6 batters, but only needed 72 attempts, meaning he hit one out of every 12 batters.

Hawaii Winter League hit batter leaders

Name Team HB Batters Faced HB per BF
Chris Salberg West Oahu CaneFires 7 136 0.051
Steve Edlefsen Waikiki Beach Boys 6 72 0.083
Jason Godin North Shore Honu 5 137 0.036
Rob Harmon Waikiki Beach Boys 4 73 0.055
Scott Shaw Honolulu Sharks 4 124 0.032
Austin Chambliss Honolulu Sharks 3 45 0.067
Cody Scarpetta West Oahu CaneFires 3 71 0.042
Josh Stinson Honolulu Sharks 3 99 0.03
Johnny Venters Honolulu Sharks 3 136 0.022
Daiki Kiyohara West Oahu CaneFires 2 64 0.031
Moises Robles West Oahu CaneFires 2 81 0.025
Matt Meyer North Shore Honu 2 86 0.023
Christopher Kissock Honolulu Sharks 2 87 0.023
Timothy Bascom West Oahu CaneFires 2 91 0.022
Shawn Nottingham North Shore Honu 2 97 0.021
Roy Merritt Honolulu Sharks 2 98 0.02
Jose Capellan North Shore Honu 2 109 0.018
Fumikazu Kimura West Oahu CaneFires 2 131 0.015
Jun Hyeok Heo North Shore Honu 2 136 0.015
Mitsuo Yoshikawa Waikiki Beach Boys 2 161 0.012

Dominican Winter League
In the Dominican Winter League, there are some big names in the field of hitting batters. The 2008 MLB leader in plunks, Daniel Cabrera, is pitching there this winter, along with Reds pitchers Edinson Volquez and Johnny Cueto, who tied for 3rd in the majors. But, it’s Julio Depaula who is showing them all how it’s done – or how not to do it, with 7 hit batters out of 110 batters faced. It looks like the Rays were impressed enough to sign him.

Dominican Winter League hit batter leaders:

Name Team HB Batters Faced HB per BF
Julio DePaula Gigantes del Cibao 7 110 0.064
Ramon Ortiz Tigres del Licey 5 154 0.032
Dustin Nippert Tigres del Licey 4 150 0.027
Matt Wright Tigres del Licey 4 151 0.026
Julian Tavarez Aguilas Cibaenas 4 194 0.021
Carlos Marmol Tigres del Licey 3 32 0.094
Jose Acevedo Tigres del Licey 3 36 0.083
Anderson Garcia Estrellas de Oriente 3 51 0.059
Samuel Gervacio Tigres del Licey 3 52 0.058
Elizardo Ramirez Leones del Escogido 3 59 0.051
Juan Feliciano Aguilas Cibaenas 3 100 0.03
Omar Beltre Azucareros del Este 3 184 0.016
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Tigres del Licey 3 324 0.009

Mexican Pacific League
In the Mexican League, major league veteran Oscar Villarreal has hit 6 batters in 252 attempts, but Rays farm hand Pablo Ortega and someone named Alfredo Caudillo have hit 7 each. Meanwhile, 41 year old former all-star Scott Erickson has hit 5 batters in 81 attempts, for a rate one plunk per 16.2 batters faced. Don’t call it a comeback – he’s been here for years. Game 4 of the Mexican League semi-finals is today.

Mexican Pacific League hit batter leaders

Name Team HB Batters Faced HB per BF
Alfredo Caudillo Aguilas de Mexicali 7 298 0.023
Pablo Ortega Venados de Mazatlan 7 400 0.018
Oscar Villarreal Aguilas de Mexicali 6 252 0.024
Miguel Ramirez Naranjeros de Hermosillo 6 296 0.02
Scott Erickson Aguilas de Mexicali 5 81 0.062
Hugo Castellanos Yaquis de Obregon 5 175 0.029
Hansel Izquierdo Mayos de Navojoa 4 181 0.022
Sergio Valenzuela Venados de Mazatlan 4 201 0.02
Mauricio Lara Mayos de Navojoa 4 228 0.018
Edgar Gonzalez Naranjeros de Hermosillo 4 244 0.016
Mario Mendoza Mayos de Navojoa 4 252 0.016
Humberto Montemayor Aguilas de Mexicali 4 334 0.012
Francisco Campos Naranjeros de Hermosillo 4 389 0.01

Puerto Rican Winter League
The Puerto Rican Winter league has reached its postseason, and you can read all about it here if you can read spanish. I can’t. But I can tell you that Josue Matos has led the league in hitting batters, so far, with 6, but Angel Garcia has only needed to face 112 batters to hit 5. Garcia is in the Royals farm system, and Matos has played in the farm systems for Seattle, Toronto and Philadelphia.

Puerto Rican Winter League hit batter leaders

Name Team HB Batters Faced HB per BF
Josue Matos Gigantes de Carolina 6 220 0.027
Angel Garcia Cangrejeros de Santurce 5 112 0.045
Chris Kelly Lobos de Arecibo 5 147 0.034
Orlando Roman Criollos de Caguas 5 225 0.022
Hector Mercado Leones de Ponce 5 263 0.019
Roy Merritt Indios de Mayaguez 4 56 0.071
P.J. Walters Gigantes de Carolina 4 161 0.025
Tomas Santiago Indios de Mayaguez 4 165 0.024
Josh Rainwater Leones de Ponce 4 173 0.023
Dillon Gee Leones de Ponce 4 215 0.019

Venezuelan Winter League
In the Venezuelan League, Major League Free Agent Tony Armas Jr. is showcasing himself to potential employers by leading the league in hit batters. He’s hit 6, tied for the league lead with Tracy Thorpe, who has been invited to Mariners training camp. Meanwhile, Felix Arellan only faced 32 batters, but at the rate he was going, he’d have hit 10.7 batters if he’d faced 100.

Venezualan Winter League hit batter leaders

Name Team HB Batters Faced HB per BF
Tony Armas Leones del Caracas 6 109 0.055
Tracy Thorpe Cardenales de Lara 6 187 0.032
Marcel Prado Aguilas de Zulia 5 68 0.074
Darwin Cubillan Leones del Caracas 5 105 0.048
Harold Eckert Tiburones de La Guaira 5 173 0.029
Kasey Olenberger Bravos de Margarita 4 93 0.043
Yorman Bazardo Tigres de Aragua 4 189 0.021
Mike Romano Cardenales de Lara 4 279 0.014
Henry Bonilla Tiburones de La Guaira 4 313 0.013
Felix Arellan Leones del Caracas 3 32 0.094
Luis Torres Tiburones de La Guaira 3 42 0.071
Justin Berg Tigres de Aragua 3 60 0.050
Carmen Cali Tigres de Aragua 3 69 0.043
Eduardo Perez Aguilas de Zulia 3 101 0.030
Elio Serrano Navegantes del Magallanes 3 109 0.028
Rich Hill Tigres de Aragua 3 109 0.028
B.J. LaMura Aguilas de Zulia 3 119 0.025
Ivan Blanco Cardenales de Lara 3 122 0.025
Francisco Butto Tigres de Aragua 3 127 0.024
Rosman Garcia Tigres de Aragua 3 128 0.023
Yusmeiro Petit Navegantes del Magallanes 3 152 0.020
Jesus Delgado Tigres de Aragua 3 189 0.016
Horacio Estrada Tigres de Aragua 3 212 0.014
Heath Totten Aguilas de Zulia 3 314 0.010
Chris Jakubauskas Cardenales de Lara 3 330 0.009

Electoral College Plunks

Tuesday, January 13th, 2009

Every election year, the Electoral College gets debated once again, because let’s face it – it’s weird, and confusing, and people like to make a big deal of the “popular vote” and so forth. But, I think the real problem with the Electoral College is that it apportions votes based on congressional representatives, which are based on state populations. When you base something as important as the electing of the US President on state populations, all you’re doing is rewarding the ability to grow your population. Is that really still an important goal at this point? I think not, and I’m basing that assumption mostly on the number of people in cars between me and where ever I’m going. There are too many of them. This population growth also has the effect of driving up the price of baseball tickets, parking at baseball games, and the length of lines at concession stands at baseball games. All because states want to have more people in them so they can have more electoral votes.

So, what if we base our system of electing the President on something important, like each state’s ability to produce baseball players who can get hit by a lot of pitches? This encourages more baseball, and the selflessness and team-first attitude that we’d like to see in those who are elected into higher office. Maybe this would convince the occasional politician to put the countries interests ahead of their own once in a while, the way some baseball players put their team ahead of their own well being by letting a speeding baseball strike them in the body, just to get on base.

I propose that instead of the current system, we apportion electoral votes based on how many HBPs have been collected in the Major Leagues by players born in the last 50 years in each state.

Here’s a table showing the old system and the proposed system of votes:

State Current Electoral Votes Total HBPS New Electoral Votes
Alabama 9 266 7
Alaska 3 38 1
Arizona 10 271 7
Arkansas 6 162 4
California 55 6546 149
Colorado 9 44 1
Connecticut 7 267 7
Delaware 3 132 3
Florida 27 2029 46
Georgia 15 941 22
Hawaii 4 82 2
Idaho 4 4 1
Illinois 21 1232 28
Indiana 11 519 12
Iowa 7 151 4
Kansas 6 202 5
Kentucky 8 368 9
Louisiana 9 344 8
Maine 4 7 1
Maryland 10 462 11
Massachusetts 12 382 9
Michigan 17 445 11
Minnesota 10 125 3
Mississippi 6 348 8
Missouri 11 232 6
Montana 3 4 1
Nebraska 5 83 2
Nevada 5 58 2
New Hampshire 4 26 1
New Jersey 15 549 13
New Mexico 5 22 1
New York 31 1849 42
North Carolina 15 344 8
North Dakota 3 110 3
Ohio 20 853 20
Oklahoma 7 357 9
Oregon 7 458 11
Pennsylvania 21 565 13
Rhode Island 4 122 3
South Carolina 8 248 6
South Dakota 3 46 2
Tennessee 11 142 4
Texas 34 1054 24
Utah 5 12 1
Vermont 3 19 1
Virginia 13 285 7
Washington 11 546 13
West Virginia 5 9 1
Wisconsin 10 276 7
Wyoming 3 76 2
Washington, D.C. 3 45 2

Each state’s new electoral vote total was based on the states percentage of total US player HBPs, multiplied by the current electoral total of 538 votes. However, all fractions were rounded up to prevent Idaho, Maine, Montana, New Mexico, Utah, Vermont and West Virginia from being left vote-less. But if any state goes 50 years without producing a player who gets hit by at least one pitch, I think we can all agree that we know longer care about that state’s opinion of who should run the country. It’s only logical.

Obviously the big winner in the new system is California – they stand to gain 94 more electoral votes over their current total. 27.5% of all plunks recorded by players born in the US in the last 50 years were recorded by Californians, so it’s only fair that they should get that big a say in who is elected president. Obviously this will be recalculated every election year, so as soon as other state’s players start stepping up, they can gain more influence over the election process. And, if you think one player can’t make a difference, look at New York. They gain 11 electoral votes under the proposed system, but 6 of those are entirely due to the contribution of Craig Biggio, and his 285 career HBPs.

If this new HBP based system had been in place for the 2008 elections, Barack Obama would have one by an even wider margin – 431 to 133 votes, instead of the 365 to 173 margin he really won by. But, however you feel about that outcome, you shouldn’t allow it to influence your opinion on this proposed new system – because really, it just makes too much sense not to do. Right?