You’ve probably been sitting around wondering since the retirement of Jeff Kent, who is the active leader in HBPs as second basemen? And for that matter, who leads all the other positions in getting hit by pitches while playing at those positions?
Well, okay. I’ll look into it.
Jason Giambi passed Frank Thomas last season, to become the active leader in being plunked as a Designated Hitter, which puts into question the title of “Big Hurt”. Thomas wasn’t that active last season anyway, and now he’s technically listed as a free agent, so he could contend for the active lead if someone actually signs him. But Giambi has already been hit twice as a DH this year, so Thomas better hurry up if he wants to get back in that race. Travis Hafner is the next closest with 48 DH plunkings.
Jose Guillen has had the active lead in getting hit as a right fielder since he passed Gary Sheffield on May 12, 2007. There does not appear to be another right fielder who is likely to catch Guillen, so he should hold this lead until he leaves the game.
Aaron Rowand has been hit 91 times while playing center field (or at least while he was batting in between playing center field… you get the point). He passed Andruw Jones for that lead on May 28, 2008.
Luis Gonzalez hasn’t officially announced his retirement yet, but the 30 major league teams seem to be pretty sure he’s retired. He’s still calling himself a free agent, but since he’s not playing at the moment, the active lead among left fielders falls to Cliff Floyd. Floyd is on the DL for San Diego, which limits his activity, so if you want an active leader who has actually played left field this season, it’s Matt Holliday.
Derek Jeter has been hit by a lot of pitches as a Short Stop, with 136 so far, and he’s been the active leader since taking his 51st plunk at Short on August 2, 2001. That put him ahead of Pat Meares among active shortstops. David Eckstein has been close behind Jeter for a long time, but since the Yankees will keep playing Jeter at short stop for the rest of time,
and Eckstein is playing 2nd base this year, Jeter will probably hold this lead until he retires.
Scott Rolen has what you’d call a commanding lead among active third basemen. He’s been the active leader since July 17th, 2002 when he passed Matt Williams.
Jeff Kent retired after last year, with 113 plunks at 2nd Base, and Damion Easley doesn’t have a job this year, so that leaves Chase Utley as the active leader for second basemen. If he keeps up his rate of being hit by pitches from the last two years (leading the majors both years), he should hold onto this lead for a long time.
Carlos Delgado has another one of those commanding leads at this position. He’s held the active lead since the beginning of the 2006 season – he finished 2005 in a tie with Jeff Bagwell for the active lead at first base, but Bagwell never played again. Delgado is 37, and Giambi is behind him at age 38, so Derrek Lee, Paul Konerko or Mark Teixeira could inherit this lead in the next couple of years.
This falls closer to the category of preposterously insurmountable leads. Jason Kendall has been the active HBP leader among catchers since May 5, 2000 when he got hit for the 91st time as a catcher, and passed Mike MacFarlane. Jason LaRue and AJ Pierzynski are pretty good at getting hit by pitches, but they don’t come close to Kendall, even added together.
Mike Hampton is active? You might not have seen much of him recently, but he’s playing for the Astros this year, and he’s the sole owner of the active lead among pitchers getting hit by pitches, now the Greg Maddux has retired and Scott Elarton is still a free agent. But, a whole lot of pitchers could catch him without too much effort. Brad Penny and Jake Peavy have even been hit twice in the same season, so they could catch Hampton if they match their career highs – though Penny being in the American League would make that unlikely for him. Elarton and the recently retired Matt Clement were the only active pitchers with a 3 HBP season to their credit, but now no active pitcher has been hit more than twice in as season.