Archive for December, 2009

Who Cares? (about defensive indifference)

Tuesday, December 29th, 2009

Well somebody has to care enough about defensive indifference to at least write down that it happened, even if the catchers don’t care enough to stop a runner from taking a base. So, here are the catchers who chalked up the most defensive indifference plays in 2009:
Russell Martin (LAN) – 20
Yadier Molina (SLN) – 15
Jorge Posada (NYA) – 14
Jason Varitek (BOS) – 13
Brian McCann (ATL) – 11
A.J. Pierzynski (CHA) – 10
Jeff Mathis (ANA) – 9
Koyie Hill (CHN) – 9*
Paul Bako (PHI) – 7
Rod Barajas (TOR) – 7
Jason Kendall (MIL) – 7
Mike Napoli (ANA) – 7
Carlos Ruiz (PHI) – 7
Jarrod Saltalamacchia (TEX) – 7

*- one of Koyie Hill’s 9 defensive indifference plays had two baserunners moving – making him the only catcher in 2009 to watch two runners he didn’t care move to a new base.

Martin’s 20 instances of defensive indifference are the most in a single season in the last 5 years. Jason Kendall had 17 defensive indifferences in 2005. Also, if I’m going to talk about defensive indifference any more it needs to have a shorter nickname – like “shrugs”. As in, Kendall had 17 shrugs at catcher in 2005.

Red Sox aquire all time leader in hitting Derek Jeter with pitches.

Tuesday, December 15th, 2009

John Lackey has reportedly signed a contract with the Boston Red Sox, and that may or may not have something to do with the fact that John Lackey is the only Major League pitcher who has hit Derek Jeter with 4 pitches. He’s faced Jeter just 54 times in the regular season, but they’ll see a lot more of each other playing in the same division. Red Sox starter Josh Beckett faced Jeter 18 times last year, so if we can assume the Lackey will get a similar number of opportunities against Jeter and maintain his plunks per plate appearance rate, he’ll be able to plunk Jeter 1.3 times. (Not that he’d be trying to hit him or anything…).
Lackey broke the Angels career record for hitting batters last year, with a total of 73.

In other plunk related player movement, Jason Kendall has signed with the Kansas City Royals, who no doubt want to capitalize on Kendall’s quest to break the all time HBP record. Kendall needs to get hit 40 times to reach 288 plunks and pass Hughie Jenning’s 287 career HBPs.

Winter ball plunk update

Friday, December 11th, 2009

Arizona Fall League (finished play Nov. 21st)

Name Team HBP Plate Appearances HBP per PA
Daryl Jones (STL) Surprise Rafters 4 109 0.037
Nevin Ashley (TB) Phoenix Desert Dogs 4 83 0.048
Jose Tabata (PIT) Scottsdale Scorpions 3 138 0.022
Grant Desme (OAK) Phoenix Desert Dogs 3 134 0.022
Frederick Freeman Peoria Saguaros (ATL) 3 55 0.055
Brandon Hicks Peoria Saguaros 3 104 0.029

Dominican League:

Name Team HBP Plate Appearances HBP per PA
Carlos Gomez Leones del Escogido 5 55 0.091
Eugenio Velez Estrellas de Oriente 3 91 0.033
Matt Carson (OAK)
Aguilas Cibaenas 3 58 0.052
Hector Luna Aguilas Cibaenas 3 85 0.035
Luis Terrero Aguilas Cibaenas 3 63 0.048

Mexican League:

Name Team HBP Plate Appearances HBP per PA
Francisco Arias Mayos de Navojoa 12 234 0.051
Ruben Rivera Venados de Mazatlan 8 223 0.036
John Lindsey Venados de Mazatlan 7 223 0.031
Abel Martinez Mayos de Navojoa 6 171 0.035
Heber Gomez Venados de Mazatlan 6 189 0.032
Matt Young (ATL) Mayos de Navojoa 6 239 0.025
Carlos Sievers Aguilas de Mexicali 6 134 0.045

Puerto Rican League:

Name Team HBP Plate Appearances HBP per PA
Jorge Padilla Lobos de Arecibo 8 82 0.098
Reggie Abercrombie Leones de Ponce 4 78 0.051
Nate Schierholtz Gigantes de Carolina 3 66 0.045
Raul Gonzalez Leones de Ponce 3 74 0.041
Raul Casanova Leones de Ponce 3 57 0.053

Venezuelan League:

Name Team HBP Plate Appearances HBP per PA
Max Ramirez (TEX*)
Tiburones de La Guaira 9 225 0.04
Cesar Suarez Tiburones de La Guaira 7 190 0.037
Jon Jay (STL) Leones del Caracas 7 156 0.045
Andres Blanco (CHC)
Navegantes del Magallanes 6 166 0.036
Ezequiel Carrera (SEA) Navegantes del Magallanes 6 183 0.033
Dennys Abreu Bravos de Margarita 6 121 0.05
Daniel Dorn (CIN) Caribes de Anzoategui 5 65 0.077
Adam Heether (MIL) Leones del Caracas 5 90 0.056
Luis Gonzalez Caribes de Anzoategui 5 199 0.025
Brendan Katin (MIL) Aguilas de Zulia 5 80 0.063
Ernesto Mejia (KC) Aguilas de Zulia 5 181 0.028

*- Max Ramirez is rumored to be going to Boston in exchange for Mike Lowell. Clearly that whole deal is based on Ramirez’s impressive HBP performance in Venezuala.

2009 American League most plunkable player traded

Friday, December 4th, 2009

Kelly Shoppach was sent packing by the Cleveland Indians earlier this week, traded for a player to be plunked later to the Tampa Bay Rays. This is good news for Shoppach and his apparent love for being hit by a lot of pitches, since the Indians did not seem interested in giving him a lot of playing time, even after the Victor Martinez trade. Even if he doesn’t get more playing time though, Shoppach should find more pitches to get hit by. In 2009, pitchers in the American League Central Division had the lowest plunk rate of any division in the league, at 1 hit batter per every 132.6 plate appearances. If we exclude Cleveland from that calculation, Shoppach’s division opponents hit batters once every 130.5 plate appearances. But the American League East had the highest pitchers’ plunk rate of any division in the majors, with a batter being hit by an AL East pitcher once every 106.5 plate appearances. Tampa Bay’s pitchers were actually showing below average in the division, at plunking batters, because teams pitcher in the AL East who weren’t pitching for the Rays hit a batter every 101.5 plate appearances. Based on 2009 numbers, Shoppach should be able to get hit by 28.6% more pitches in the same number of plate appearances. (Obviously plunk rates in 2010 will be a little different depending on player movement, and restructured pitching staffs, but the AL East has consistently been a prime place to get hit by pitches – AL East pitchers have had the highest plunk rate by division in 7 of the last 10 seasons, and have never been lower than third place among divisions.

Shoppach got hit 18 times to lead the AL in 2009. If he gets hit 28.6% more often, as indicated by 2009 plunk rates, he’ll be in the neighborhood of 23 HBPs. The Ray’s franchise record for plunks in a season is 14 by Johnny Gomes in 2005. That record could very likely change hands in 2010.