Archive for July, 2011

park milestones on Saturday

Sunday, July 31st, 2011

At Progressive Field on Saturday, Joakim Soria hit Asdrubal Cabrera with a pitch, and that plunk was the 900th HBP in the history of Progressive Field. Soria has only hit 2 batters this year, and both of them were Asdrubal Cabrera.

At Safeco Field, Michael Pineda hit Sean Rodriguez with a pitch making that the 600th HBP ever recorded at that park.

Wakefield throws number 182

Saturday, July 30th, 2011

There are only 9 active pitchers who have hit 91 batters, but last night Tim Wakefield threw the 182nd HBP of his career.  He hit Gordon Beckham in the 3rd inning last night with a blistering 65mph knuckle ball.   Since 2000, Wakefield has hit 116 batters, making that the 21st century plunk record (he’s 9 plunks ahead of any other pitcher this century).  If he hits 3 more batters, he can move into a tie for 7th place on the all time list, with 19th century pitcher Tony Mullane.

Vlad Guerrero got hit by AJ Burnett, making that 103 career plunks for Guerrero and 96 plunks thrown by Burnett.  Guerrero is tied for 67th on the all time HBP list with Tris Speaker.

Ryan Vogelsong hit Paul Janish with a pitch, and that plunk was the 2000th thrown by pitchers born in 1977.  No other year has produced a crop of pitchers who have hit more than 1800 batters.  Vogelsong’s 30 career plunks ranks 18th among pitchers born that year.  109 pitchers born that year have hit a batter, and 13 pitchers born that year have hit over 50 batters.  If Vogelsong hadn’t hit Janish, AJ Burnett’s plunk of Guerrero would have been the 2000th thrown by a pitcher born in 1977.

another three plunk day

Friday, July 29th, 2011

Only three batters got hit by pitches yesterday, but one of them was Jonny Gomes.  Gomes was playing his first game with the Nationals after being traded by the Reds, and he didn’t waste much time before showing his willingness to take a plunk for his new team.  He got hit by Burke Badenhop in the 6th inning.  Gomes is the 275th player to take a plunk for the Nationals franchise, and it was his 58th career plunk.

Also in that game, John Lannan hit Mike Stanton improving Lannan’s Nationals Park record plunk total to 16.  No other pitcher has hit more than 6 batters at that park.

The other plunk yesterday was in the Padres-Diamondbacks game, where Kyle Blanks was plunked by Daniel Hudson.  That was Blanks’ 10th career HBP, and his first this season.  Hudson has hit 7 this year.  He’s tied with Ian Kennedy for the most hit batters for the Diamondbacks this year.

don’t you hate it when batters stick their elbow into the strikezone?

Thursday, July 28th, 2011

Me too… except it doesn’t actually happen.
“He’s leaning over the plate!” – well he might be leaning close to the plate, but according to pitch f/X, it’s pretty unlikely that a batter was leaning far enough over the plate to actually get plunked directly above the plate.

There have been 967 HBPs so far this year, and MLB.com’s pitch f/X system recorded the height and distance from the center of home plate for 960 of them (along with the other cool stuff like velocity and measures of spin and break). Of those 960 pitches only 2 of them were recorded as crossing the front of home plate within 8.5 inches of the center. Home plate is 17 inches wide, so the distance from the center to the edge of the strikezone is 8.5 inches. Of the two HBPs that were recorded by pitch f/X within that range, one was a Jimmy Rollins plunk on May 20 that pitch f/X says crossed the plate 7 inches inside from the center of the plate, and 0.24 inches above the ground. So either Jimmy had his foot on the front of the plate without the umpire noticing, or the pitch f/X system got that one wrong, or perhaps he was standing really close to the front of the batters box and the ball bounced off him and out over the plate. That last one doesn’t look likely because pitch f/X has the speed of the pitch as it crosses the plate, and that pitch looks like any other curve ball of the same start speed from that pitcher (Dave Bush). So I think pitch f/X just got that one wrong, which does happen. The other incident of a pitch hitting a batter over home plate was a plunk by Brett Gardner on May 31st. Gardner is a lefty and the pitch is record as 7.8 inches from the center of the plate on Gardner’s side, and 3.6 feet above the ground – so that’s above the belt painting the inside corner. It might be possible that Gardner had his elbow out there, but it’s more likely that since the pitch came from a right handed pitcher it crossed the front corner of the plate at an angle toward the left handed batter and hit him on the left arm without that arm actually being above the plate.
In last year’s data, there are no instances of an HBP that pitch f/X says was over the plate, but there were a lot more HBPs that pitch f/X missed or didn’t record data for.

If we expand the search to the 6 inch gap between the edge of the plate and the batters box, there have been 32 HBPs this year within that region, and about 65 last season.

So keep that in mind next time someone complains about an HBP and says the batter stuck his elbow into the strike zone. That batter may have been close to the plate, and he might not have tried to get out of the way, but chances are that the ball did not hit him directly above home plate.  So now when someone complains, you tell him that some guy on the internet says that it doesn’t happen, and backed it up with data that’s too hard for any sane person to assemble to recreate his results – because that kind of argument always goes down will with someone who’s very sure he’s seen it happen all the time with his own two eyes.

4992

Thursday, July 28th, 2011

Only three batters got hit by a pitch yesterday, but one of them was Eli Whiteside for the Giants. He got hit by Cole Hamels of the Phillies, which is interesting because the Giant have now been hit by 4,992 pitches in franchise history, dating back to 1887 when the National League put in the HBP rule. For the Phillies, that was the 4,992nd time they hit a batter in franchise history, dating back to 1887. The Giants are 8 plunks away from being the first franchise to get plunked 5,000 times, and the Phillies are 8 away from being the first to throw 5,000 plunks. The Giants and Phillies only have one more game in their series today, but they play again next week so if they can stay in step with each other we could have the possibility of seeing the Phillies pitchers and the Giants batters reaching 5000 plunks on the same pitch. (Admittedly that 5000 number may not be exact, since it involves 19th century stats, but that’s what Retrosheet.org and MLB.com have if you add up the team stat pages, so I’m going along with it).

Also among yesterday’s HBPs, John Danks plunked Jhonny Peralta, which is interesting because it was the 23rd career plunk for both of them. Peralta’s been hit 23 times and Danks has thrown 23. Danks also hit Peralta one other time.

Varitek gets 60th, Westbrook throws 50th

Wednesday, July 27th, 2011

Jason Varitek became the 4th batter to get hit 60 times for the Red Sox when Danny Duffy hit him with a pitch last night.

Jake Westbrook threw his 50th plunk, hitting Brett Wallace in St. Louis. Wallace has now been hit 10 times in his career, but Westbrook has hit him twice.

Jhoulys Chacin hit Rafael Furcal in the Dodgers-Rockies game last night, and that was the 1800th plunk ever recorded in Dodger Stadium.

Joe Nathan hit Nelson Cruz at Rangers Ballpark at Arlington, and that was the 996th plunk in the history of that ballpark. It was also the 300th HBP ever recorded in a Twins-Rangers game.

Debut and game 2 plunks

Tuesday, July 26th, 2011

Last Friday Jason Kipnis got hit in his major league debut, and on that same day Jose Altuve got hit in his 2nd game in the majors. That prompted a commenter to ask how often batters get hit in their debut, or 2nd game in the majors. So, here’s the answer: not very often. But it was wildly popular in 2006 and 2007 (probably due to all the excitement over Craig Biggio‘s run at the all time HBP record).

Here’s the list of batters who got hit by a pitch in their first or 2nd big league game, going back to 2005:
2011
Jose Altuve (HOU) – 07/22/11 – 2nd Game
Jason Kipnis (CLE) – 07/22/11 – 1st Game
Anthony Rizzo (SD) – 06/10/11 – 2nd Game
Brian Dinkelman (MIN) – 06/04/11 – 1st Game
2010
Daniel Descalso (SLN) – 09/22/10 – 2nd Game (this may have been his 3rd game if you want to count a pinch-running appearance)
Ruben Tejada (NYN) – 04/08/10 – 2nd Game
2009
Mike Carp (SEA) – 06/18/09 – 2nd Game
Fernando Martinez (NYN) – 05/26/09 – 1st Game
2008
Collin Balester (WAS) – 07/06/08 – 2nd Game
Collin Balester (WAS) – 07/01/08 – 1st Game
Emmanuel Burriss (SFN) – 04/21/08 – 1st Game
2007
Cameron Maybin (DET) – 08/18/07 – 2nd Game
Ian Stewart (COL) – 08/11/07 – 1st Game
Asdrubal Cabrera (CLE) – 08/08/07 – 1st Game
Sean Gallagher (CHN) – 06/09/07 – 1st Game (Gallagher entered this game as a relief pitcher and got hit by the first pitch thrown to him as a batter)
Sean Barker (COL) – 06/06/07 – 1st Game
Andy LaRoche (LAN) – 05/07/07 – 2nd Game
Jarrod Saltalamacchia (ATL) – 05/02/07 – 1st Game
Hunter Pence (HOU) – 04/28/07 – 1st Game
Alex Gordon (KCA) – 04/02/07 – 1st Game
2006
Scott Moore (CHN) – 09/04/06 – 1st Game
Delmon Young (TBA) – 08/29/06 – 1st Game
Brandon Harper (WAS) – 08/09/06 – 1st Game
Chad Billingsley (LAN) – 06/15/06 – 1st Game (as starting pitcher – on the 8th pitch of his first plate appearance, with a full count)
Chris Coste (PHI) – 05/27/06 – 2nd Game
Kevin Frandsen (SFN) – 04/29/06 – 2nd Game
Kevin Frandsen (SFN) – 04/28/06 – 1st Game (Frandsen also got plunked in his third game)
Kenji Johjima (SEA) – 04/03/06 – 1st Game
2005
Yuniesky Betancourt (SEA) – 07/29/05 – 2nd Game
Adam Greenberg (CHN) – 07/09/05 – 1st Game
Adam Stern (BOS) – 07/07/05 – 1st Game
Kelly Shoppach (BOS) – 05/28/05 – 1st Game
Jason Repko (LAN) – 04/07/05 – 2nd Game

An honorable mention goes to John Rheinecker of the Rangers who got hit in his only career plate appearance, but he had pitched in several games before that. It was his debut as a batter though.

Since 1974, Sean Gallagher is the only player to get plunked in his major league debut, and do so as a relief pitcher.

Going back further, here’s the list of players who were plunked in there debut from 1974 to 2004 (I don’t have the data handy to look for 2nd games for that span)
Jerry Gil (ARI) – 08/22/04
Joey Gathright (TBA) – 06/25/04
Byron Gettis (KCA) – 05/27/04
Cody Ross (DET) – 07/04/03
Austin Kearns (CIN) – 04/17/02
Corky Miller (CIN) – 09/04/01
Bobby Kielty (MIN) – 04/10/01
Mike Mahoney (CHN) – 09/08/00
Eric Byrnes (OAK) – 08/22/00
A.J. Pierzynski (MIN) – 09/09/98
Donnie Sadler (BOS) – 04/01/98
Ryan Long (KCA) – 07/16/97
Kevin Polcovich (PIT) – 05/17/97
Steve Bieser (NYN) – 04/01/97
Wilson Delgado (SFN) – 09/24/96
Dmitri Young (SLN) – 08/29/96
Jose Malave (BOS) – 05/23/96
Tony Graffanino (ATL) – 04/19/96
F.P. Santangelo (MON) – 08/02/95
George Williams (OAK) – 07/14/95
Orlando Miller (HOU) – 07/08/94
Tony Tarasco (ATL) – 04/30/93
Joe Millette (PHI) – 07/16/92
Eddie Tucker (HOU) – 06/14/92
Rich Amaral (SEA) – 05/27/91
Freddie Benavides (CIN) – 05/14/91
Tom Quinlan (TOR) – 09/04/90
Jeff Datz (DET) – 09/05/89
Dana Williams (BOS) – 06/19/89
Greg Litton (SFN) – 05/02/89
Stan Jefferson (NYN) – 09/07/86
Oddibe McDowell (TEX) – 05/19/85
Ty Gainey (HOU) – 04/24/85
Mark Grant (SFN) – 04/27/84
Skeeter Barnes (CIN) – 09/06/83 Twice!
Tim Flannery (SDN) – 09/03/79
Joe Gates (CHA) – 09/12/78
Ron Washington (LAN) – 09/10/77
Fred Andrews (PHI) – 09/26/76
Don Werner (CIN) – 09/02/75
Jim Rice (BOS) – 08/19/74

plunks have monday off… almost.

Tuesday, July 26th, 2011

There were only three HBPs yesterday, bringing the season total for Monday HBPs to just 90 – that’s 26 plunks below the next lowest plunk total for a single day of the week. 116 batters have been hit on Thursdays. Batters have been getting hit just once every 143.6 plate appearances on Mondays this year, which is actually only the 2nd worst day of the week by plunk rate because plunks have only occurred once every 145.9. There hasn’t been a day of the week with a plunk rate over 140 PAs per HBP since before the league expanded to 30 teams.

Logan Forsythe was among the three plunked batters yesterday, but he’d never before been plunked as a Major Leaguer. He’s the 276th player in Padres history to take at least 1 plunk for the team. Michael Stutes threw that one, bringing his career total to… 2.
Justin Turner got hit 7th career HBP, and his 7th of the season for the Mets on a pitch from Jose Arredondo. Turner is just the 10th Mets rookie to get hit 7 times. Ron Hunt still holds the Mets rookie record for HBPs with 13 in 1963, the Mets first year in the league. Jose Arredondo now has 2 career plunks.
Jack Hannahan got the other plunk yesterday, his first as a Cleveland Indian, on a pitch from Jorden Walden. Walden had never hit a batter before in the majors. He’s the 287th Angels pitcher ever to throw a plunk.

NL Leader Espinosa gets 16th HBP

Monday, July 25th, 2011

Danny Espinosa took another HBP yesterday, on a pitch from Chad Billingsley.  The Nationals rookie is up to 16 plunks this year, which makes him the most plunked rookie since Jose Bautista took 16 HBPs in 2006, and the most plunked switch hitter since FP Santangelo got hit 23 times in 1998.  The only other switch hitters to get hit 16 times as a rookie are Charlie Babb, who got hit 22 times in 1903 for the Giants and Tommy Tucker who got 29 in 1887 for the American Association version of the Baltimore Orioles.  Babb’s total stands as the MLB rookie record, as well as the National League rookie record and Tommy Tucker’s total is the all time rookie record.  The Nationals have 61 more games this year for Espinosa to try to reach those records.

It’s been a pretty quiet year for Tim Wakefield in the HBP department, but he threw his 3rd plunk of the season yesterday hitting Brendan Ryan.  That’s 181 career HBPs for Wakefield.  He’s in 8th place on the all-time hit batters list, but he’ll need to hit 4 more to tie Tony Mullane for 7th place.  Wakefield has hit 88 batters at Fenway Park.

The Rays got hit four times by the Royals yesterday, making that just the 2nd time this season a team has taken 4 HBPs.

Burnett throws 95th

Sunday, July 24th, 2011

Rickie Weeks is still two HBPs behind Geoff Jenkins for the Brewers career HBP record, but his younger brother Jemile got his first career HBP yesterday, playing for the A’s.  He’s the 573rd player to get plunked for the A’s.  That was AJ Burnett’s 95th career plunk, leaving him 5 hit batters away from being the 6th pitcher to hit 100 batters in the 21st century.  Burnett holds the career HBP record for pitchers born in Arkansas, and if he throws one more plunk he’ll have thrown more than any other two pitcher combination born in Arkansas.  Burnett also threw his 94th plunk earlier in the game, hitting Josh Willingham.

Carlos Corporan also got his first career HBP yesterday, becoming the 264th player to take a plunk for the Astros.