Archive for August, 2012

correction on ranking lefty specialists

Friday, August 31st, 2012

Some nut must have hacked into the site yesterday, because there’s a post about which pitchers are the best lefty relievers at facing one batter, and it doesn’t say anything about HBPs. Weird, isn’t it?
Anyway, here are the lefty relievers who have been the best at coming into the game and hitting the only batter they faced.
Randy Choate has hit the only batter he faced in two different appearances this year, and one of them he did with the bases loaded. He threw one of those plunks for the Dodgers and one for the Marlins. The Twins Tyler Robertson, Houston’s Wesley Wright, and the White Sox Will Ohman have all had one plate appearance where they came in, hit one batter, and left.

Ryan Webb of the Marlins is the only right handed reliever this year to hit the only batter he faced in an appearance.

70th Citizens Bank Park plunk for Utley

Friday, August 31st, 2012

Jonathan Niese has now hit Chase Utley with a pitch twice in his career, and last nights was Utley’s 70th at Citizens Bank Park.  Since 1969, Craig Biggio is the only other player to get hit 70 times at one ballpark.  Utley is up to 147 plunks for his career, and that leaves him 4 plunks behind Chet Lemon for 21st place on the all time list.

Dodgers third baseman Luis Cruz took an HBP from Ian Kennedy of the Diamondbacks yesterday, and that was the 100th time the Dbacks have ever plunked a Dodgers batter.

The most plunked batters born on August 31st

Friday, August 31st, 2012

198hbp – Frank Robinson, born 08/31/1935, 8th all time, played from 1956 to 1976
82hbp – Monte Cross, born 08/31/1869, 144th all time, played from 1892 to 1907
51hbp – Ramon Santiago, born 08/31/1979, 392nd all time, played from 2002 to 2012
50hbp – Duke Farrell, born 08/31/1866, 406th all time, played from 1888 to 1905
36hbp – Claudell Washington, born 08/31/1954, 736th all time, played from 1974 to 1990

ranking loogys

Thursday, August 30th, 2012

Baseball, and especially pitching, is more and more about specialization, and the most specialized case for pitchers are the left-handers who are brought in to face just one batter. The Loogys. The problem with this kind of specialization is that conventional pitching stats are kind of useless for guys like this. Who cares how many earned runs per 9 innings a guy gives up, when you only use him for one batter per game? And how fair is it to measure his walks plus hits per inning pitched, when in most of his appearances he’s either giving up a walk, a hit, or pitching one third of an inning. And even more unfair is that very often these guys are sent out to face one of the toughest outs in the opposing lineup.
So what we need is, a stat that combines whether or not they got the batter out, and how hard that is to do. I call this stat PORK, for pitchers out risk classification. (It’s not a perfect acronym). To start with, we need to figure out how hard it is to get each batter out. I’m simply using each batter’s outs per plate appearance rate. Then, I need to figure out how much it should be worth to a pitcher to get each batter out. To do that, I take the batter’s outs per plate appearance, and divide it by the league average, and take the reciprocal, so guys who make outs less often than league average will be above one, worse batters will be below one, and if someone makes outs at exactly the league average, they’re just worth 1. Through August 29th, getting Andrew McCutchen out once is worth 1.17 on this scale, and getting James Loney out is worth .939. So once we’ve established that, we can sum up a pitcher’s entire season of one batter-faced appearances by taking the sum of each batters out difficulty, and multiplying it by the number of outs the pitcher gets from them. The give the pitcher a bonus for getting a double play off a batter who is tough to get out at all. Then, to create an average I divide that by the sum of the reciprocal of each batter’s out difficulty. I’ll try to explain this better another time.
The point is, looking exclusively at one-batter-faced appearances by lefty relievers, and pitchers who have had at least 10 such appearances this year, Scott Elbert of the Dodgers has been the most effective. He’s had 11 appearances where he faced one batter, and gotten the batter out 9 of those times. And 2 of those 9 were double plays. He’s gotten 5 outs in 4 appearances against batters who are at least 10% better than the league average at not making outs. He got Joey Votto (1.251 out difficulty) once, and 4 outs in 3 appearances against Carlos Gonzalez (1.109). Jon Jay (1.104) is the only “tough out” that Elbert has failed to get this year. All 11 batters he’s faced in loogy appearances have been harder than average to get out, and his total work in those situations give him a PORK of 1.17. Matt Reynolds is next behind him with a 1.09 PORK, and he’s only failed to get his one batter out once in 12 chances. But, he scores lower because he only got one “tough out” (Prince Fielder – 1.123), and the batter he failed to get out should have been on the easy side – Ike Davis, at .960. The group of batters he faced just weren’t as tough as what Elbert went up against.
Javier Lopez has the most 1BF appearances this year among lefties, with 28, and he’s got an impressive .97 PORK in those appearances.

Here are the lefties who have had at least 10 appearances where they faced just once batter, and how they rank in PORK.

Pitcher PORK 1BF Appearances tough outs
Scott Elbert (LAD) 1.17 11 5
Matt Reynolds (COL) 1.09 12 1
Javier Lopez (SF) .97 28 4
Andrew Miller (BOS) .97 12 0
Boone Logan (NYY) .94 10 1
Tim Byrdak (NYM) .91 19 0
Jose Mijares (SF) .85 10 1
Clay Rapada (NYY) .85 22 3
Marc Rzepczynski (STL) .84 15 1
Lucas Luetge (SEA) .77 20 0
Joe Thatcher (SD) .77 11 0
Randy Choate (LAD) .74 27 3
Wesley Wright (HOU) .54 17 0

As you can see, this might not turn out to be Wesley Wright’s specialty for the long term.

The nice thing about this stat, though I realize it’s a bit convoluted, is it works for comparing any pitching category – starters, relievers, 9th inning with a small lead only guys, 8th inning with a small lead only guys, anything really. It’s not that interesting for Starters though, because it just tells you that Verlander and Felix Hernandez and Matt Cain are really good, and we already knew that. I’ll be posting more about this eventually.

Utley gets 146, and someone finally plunked Mark Kotsay

Thursday, August 30th, 2012

Before yesterday, Mark Kotsay hadn’t been hit by a pitch since July 18, 2006. Since that date, Chase Utley has been hit 123 times, but Kotsay went 1,795 consecutive plate appearances without a plunk. Yesterday, Utley got his 123rd since Kotsay’s last plunk, and Mark Kotsay got his first. Kotsay had the longest active streak of consecutive plate appearances without a plunk, but that distinction now falls to Jose Reyes, who is up to 1,726 PAs without getting hit.
Kotsay seemed to have been waiting for Venezuelan rookie Luis Avilan to get hit by a pitch from, or the Braves rookie is just the end of a leaguewide 6 year search to find someone capable of hitting Kotsay. That was Avilan’s first career plunk, and Kotsay is now up to 13 for his career.
Or, it’s also possible that Mark Kotsay was trying to time his first plunk in years for a milestone, and this one happened to be the 400th plunk in PETCO park history, AND it was the 200th plunk ever recorded in a game between the Braves and Padres.

Chase Utley got hit by Matt Harvey, and Utley is now up to 146 career HBPs. That moves him ahead of Jose Guillen and gives him sole possession of 22nd place on the all time list. Harvey is the 116th pitcher to throw a plunk to Utley, and that was only the 2nd hit batter of his career. Also in that game Tyler Cloyd threw the first plunk of his career, to the 6th major league batter he faced.

The most plunked batters born on August 30th

Thursday, August 30th, 2012

85hbp – Kiki Cuyler, born 08/30/1898, 130th all time, played from 1921 to 1938
80hbp – Bing Miller, born 08/30/1894, 151st all time, played from 1921 to 1936
73hbp – Marlon Byrd, born 08/30/1977, 197th all time, played from 2002 to 2012
39hbp – Ted Williams, born 08/30/1918, 651st all time, played from 1939 to 1960
35hbp – Dave Chalk, born 08/30/1950, 771st all time, played from 1973 to 1981

Weeks achieves 107th HBP

Wednesday, August 29th, 2012

Rickie Weeks has now been hit 16 times by the Cubs and 91 times by every other team in the league, after Cubs starter Travis Wood hit him in the first inning yesterday. He now has 9 HBPs as a visitor to Wrigley Field, and that ties him with Prince Fielder for the lead in that particular split. Weeks’ 16 plunks against the Cubs give him a 5 plunk lead over any other active player in the getting hit by Cubs category. Craig Biggio only got hit 19 times against the Cubs. 107 career plunks puts Weeks in 62nd place on the all time list, tied with Pete Rose, Jason LaRue, and Wally Schang. Travis Wood hit Weeks one other time, on October 1, 2010, pitching for the Reds. The Brewers are now up to 74 HBPs, 8 short of their franchise record for plunks in a season.

Josh Willingham took another HBP yesterday, bringing him to 14 plunks on the season, and putting him one ahead of Kevin Youkilis for the American League lead. Willingham is up to 89 HBPs for his career.

Danny Espinosa is up to 12 plunks this season after Ricky Nolasco hit him yesterday, and that was the 31st career HBP for both Espinosa and Nolasco. Nolasco also hit Espinosa on August 5th this year.

The most plunked batters born on August 29th

Wednesday, August 29th, 2012

126hbp – Aaron Rowand, born 08/29/1977, 42nd all time, played from 2001 to 2011
21hbp – Doug DeCinces, born 08/29/1950, 1407th all time, played from 1973 to 1987
13hbp – Jack Warner, born 08/29/1903, 2056th all time, played from 1925 to 1933
12hbp – Pep Young, born 08/29/1907, 2180th all time, played from 1933 to 1945
9hbp – Roy Wood, born 08/29/1892, 2622nd all time, played from 1913 to 1915

The most plunked batters born on August 28th

Wednesday, August 29th, 2012

113hbp – Carlos Quentin, born 08/28/1982, 53rd all time, played from 2006 to 2012
71hbp – Tony Gonzalez, born 08/28/1936, 209th all time, played from 1960 to 1971
51hbp – Joe Yeager, born 08/28/1875, 391st all time, played from 1898 to 1908
48hbp – Darren Lewis, born 08/28/1967, 442nd all time, played from 1990 to 2002
41hbp – Dode Paskert, born 08/28/1881, 592nd all time, played from 1907 to 1921

Willingham ties AL lead again

Tuesday, August 28th, 2012

Josh Willingham took a 4th inning HBP from Felix Hernandez last night, moving him to 13 HBPs this year. That ties him with Kevin Youkilis for the American League lead. It looks like we’re in for a tight race over the next four weeks for the American League most plunkable player award. Willingham is the first Minnesota Twin to get hit by 13 pitches in a season since Lew Ford in 2005. For Herndandez’s part, he has now hit 11 batters this year, which but he’s 3 plunks behind Gavin Floyd for the AL lead in plunks. He’s the first Mariner to hit 11 in a season since 2004 when Jamie Moyer hit 11 and Ron Villone hit 12.

Tyler Skagg became the 140th Diamondbacks pitcher to hit a batter, and the 99th Diamondbacks pitcher to hit 2 batters. He hit Brandon Phillips in the first inning and Drew Stubbs in the 4th.