Last weekend, Juan Castro made his return to the major leagues, joining the Baltimore Orioles. He still hasn’t been hit by a pitch. Castro is now up to 2,415 career plate appearances without ever being hit by a pitch. That’s by far the most plate appearances of any active player whose never been plunked, and it’s also the longest active streak of unplunked plate appearances.
Garrett Anderson hadn’t been hit by a pitch since August 12, 2004 before this season. He had 1,825 consecutive plate appearances without being hit by a pitch, and he got up to 2,102 plate appearances before Adam Eaton hit him on June 20th. Sure, he’s the Angels franchise leader in hits, and Chipper Jones is the only player in the league whose played more games while still with the team that drafted him than Anderson has, but Garrett sure hasn’t taken one for the team very often. But better late than never.
Brian Roberts had the next longest active streak coming into the season. He hadn’t been hit by a pitch since June 27, 2005, but Scott Feldman ended his streak on July 5th. He got up to 2,056 un-plunked plate appearances.
That brings us to Jose Cruz Jr. He last got plunked since June 19, 2004 and he hasn’t gotten hit since. He’s up to 1,445 consecutive plate appearances, and he’s playing for the Houston Astros – the team captained by Craig Biggio until last year. The only other active player whose gone over 1,000 plate appearances without being plunked is Kaz Matsui – the guy who’s playing Craig Biggio’s position in Houston. Matsui is up to 1,039 plate appearances without being hit by a pitch.
On the pitching side, the leading example for pacifism in the majors is Rafael Betancourt of the Indians. He hasn’t plunked the last 1,385 batters he’s faced, and has only hit one in his career – Marcus Thames on August 3, 2003. Behind him on the active list for consecutive batters faced without hitting them is LaTroy Hawkins, who has missed every one of the last 984 batters he’s faced. He’s hit 16 batters in his career, but none since August 19, 2004.
The mark for the most batters faced by a pitcher whose never hit anyone in the majors is currently just 367 by Reds rookie Johnny Cueto. That’s particularly forgiving of him, since he’s one of only 3 pitchers who have been hit themselves this season.