Monday, December 31, 2007

He Couldn't Score From Second on a Double!

When Barry Bonds was playing with almost no cartilage in his knees, one of the criticisms of him that made me smirk was some snarky pundit saying, "he couldn't score from second on a double." True about Bonds or not, every season sees a few doubles hit with runners on second who don't end up scoring on the play. It doesn't mean much because, among myriad other explanations, the runner may have thought the ball would be caught while the batter was hustling around first and/or the official scorer of the game was generous in not charging the fielder with an error.

Looking at all the doubles hit with only a runner on second or with runners on second and third I found twenty-six instances of the runner not scoring from second on the hit.

  1. April 11 - TBD @ TEX (box/play-by-play) - Ty Wigginton doubled to left off Robinson Tejeda, scoring Ben Zobrist from third and moving Carl Crawford from second to third.
  2. April 16 - BAL @ TBD (box/play-by-play) - Aubrey Huff's double to center moves Miguel Tejada from second to third.
  3. April 17 - LAD @ ARI (box/play-by-play) - Conor Jackson's line drive double to right moves Carlos Quentin from second to third.
  4. April 19 - TEX @ CHW (box/play-by-play) - Sammy Sosa moves to third on Hank Blalock's double to left.
  5. April 21 - MIN @ KCR (box/play-by-play) - Torii Hunter drives in Michael Cuddyer on a line drive double to left, but Joe Mauer only moves up one base to third.
  6. April 30 - LAA @ KCR (box/play-by-play) - Chone Figgins plates Erick Aybar but Ross Quinlan only reaches third base on the double to left.
  7. May 2 - WSN @ SDP (box/play-by-play) - Kory Casto moves Robert Fick up one base on a double to center.
  8. May 12 - CHC @ PHI (box/play-by-play) - Cesar Izturis doesn't get an RBI on his double to right since Mark DeRosa stops at third.
  9. May 14 - LAA @ TEX (box/play-by-play) - Mike Napoli gets one RBI as Casey Kotchman stops at third on a double to center.
  10. May 20 - NYY @ NYM (box/play-by-play) - Hideki Matsui doubles to right, moving golden boy Derek Jeter to third base.
  11. May 29 - LAD @ WSN (box/play-by-play) - Juan Pierre gets a double to left but pitcher Brad Penny can't score.
  12. June 1 - LAD @ PIT (box/play-by-play) - Jason Bay plates the first run of the game on a center field double but Freddy Sanchez can't give the Bucs a two-run lead, instead stopping at third.
  13. June 2 - LAD @ PIT (box/play-by-play) - Ronny Paulino doubles to right and Adam LaRoche only moves to third.
  14. June 5 - HOU @ COL (box/play-by-play) - Against all odds, Adam Everett gets an extra base hit, doubling to right. Unfortunately, he doesn't get an RBI as Luke Scott only moves up one base.
  15. June 7 - DET @ TEX (box/play-by-play) - Magglio Ordonez moves to third on Sean Casey's double to right.
  16. June 18 - MIN @ NYM (box/play-by-play) - Paul Lo Duca scores and Carlos Beltran reaches third on David Wright's double to center.
  17. June 23 - MIN @ FLA (box/play-by-play) - Torii Hunter is robbed again by Joe Mauer's inability to score from second on his double to left.
  18. June 25 - HOU @ MIL (box/play-by-play) - Johnny Estrada remains slow, moving only to third on Geoff Jenkins' double to right.
  19. June 25 - SDP @ SFG (box/play-by-play) - Adrian Gonzalez doubles to center and Jose Cruz Jr. only moves to third on the play.
  20. July 8 - TBD @ KCR (box/play-by-play) - The only play like this for the entire month takes place as Carlos Pena doesn't score on Ty Wigginton's double to right.
  21. August 4 - TEX @ TOR (box/play-by-play) - Lyle Overbay scores but Alexis Rios doesn't when Vernon Wells doubles on a line drive to left.
  22. August 13 - SFG @ PIT (box/play-by-play) - In the second game of a doubleheader, pitcher Noah Lowry can't score on a Rajai Davis double to center.
  23. August 20 - STL @ CHC (box/play-by-play) - Albert Pujols scored and Juan Encarnacion moves to third on Scott Rolen's "double to 3B," however that works.
  24. August 25 - OAK @ TBD (box/play-by-play) - Tampa Bay is victimized a third time as B.J. Upton deprives Delmon Young of an RBI on his double to center.
  25. August 26 - MIN @ BAL (box/play-by-play) - Michael Cuddyer doubled to third base and Justin Morneau ends up there from second.
  26. September 28 - ATL @ HOU (box/play-by-play) - Chipper Jones ends a month-long drought of these plays with a double to center that fails to plate Yunel Escobar.
Even more rare is a runner on third base failing to score on a double. As far as I can find, the last time this happened was almost thirty years ago and only four such plays took place in the fifty-one seasons cataloged by the Play Index.
  1. June 15, 1965 - PHI @ MLN (box/play-by-play) - Mack Jones doubled to right in the bottom of the fourth but Rico Carty somehow didn't score.
  2. July 4, 1970 - OAK @ CAL (box/play-by-play) - Maybe he was excited thinking about fireworks later that night, but Ken McMullen can't score from third on Jay Johnstone's double in the bottom of the second. In his defense, it was a double to third base, so maybe it was a fluky play.
  3. July 31, 1972 - KCR @ CAL (box/play-by-play) - Paul Schaal hits a bloop double to right field and Lou Piniella stays at third base on the play. I don't know about you, but I think it'd be fun to see Sweet Lou's reaction if a player on his team was caught in the same situation.
  4. April 18, 1978 - MIL @ BOS (box/play-by-play) - Larry Hisle finds himself in Lou Piniella's situation as Dick Davis hits a bloop double to left.

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Most Wild Pitches by a Lefty Since 1901

As I noted in my last post, wild pitch totals prior to the founding of the American League in 1901 seem questionable at best. Thus I've decided not to look at them for the purpose of making the following list.

Most Career Wild Pitches by a LHP (1901-2007)
  1. Tommy John, 187
  2. Steve Carlton, 183
  3. Sam McDowell, 140
  4. Chuck Finley, 130
  5. Jim Kaat, 128
  6. Mickey Lolich, 124
  7. Fernando Valenzuela, 119
  8. Frank Tanana, 119
  9. Jerry Reuss, 107
  10. Vida Blue, 103
  11. Randy Johnson, 102
  12. David Wells, 101
  13. Ken Holtzman, 98
  14. Eppa Rixey, 97
  15. Ray Sadecki, 94
  16. Bob Veale, 92
  17. Steve Barber, 91
  18. Mark Langston, 89
  19. Jerry Koosman, 89
  20. Fred Norman, 89
A reader extremely well-versed in baseball history will notice that Eppa Rixey is the only lefty on the list to debut prior to 1959. I wonder if that's a reflection of changing ideas of the wild pitch as opposed to the passed ball or just a general decline in pitcher control. Regardless, here are the top active lefties with their place on the all-time LHP list in parentheses after their wild pitch total.

Most Career Wild Pitches by an Active LHP
  1. Randy Johnson, 102 (11)
  2. David Wells, 101 (12)
  3. Kenny Rogers, 75 (34)
  4. Tom Glavine, 65 (53)
  5. Mark Redman, 57 (80)
  6. Dennys Reyes, 56 (81)
  7. Johan Santana, 55 (88)
  8. Jamie Moyer, 53 (96)
  9. Andy Pettitte, 51 (106)
  10. Darren Oliver, 47 (116)
  11. Mark Mulder, 46 (122)
  12. Ron Villone, 45 (124)
  13. Ted Lilly, 44 (130)
  14. Doug Davis, 41 (143)
  15. Rheal Cormier, 39 (159)
  16. Scott Eyre, 38 (168)
  17. Billy Wagner, 38 (168)
  18. Mike Stanton, 35 (189)
  19. J.C. Romero, 32 (208)
  20. Barry Zito, 31 (214)
Note: The late Joe Kennedy had 36 career wild pitches, placing him 183rd on the career list for lefthanders.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Most Career Innings Pitched, Zero Wild Pitches

I was a little surprised to find out today that wild pitch totals exist all the way back to the first games of the National League in 1876. For some reason I figured that would be a stat (like strikeouts as a batter?) that didn't pop up until later. Whether they were recorded by contemporary stat crews or figured out later as part of a research project, the data makes for an interesting post.

Though it's cool to know which pitchers were wild in the 19th century, I find some numbers dubious at best. Consider Hall of Famer Tim Keefe, a pitcher from 1880 to 1893. In 5047.2 career innings, he tossed 233 wild pitches, or so the record says. What stands out from his yearly totals, however, is his 1884 season for the American Association's (then the second major league) New York Metropolitans. During that season, Keefe supposedly threw 483 innings without a single wild pitch. The year before he had 26 wild pitches in 619 innings and the year after (back in the National League) he had 35 wild pitches in 400 total innings. Is it possible he had great control that season? Sure, but I find it very unlikely. After all, the 1883 and 1884 New York Metropolitans used the same two catchers for most of each season. Further lending doubt as to the accuracy of his wild pitch count is the AA leaderboard for wild pitches: Bob Emslie had 43 wild pitches, followed by Bill Mountjoy with 18. Tom Sullivan claims fifth in the league...with three. That just seems strange, especially since Emslie only had 12 wild pitches in 1883. Was there a change in the definition of a wild pitch over time?

In any case, the cloudy 19th century data means I'm only going to look at numbers since 1901. That's a pretty common way to view records anyway. There's no guarantee numbers from the beginning part of the 20th century are any better than those of the previous twenty-five years, of course, but we'll hope they are. Let's see which pitchers had the longest careers sans wild pitches.

Most Career Innings Pitched, Zero Wild Pitches (1901-2007)

RankNameCareer IPCareer Span
1Joe Black414.01952-1957
2Scott Baker280.22005-2007
3Cactus Keck218.01922-1923
4Frank Shellenback217.21918-1919
5Max Fiske198.01914
6Tommy de la Cruz191.11944
7Dennis Burns181.01923-1924
8Dale Gear163.01901*
9Jim Bivin161.21935
10Rick Williams156.01978-1979
11Mark Brandenburg144.11995-1997
12Clem Dreisewerd140.21944-1948

Farmer Ray140.21910
14Jim Wright139.01978-1979
15Jess Doyle136.01925-1931
16Bud Smith132.22001-2002
17Lynn Brenton131.11913-1921
18Mark Lee127.11988-1995
19Joe Martina125.11924
20Dick Robertson124.21913-1919

*Gear also pitched 23 innings in 1896 without a wild pitch. If you count those (and I didn't) he leaps over Dennis Burns and takes over seventh place with 186.0 career innings.

Now, let's look at the active pitchers with the most career innings without a wild pitch. Obviously, Scott Baker leads the list, but who else has more than fifty career innings?
  1. Scott Baker, 280.2 IP
  2. Kyle Kendrick, 121.0
  3. Manny Delcarmen, 106.1
  4. Tim Stauffer, 94.2
  5. Yusmeiro Petit, 83.1
  6. Edinson Volquez, 80.0
  7. Ken Ray, 79.0
  8. Chris Schroeder, 73.2
  9. Hideki Okajima, 69.0
  10. Chris Britton, 66.1
  11. Bill Bray, 65.0
  12. Jeff Harris, 57.0
  13. Brian Wilson, 53.2
  14. Bryan Corey, 53.1
Though they didn't pitch in the majors this year, Ken Ray and Jeff Harris toiled in AAA, so it's possible they will get another shot at the majors in the future.

As a final note, the all-time leader for most wild pitches, Nolan Ryan, threw 277 wild pitches, or one every 19.44 innings. Since 2000, 119 players have had MLB pitching careers shorter than 277 total pitches. Of those, 13 were primarily position players, but 106 pitchers, even if many are still active, is still a lot.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

20 Game Winners With Fewer Than 100 Career Wins

Pitchers who win twenty games in a season have traditionally been considered elite by baseball fans. Today, a pitcher's won-loss record is not considered as important as it once was. For example: does Nolan Ryan's 1987 record of 8-16 mean he was a terrible pitcher that year? Apparently the BBWAA didn't think so as he placed fifth in the Cy Young voting, likely based on his 2.76 ERA and 270 strikeouts.

Regardless of the won-loss record's importance overall, 20 game winners still carry a sort of mystique. A pitcher that reaches twenty wins has to be durable, obviously making more than 20 starts in a season. One exception, sort of: Bob Grim of the 1954 Yankees made only 20 starts while putting up a 20-6 record in 37 total appearances; he holds the record for fewest games started among 20 game winners.

A pitcher with twenty wins must also be a pretty competent pitcher, at least during that year. Though ERA's a pretty bad measure across time, only two pitchers with an ERA above 5.00 have won 20 games: Ray Kremer in 1930 and Bobo Newsom in 1938. However, the league ERA adjusted to the pitcher's ballpark (ERA+; basically, guys playing in a bandbox get credit for having faced more difficult conditions and vice versa) for each pitcher was 4.97 and 4.98, so it's not as though they were far below average. In fact, the 20 game winner with the worst ERA+ was Henry Schmidt in 1903; his ERA of 3.83 just didn't cut it. Oddly enough, he called it quits (at least in the NL) after his 22-win rookie season and headed west.

It's not unreasonable to figure pitchers who win twenty games in a season would go on to have a relatively lengthy career. After all, if they have the stuff to win twenty, they surely have enough to survive in baseball for longer than a short while, right? It turns out that's not necessarily the case (see the article I linked to about Henry Schmidt for one-and-done twenty game winners). To me, guys that won twenty or more games in a season but failed to collect 100 wins in their career hold a special charm. They seem to epitomize the flash-in-the-pan pitcher with one great season and subsequent performance that failed to match it.

Since the creation of the National League in 1876, 154 pitchers have won more than twenty games in a single season and finished with less than 100 career wins. Three of those 20 game winners are still active with fewer than 100 career wins: Johan Santana (93), Josh Beckett (77), and Dontrelle Willis (68). It seems very likely all three of those pitchers will reach the 100 win mark, but you never know. Below is the list of all pitchers who won 20+ games in a single season with less than 100 career wins, sorted first by their first 20 win season and then by career wins.

In case you don't want to scroll down the entire list and look at a bunch of names from the late 19th and early 20th centuries, I'll list the pitchers on the list who pitched either in or since 1968, "The Year of the Pitcher."
  • Jim Bouton, 62 career wins, 20+ win season(s): 1963
  • Sammy Ellis, 63, 1965
  • Dave Boswell, 68, 1969
  • Jim Merritt, 81, 1970
  • Jim Colborn, 83, 1973
  • Ron Bryant, 57, 1973
  • Steve Busby, 70, 1974
  • Wayne Garland, 55, 1976
  • Ed Figueroa, 80, 1978
  • Mike Norris, 58, 1980
  • La Marr Hoyt, 98, 1983
  • Teddy Higuera, 94, 1986
  • Bill Swift, 94, 1993
  • Rick Helling, 93, 1998
  • Jose Lima, 89, 1999
  • Johan Santana*, 93, 2004
  • Dontrelle Willis*, 68, 2005
  • Josh Beckett*, 77, 2007
* - active player

Monday, December 24, 2007

Highest Season Slugging Percentage with Zero Home Runs

Since the last couple posts looked at extra base hits without any home runs, I though it'd be interesting to see what the highest slugging percentage sans homers wound up being. Obviously, the best way to jack up your slugging percentage is to hit a home run, but if you hit a lot of extra base hits, regardless of the actual number of bases per hit, you will still end up with a much higher number than a singles hitter.

First, a decision must be made about the minimum number of plate appearances to look for. If not many players have gone a full season playing regularly without a home run, it's pretty useless to make this list in the first place. The minimum requirements to win a batting title throughout MLB history can be found here. Since players in the early part of the twentieth century didn't have as many team games to play in, using the 502 plate appearances of today as the minimum for this list will exclude some players from back then. However, using the early 60% or 100 games played minimums potentially include some players who didn't actually get much playing time. For example, pinch-hitting specialist Lenny Harris played in 110 games for the Mets in 2001, but he only had 143 plate appearances.

Yesterday, I found out there was a huge spike in doubles from 1920 to 1940. In fact, by looking at the rates of extra base hits, the 1940 season saw a dip in all three types. Since we're not all that concerned with the home run rate anyway (if a player hits even one, he's dropped out of consideration so what does it matter if players that used to hit a couple now hit 10?), 1940 might be a nice season to use as a split for two smaller lists.

It turns out if you look up the number of players to hit zero home runs in 502 or more plate appearances from 1940 to 2007, 149 players make the list. If however, you use a modified version of the AL title requirement from the late 1930's, subbing plate appearances for at bats and making the minimum 400 plate appearances, the number of players shoots up to 248. That's a decent number of homerless players, so I think that sounds like a good minimum. Using that same minimum and searching from 1876 (the beginning of the National League) to 1939 yields a staggering 783 qualifying players. Thus 400 plate appearances is going to be the winner for my list below. In the case of ties out to three decimal places, I'll expand the number to more for the purpose of showing the actual leader.

Highest Slugging Percentage with Zero Home Runs, 1876-1939
  1. "Wee" Willie Keeler, .539, 1897
  2. Hughie Jennings, .488, 1896
  3. Nap Lajoie, .465, 1906
  4. Nap Lajoie, .462, 1912
  5. Scoops Carey, .4403, 1902
  6. Lave Cross, .4401, 1902
  7. Tris Speaker, .4352, 1918
  8. Eddie Collins, .4346, 1912
  9. Cap Anson, .419, 1883
  10. Ginger Beaumont, .418, 1902
  11. Heinie Groh, .417, 1921
  12. Jim Donnelly, .414, 1896
  13. Tim Hendryx, .413, 1920
  14. Tris Speaker, .411, 1915
  15. Sparky Adams, .409, 1930
  16. Billy Rogell, .404, 1933
  17. Earl McNeely, .4027, 1926
  18. Dan McGann, .4025, 1902
  19. Lloyd Waner, .4022, 1935
  20. Fred Tenney, .3996, 1898
  21. Sam Rice, .3995, 1931
Highest Slugging Percentage with Zero Home Runs, 1940-2007
  1. Luke Appling, .442, 1940
  2. Miguel Dilone, .432, 1980
  3. Lance Johnson, .397, 1993
  4. Matty Alou, .396, 1968
  5. Johnny Pesky, .392, 1947
  6. Pete Rose, .390, 1981
  7. Barney McCosky, .386, 1948
  8. Johnny Cooney, .385, 1941
  9. Ozzie Smith, .383, 1987
  10. Rod Carew, .379, 1972
  11. Greg Gross, .377, 1974
  12. Dave Cash, .3754, 1977
  13. Marty Marion, .3753, 1942
  14. Billy Goodman, .3736, 1951
  15. Willie Randolph, .3735, 1991
  16. Johnny Cooney, .373, 1940
  17. Al Oliver, .370, 1984
  18. Harold Reynolds, .369, 1989
  19. Johnny Temple, .3663, 1954
  20. Lyman Bostock, .3659, 1975
  21. Nellie Fox, .3657, 1952
  22. Luis Castillo, .3655, 1999
Since the last strike in 1994-1995, only eleven players have managed to amass 400 or more plate appearances in a season without a home run. Here are those players, ranked by slugging percentage in that season:
  1. Luis Castillo, .366, 1999
  2. Juan Pierre, .353, 2007
  3. Scott Podsednik, .349, 2005
  4. Reggie Willits, .344, 2007
  5. Walt Weiss, .343, 1998
  6. Otis Nixon, .338, 1995
  7. Rey Sanchez, .336, 2001
  8. Jason Tyner, .326, 2001
  9. Brett Butler, .324, 1997
  10. Jason Kendall, .321, 2005
  11. Mickey Morandini, .313, 2000
For what it's worth, Weiss, Tyner, Butler and Morandini didn't get the 502 plate appearances necessary to qualify for league leaderboards.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Most Doubles in a Season with Zero Home Runs

Doubles aren't as exciting as triples since they're a lot easier to hit. Even the slowest players in the major leagues get doubles from time to time (case in point: active leader in PA with no triples Johnny Estrada has 129 career two-base hits). If slow guys can hit doubles, surely even guys with no power can hit some, too, even if they're of the bloop hit "hustle double" variety. Here is the list of the most doubles in a season by a player with no home runs; like yesterday it's split into post-1920 and deadball eras.

Most Doubles in a Seasons with Zero Home Runs, 1876-1919

1Nap Lajoie190648
2Lave Cross190239

Curt Welch188939
4Cap Anson188336
5Scoops Carey190235
6Nap Lajoie191234

Bill Bradley190534
8Tris Speaker191833
9Duffy Lewis191331

Lee Tannehill190431

Jack McCarthy190231

Jack Manning188331
13Bill Rariden191530
14Mike Mowrey191129

Jimmy Collins190729

Lave Cross190529

Claude Ritchey190529
18Shano Collins191628

John Leary191428

Claude Ritchey190328

Jim O'Rourke189228

Jimmy Wolf188828

Most Doubles in a Seasons with Zero Home Runs, 1920-2007

1Dick Bartell193143
2Dave Cash197742

Billy Rogell193342
4Bill Wambsganss192441
5Ozzie Smith198740
6Marty Marion194238
7Doc Cramer193836

Sparky Adams193036

Dave Bancroft192036
10Roy Hughes193635

Billy Herman193335

Willie Kamm193135

Tom Oliver193135

Sparky Adams192635
15Billy Goodman195134

Bill Knickerbocker193534

Hal Rhyne193134

Tom Oliver193034
19Joe Gedeon192033
20Rollie Hemsley193532

Willie Kamm192732

It appears as though the assumption doubles conformed to the same deadball era spike triples did is in error. The second, "liveball era" list is littered with names from the 1920's and 1930's. Perhaps the true spike in doubles either took place or lasted until 1940? A quick look at a chart of doubles per game throughout MLB history confirms that 1920-1939 saw doubles at an only recently matched frequency. What happens to the second list above if the years are changed to 1940-2007? Let's find out:

Most Doubles in a Seasons with Zero Home Runs, 1940-2007

1Dave Cash197742
Ozzie Smith198740
Marty Marion194238
Billy Goodman195134
Frank Taveras197831

Billy Goodman195531
Miguel Dilone198030
Jason Kendall200528

Scott Podsednik200528

Jim Gantner198828

Matty Alou196828

Red Schoendienst194628
13Alfredo Griffin198927

Frank Taveras198027

Johnny Pesky194727

Luke Appling194027
Al Oliver198426

Don Kessinger197526

Dick Groat196526

Richie Ashburn195726

Skeeter Newsome194426

Steve Mesner194326

Doc Cramer194226

This final list looks a lot like the first list which makes sense, I suppose, considering doubles occurred at a similar rate. Even if more players weren't hitting home runs back then, they weren't really any better at hitting doubles than today's players.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Most Triples in a Season with Zero Home Runs

The triple is, in my opinion, one of the more exciting plays in baseball. It doesn't happen very often and usually combines a maximum of hectic movement by the defense on the field with a runner going all out. Of course, so does a Prince Fielder inside-the-park home run, but what is that besides a lethal aberration?

This sort of brings up a good point, however. Players that hit a lot of triples might luck out into making one an inside-the-park home run regardless of their actual power. Players today also might hit the sweet spot of the bat and combine it with a quirky ballpark to knock one over the wall. Coupling smaller ballparks and less triples (I suppose they're likely linked already) means that it's harder for someone to rack up triples without at least one home run.

On the other extreme, back in the deadball era, triples were much more prevalent. Anyone who has read about the 1903 World Series knows that overflow crowds on the field led to a bizarre ground rule triple rule, leading to seventeen triples in that series alone. This was the exception, not the norm, but consider that from 1876 to 1919 hitters in the National League rapped out 25,974 triples in 50,342 games. By contrast, you have to go all the way back to 1949 to equal that number for hitters in the NL: since then there have been 25,855 triples in 109,694 games. In the same periods, 10,387 home runs were hit in the first era versus 93,524 in the second. Put another way, the "break-even point" (roughly equal for all seasons before and after) for triples in NL history was 1930; for home runs, the break-even point was 1975. For games played, it's 1958 so that's kind of quirky, right between the triples and home runs seasons, but I digress.

In any case, it'd presumably be a lot easier for a hitter in the deadball era to get a bunch of triples without any home runs. That's why I've broken down this record into two lists: pre-1920 and post-1920.

Most Triples in a Season with Zero Home Runs from 1876-1919

1"Wee" Willie Keeler189719

Bill Kuehne188519
3Eddie Collins191617

John Coleman188617
5Kitty Bransfield190116
6Edd Roush191615

Dan McGann190215

Bill Phillips188615
9Frank Shugart189214

Sadie Houck188414
11Lee Magee191813

Doug Baird191713

Sam Crawford191613

Matty McIntyre190813

Joe Kelley190413

Jack Crooks189113

Pop Smith188513
1817 tied with

Most Triples in a Season with Zero Home Runs, 1920-2007

1Rabbit Maranville192215
2Lance Johnson199314

Lloyd Waner193514
4Lance Johnson199113

Rodney Scott198013

Luke Appling194013

Willie Kamm192713

Charlie Grimm192213
9Earl McNeely192612

Heinie Groh192012
11Marvell Wynne198411

Larry Bowa197911

Roger Metzger197111

Doc Cramer193711

Billy Rogell193311

Jackie Tavener192511
17Greg Gross197510

Don Kessinger197510

Roger Metzger197410

Nellie Fox195210

Rabbit Maranville192910

Willie Kamm192610

Stuffy McInnis192110

A lot of players on the second list played in the 1920's, but I'm kind of surprised by the number of hitters in the years after that. I guess the 1970's were a short-lived revival of the homer-less triples hitter.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Longest GIDP Streaks

I know I've kind of gone crazy with double play posts recently but bear with me. While I've had some dubious results using the Streak Finder part of the Baseball-Reference Play Index in the past, I think this is pretty legitimate. The tool searches from 1957 through 2007, so these are the players with one or more GIDP in five or more consecutive games over the last fifty-one seasons.

  1. Mike Lowell, 5 games, 7/28/2004 to 8/3/2004
  2. Nomar Garciaparra, 5 games, 6/4/1998 to 6/8/1998
  3. Ken Singleton, 5 games, 8/14/1982 to 8/20/1982
  4. Jim Rice, 5 games, 7/2/1982 to 7/5/1982 (Game 2)
  5. Joe Lis, 5 games, 9/8/1973 to 9/16/1973
According to the MLB Rulebook:
A consecutive-game hitting streak shall not be terminated if all the player's plate appearances (one or more) results in a base on balls, hit batsman, defensive interference or a sacrifice bunt. The streak shall terminate if the player has a sacrifice fly and no hit. The player's individual consecutive-game hitting streak shall be determined by the consecutive games in which the player appears and is not determined by his club's games.
If you apply the same standard to GIDP streaks, Lou Piniella in 1980 had a five game streak from 9/11 to 9/17 even though he drew a pinch-hit intentional walk in the game on September 12 of that year. Greg Norton also would hold the record streak since 1957 with six consecutive games from 9/12/1998 to 9/20/1998 with a pinch hit base on balls in between on September 14.

More on 2007 GIDP

As if the small samples in the last post weren't enough, I want to break things down further and look at how players did in 0-out and 1-out double play situations.

Most 0-Out DPPA Between GIDP Among Title Qualifiers
  1. Reggie Willits, ∞ (0 in 28)
  2. Kenny Lofton, ∞ (0 in 27)
  3. Akinori Iwamura, ∞ (0 in 27)
  4. Juan Pierre, 73.0 (1 in 73)
  5. Nick Punto, 57.0 (1 in 57)
  6. Corey Patterson, 46.0 (1 in 46)
  7. Craig Biggio, 31.0 (1 in 31)
  8. Hanley Ramirez, 28.0 (1 in 28)
  9. Carlos Pena, 24.5 (2 in 49)
  10. Carlos Delgado, 24.0 (2 in 48)
Fewest 0-Out DPPA Between GIDP Among Title Qualifiers
  1. Miguel Tejada, 3.8 (11 in 42)
  2. A.J. Pierzynski, 3.9 (10 in 39)
  3. Melvin Mora, 4.3 (12 in 51)
  4. Brandon Phillips, 4.6 (14 in 65)
  5. Paul Konerko, 4.7 (9 in 42)
  6. Brian McCann, 4.7 (10 in 47)
  7. Ray Durham, 4.9 (10 in 49)
  8. Jose Bautista, 5.0 (8 in 40)
  9. Torii Hunter, 5.0 (10 in 50)
  10. Dmitri Young, 5.0 (7 in 35)
Most 1-Out DPPA Between GIDP Among Title Qualifiers
  1. Johnny Damon, ∞ (0 in 53)
  2. Edwin Encarnacion, 64.0 (1 in 64)
  3. Grady Sizemore, 55.0 (1 in 55)
  4. Corey Hart, 50.0 (1 in 50)
  5. Julio Lugo, 47.0 (1 in 47)
  6. Curtis Granderson, 43.0 (1 in 43)
  7. Rickie Weeks, 40.0 (1 in 40)
  8. Jack Cust, 35.0 (2 in 70)
  9. Mark Teixeira, 33.0 (2 in 66)
  10. Mike Cameron, 28.0 (2 in 56)
Fewest 1-Out DPPA Between GIDP Among Title Qualifiers
  1. Orlando Hudson, 3.8 (17 in 65)
  2. Kenji Johjima, 4.4 (17 in 75)
  3. Manny Ramirez, 4.7 (16 in 75)
  4. Ivan Rodriguez, 5.0 (11 in 55)
  5. Brendan Harris, 5.2 (11 in 57)
  6. Nick Markakis, 5.2 (16 in 83)
  7. Jose Lopez, 5.5 (13 in 72)
  8. Russell Martin, 5.5 (13 in 72)
  9. Frank Thomas, 5.6 (10 in 56)
  10. Carlos Lee, 5.6 (16 in 90)

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Most and Least GIDP-Prone Hitters in 2007

Let's define a double play situation as runners on first, first and second, first and third or the bases loaded with zero or one outs. A hitter only comes up in a double play situation every so often. In Major League Baseball, the average hitter had the potential of grounding into a double play in 19.12% of his plate appearances. Below are the hitters that qualified for the batting title with the highest and lowest percentage of plate appearances in double play situations (DPPA).

Highest Percentage of DPPA among Title Qualifiers
  1. David Ortiz, 180 of 667, 26.99%
  2. Chipper Jones, 156 of 600, 26.00%
  3. Robinson Cano, 172 of 669, 25.71%
  4. Albert Pujols, 172 of 679, 25.33%
  5. Bobby Abreu, 175 of 699, 25.04%
  6. Mark Teahen, 152 of 608, 25.00%
  7. Vladimir Guerrero, 162 of 660, 24.55%
  8. Ken Griffey Jr., 152 of 623, 24.40%
  9. Mike Lowell, 156 of 653, 23.89%
  10. Jose Vidro, 149 of 625, 23.84%
Lowest Percentage of DPPA among Title Qualifiers
  1. Jose Reyes, 88 of 765, 11.50%
  2. Luis Castillo, 73 of 615, 11.87%
  3. Curtis Granderson, 82 of 676, 12.13%
  4. Rafael Furcal, 80 of 642, 12.46%
  5. Grady Sizemore, 95 of 748, 12.70%
  6. Craig Biggio, 71 of 555, 12.79%
  7. Rickie Weeks, 65 of 506, 12.85%
  8. Jimmy Rollins, 102 of 778, 13.11%
  9. Kenny Lofton, 74 of 559, 13.24%
  10. Brian Roberts, 95 of 716, 13.27%
No big surprises there as the list is populated by mainly leadoff hitters. As I noted in a previous post, it's hard for hitters at the top of the lineup to ground into double plays; they get at least one plate appearance per game guaranteed not to be a double play situation.

Though it's probably pretty much luck, some hitters were better than others at avoiding grounding into double plays when they came up to the plate. Here are the hitters with the most double play situation plate appearances between GIDP and the fewest double play situation plate appearances between GIDP. The MLB average was 9.1 DPPA between GIDP.

Most DPPA Between GIDP among Title Qualifiers
  1. Akinori Iwamura, 37.5 (2 in 75)
  2. Corey Patterson, 32.0 (3 in 96)
  3. Grady Sizemore, 31.7 (3 in 95)
  4. Curtis Granderson, 27.3 (3 in 82)
  5. Adrian Gonzalez, 23.0 (6 in 138)
  6. Stephen Drew, 22.0 (4 in 88)
  7. Rickie Weeks, 21.7 (3 in 65)
  8. Johnny Damon, 21.3 (4 in 85)
  9. Edwin Encarnacion, 20.0 (5 in 100)
  10. Chris B. Young, 18.4 (5 in 92)
Fewest DPPA Between GIDP among Title Qualifiers
  1. Orlando Hudson, 4.7 (21 in 99)
  2. Miguel Tejada, 5.1 (22 in 112)
  3. A.J. Pierzynski, 5.2 (21 in 109)
  4. Kenji Johjima, 5.2 (22 in 115)
  5. Brian McCann, 5.3 (19 in 110)
  6. Manny Ramirez, 5.4 (21 in 113)
  7. Ivan Rodriguez, 5.5 (16 in 88)
  8. Melvin Mora, 5.5 (22 in 121)
  9. Carlos Lee, 5.6 (27 in 152)
  10. Paul Konerko, 5.7 (21 in 120)
It seems kind of weird to see Orlando Hudson on top of the list. Like I said, the names on this list are probably there because of bad luck more than skill (or the lack of it).

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Most Career GIDP by a Leadoff Hitter Since 1957

It's harder for the players occupying the first spot in a team's batting order to ground into a double play than anybody else. Logically this makes sense since at least once a game it is impossible for them to do it. Also, the leadoff man in a given batting order usually tends to be fast so it seems harder for the opposing team to turn a double play with him running to first. Even so, leadoff hitters still ground into double plays sometimes and, if they play enough, also can end up with some pretty high career GIDP totals.

The Baseball-Reference Play Index lets us look up all the double plays since 1957 that have been started by the hitter occupying his team's #1 spot in the lineup so it comes down to counting names. I've listed the players with 50 or more GIDP while in the leadoff spot with their number of career plate appearances batting first next to it. While it doesn't tell us much about their ability to avoid/ground into double plays, the plate appearances column does let us know how long it took a player to reach his career total; someone with a high total PA relative to the players around him might indicate someone with above-average luck (or teammates with low on-base skills). To help show that the last column is the number of plate appearances per GIDP.

Most Career GIDP While in the Leadoff Spot Since 1957

RankNameGIDPPA in Leadoff SpotPA/GIDP
1Rickey Henderson1711312276.7
2Pete Rose1581071067.8
3Eric Young110574852.3
4Paul Molitor103729170.8
5Shannon Stewart92539658.7
6Kenny Lofton88792990.1
7Chuck Knoblauch87596468.6

Tony Taylor87542162.3
9Luis Aparicio86574066.7
10Tony Phillips84648977.3
11Steve Sax83502860.6

Wade Boggs83436152.5
13Lou Brock818653106.8
14Willie Randolph78405952.0
15Tim Raines76651485.7

Davey Lopes76471062.0
17Maury Wills74690093.2
18Ron LeFlore72475666.1

Luis Polonia72449362.4
20Horace Clarke71467965.9
21Craig Biggio707297104.2
22Bert Campaneris68657196.6
23Al Bumbry67517777.3
24Dave Cash65441567.9
25Otis Nixon63507880.6

Rick Burleson63277244.0
27Dan Gladden62366259.1
28David Eckstein60394265.7
29Willie Wilson596350107.6
30Don Kessinger56527694.2
31Brett Butler558432153.3

Pat Kelly55290952.9
33Johnny Damon546553121.4
34Marquis Grissom53347165.5
35Fernando Vina52404077.7

Luis Castillo52398076.5
37Tommy Harper515238102.7

Lou Whitaker51426883.7
39Rafael Furcal50468093.6

The bolded players are still active. Brett Butler and Johnny Damon seem to be better than average at avoiding double plays; I'm not sure if it's because they don't have many career plate appearances in double play situations or if it's because they really are/were skilled at avoiding ground balls in those situations.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Most Career RBI, Zero Runs Scored

It's pretty difficult to rack up runs batted in without ever scoring yourself. You have to avoid hitting home runs and generally stay off the basepaths. For this reason, this list has some small numbers on it but any category in which Razor Shines holds the record is postable.

Most Career RBI with Zero Runs Scored Since 1901 (Position Players)

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Worst Minor League OPS's in 2007

Looking for something to do in order to unwind during finals week, I hit upon the idea of finding the lowest OPS's put up by minor leaguers during the 2007 season. I know you can find them at the official site of Minor League Baseball but I wanted to put the information for all the leagues in one place. The minimum requirement to qualify for the major league batting title is 3.1 PA/game but the minor leagues use 2.7 PA/game; this is the number I used to calculate the minimum plate appearances needed in each league. I also calculated the average number of games played by each team in each league to find the number of "league games" used in the calculation of the plate appearances requirement. Each entry contains the player's name, his position, his minor league team (and its major league affiliation), his OPS, and his age in parentheses at the end of the line.

Lowest OPS's In Each Minor League, 2007

  • International League - 143 G, minimum 386 PA (Average OPS/Age: .728/27.3)
    1. Danny Sandoval, SS, Ottawa (PHI) - .567 (28)
    2. Dane Sardinha, C, Toledo (DET) - .580 (28)
    3. David Espinosa, RF, Toledo (DET) - .585 (25)
    4. Ed Rogers, SS, Pawtucket (BOS) - .624 (28)
    5. Elliot Johnson, 2B, Durham (TBD) - .627 (23)
  • Pacific Coast League - 144 G, minimum 389 PA (Average OPS/Age: .783/27.0)
    1. Oswaldo Navarro, SS, Tacoma (SEA) - .632 (22)
    2. Lou Merloni, 3B, Sacramento (OAK) - .665 (36)
    3. Josh Anderson, LF, Round Rock (HOU) - .666 (24)
    4. Nick Stavinoha, OF, Memphis (STL) - .682 (25)
    5. Kevin Mahar, OF, Oklahoma (TEX) - .692 (26)
  • Eastern League - 141 G, minimum 381 PA (Average OPS/Age: .734/25.4)
    1. Ryan Klosterman, 3B, New Hampshire (TOR) - .583 (25)
    2. Luis Hernandez, SS, Bowie (BAL) - .592 (23)
    3. Gabe Lopez, 2B, Trenton (NYY) - .631 (27)
    4. P.J. Pilittere, C, Trenton (NYY) - .654 (25)
    5. Kody Kirkland, 3B, Erie (DET) - .657 (24)
  • Southern League - 139 G, minimum 375 PA (Average OPS/Age: .726/24.4)
    1. Christopher Kelly, 3B, Birmingham (CHW) - .567 (25)
    2. Christopher Minaker, SS, West Tenn (SEA) - .570 (23)
    3. Gary Cates, SS, Tennessee (CHC) - .616 (25)
    4. Van Pope, 3B, Mississippi (ATL) - .637 (23)
    5. Josh Asanovich, 2B, Montgomery (TBD) - .650 (24)
  • Texas League - 139 G, minimum 375 PA (Average OPS/Age: .744/24.7)
    1. Cody Fuller, OF, Arkansas (LAA) - .588 (24)
    2. Irving Falu, 2B, Wichita (KCR) - .592 (24)
    3. Michael Collins, 1B, Arkansas (LAA) - .619 (22)
    4. Onil Joseph, OF, Wichita (KCR) - .634 (25)
    5. Jonathan Herrera, SS, Tulsa (COL) - .653 (22)
  • California League - 140 G, minimum 378 PA (Average OPS/Age: .770/23.2)
    1. Anthony Contreras, OF, San Jose (SFG) - .523 (23)
    2. Matt Smith, SS, Bakersfield (TEX) - .582 (24)
    3. Pedro Ciriaco, SS, Visalia (ARI) - .608 (21)
    4. Brian Bocock, SS, San Jose (SFG) - .621 (22)
    5. Jeffery Dominguez, SS, High Desert (SEA) - .675 (20)
  • Carolina League - 138 G, minimum 373 PA (Average OPS/Age: .732/23.4)
    1. Miguel Vega, 1B, Wilmington (KCR) - .602 (21)
    2. Pedro Powell, OF, Lynchburg (PIT) - .629 (23)
    3. Marc Maddox, 2B, Wilmington (KCR) - .648 (23)
    4. Quentin Davis, OF, Myrtle Beach (ATL) - .650 (24)
    5. Mike Butia, OF, Kinston (CLE) - .656 (24)
  • Florida State League - 139 G, minimum 375 PA (Average OPS/Age: .713/23.4)
    1. Hunter Vick, 2B, Vero Beach (TBD) - .536 (25)
    2. Agustin Septimo, SS, Jupiter (FLA) - .560 (23)
    3. James Rapoport, OF, Palm Beach (STL) - .590 (22)
    4. Ovandy Suero, OF, Lakeland (DET) - .601 (25)
    5. Tim Battle, CF, Tampa (NYY) - .602 (21)
  • Midwest League - 139 G, minimum 375 PA (Average OPS/Age: .696/21.8)
    1. Preston Mattingly, 2B, Great Lakes (LAD) - .548 (19)
    2. Audy Ciriaco, SS, West Michigan (DET) - .565 (20)
    3. Garrett Olson, OF, Beloit (MIN) - .591 (22)
    4. Derrick Robinson, CF, Burlington (KCR) - .599 (19)
    5. Daryl Jones, OF, Quad Cities (STL) - .600 (20)
  • South Atlantic League - 138 G, minimum 373 PA (Average OPS/Age: .735/22.2)
    1. Ralph Henriquez, C, Lexington (HOU) - .506 (20)
    2. Pedro Florimon Jr., SS, Delmarva (BAL) - .529 (20)
    3. Francisco Pena, C, Savannah (NYM) - .547 (17)
    4. C.J. Henry, OF, Lakewood (PHI) - .559 (21)
    5. Jairo de la Rosa, SS, Columbus (TBD) - .564 (21)
  • New York-Penn League - 75 G, minimum 203 PA (Average OPS/Age: .697/21.5)
    1. Austin McClune, OF, State College (PIT) - .587 (19)
    2. Thomas Pham, OF, Batavia (STL) - .588 (19)
    3. Craig Corrado, 1B, Tri-City (HOU) - .589 (22)
    4. Luis Sanchez, SS, Auburn (TOR) - .600 (20)
    5. Jake Rogers, SS, Vermont (WSN) - .603 (23)
  • Northwest League - 76 G, minimum 205 PA (Average OPS/Age: .730/21.1)
    1. Andres James, SS, Spokane (TEX) - .430 (19)
    2. Marc Sawyer, 1B, Boise (CHC) - .548 (21)
    3. Ogui Diaz, 2B, Everett (SEA) - .572 (21)
    4. Shane Keough, OF, Vancouver (OAK) - .598 (20)
    5. Walter Correa, IF, Vancouver (OAK) - .604 (20)
  • Appalachian League - 68 G, minimum 184 PA (Average OPS/Age: .712/20.5)
    1. Michael Gioioso, SS, Bluefield (BAL) - .539 (22)
    2. Dustin Biell, OF, Princeton (TBD) - .558 (18)
    3. Hancer Vargas, SS, Bristol (CHW) - .585 (18)
    4. Antonio Jimenez, IF, Burlington (KCR) - .605 (20)
    5. Neder Severino, OF, Burlington (KCR) - .633 (19)
  • Pioneer League - 76 G, minimum 205 PA (Average OPS/Age: .760/21.2)
    1. Manuel Juan, SS, Idaho Falls (KCR) - .483 (21)
    2. Reynaldo Navarro, SS, Missoula (ARI) - .557 (17)
    3. Jimmy Principe, OF, Missoula (ARI) - .642 (21)
    4. Scott Robinson, OF, Casper (COL) - .651 (18)
    5. Michael Jones, OF, Billings (CIN) - .656 (20)
  • Arizona League - 56 G, minimum 151 PA (Average OPS/Age: .727/20.3)
    1. Fernando Cruz, IF, AZL Royals (KCR) - .519 (17)
    2. Emmanuel Solis, 3B, AZL Rangers (TEX) - .553 (18)
    3. Hilton Richardson, OF, AZL Royals (KCR) - .599 (18)
    4. Lifete Jose, SS, AZL Royals (KCR) - .603 (18)
    5. Jacob Kaase, SS, AZL Rangers (TEX) - .612 (21)
  • Dominican Summer League - 68 G, minimum 184 PA (Average OPS/Age: .658/18.5)
    1. Yarody Santos, SS, DSL Rockies (COL) - .455 (17)
    2. Jhonaldo Pozo, 3B, DSL Padres (SDP) - .455 (18)
    3. Jose Carmona, SS, DSL Diamondbacks (ARI) - .457 (18)
    4. Luis Campusano, C, DSL Mets (NYM) - .460 (21)
    5. Cesar Sosa, LF, DSL Padres (SDP) - .466 (18)
  • Gulf Coast League - 57 G, minimum 154 PA (Average OPS/Age: .691/20.6)
    1. Balbino Fuenmayor, SS, GCL Blue Jays (TOR) - .485 (17)
    2. Romulo Ruiz, IF, GCL Cardinals (STL) - .488 (17)
    3. Alexis Oliveras, OF, GCL Reds (CIN) - .493 (18)
    4. Justin Jackson, SS, GCL Blue Jays (TOR) - .515 (18)
    5. Radhames Moreta, SS, GCL Reds (CIN) - .528 (20)
  • Venezuelan Summer League - 69 G, minimum 186 PA (Average Age: .699/17.6)
    1. Luis Rojas, OF, VSL Mets (NYM) - .483 (18)
    2. Ronald Torrealba, SS, VSL Tigers (DET) - .529 (17)
    3. Peter Jaspe, LF, VSL Cardinals (STL) - .533 (17)
    4. Billy Bolivar, OF, VSL Cardinals (STL) - .551 (19)
    5. Jose Guevara, C, VSL Cubs/Twins (CHC) - .554 (19)

The Minor Leagues

There's really no point to this since parks and conditions often change from league to league within a level (compare the Pacific Coast League and International League offensively). It's also pretty useless to compare numbers from level to level since the skill of pitchers at each level is vastly different. That said, I thought it'd be interesting to see how the various levels of minor league baseball did as a whole when it comes to offense. All data is taken from the minor league numbers available at The ages listed are average age for players at the level.

2007 Minor League Averages


How I classified the levels (the links go to their 2007 standings/league statistics):
Final Fun Fact: Shortstop Robert Andino had the most plate appearances for one team in the minor leagues in 2007, putting up a .278/.322/.428 line in 644 PA for the AAA Albuquerque Isotopes.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Most IBB in a Season, No Home Runs

Partly as a result of the unprecedented numbers of intentional walks drawn by Barry Bonds in his record-setting home run seasons, the intentional walk has become even more inextricably linked with home run hitters. This isn't the only role the intentional base on balls has played throughout baseball history, however. Sometimes a manager will order an intentional walk in order to bring the opponent's pitcher to the plate or to set up a double play. In any case, the following players were not intentionally walked for their home run potential, that's for sure.

Most Intentional Walks with No Home Runs in a Single Season Since 1955*

1Don Kessinger197318.637
2Doug Flynn198014.600
3Ozzie Smith198613.709
4Jose Lind199210.544
5Tim Flannery198210.647

Bill Almon197810.617

Doug Flynn197810.566

Roger Metzger19769.556
9Steve Jeltz19869.582

Tony Scott19809.619

Dave Bergman19789.630

Manny Mota19739.733

Rod Carew19729.748

Jake Gibbs19699.577

Dal Maxvill19669.606

Woody Woodward19668.650
17Brent Mayne20048.577

Bip Roberts19968.688

Steve Jeltz19888.532

Tom Nieto19858.586

Doug Flynn19838.561

Ted Sizemore19788.524

Larry Bowa19738.501

Jim Gosger19688.462

Eddie Kasko19648.585

Maury Wills19608.673