Monday, June 30, 2008

Five-and-Ten Players

Article XIX, Section A(1) of the 2007-2011 Basic Agreement states:
The contract of a Player with ten or more years of Major League service, the last five of which have been with one Club, shall not be assignable to another Major League Club without the Player’s written consent. No consent from a Player shall be considered effective until twenty-four hours from the Club’s request to the Player for such consent. At his sole election, however, a Player may, at the time he signs a multi-year contract with a Club, waive the right to prevent an assignment of his contract under this Section A(1), provided that the multi-year contract (a) is signed before the Player has attained ten or more years of Major League service, the last five of which have been with one Club, and (b) contains a no-trade provision that, at a minimum, limits the Club’s right to assign the Player’s contract, during each of its years, to no more than sixteen (16) Clubs designated or subsequently to be designated by the Player.
Basically, any player with ten years of major league service time who has spent the last five years with one team gets an automatic trade refusal clause. This is sometimes called the "Five-and-Ten" rule and I thought it'd be interesting to post the players who currently fall under it and who will gain five-and-ten status at some point later this year. Obviously some of these guys might not be traded in any circumstances, but it's worth knowing who has the potential to screw up your favorite trade proposal by not wanting to move.

NOTE: Some of these players may have multi-year contracts that restrict their trade refusal rights to a certain number of clubs as explained in the quoted paragraph. I've tried to be as accurate as possible when exact dates are given for achieving five-and-ten status.

2008 Five-and-Ten Rule Players
(red text indicates no trade clause under current contract as explained above)
(blue text indicates contract ends or club option exists after 2008 season)

  • Atlanta Braves
    • Mike Hampton
    • Chipper Jones
    • John Smoltz

  • Boston Red Sox
    • David Ortiz (July 30)
    • Manny Ramirez
    • Curt Schilling (following season)
    • Mike Timlin
    • Jason Varitek
    • Tim Wakefield

  • Chicago Cubs
    • Ryan Dempster (following season)
    • Derrek Lee (following season)
    • Kerry Wood

  • Chicago White Sox
    • Paul Konerko

  • Cincinnati Reds
    • Ken Griffey Jr.

  • Colorado Rockies
    • Todd Helton

  • Detroit Tigers
    • Carlos Guillen (following season)
    • Ivan Rodriguez (following season)

  • Houston Astros
    • Brad Ausmus

  • Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
    • Garret Anderson
    • Kelvim Escobar (following season)
    • Vladimir Guerrero (following season)

  • New York Yankees
    • Jason Giambi
    • Derek Jeter
    • Mike Mussina
    • Jorge Posada
    • Mariano Rivera
    • Alex Rodriguez (following season)

  • Oakland Athletics
    • Eric Chavez (August 27)

  • San Diego Padres
    • Brian Giles (August 17)
    • Trevor Hoffman

  • San Francisco Giants
    • Ray Durham

  • Seattle Mariners
    • Raul Ibanez

  • St. Louis Cardinals
    • Chris Carpenter (following season)
    • Jason Isringhausen

  • Toronto Blue Jays
    • Gregg Zaun (following season)
The players that are listed as achieving five-and-ten status following the season technically get it on the 172nd day of this year's championship season, or September 18. Since players can't be traded that late in the season I figured it was easier just to note they get those rights after the season concludes.

I suppose 22 (and 35 after the season) out of the approximately 800 players currently on an active roster or disabled list isn't very many to get worked up about, but this is one of those rules that might happen to get overlooked.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Designated Hitting Families

My dad came up with the idea for this post during last night's Brewers-Twins game. Prince Fielder, the son of former slugger Cecil Fielder, was Milwaukee's DH. Knowing Cecil often filled the DH role on his teams, my dad wondered which father and son had combined for the most games as a designated hitter.

Since the DH rule has only been around since 1973, there haven't been that many fathers and sons who could have both been designated hitters. There have been twenty-one fathers who spent at least one game at DH with twenty-five sons who also spent at least one game as a designated hitter. In addition, there are fourteen other families who had a father and son both play after 1973 but who didn't each spend time as a designated hitter. I'll list the fathers and sons who both spent time as a DH below first and then follow that with the combinations that didn't both DH. Note I've summed the three numbers for the families with two siblings that both were DH's.

Most Games as a DH for a Father/Son Combination
Through June 27, 2008

RankFather (DH Games)Son (DH Games)Total DH Games
1Hal McRae (1427)Brian McRae (19)1446
Cecil Fielder (535)Prince Fielder (11)546
Tom Grieve (195)Ben Grieve (105)300
Jerry Hairston, Sr. (125) Jerry Hairston, Jr. (33)
Scott Hairston (3)
Tim Raines, Sr. (131)Tim Raines, Jr. (5)136
Tony Perez (82)Eduardo Perez (50)132
Bobby Bonds (81)Barry Bonds (39)120
Gary Ward (101)Daryle Ward (14)115
Ken Griffey, Sr. (14)Ken Griffey, Jr. (74)88
Sandy Alomar, Sr. (30)Roberto Alomar (25)
Sandy Alomar, Jr. (14)
11Gary Matthews, Sr. (39)Gary Matthews, Jr. (22)61
12Dave May (23)Derrick May (11)34
Buddy Bell (24)David Bell (1)
Mike Bell (0)
14Dave Duncan (10)Shelley Duncan (10)
Chris Duncan (4)
15Tony Gwynn, Sr. (15)Tony Gwynn, Jr. (1)16
16Dennis Werth (12)Jayson Werth (3)15
17Jose Cruz, Sr. (12)Jose Cruz, Jr. (2)14
18Bob Boone (1)Bret Boone (4)
Aaron Boone (2)
19Johnny Jeter (3)Shawn Jeter (3)6
Fred Kendall (2)Jason Kendall (3)5
21Ed Crosby (1)Bobby Crosby (2)3

Of the sons on this list, only eleven haven't played so far this season. In fact, Daryle Ward is playing as a DH for the Cubs while I post this so his number is already out of date. That's why there's a "Through June 27, 2008" up on top, though. :)

As promised, the families who have played since the start of the 1973 season that didn't manage to have both generations DH (yet) are as follows:
  • Felipe and Moises Alou
  • Jesse and Josh Barfield
  • Jeff and Sean Burroughs
  • Jerry and Jeff DaVanon
  • Bill and Brandon Fahey
  • Randy and Todd Hundley
  • Don and Keith Kessinger
  • Clyde and Damon Mashore
  • Dave and Cody McKay
  • Manny, Andy, and Jose Mota
  • Tony Pena, Sr. and Tony Pena, Jr.
  • Pete Rose, Sr. and Pete Rose, Jr.
  • Steve and Nick Swisher
  • John and Dusty Wathan

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Managers' Home/Road Splits

So far this season, only six teams are playing .500 or better on the road. Last year, 22 of 30 teams were below .500 on the road. In 2006, twenty MLB teams lost more than they won on the road. Obviously, most teams struggle when away from their home ballpark. I don't know if this is due to lack of the comforts of home, batting first instead of last, hostile fans, or something else, but there it is. Regardless of the reason, since managers tend to get criticized for the failings of any teams, I thought it would be interesting to see which managers in major league history have had the most extreme splits in winning percentage from home to road games.

Interestingly, the most extremely home-successful managers plied their trade in the 19th century. The closest to evenly split managers come pretty evenly from all times after 1900. Playing twenty games at a time on the road without the most comfortable traveling methods no doubt made it tougher to win for nineteenth-century teams away from home.

In order to avoid interim or otherwise short-term managers mucking up the leaderboards, I set a minimum of 400 games managed to qualify for the leaderboard. This is about 2 1/2 modern major league seasons but, with the varying length of schedules in the past, can range up to five seasons for managers before 1900. This gave a sample of exactly 250 managers in baseball history. For the list of most extreme differences from home to road, I've included the top 10 managers who started after 1900 with their overall rank in order to show how that leaderboard is dominated by nineteenth-century skippers. I've also included links to the Baseball-Reference Franchise Encyclopedias of the weirder three-letter abbreviations for defunct teams.

Most Extreme Home-Road Splits for Managers, 1871-2007

1Buck Ewing1890-1900NYI-CIN-NYG315145.685174250.410.274
2Jim O'Rourke1881-1893BUF-WAS14587.625101171.371.254
3Dave Foutz1893-1896BRO16398.625101159.388.236
4John Ward1880-1894PRO-NYG-
5Bill Sharsig1886-1891PHA-PHQ15292.62386124.410.213
6Arthur Irwin1889-1899WNL-BRS-WAS-
7Gus Schmelz1884-1897CBK-SLM-CIN-
8Billy Barnie1883-1898BLO-WAS-
9Bill McGunnigle1888-1896BRO-PIT-LOU19595.672132153.463.209
10Patsy Tebeau1890-1900CLI-CLV-STL428221.659298362.452.208
11Stan Hack1954-1958CHC-STL123112.52376160.322.201
12Clint Hurdle2002-2007COL266211.558176298.371.186
20Ed Barrow1903-1920DET-BOS178131.576132189.411.165
21Eddie Kasko1970-1973BOS198121.621147174.458.163
22Joe Cantillon1907-1909WSH96128.42962169.268.160
24Bill Armour1902-1906CLE-DET220145.603162202.445.158
25Billy Hitchcock1960-1967DET-BAL-ATL158110.590116151.434.155
28Pants Rowland1915-1918CHW18999.656150148.503.153
31Billy Gardner1981-1987MIN-KCR193181.516137236.367.149
32Walter Johnson1929-1935WSH-CLE300181.624229251.477.147

I like the nicknames of some of the old-time franchises. Brooklyn Ward's Wonders? Cool. Let's leave behind those dusty old teams and turn now to the managers who did the same at home and on the road.

Least Extreme Home-Road Splits for Managers, 1871-2007

1Cookie Lavagetto1957-1961WSH-MIN136191.416135193.412.004
2Art Fletcher1923-1929PHI-NYY119188.388118195.377.011
3Frank Chance1905-1923CHC-NYY-BOS476318.599470330.588.012
4Tony Muser1997-2002KCR157219.418160212.430-.013
5Red Schoendienst1965-1990STL528471.529513484.515.014
6Larry Rothschild1998-2001TBD103143.419102151.403.016
7Pete Rose1984-1989CIN212186.533200187.517.016
8Lefty Phillips1969-1971CAL113110.507109115.487.020
9Frank Lucchesi1970-1987PHI-TEX-CHC164198.453152201.431.022
10Joe Tinker1913-1916CIN-CHH-CHC156151.508148157.485.023
15Bob Boone1995-2003KCR-CIN178227.440193217.471-.031

I've put Bob Boone at the bottom of this table because he and Tony Muser (#4 in this table) are the only two out of the 250 qualifying managers who won more often on the road than at home. Interestingly, Muser succeeded Boone as manager of the Royals.

Rather than clutter this post up with another table, I'm just going to list each current (read: "started the season at the helm of a club") big-league manager's career difference between his home winning percentage and road winning percentage through 2007. The same minimum applies: a manager must have managed at least 400 games coming into this season. Remember, the larger the number, the bigger discrepancy between that manager's home and road winning percentages.

Home Win% - Road Win% for MLB Managers, Through 2007
  1. Clint Hurdle, COL, .186
  2. John Gibbons, TOR, .134
  3. Ned Yost, MIL, .122
  4. Ron Gardenhire, MIN, .098
  5. Terry Francona, BOS, .096
  6. Tony LaRussa, STL, .088
  7. Mike Scioscia, LAA, .077
  8. Lou Piniella, CHC, .077
  9. Bruce Bochy, SFG, .067
  10. Bobby Cox, ATL, .067
  11. Eric Wedge, CLE, .064
  12. Bob Melvin, ARI, .064
  13. Dusty Baker, CIN, .061
  14. Jim Leyland, DET, .058
  15. Joe Torre, LAD, .053
  16. Ozzie Guillen, CHW, .049
  17. Willie Randolph, NYM, .041
  18. Charlie Manuel, PHI, .039

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Walking Is Not An Option

Baseball fans who don't like bases on balls have had two rookie pitchers to follow recently. Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim righthander Jose Arredondo made his major league debut on May 14 against the Chicago White Sox, gave up a home run to the first batter he faced, and has been on a roll ever since. Well, that's not precisely true: he did have a hiccup of an outing against the Mets on June 16, but an ERA of 1.76 through your first 15 2/3 major league innings is nothing to sniff at. In his first fourteen outings, Arredondo struck out twelve batters and walked none. He finally issued his first walk yesterday to Jayson Werth and followed that up promptly with another walk to Chris Coste before departing the game.

Providing a contrast to Jose Arredondo's steady ascent up through the Angels' minor league system is 31-year-old Milwaukee Brewers righthander Mark DiFelice. Drafted by the Colorado Rockies in the 15th round of the 1998 draft out of Western Carolina University, DiFelice spent six years in the Rockies' minor league system without putting up an ERA above 3.87 or a WHIP over 1.29. Unfortunately for him, he only spent eight games at AAA in that span before being released by the Rockies at the end of March 2004. Signed shortly thereafter by the Orioles, DiFelice spent 2004 as a reliever for the AAA Ottawa Lynx. A rough 2005 for Washington AAA affiliate New Orleans banished him to the independent Atlantic League. Solid pitching in 2005 and 2006 got him a shot with the Brewers in 2007 and he split that year between AA Huntsville and AAA Nashville. An injury in spring training put him on the shelf to start this season, but after four strong starts in Nashville, including a sparkling 28:1 K:BB ratio, he got a long-awaited call-up to the major leagues. A rough debut on May 18 at Fenway Park has been followed by generally good long relief outings. Since being called up, DiFelice has pitched in ten games totaling 13 2/3 IP with 16 strikeouts and zero walks.

I bring up these two pitchers because I was curious about their respective ranks on the list of consecutive games without issuing a walk to start a career. Since 1956, only twelve pitchers have reached ten games in a row to start a career without issuing a walk. Only twenty-five guys have reached eight.

Consecutive Games Without Issuing a Base on Balls to Start a Career

Interestingly, Bart Evans never walked a batter in the major leagues. His eight games pitched in 1998 were all he'd ever get in the show. If you're a fan of not walking batters or just like back-from-the-indy-leagues major leaguers, keep an eye on Mark DiFelice in upcoming days.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Worst Minor League OPS's in 2008

I've mentioned numerous times I like dubious records. To me, it's fun to see who's managed to hold onto a baseball job despite mediocre performance. The minor leagues have sort of an aura of hope about them. After all, a good season at one level could earn you a promotion to the next, and so on, until you're wearing a major league uniform. Unfortunately, this ideal isn't realized by many players and there are players at every level performing every day at a level below their peers. I want to find out who these stagnating souls are so far in 2008.

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 primary position this season, his minor league team (and its major league affiliation), his OPS, and his age in parentheses at the end of the line. Each player's name is linked to his current minor league statistics at

Lowest OPS's In Each Minor League, 2008
(Through June 15)

  • International League - 71 G, minimum 192 PA (Average OPS/Age: .729/27.4)
    1. Brent Lillibridge, SS, Richmond (ATL) - .503 (24)
    2. Derek Wathan, SS, Toledo (DET) - .554 (31)
    3. Nick Green, SS, Scranton-Wilkes Barre (NYY) - .606 (29)
    4. Brennan King, 3B, Lehigh Valley (PHI) - .611 (27)
    5. Bernie Castro, 2B, Scranton-Wilkes Barre (NYY) - .620 (28)
    6. Adam Rosales, 3B, Louisville (CIN) - .620 (25)
    7. Jason Pridie, CF, Rochester (MIN) - .626 (24)
    8. Matt Kata, 2B, Indianapolis (PIT) - .630 (30)
    9. Chris Roberson, RF, Norfolk (BAL) - .632 (28)
    10. Jerry Owens, CF, Charlotte (CHW) - .643 (27)
  • Pacific Coast League - 70 G, minimum 189 PA (Average OPS/Age: .779/27.0)
    1. Anderson Hernandez, SS, New Orleans (NYM) - .528 (25)
    2. Matt Antonelli, 2B, Portland (SDP) - .578 (23)
    3. Yordany Ramirez, CF, Round Rock (HOU) - .579 (23)
    4. Yung Chi Chen, 2B, Tacoma (SEA) - .639 (24)
    5. Casey McGehee, 3B, Iowa (CHC) - .654 (25)
    6. Hernan Iribarren, LF, Nashville (MIL) - .664 (24)
    7. Trent Oeltjen, RF, Tucson (ARI) - .665 (25)
    8. Wilkin Castillo, C, Tucson (ARI) - .666 (24)
    9. Clay Timpner, CF, Fresno (SFG) - .676 (25)
    10. Argenis Reyes, 2B, New Orleans (NYM) - .684 (25)
  • Eastern League - 67 G, minimum 181 PA (Average OPS/Age: .740/24.6)
    1. Emmanuel Garcia, 2B, Binghamton (NYM) - .557 (22)
    2. Simon Klink, 3B, Connecticut (SFG) - .600 (26)
    3. Jose Tabata, RF, Trenton (NYY) - .601 (19)
    4. Carlos Rojas, 2B, Bowie (BAL) - .609 (24)
    5. Tony Granadillo, 2B, Portland (BOS) - .620 (23)
    6. Antoan Richardson, CF, Connecticut (SFG) - .620 (24)
    7. Anthony Webster, OF, Altoona (PIT) - .623 (25)
    8. Anthony Hatch, 3B, New Hampshire (TOR) - .628 (24)
    9. David Maroul, 3B, Connecticut (SFG) - .630 (25)
    10. William Bergolla, 2B, Harrisburg (WSN) - .646 (25)
  • Southern League - 70 G, minimum 189 PA (Average OPS/Age: .734/24.5)
    1. Kris Harvey, RF, Carolina (FLA) - .513 (24)
    2. Javier Guzman, SS, Mississippi (ATL) - .545 (24)
    3. Robert Valido, SS, Birmingham (CHW) - .547 (23)
    4. Micah Schnurstein, 1B, Birmingham (CHW) - .552 (23)
    5. Robert Hudson, 2B, Birmingham (CHW) - .607 (24)
    6. Kyle Reynolds, 3B, Tennessee (CHC) - .618 (24)
    7. Chris Rahl, CF, Mobile (ARI) - .623 (24)
    8. Matt Camp, SS/LF, Tennessee (CHC) - .626 (24)
    9. Cyle Hankerd, LF/RF, Mobile (ARI) - .637 (23)
    10. John Raburn, LF, Montgomery (TBR) - .644 (29)
  • Texas League - 68 G, minimum 184 PA (Average OPS/Age: .754/24.5)
    1. Jose Martinez, 2B, Springfield (STL) - .588 (22)
    2. Mario Lisson, 3B, Northwest Arkansas (KCR) - .591 (24)
    3. Hainley Statia, SS, Arkansas (LAA) - .618 (22)
    4. Lou Santangelo, C, Corpus Christi (HOU) - .632 (25)
    5. Mitch Einertson, RF, Corpus Christi (HOU) - .637 (22)
    6. Elvis Andrus, SS, Frisco (TEX) - .640 (19)
    7. Jose Duarte, CF, Northwest Arkansas (KCR) - .645 (23)
    8. Christopher Nelson, SS, Tulsa (COL) - .647 (22)
    9. Justin Sellers, SS, Midland (OAK) - .647 (22)
    10. Angel Sanchez, SS, Northwest Arkansas (KCR) - .655 (24)
  • California League - 70 G, minimum 189 PA (Average OPS/Age: .736/22.7)
    1. Brad Miller, 1B, Visalia (ARI) - .514 (25)
    2. Manuel Ferrer, 2B, Visalia (ARI) - .524 (23)
    3. Jesus Lopez, SS, Lake Elsinore (SDP) - .570 (20)
    4. Mauro Gomez, 1B, Bakersfield (TEX) - .583 (23)
    5. Jay Cox, LF, Modesto (COL) - .586 (23)
    6. Carlos Triunfel, SS, High Desert (SEA) - .594 (18)
    7. Argenis Diaz, SS, Lancaster (BOS) - .598 (21)
    8. Truan Mehl, RF, Bakersfield (TEX) - .606 (25)
    9. Steve Mena, 2B/OF, Visalia (ARI) - .611 (23)
    10. Sharlon Schoop, SS, San Jose (SFG) - .618 (21)
  • Carolina League - 70 G, minimum 189 PA (Average OPS/Age: .713/22.9)
    1. Greg Buchanan, 2B, Salem (HOU) - .516 (24)
    2. Lee Cruz, LF, Winston-Salem (CHW) - .557 (25)
    3. Salvador Sanchez, RF, Winston-Salem (CHW) - .589 (22)
    4. Cesar Quintero, LF, Salem (HOU) - .592 (25)
    5. Cirilo Cumberbatch, RF, Kinston (CLE) - .605 (21)
    6. Angel Gonzalez, 2B, Lynchburg (PIT) - .623 (22)
    7. Derrick Robinson, CF, Wilmington (KCR) - .626 (20)
    8. Anthony Seratelli, 1B, Wilmington (KCR) - .628 (25)
    9. Miguel Abreu, 2B, Frederick (BAL) - .632 (23)
    10. John Drennen, RF, Kinston (CLE) - .640 (21)
  • Florida State League - 67 G, minimum 181 PA (Average OPS/Age: .703/23.0)
    1. Chuck Caufield, RF, Brevard County (MIL) - .541 (24)
    2. Fidel Hernandez, SS, Clearwater (PHI) - .559 (22)
    3. Jacob Blackwood, 3B, Jupiter (FLA) - .561 (22)
    4. Josue Calzado, RF, Tampa (NYY) - .563 (22)
    5. Nevin Ashley, C, Vero Beach (TBR) - .569 (23)
    6. Ryan Royster, RF, Vero Beach (TBR) - .571 (21)
    7. Ruben Tejada, SS, St. Lucie (NYM) - .580 (18)
    8. Tuffy Gosewisch, C, Clearwater (PHI) - .584 (24)
    9. Mitchell Hilligoss, 3B, Tampa (NYY) - .585 (23)
    10. Luis Nunez, SS, Tampa (NYY) - .594 (21)
  • Midwest League - 68 G, minimum 184 PA (Average OPS/Age: .690/21.7)
    1. Pedro Baez, 3B, Great Lakes (LAD) - .503 (20)
    2. Alwin Perez, 2B, Burlinton (KCR) - .544 (21)
    3. Michael McDade, 1B, Lansing (TOR) - .561 (19)
    4. Kevyn Feiner, 2B, Dayton (CIN) - .574 (21)
    5. Yohermyn Chavez, LF, Lansing (TOR) - .576 (19)
    6. Juan Diaz, SS, Wisconsin (SEA) - .577 (19)
    7. Ramon Ramirez, 3B, South Bend (ARI) - .581 (22)
    8. Domnit Bolivar, 3B, Quad Cities (STL) - .584 (19)
    9. Ron Bourquin, 3B, West Michigan (DET) - .584 (23)
    10. Matthew Ray, 2B/SS, Kane County (OAK) - .600 (24)
  • South Atlantic League - 70 G, minimum 189 PA (Average OPS/Age: .702/21.6)
    1. D'Arby Myers, CF, Lakewood (PHI) - .481 (19)
    2. Mark Thompson, SS, Lake County (CLE) - .543 (23)
    3. Helder Velazquez, SS, Asheville (COL) - .551 (19)
    4. Freddy Galvis, SS, Lakewood (PHI) - .557 (18)
    5. Adam Coe, 3B, Rome (ATL) - .565 (20)
    6. Omar Luna, SS, Columbus (TBR) - .566 (21)
    7. Michael McCormick, C, Columbus (TBR) - .579 (21)
    8. Manuel Arambarris, 3B, Greenville (BOS) - .583 (22)
    9. Brent Brewer, SS, West Virginia (MIL) - .604 (20)
    10. Stephen Vogt, LF, Columbus (TBR) - .609 (23)

If you're curious as to how these numbers translate to the major leagues, you can use the Minor League Equivalency (MLE) calculator at You'll have to look up each player's full stat line (each player's name links to their current minor league numbers) to use it, though. As a preview, here's D'Arby Myers' MLE for his parent club, Philadelphia:

199 AB, 16 R, 26 H, 4 2B, 1 3B, 1 HR, 6 RBI, 6 BB, 55 K, .131/.160/.168, 6 SB, 1 CS, 1 HBP

I'm going to go out on a limb and guess the 2006 4th-rounder won't be making the jump up to the show this year.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Like Father, Like Son...Sort Of

By the time I got around to posting this, Father's Day was pretty much over. My sense of timing is definitely impeccable. My bright idea for Father's Day involves looking at baseball families, specifically fathers and sons. By my count (using these lists: A-L, M-Z), coming into 2007, 178 ballplayers have seen their son(s) play in the majors.

A lot of the time fathers played the same general position as their sons. One example is the Kendall family: Jason catches today and his father Fred was a catcher throughout the 1970's. Even when the positions aren't exactly the same, position player dads generally have position player sons (Sandy Alomar, Sr. was an infielder while Sandy, Jr. was a catcher). Similarly, pitcher fathers often have pitcher sons (Mike Bacsik: father, son). This isn't always the case, though. Below I've listed the "crossover" fathers and sons, one a pitcher and one a position player.

Father/Son Combinations of Pitchers and Position Players

Tony ArmasOFTony ArmasRHP
Charlie Beamon, Sr.RHPCharlie Beamon, Jr.1B
Ed Connolly, Sr.CEd Connolly, Jr.LHP
Jimmy CooneySSJohnny CooneyLHP/OF
Mike DarrRHPMike DarrOF
Steve Dillard2BTim DillardRHP
Herm Doscher3BJack DoscherLHP
Tom FletcherLHPDarrin FletcherC
Fred GreenLHPGary GreenSS
Larry HaneyCChris HaneyLHP
Ken HeintzelmanLHPTom Heintzelman2B
Wally Hood, Sr.OFWally Hood, Jr.RHP
Marty KeoughOFMatt KeoughRHP
Bill KunkelRHPJeff KunkelSS
Max LanierLHPHal LanierSS
Dave LaRocheLHPAdam LaRoche
Andy LaRoche
Barney MartinRHPJerry MartinOF
Nelson MathewsCFT.J. MathewsRHP
Frank MeinkeSS/PBob MeinkeSS
Gene Moore, Sr.LHPGene Moore, Jr.RF
Guy Morton, Sr.LHPGuy Morton, Jr.PH
Bill NarleskiSSRay NarleskiRHP
Dick Nen1BRobb NenRHP
Joe NiekroRHPLance Niekro1B
Frank OkrieLHPLen OkrieC
Ed OlivaresRF/LFOmar OlivaresRHP
Bob Oliver1BDarren OliverLHP
Tiny OsborneRHPBobo Osborne1B
Steve Partenheimer3BStan PartenheimerLHP
Mel QueenRHPMel QueenRF/RHP
Diego SeguiRHPDavid Segui1B
Dick Siebert1BPaul SiebertLHP
George Sisler1BDave SislerRHP
Chris SpeierSSJustin SpeierRHP
Ed Sprague, Sr.RHPEd Sprague, Jr.3B
Ebba St. ClaireCRandy St. ClaireRHP
Dave StenhouseRHPMike StenhouseOF/1B
Joe StephensonCJerry StephensonRHP
George SusceCGeorge SusceRHP
Chuck TannerLFBruce TannerRHP
Pablo TorrealbaLHPSteve TorrealbaC
Ricardo Torres1B/CGil TorresRHP/SS/3B
Hal Trosky, Sr.1BHal Trosky, Jr.RHP
Dixie WalkerRHPDixie Walker
Harry Walker

Johnny Cooney and Gil Torres both debuted as pitchers before converting to position players, so I included them on the list. I treated George Sisler as a first baseman though he began his career as a pitcher, playing first on days he wasn't starting. Finally, Mel Queen started as an outfielder before converting to pitcher which is why he's on the list. The Meinkes are a debatable inclusion since father Frank split time as a shortstop and pitcher during his only season as a regular.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Most Games Pitched With Zero Plate Appearances

It's always strange to me to see a relief pitcher bat in a major league game. That's not to say it doesn't happen: a quick glance at teams in the 2007 NL Central reveals the Cubs sent seven relievers to the plate at least once and every other team did it at least a couple times. My favorite recent reliever batting episode took place in 2005, involving 36-year-old Korean lefty Dae-Sung Koo. Having already struck out five days earlier in his batting debut, Koo led off the seventh inning on May 21 against Yankees lefthander Randy Johnson. Without looking into it, a lefthanded hitting reliever squaring off against a lefthanded pitcher would seem to be pretty rare. Anyway, Koo took a ball and a strike and then doubled to centerfield for his only major league hit.

I bring all this up because most pitchers who have a lengthy major league career wind up hitting at some point. Of the 1,004 pitchers in major league history to make 300 or more appearances, only thirty of them never recorded a plate appearance. A quick look at the list shows this is mostly due to the designated hitter rule and partly to evolving bullpens: the earliest debuts on that thirty-pitcher list took place in 1974. In fact, if you look at only players who debuted before 1973 (when the DH rule took effect), the leader for most games pitched without a plate appearance ends up being Charlie Hudson with 40 career games (12 prior to 1973).

Obviously, pitching in the American League for a long time and/or being a relief pitcher (especially a lefty specialist) helps propel players up the list of most game pitched without a plate appearance. That doesn't mean there aren't some long-time AL starters on the list. Good luck finding them. Without further ado, here are the thirty pitchers in MLB history to pitch in 300 or more games without once coming up to bat.

Most Career Games Pitched, Zero Career Plate Appearances
  1. Buddy Groom, 786
  2. Bob Stanley, 637
  3. Mike Fetters, 620
  4. Tippy Martinez, 548
  5. Mike Flanagan, 529
  6. Steve Farr, 509
  7. Chad Bradford, 500*
  8. Jamie Walker, 496*
  9. Mark Clear, 481
  10. Edwin Nunez, 427
  11. Mark Gubicza, 384
  12. Brian Shouse, 383*
  13. Kirk McCaskill, 381
  14. Ron Guidry, 380
  15. Mark Williamson, 365
  16. Francisco Rodriguez, 363*
  17. Sammy Stewart, 359
  18. Scott McGregor, 357
  19. Mike Boddicker, 347
  20. Scott Bailes, 343
  21. Mike Witt, 341
  22. Bryan Harvey, 322
  23. Billy Taylor, 317
  24. Doug Corbett, 313
  25. Dennis Leonard, 313
  26. Richard Dotson, 312
  27. Chris Bosio, 310
  28. Bill Simas, 308
  29. Mike Venafro, 307
  30. Bill Castro, 303
*active player - stats now through 6/10/2008

Barring a plate appearance, J.J. Putz should join the list later this year as he's at 280 appearances now. Jason Frasor (254), Mike MacDougal (249), and George Sherrill (225) are the only other active players past 200 games. Something tells me it won't be widely noted that Chad Bradford did something done only six other times in MLB history after his next appearance.

UPDATE (6/11): Bradford did pitch in his 500th career game on June 10 but his entry into pretty exclusive company was unheralded in the recaps I saw. Shucks, I never woulda guessed!

Thursday, June 5, 2008

BABIP by Season

Last Saturday I posted about players with the highest and lowest career BABIP, minimum 3000 plate appearances. A commenter asked if I had a similar list for each season and I didn't at that time. Now, however, I've put one together and posted it in Google Spreadsheet form. I used the modern formula for determining the minimum plate appearances necessary to qualify for leaderboards (3.1 PA/Team Game) and applied it to each season in baseball history going back to 1876 (though anything before 1913 is somewhat iffy in my mind) to create the list of qualifiers. Seasons before 1904 and strike/lockout years were of varying length so that's why the number of PA required early in baseball history changes so much. There also were some years in which strikeouts weren't recorded for batters, skewing each player's BABIP more. I've put those years in red text. All years before 1954 did not have sacrifice fly data recorded. The spreadsheet should be pretty easy to figure out on its own.

Rather than just post a link sending you elsewhere, I've also put together a list of the highest and lowest single-season BABIP since 1913. I know strikeouts were recorded in years prior to that season, but I'm somewhat dubious about the record-keeping in the nineteenth century. First up are the only seventeen individual seasons with a BABIP over .400:

Highest BABIP in a Single Season, Minimum 3.1 PA/G, 1913-2007
  1. Babe Ruth, 1923, .423
  2. George Sisler, 1922, .422
  3. Rogers Hornsby, .422
  4. Ty Cobb, 1922, .416
  5. Ty Cobb, 1913, .415
  6. Harry Heilmann, 1923, .414
  7. Rogers Hornsby, 1921, .409
  8. Rod Carew, 1977, .408
  9. Jose Hernandez, 2002, .404
  10. Manny Ramirez, 2000, .403
  11. Roberto Clemente, 1967, .403
  12. George Sisler, 1920, .401
  13. Ty Cobb, 1917, .401
  14. Bill Terry, 1930, .400
  15. Luke Appling, 1936, .400
  16. Ty Cobb, 1917, .400
  17. Benny Kauff, 1914, .400
There are some pretty good names on that list. Jose Hernandez is kind of a weird guy to show up on a list of pretty good hitters. I'm also not familiar with Benny Kauff, but he pretty much dominated the Federal League. So help me, I'm a sucker for mediocrity in baseball, so I find the next list more interesting.

Lowest BABIP in a Single Season, Minimum 3.1 PA/G, 1913-2007
  1. Curt Blefary, 1968, .198
  2. Ted Simmons, 1981, .200
  3. Brooks Robinson, 1975, .204
  4. Dave Kingman, 1986, .204
  5. Roy Cullenbine, 1947, .206
  6. Dick McAuliffe, 1971, .206
  7. Dave Kingman, 1982, .207
  8. Jim King, 1963, .208
  9. Roger Maris, 1961, .209
  10. Darrell Evans, 1988, .212
  11. Ed Brinkman, 1972, .212
  12. Gene Tenace, 1974, .213
  13. Art Scharein, 1933, .213
  14. Willie "Puddin' Head" Jones, 1953, .213
  15. Carlton Fisk, 1985, .213
  16. Don Wert, 1968, .213
  17. Mark McGwire, 1989, .214
  18. Mark McGwire, 1991, .214
  19. Del Crandall, 1955, .214
  20. Tony Armas, 1983, .214
The coolest name on this list, to me, is the guy in the #9 slot. While he was breaking Babe Ruth's single-season home run record, Roger Maris didn't have very many hits falling in on the field of play. There are some other famous names on the list though most of them aren't really remembered as great hitters. I do like Willie Jones's nickname and the fact that Curt Blefary spent time as a catcher in 1968 despite very limited experience in the minors at the position in an effort to stay in the lineup.