Thursday, March 27, 2008


Fifty-six is one of those special baseball numbers. Today, people start to get excited when someone has a hitting streak half as long as Joe DiMaggio's, a fact I think underlines just how special that record is. No one seems to get excited about the converse of his record, the most consecutive games without a hit. There are good reasons for that. Baseball fans tend not to like futility and it's a type of streak that's somewhat hard to follow. Sure, an everyday player that doesn't get a hit for a few games might get noticed on the local level, but the longest hitless streaks are put together by pinch hitters who usually have one at bat per game. As such, it's less notable when they don't get a hit. Someone might say, "he doesn't have a hit since..." but that doesn't really spark a recollection of all the games he's been in recently, does it? Another hurdle is the MLB rule for hitting streaks: to count as a game played, a player must have an at bat or sacrifice fly. A pinch hitter that draws a walk has still done his job, but it doesn't count as a game played in terms of his streak.

With all that in mind, here are the twenty-four pinch hitters and other non-pitchers over the last fifty-two seasons to go without a hit in twenty or more straight games.

Most Consecutive Hitless Games, 1956-2007
Player must have at least 1 AB or SF in each game

Harry Anderson07-05-196004-30-19612935
Andy Fox05-05-200409-30-20042838
Phil Gagliano05-03-197410-01-19742627
Phil Stephenson07-26-199210-02-19922535
Charlie Manuel07-20-196910-01-19692336
Lou Camilli08-09-196904-20-19712334
Len Matuszek04-19-198209-07-19832334
Jim Fairey07-31-197209-22-19722327
Del Unser09-07-198106-06-19822327
Norm Siebern09-15-196605-12-19672236
Jeff Grotewold08-19-199206-12-19952223
Dave Campbell05-18-197309-18-19732143
Jose Gonzalez10-03-199007-04-19912132
Floyd Wicker05-16-196908-22-19692124
George Wilson06-27-195608-23-19562121
Richie Hebner08-15-198509-26-19852121
Joe McEwing05-26-200207-05-20022033
Rocky Nelson07-25-196109-29-19612029
Mike Fiore09-05-197006-09-19712029
Willie Smith04-24-197109-28-19712025
Adrian Garrett09-21-197105-04-19732023
Tom Hutton04-27-198108-30-19812023
Dwight Smith06-03-199507-14-19952020
John Vander Wal08-08-200409-17-20042020

As you can see, most of these guys were one at bat and done for most of their games. Dave Campbell's streak is notable because he actually averaged two at bats per game.

Just for kicks, I looked up the longest active streaks: Laynce Nix of the Brewers has a 12-game streak going. Brandon Fahey of the Orioles has an 11-game streak, as does Nick Green of the Yankees. Free agent Mark Bellhorn and Pete Laforest of the Phillies have 10-game streaks. Of these five, only Fahey has a real shot to make a major league roster to start the year, though Nick Green has yet to be sent to the minors.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

A Non-All-Star All-Star Team

I forget how I ended up there but I wound up looking at Tim Salmon's page recently and was intrigued by the sponsor comment:

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Tim Salmon, the greatest hitter the Angels system has ever produced, and the best player never to appear in an All-Star game. What Angel fan can forget his 2002 World Series Game 2 game-winner?

I wondered, first, how true that statement about being the best player never to appear in an all-star game was and then about the best such player at each position. Now, I'm sure this type of list has been done before by people with far better methods of determining overall player quality, but I thought I'd take a crack at it.

First, however, some ground rules must be set. The first All-Star game as we know it took place in 1933, so Hall of Famers like Ty Cobb, Honus Wagner, and Tris Speaker never had an opportunity to play in one. Thus I'm going to limit my search to players after 1933. I also am only going to look at a player's offensive prowess - this is likely unfair to defensive positions like shortstop and second base, but given the unreliability of defensive statistics, it'll have to do. I'm going to compare players using OPS+, since it's a measure of how much above league average a player was during his career, and I'm only going to look at players who spent 50% or more of their careers at the listed positions while amassing 3000 or more career plate appearances (about five seasons). I also think a player needed to have been a starter for a few seasons to qualify; I don't have any concrete criteria for exactly how long, but a career utilityman starting only one or two seasons won't cut it. Finally, I won't exclude any active players from the list.

With all that in mind, here is the non-All-Star All-Star team:
  • Catcher: Chris Hoiles - career OPS+: 119

    Hoiles appeared in as many as 120 games only twice during his career, probably a big reason he was never an all-star pick. He did start the majority of games for the Orioles for eight seaons, so while he may not have been the most durable catcher, he deserves a spot on the team.
  • First Base: Hal Trosky - career OPS+: 130

    Trosky could flat-out hit. Unfortunately, the Indians star was in the shadow of guys named Lou Gehrig and Hank Greenberg when it came to all-star teams. Trosky also was forced to retire at age 28 due to severe migraines. Comebacks in 1944 and 1946 showed beyond doubt he wasn't the same player and he faded into baseball obscurity, done for good at age 33.
  • Second Base: Bill Doran - career OPS+: 106

    The Astros second baseman of the 80's didn't hit many home runs, but then it was always pretty hard to do so in the Astrodome. He did get on base at a .354 clip and had decent speed, stealing more than 20 bases four times. He also walked more than he struck out over his entire career.
  • Third Base: Richie Hebner - career OPS+: 119

    Hebner spent most of his career with the Pirates before heading to the Phillies, Mets, Tigers, and Cubs. He didn't strike out very much and was fairly adept at drawing walks. Only once did he hit more than 20 home runs in a season (25 in 1973), but he finished with 203 round-trippers in his career. He wasn't very fast and was finished as a full-time starter by age 32, but was a solid third base option throughout the 70's.
  • Shortstop: John Valentin - career OPS+: 109

    Only a starter for a few years and not to be confused with Jose Valentin, also a shortstop, John spent most of his career with the Boston Red Sox. He had decent power and above-average range in the field, but his career was curtailed by injuries that limited him to only 30 games in 2000 and 2001 combined. After a stint as a utility player on the Mets in 2002, he was finished.
  • Left Field: Rusty Greer - career OPS+: 119

    Left field was a tough position to pick. There were a couple players that I just didn't feel met the criteria for being a starter long enough, so Greer wins out. Not really a true home run hitter (20+ home runs only twice), Greer did have a penchant for doubles and drew a lot of walks en route to a career .387 on base percentage. He also fell victim to injuries, not appearing in a major league game after age 33 despite numerous comeback attempts.
  • Center Field: Dwayne Murphy - career OPS+: 115

    Murphy was kind of like Greer in that he started for a number of seasons before fading into a backup player. I know I'm using OPS+ as my criteria, but the fact Murphy won a number of Gold Gloves cinched his selection even with doubts about playing time. He had good power for a center fielder and stole a fair amount of bases early in his career.
  • Right Field: Tim Salmon - career OPS+: 128

    This was another close call, but Tim Salmon's durability gives him a clear advantage over the runner-up. Salmon had five seasons with 30+ homers and six with 90+ bases on balls. He spent his entire career with the California, then Anaheim, then Los Angeles of Anaheim Angels and wound up one short of 300 career home runs, but I won't hold that against him.
    • Runner-up: J.D. Drew (see what I mean about durability?) - career OPS+: 128

Some of my selections might be a little bit arbitrary, especially when it comes to determining if a player had enough seasons of enough games played to include him on the list, but that's okay. I'm of the opinion that lists like this are only good for fostering debate anyway: there's obviously no definitive, "right" answer.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Facing Young Starters

File this under frivolous.

I'm pretty sure every fan is mad when a rookie starting pitcher throws a good game against his or her favorite team. After all, the reasoning goes, these guys should crack under the pressure and take their lumps during their first go-round in the league. Even worse is when some teams seem to struggle habitually against young starters. To see if that's true, I decided to take a look at recent performances by young starters (note: I use young as a general term: Tom Shearn debuted at 30, which is not young in baseball terms, but I think he's the exception, not the rule) against each team.

I looked at starts by pitchers in the first ten games of their career against each team since 2000. I don't think there's anything special about a pitcher's tenth career game as opposed to his eleventh career game, but it's a round number and generally only a short way into the pitcher's career. I looked at the final result of the game (win or loss), as well as the average runs scored off the young pitchers against the average runs scored per game by each team from 2000-2007. The results are below.

Facing Starters in the First 10 Games of Their Careers, 2000-2007

TeamWL%RA vs.
Avg R/G
by Team
San Francisco Giants4029.5806.294.781.51
Texas Rangers5543.5616.635.231.40
New York Mets4838.5585.694.501.19
Tampa Bay Rays3746.4465.564.431.13
Kansas City Royals4247.4725.794.681.11
Cincinnati Reds4558.4375.764.671.09
Pittsburgh Pirates3945.4645.434.341.09
Boston Red Sox4227.6096.415.351.06
Los Angeles Angels4836.5715.934.881.05
Florida Marlins4634.5755.604.561.04
Milwaukee Brewers4547.4895.284.410.87
Baltimore Orioles5343.5525.474.620.86
Washington Nationals4545.5005.074.280.79
Houston Astros4837.5655.624.850.77
Cleveland Indians5546.5455.865.100.76
Minnesota Twins5237.5845.404.690.71
Toronto Blue Jays5539.5855.634.940.70
Detroit Tigers4246.4775.304.610.69
Atlanta Braves5742.5765.624.930.69
Seattle Mariners5842.5805.614.930.68
Chicago White Sox6135.6355.765.080.67
Philadelphia Phillies4438.5375.584.910.67
Chicago Cubs4340.5185.244.580.66
Oakland Athletics5532.6325.545.000.54
Los Angeles Dodgers4638.5484.944.510.43
St. Louis Cardinals5530.6475.445.040.40
New York Yankees4529.6085.795.510.28
Colorado Rockies3342.4405.335.220.12
San Diego Padres3838.5004.444.48-0.04
Arizona Diamondbacks4633.5824.514.58-0.08

Apparent basic arithmetic errors in the final column (see the last row) can be explained by rounding.

I sorted the list by the final column because I thought it was more telling than winning percentage in relevant games. The teams that lost more than half their games against young pitchers are also the teams that lost more than half their games anyway. It doesn't seem to make much sense to penalize or favor a certain team for the quality of their pitching staff. Rather, it makes sense to evaluate a team's performance against young pitchers based on the offense they generate against them. As I said above, I used run average based on the sums of innings pitched and runs allowed by the young pitchers and compared it to the average runs scored against all pitchers by each team in the past eight seasons. I thought it was interesting that the Padres and Diamondbacks actually scored less against young pitchers and that the teams near the top of the list actually aren't that great.

This doesn't tell you much in the grand scheme of things, but now you have something to point to when complaining about how your team's hitters always get beaten by young starters.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Batter P/PA Since 2000

A lot of the lineup talk in Milwaukee these days focuses on Jason Kendall batting ninth, and perhaps rightly so. After all, it's unfamiliar for most baseball fans to see a pitcher bat above ninth; it seems to make little sense to have your worst hitters at bat more during the season. Plenty of people have written about why it makes sense to put Kendall in the ninth spot and there's no need for another such post here. Instead, I want to focus on another part of the Brewers lineup and part of the reasoning therein.

New center fielder Mike Cameron is slated to bat second in the regular lineup once he returns from a 25-game suspension in late April. The team points to his ability to work counts and wear down opposing pitchers by seeing over four pitches per plate appearance (P/PA). In a related vein, fans last year were often frustrated by erstwhile catcher Johnny Estrada's tendency to swing at the first pitch, leading to a very low 2.99 P/PA mark last season. has data including the number of pitches faced by every batter since 2000. Well, actually, it goes before that but the data seems to get less reliable (some PA missing, etc.) the further back you get. I used 2000 as a cutoff point because that's the first year used by the Play Index when cataloging pitch data for pitchers.

Four hundred and seventy-four batters have had 1000 or more plate appearances since 2000. The average plate appearance by those 474 batters lasted 3.76 pitches with a standard deviation of 0.231. The highest number of P/PA seen was the 4.50 by Jayson Werth. The lowest was the 3.04 seen by former first baseman Randall Simon. Perhaps most interesting, however, is that it really doesn't matter how many pitches you see in an average plate appearance: it has little bearing on the common rate statistics: batting average, on base percentage, and slugging percentage.

For example, below is a chart showing batting average against P/PA for all batters with 1000+ PA since 2000. You will note the data is essentially random: the r-squared value is 0.0239.

(Click to enlarge in a new window)

The chart for slugging percentage can be found here; that data has an r-squared value of .0436. On base percentage has the "strongest" correlation (see the chart), but even the r-squared of that data is only .2041. Of course, it makes sense that seeing more pitches lets you increase your on base percentage: you need to see at least four pitches to draw a base on balls, usually a major part of a high on base percentage.

So perhaps the number of pitches per plate appearance really doesn't impact a batter's individual numbers. It's certainly possible it can wear down a starting pitcher faster, but I tend to question the advantage of, say, only one more pitch every three or four plate appearances (Cameron's 4.07 P/PA is 0.31 pitches over the average).

Below are lists of the top and bottom players on the active lists.

Most P/PA Among Active Players, Minimum 1000 PA, 2000-2007
  1. Jayson Werth, 4.50
  2. Kevin Youkilis, 4.40
  3. Bobby Abreu, 4.32
  4. Brad Wilkerson, 4.27
  5. Adam Dunn, 4.24
  6. Jason Giambi, 4.20
  7. Nick Johnson, 4.20
  8. Mark Bellhorn, 4.19
  9. Pat Burrell, 4.19
  10. Frank Thomas, 4.19
  11. Orlando Palmeiro, 4.17
  12. Nick Swisher, 4.17
  13. Jim Thome, 4.16
  14. Casey Blake, 4.14
  15. Jim Edmonds, 4.14
  16. Jose Bautista, 4.14
  17. Dan Johnson, 4.13
  18. Troy Glaus, 4.12
  19. Jamey Carroll, 4.12
  20. Gregg Zaun, 4.10
Least P/PA Among Active Players, Minimum 1000 PA, 2000-2007
  1. Nomar Garciaparra, 3.16
  2. Yuniesky Betancourt, 3.22
  3. Johnny Estrada, 3.23
  4. Robinson Cano, 3.24
  5. Vladimir Guerrero, 3.26
  6. Neifi Perez, 3.29
  7. Jay Payton, 3.30
  8. A.J. Pierzynski, 3.30
  9. Sandy Alomar Jr., 3.31
  10. Toby Hall, 3.33
  11. Garret Anderson, 3.33
  12. Corey Patterson, 3.34
  13. Juan Castro, 3.34
  14. Jason Tyner, 3.34
  15. Cristian Guzman, 3.35
  16. Bengie Molina, 3.35
  17. Alex Cintron, 3.35
  18. Pedro Feliz, 3.35
  19. Placido Polanco, 3.36
  20. Kenji Johjima, 3.38

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Most Career Walks Allowed per 9 Innings, 1901-2007

Last week I posted about the highest career WHIP in MLB history and, shortly after, the most hits allowed per nine innings pitched in MLB history. I then went on to different topics without posting the obvious follow-up of most career walks allowed per nine innings. I'm going to fix that today.

The average number of walks allowed per nine innings has stayed between 3.0 and 3.5 for the last eighty years. As this chart shows, the rate shot up over 4.0 BB/9 around 1950 and plunged below 3.0 around the Year of the Pitcher, 1968. There was another spike in the late 1990's, peaking at 3.8 BB/9 in 2000, but since then the rate has remained around 3.3 BB/9. With the spikes in the late 1940's and late 1990's, it shouldn't be surprising to find a number of pitchers from those eras on the list of most walks allowed per nine innings.

Most Career Walks Allowed per 9 Innings, Minimum 1000 Innings Pitched
  1. Tommy Byrne, 6.85
  2. Mickey McDermott, 5.73
  3. Bob Turley, 5.61
  4. Ken Chase, 5.36
  5. Turk Lown, 5.15
  6. Jason Bere, 5.071
  7. Phil Marchildon, 5.069
  8. Eric Plunk, 5.06
  9. Bobby Witt, 5.02
  10. Johnny Vander Meer, 4.84
  11. Walt Masterson, 4.83
  12. Ron Villone*, 4.81
  13. Hank Johnson, 4.79
  14. Jack Wilson, 4.78
  15. Sam McDowell, 4.74
  16. Ted Gray, 4.72
  17. Blue Moon Odom, 4.700
  18. Ray Moore, 4.699
  19. Dixie Davis, 4.696
  20. Nolan Ryan, 4.67
* - active player

Those familiar with baseball history will notice there's some decent (or better) pitchers on this list. Nolan Ryan should jump out to anyone, but Sam McDowell, Eric Plunk, and even Johnny Vander Meer were also effective despite high walk rates. If you're able to strike guys out, you can get away with walking some, I suppose.

The highest active player on the list is Ron Villone, as noted above. Ryan Dempster (4.66) and Russ Ortiz (4.63) follow him on the active list.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Most Career Home Runs by Height

Not much of an introduction here. Below is a list of the career home run leaders at each listed height. At least one major league player in history was listed at each height below.

Most Career Home Runs by Height, 1876-2007

3'7"Eddie Gaedel01951
5'3"Cub Stricker121882-1893
5'4"Hugh Nicol51881-1890
5'5"Freddie Patek411968-1981
5'6"Hack Wilson2441923-1934
5'7"Joe Morgan2681963-1984
5'8"Yogi Berra3581946-1965
5'9"Mel Ott5111926-1947
5'10"Rickey Henderson2971979-2003
5'11"Willie Mays6601951-1973
6'0"Hank Aaron7551954-1976
6'1"Barry Bonds7621986-2007
6'2"Babe Ruth7141914-1935
6'3"Ken Griffey Jr.5931989-2007
6'4"Willie McCovey5211959-1980
6'5"Mark McGwire5831986-2001
6'6"Dave Winfield4651973-1995
6'7"Frank Howard3821958-1973
6'8"Richie Sexson2941997-2007
6'9"Mark Hendrickson12002-2007
6'10"Randy Johnson11988-2007
6'11"Jon Rauch12002-2007

Here are the active career home run leaders at each listed height, provided a current major league player is listed at that height.

Most Career Home Runs Among Active Players, By Height

HeightNameHRHR Behind
5'6"David Eckstein30214
5'7"Fabio Castro0268
5'8"Ray Durham186172
5'9"Ivan Rodriguez288223
5'10"Brian Giles27324
5'11"Gary Sheffield480180
6'0"Sammy Sosa609146
6'1"Barry Bonds7620
6'2"Jason Giambi364350
6'3"Ken Griffey Jr.5930
6'4"Jim Thome50714
6'5"Frank Thomas51370
6'6"Adam Dunn238227
6'7"Tony Clark244138
6'8"Richie Sexson2940
6'9"Mark Hendrickson10
6'10"Randy Johnson10
6'11"Jon Rauch10

Thursday, March 13, 2008

6'6" and Stealing

There haven't been that many players in major league history listed at 6'6" or taller. In fact, only 245 players to appear in at least one game are known to have stood over 78 inches tall. Height is unknown for many players in the nineteenth century, but it's unlikely many were over 6'6" given the average male was about 5'7" in that period, it's possible there were a few very tall players. Of course, very tall players are rare even now: of the 14,325 players whose heights are known, the 245 players mentioned above make up only 1.7% of the total. That's about 1 in 59, or roughly two players for every five current 25-man rosters.

Of the tall 245, a full 219 (89.4%) of them were pitchers. That leaves only 26 position players among the group. Actually, Dick Hall kind of screws things up, but I counted him as a pitcher. In any case, of those 26 position players, only thirteen of them had at least one stolen base in their career. Six of the pitchers stole at least one base. Below are the nineteen tall base thieves (active players in red).

Most Career Stolen Bases by Players 6'6" or Taller
  1. Dave Winfield, 223
  2. Darryl Strawberry, 221
  3. Dave Kingman, 85
  4. Adam Dunn, 57
  5. Corey Hart, 30
  6. Howie Schultz, 15
  7. Richie Sexson, 13
  8. Walt Bond, 10
  9. Frank Howard, 8
  10. Tony Clark, 6
  11. Dick Hall, 6
  12. Ron Jackson, 6
  13. Rick Sutcliffe, 4
  14. Cy Swaim, 3
  15. J.R. Richard, 2
  16. Derek Lowe, 1
  17. Val Pascucci, 1
  18. Ryan Minor, 1
  19. Ed Halicki, 1
The pitchers on the list are Hall, Sutcliffe, Swaim, Richard, Lowe, and Halicki.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Most Career Stolen Bases by a Catcher

There's a Joe Garagiola (or Yogi Berra, depending on the source) quote that applies to topics like this: "The wind always seems to blow against catchers when they are running." Catchers are generally assumed to have, well, glacial speed. That's why it's surprising when a catcher can actually run. Last season, Russell Martin had three times as many stolen bases (21) as the runner-up among catchers, Joe Mauer (7), and drew raves for his speed.

With that in mind, I've put together a list of the catcher career stolen bases leaders. To show up, a player needs to have played at least 60% of his career behind the dish. That's an arbitrary number, to be sure, but I think having half your games elsewhere lessens your claim to being a full-time catcher. In any event, it highlights that this list is dependent on what you consider a full-time catcher; if you want 75% of career games, the list shrinks even further. As for me, like I said, I'm going with 60% for this list.

Most Career Stolen Bases by a Catcher, 1901-2007
  1. Roger Bresnahan, 212
  2. Ray Schalk, 177
  3. Jason Kendall, 162
  4. Red Dooin, 133
  5. Carlton Fisk, 128
  6. Johnny Kling, 123
  7. Wally Schang, 121
  8. Ivan Rodriguez, 114
  9. John Wathan, 105
  10. Brad Ausmus, 101
  11. Billy Sullivan, 92
  12. Benito Santiago, 91
  13. John Stearns, 91
  14. Ivey Wingo, 87
  15. Jimmy Wilson, 86
  16. Eddie Ainsmith, 86
  17. Tony Pena, 80
  18. Johnny Bench, 68
  19. Johnny Roseboro, 67
  20. Luke Sewell, 65
I've italicized the active players on the list. I somehow doubt Jason Kendall will change his position. :)

For more information on catchers, and even a similar list, go visit the Encyclopedia of Baseball Catchers. There's more information on backstops there than you could probably ever want to know.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Most Career Hits Allowed per 9 Innings, 1901-2007

This kind of relates to the previous post about WHIP. Hits Allowed as a statistic has been dismissed more and more as the concept of a pitcher not having much control over a ball put in play takes hold in sabermetric circles. Of course, that's not much comfort to the guy who's just given up seven straight hits in an inning leading to a quick exit. Instead of focusing on hits per inning, however, let's look at hits per nine innings (mostly because it's easier and doesn't involve envisioning three-quarters of a hit).

It's common sense that if a pitcher, through whatever means, allows only a few hits every time he's on the mound, he'll do better than a guy who gives up hits a lot. A pitcher that records most of his outs through strikeouts is a good example: if you strikeout one batter every inning, that's one less play for your defense to screw up. The list of the fewest Hits Allowed per 9 Innings (H/9) can be found here. As expected, there's a lot of good pitchers at the top of the list.

As with WHIP, I've made a chart showing the average number of hits allowed per 9 innings for the major leagues from 1901-2007. It's easy to see the various periods of baseball in the twentieth century: the deadball era has a big drop followed by an explosion in the 1920's and 1930's. Relative stability in golden era of the 1940's and 1950's is followed by a drop in 1968 before a slow and steady rise to about 9.4 H/9 today. Since I haven't adjusted any of the numbers below, it makes sense the leaders in this category threw in the era from 1920-1940. Thus I'll post the overall list first, and then one of pitchers since 1940 to try and bring a more recent feel.

Most Career Hits Allowed per 9 Innings, Minimum 1000 Innings Pitched
  1. Chief Hogsett, 11.13
  2. Dick Coffman, 10.982
  3. Benny Frey, 10.978
  4. Sloppy Thurston, 10.85
  5. Jack Russell, 10.77
  6. Ken Holloway, 10.63
  7. Clarence Mitchell, 10.61
  8. Jake Miller, 10.60
  9. Lil Stoner, 10.58
  10. Brian Moehler, 10.56
  11. Alex Ferguson, 10.5463
  12. Fred Heimach, 10.5458
  13. Clint Brown, 10.54
  14. Glendon Rusch, 10.49
  15. Phil Collins, 10.47
  16. Scott Karl, 10.46
  17. Rollie Naylor, 10.451
  18. Ray Benge, 10.448
  19. George Blaeholder, 10.44
  20. Huck Betts, 10.41
Cripes. Mothers, don't let your children grow up to be Chief Hogsett (or a Lil Stoner, but that's a different story). Hogsett is atop this list and the WHIP list. His career is nothing special: he had an ERA+ of 94 and a record of 63-87, but he had decent seasons in 1932 and 1935. I like that he issued 501 walks against 441 strikeouts in his eleven seasons.

Those who know their mediocre pitchers will note only three pitchers in that list did not pitch between 1920 and 1940. As promised, here's the list from 1941 until today.

Most Career Hits Allowed per 9 Innings, Minimum 1000 Innings Pitched
Active Picthers
  1. Brian Moehler, 10.56
  2. Glendon Rusch, 10.49
  3. LaTroy Hawkins, 10.17
  4. Josh Fogg, 10.12
  5. Elmer Dessens, 10.11
  6. Esteban Loaiza, 10.10
  7. Aaron Sele, 10.087
  8. Sidney Ponson, 10.086
  9. Kyle Lohse, 10.07
  10. Darren Oliver, 9.97
  11. Jason Jennings, 9.96
  12. John Thomson, 9.90
  13. Jeff Suppan, 9.87
  14. Rodrigo Lopez, 9.85
  15. Jamey Wright, 9.833
  16. Mark Redman, 9.827
  17. Julian Tavarez, 9.81
  18. Jeff Weaver, 9.77
  19. Paul Byrd, 9.75
  20. Jon Lieber, 9.74
Paul Byrd has the highest career ERA+ of those on the list, at 105. None of the guys on this list are great pitchers, but some of them have the "quality innings-eater" label.

Friday, March 7, 2008

Highest Career WHIP, Minimum 1000 IP

In baseball parlance, WHIP stands for Walks and Hits per Innings Pitched. That's pretty self-explanatory, though Milwaukee Brewers color commentator Bill Schroeder has proclaimed, "we used to just call that baserunners!" Either way, the idea is the fewer walks and hits a pitcher gives up, the better. This makes sense: it's hard to score a lot of runs if you don't allow many baserunners.

A quick look at a chart of WHIP since 1901 I put together from AL and NL data shows, like most statistics, WHIP has varied over time. Recently, however, the average WHIP has been somewhere around 1.40. Of course, regular starters are usually below that number. For example, in 2007, only three pitchers qualified for the ERA title with an above average WHIP: Doug Davis, Miguel Batista, and Andy Pettitte. Only ten more pitchers were within 0.05 of the average WHIP (1.406). I should note that fifty-five pitchers qualified for the ERA title last season.

Rather than focus on individual seasons right now, however, I want to look at a pitcher's career. It's not inconceivable for a pitcher to have a train wreck of a season and get a high WHIP; it's harder for a pitcher to stick around for a long time while walking and giving up hits often. Therefore, I've decided to look up the pitchers with the highest career WHIP. I've used's minimum of 1000 innings pitched and looked only at stats after 1901.

Highest Career WHIP, Minimum 1000 Innings Pitched

  1. Chief Hogsett, 1.646
  2. Jimmy Haynes, 1.632
  3. Jack Wilson, 1.621
  4. Ken Chase, 1.615
  5. Tommy Byrne, 1.597
  6. Gordon Rhodes, 1.595
  7. Vern Kennedy, 1.591
  8. Percy Jones, 1.590
  9. Jamey Wright*, 1.589
  10. Hank Johnson, 1.570
  11. Bobby Witt, 1.569
  12. Jack Knott, 1.5601
  13. Alex Ferguson, 1.5600
  14. Buck Ross, 1.551
  15. Pat Rapp, 1.550
  16. Jason Bere, 1.549
  17. Lil Stoner, 1.5483
  18. Jason Jennings*, 1.5481
  19. Sheriff Blake, 1.547
  20. Roy Mahaffey, 1.546
* - active player

The list of WHIP leaders from the opposite end is available at That list also includes players from the nineteenth century.

Monday, March 3, 2008

Most Doubles Allowed in a Season

This follows the previous post by looking at the most doubles allowed by a pitcher in a single season. There's a lot of recent seasons on the list. Who would've thought that five of the only fifteen 60+ doubles allowed seasons in the past half century took place in 2006 or 2007? I like it when I can pick an arbitrary cutoff at a nice number: only twenty-five pitchers have given up 58 or more doubles in a season (since 1957).

Most Doubles Allowed in a Season, 1957-2007

Rick HellingTEX200168215.2
Chris CapuanoMIL200666221.1
Rick HellingTEX200066217.0
Jamie MoyerSEA199864234.1
Jim MerrittCIN197064234.0
Mike MussinaBAL199663243.1
Dennis LeonardKCR197862294.2
Matt MorrisSFG/PIT200761198.2
Jae Weong SeoNYM200361188.1
C.C. SabathiaCLE200760241.0
Jeff SuppanMIL200760206.2
Zach DukePIT200660215.1
Kenny RogersTEX200060227.1
Bruce HurstBOS198460218.0
Jim MerrittCIN196960251.0
Kenny RogersTEX200459211.2
Wilson AlvarezCHW199659217.1
Jose LimaKCR200558168.2
Darrell MayKCR200458186.0
Brad RadkeMIN200058226.2
Mark LeiterPHI199758182.2
Chris HaneyKCR199658228.0
Steve CookePIT199358210.2
Dennis EckersleyCHC198658201.0
Rick SutcliffeCLE198358243.1

I guess you have to be pretty durable and usually play in front of a bad defense (cough...Milwaukee...cough) to make the list.

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Most Triples Allowed in a Season

One of the many interesting things the Retrosheet data used by the Play Index allows you to do is look at the number of specific types of base hits allowed by pitchers. Looking at a typical pitcher's line in any common reference source usually only reveals base hits allowed and home runs allowed. The play-by-play data compiled by Retrosheet makes it possible to find out how many of those base hits were singles, doubles, and triples, as well. Unfortunately, play-by-play data only goes back to 1957 and there are a number of games missing prior to 1970, but the data still provides interesting numbers from the past half century.

In 2007, Josh Fogg of the Colorado Rockies led all pitchers with ten triples allowed. Kip Wells and Tim Hudson tied for second place, with nine. The AL leader was Chad Gaudin, with eight. Only twenty pitchers since 1957 have allowed fourteen or more triples in a single season.

Most Triples Allowed in a Season, 1957-2007

Larry ChristensonPHI197617168.2
Jim PerryMIN197117270.0
Bret SaberhagenKCR198816260.2
Paul ThormodsgardMIN197716218.0
Tony CloningerMLN196416242.2
Chris ShortPHI196316198.0
Jason SchmidtPIT199915212.2
Rick SutcliffeCLE/CHC198414244.2
Randy JonesSDP197914263.0
Craig SwanNYM197914251.1
Jim BarrSFG197714234.1
Dave GoltzMIN197714303.0
Jim KaatPHI197714160.1
Jim Barr SFG197514244.0
Bill GreifSDP197414226.0
Steve CarltonPHI197314293.1
Gaylord PerrySFG197014328.2
Mike McCormickWSA196614216.0
Bob FriendPIT196014275.2
Curt SimmonsPHI195714212.0

I'm kind of surprised only two of these season occurred in the 1980's. I would've thought there would be more of a balance between the 1970's and 1980's, but maybe pitchers threw fewer innings and had less of an opportunity to join the list.