Monday, March 16, 2009

Spring IBB and Other Curious Things

A couple weeks ago I posted about intentional walks in spring. A commenter suggested managers call for IBB in spring in order to get pitchers used to dealing with the pressure of situations that call for putting a baserunner on. I'm kind of dubious about that, but I guess it's possible. Since I wrote about the first two IBB's of spring, there have been five more. The latest victims/beneficiaries: Reds' 1B Kevin Barker, Mariners 3B/1B Russell Branyan, Cardinals SS Tyler Greene, Dodgers IF Mark Loretta, and Royals OF Derrick Robinson. The pitchers tabbed to add a baserunner: Texas RHP's Thomas Diamond and Andrew Laughter, Tigers LHP Fu-Te Ni, Dodgers RHP Ramon Troncoso, and Pirates RHP Ronald Uviedo. Hopefully the experience was useful to them.

Despite only appearing in one game and not giving up a hit, Phillies LHP J.C. Romero is one of only five pitchers with 2 or more pickoffs in spring. In two innings, he walked three batters, picked off two of them, had a throwing error on another pickoff attempt, and allowed a run on a subsequent sacrifice fly. Rockies lefty Franklin Morales leads all pitchers with three pickoffs. Cardinals pitcher Brad Thompson is the only righty with two or more pickoffs. The 1988 season this isn't, but not every pickoff has succeeded. Eighteen pitchers have been called for balks and Morales is the only one with a successful pickoff.

What do Wade LeBlanc, Mike MacDougal, and Luis Perdomo have in common? Each has three wild pitches this spring, and all are one behind Ian Kennedy for the MLB lead. Wildness can be intimidating, too: Wes Littleton, Carlos Marmol, and Jarrod Washburn are tied with three hit by pitches. Inconsistency hits fielders, too: Padres SS Everth Cabrera and Dan Uggla are tied atop the leaderboard with five errors.

Who's played the most innings in the field this spring? If you guessed Colby Rasmus with 99, you'd be correct. Andrew McCutchen and Xavier Paul are second at 96 1/3 and Elvis Andrus leads all infielders with 89 1/3. Jason LaRue leads all catchers with 69 innings. Kyle Lohse and Glen Perkins have pitched fifteen innings, one-third more than Micah Owings.

Micah Hoffpauir has batted the most so far, striding up to home plate 56 times. Despite all the pitchers working on bunting, Brian Barden leads all players with three sacrifices. Jayson Werth has grounded into four double plays despite batting only twenty-six times. Playing a game that's wildly popular for the first week of the regular season, that would put him on pace for about 75 or so this year.

Finally, since I like futility, Chris Nowak is 0 for 12 this spring. He's batted the most without reaching base. With that, it's time to conclude today's roundup of pointless spring trivia.

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