The 2009 Offensive Extremes. A hodgepodge of random numbers. Enjoy!
Sometimes one hits the ball cleverly around fielders to get on base, other times he just hits it into the stands where they can’t get it, and occasionally when he doesn’t want to work that hard he just waits for four balls. Then there are those players that do it the hard way, taking 70, 80 and 90-mile-an-hour pitches in the back or the arm, or even the head, to get that “free” base. Chase Utley, the Phillies’ standout second baseman, has been plunked in just over 3% of his plate appearances for a league-high 20 manly trips to first. But it’s Cleveland’s Kelly Shoppach who takes my Tough Guy Award, reaching base the hard way on more than 6% of all his plate appearances. As my dad would say, “way to sacrifice your body for the good of team. It’ll heal before you get married.” Except he’s already married.
Then there are the power hitters. While Pujols leads the world in most good things, it’s actually Yankees fill-in Eric Hinske who leads all players (with double-digit plate appearances) in homers per plate appearance with a dinger ever 11.7 trips to the plate. But among all real players – who have at least as many plate appearances as the Giant’s Panda weighs in pounds – the Muscle-Man Award goes to Albert Pujols with a homerun every 12.9 PAs.
And, of course, the league MVP awards. It’s a no brainer in both leagues this season, seeing as Albert Pujols (NL) and Joe Mauer (AL) lead their respective leagues by at least 10 runs my Runs Value stat.
On with the less helpful statistics. Futility is much more amusing anyway…
The second least productive thing a batter can do at the plate is strike out. Mark Reynolds of the Diamondbacks has done just that 190 times this season, headlining an Arizona lineup that features 3 guys with more than 100 strikeouts. Reynolds is on pace for a whopping 220 if he plays out the rest of the games this season. Anyone remember Jay Buhner, the Bone? Seattle fans remember that homerun-or-bust swinging philosophy, but even he only topped out at 175. Adam Dunn, the Natty’s free swinger? His PR is “only” 195. The current record holder for strikeouts in a season? Well that would, of course, be Mark Reynolds himself with 204. Go get ‘em, tiger.
The absolute least productive thing a hitter can do is to ground into a double play (GIDP). Evan Longoria and Yadier Molina are tied in a heated battle this season with 26 apiece. However, with more than 100 less plate appearances than Longoria, the king of ruining rallies would have to be Yadier Molina. The Cardinal catcher hits into DPs 5.3% of the time! That’s pretty much the same thing as lowering his On-base percentage by 53 points. On the flip side, Detroit center fielder Curtis Granderson has gone 599 plate appearances with only one GIDP, making him 32 times less likely to ground into a double play than Molina.
But the winner of the All-around Offense Killer Award has to go to a player that screws his team as often as possible. He may not be the least valuable of all, but he’s minimizing his potential the most. This guy’s tendency to strike out, get caught stealing, and ground into double plays is exceptional. Rockies shortstop, Troy Tulowitzki, has been caught stealing 11 times and has grounded into 19 double
plays this season, effectively taking 30 potential runs off the basepaths. That 56 OBP points! His 101 strikeouts add a nice touch to the All-around Offense Killer Award. Don’t get me wrong, Tulowitzki has been productive this year. But hidden between his 24 homeruns and 63 walks, there exist some important numbers that cannot be ignored.
The Least Valuable Player, however, is basically an offense killer with no productive qualities to start with. Seattle fans rejoice (not because we had him, but because we dumped him), it’s Yuniesky Betancourt. His bat alone is 22 runs below average, and he has managed to cost his teams more than
10 runs defensively this season. At least he helps his teammates up…
Look for the pitchers’ extremes soon!