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When Will They Learn?

Posted by Steve Lombardi on September 10, 2007

Baseball-Reference.com's Play Index Batting Season find tells us that there have only been 19 times where a player has 50+ HR in a season where he also has less than 100 BB in that year.  Here's the list:

                   From  To   Ages Seasons Link to Individual Seasons 
  -----------------+----+----+-----+-------+------------------------------   
Alex Rodriguez    2001 2007 25-31       3 Ind. Seasons 
Sammy Sosa        1998 2000 29-31       3 Ind. Seasons 
Ken Griffey       1997 1998 27-28       2 Ind. Seasons 
Willie Mays       1955 1965 24-34       2 Ind. Seasons 
Andruw Jones      2005 2005 28-28       1 Ind. Seasons 
Greg Vaughn       1998 1998 32-32       1 Ind. Seasons 
Brady Anderson    1996 1996 32-32       1 Ind. Seasons 
Albert Belle      1995 1995 28-28       1 Ind. Seasons 
Cecil Fielder     1990 1990 26-26       1 Ind. Seasons 
George Foster     1977 1977 28-28       1 Ind. Seasons 
Roger Maris       1961 1961 26-26       1 Ind. Seasons 
Johnny Mize       1947 1947 34-34       1 Ind. Seasons 
Ralph Kiner       1947 1947 24-24       1 Ind. Seasons 
Seasons/Careers found: 19.

If A-Rod keeps his pace this season in the BB-department, he'll join Sammy Sosa as the only player in baseball history with 3 seasons of "50+ HR and <=99 BB."

I wonder why teams don't give Alex the "Barry Bonds" treatment and just walk him? 

This entry was posted on Monday, September 10th, 2007 at 10:28 am and is filed under Season Finders. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

6 Responses to “When Will They Learn?”

  1. David in Toledo Says:

    Except when Alex is on a home-run streak and there's a base open, it's probably best to pitch to him, since there is a 69% chance he will make one out (or more) when he swings.

    The category Sammy Sosa and A-Rod share is as much a consequence of their attitudes at the plate as it is a result of how they are pitched. They're not as selective as they should be. Despite his year off and his limited playing time, Sammy is #2 alltime in strikeouts. A-Rod has already struck out 1500 times. While he seems to be learning how to avoid extreme K numbers (this year), at his current career pace, he might catch both Barry Bonds in home runs and Reggie Jackson in strikeouts.

    Notice that in career OPS+, A-Rod comes nowhere near Albert Pujols, a more disciplined hitter. Of course, Albert is on pace to set a career record for grounding into double plays.

  2. Without a base open, it's tough to justify putting a baserunner on when facing the Yankees. With that lineup, rather than prolong an inning and increase the probablity of scoring runs, it's best to try and have him make out or not hit a homerun (90% of all outcomes).

    Is this sound? Or am I missing something?

  3. Hideki Matsui 305
    Jorge Posada 192
    Jason Giambi 130

    The players above are the guys who bat 5th most for the Yankees this season - the numbers are the PA where they have batted 5th.

    Posada has been hot all year. But, Matsui and Giambi are streaky. When they're ice cold, I would take my chances with them, and A-Rod on first, rather than pitch to Alex. But, yes, when they're hot, it's better to make Alex swing.

  4. Now pitchers don't walk A-Rod, but just give him HBPs....:P

    http://www.bb-ref.com/pi/shareit/97QW

    A-Rod got 19 HBPs this year so far. This is the second in MLB, and the first in AL.
    Maybe I am wrong... but from my impression, some HBPs he got is somehow intentional.

  5. That's a pretty neat list. What I notice is that many of those seasons are the first "big" home run seasons for those guys--Anderson, Vaugh, and Fielder stick out like sore thumbs.

  6. Don't forget Andre Dawson's 49 HR with like 33 BB!