Posted by Andy on December 14, 2010
Going back as far as we have intentional walk stats, here are the only guys to have at least 30 IBBs in a season without reaching 100 total walks:
Cabrera and Gonzalez both joined the list this season, doubling its size.
It's interesting to think about how each guy got in this group:
- Mitchell walked only 65 times per 162 games in his career, so failing to reach 100 walks isn't surprising. In 1989 he exploded for 47 HR and 125 RBI, both massive career highs, and he got intentionally walked a lot to be avoided. He had double-digit IBBs only one other season in his career. Mitchell also didn't have a lot of protection hitting after him--it was Candy Maldonado and Ernie Riles for most of the season until the Giants brought up a youngster named Matt Williams.
- Vlad Guerrero would rather swing at the moon overhead than take a walk. He has just 58 walks per 162 games in his career. Unlike Mitchell, though, he has always received a lot of IBBs (he is the active leader). Guerrero has usually been the best hitter on his team, and in 2002 was followed by the likes of Troy O'Leary, Lee Stevens, and Orlando Cabrera--not exactly a daunting group.
- Adrian Gonzalez has averaged 78 BB per 162 games so far, but that includes 119 walks in 2009. He fell back to just 58 non-intentional walks this past season, and the Padres were not a good offensive team, finishing close to the bottom in runs per game. (Their stellar pitching staff led to them almost making the playoffs.) He was by far the most valuable offensive player on the Padres in 2010 so there's no surprise that he was intentionally walked a lot. Chances are pretty good that he won't get as many IBBs with the Red Sox in 2011 surrounded in the lineup by David Ortiz, Kevin Youkilis, Dustin Pedroia, Carl Crawford, and others.
- Miguel Cabrera averages 73 walks per 162 games played and has never reached 100 walks in a season. He had a career high 89 in 2010. He gets intentionally walked a lot because he's a damn good hitter, plain and simple. He was also way, way ahead of all of his teammates in terms of offense value in 2010.
Here are the top 40 guys (ranked by total plate appearances) who had at least 20% of their career walks coming as intentional walks:
Thanks again to reader Joseph T.---this was another one of the little gems he emailed in as a suggestion.