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Miguel Cabrera, Adrian Gonzalez, and 30 IBBs without 100 total BB in a season

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:

Rk Player Year IBB BB Age Tm G PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SO BA OBP SLG OPS Pos
1 Miguel Cabrera 2010 32 89 27 DET 150 648 548 111 180 45 1 38 126 95 .328 .420 .622 1.042 *3/D
2 Adrian Gonzalez 2010 35 93 28 SDP 160 692 591 87 176 33 0 31 101 114 .298 .393 .511 .904 *3/D
3 Vladimir Guerrero 2002 32 84 27 MON 161 709 614 106 206 37 2 39 111 70 .336 .417 .593 1.010 *9
4 Kevin Mitchell 1989 32 87 27 SFG 154 640 543 100 158 34 6 47 125 115 .291 .388 .635 1.023 *7/5
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 12/14/2010.

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:

Rk Player PA IBB BB From To
1 Hank Aaron 13940 293 1402 1954 1976
2 Barry Bonds 12606 688 2558 1986 2007
3 George Brett 11624 229 1096 1973 1993
4 Andre Dawson 10769 143 589 1976 1996
5 Ernie Banks 10395 198 763 1953 1971
6 Tony Gwynn 10232 203 790 1982 2001
7 Roberto Clemente 10212 167 621 1955 1972
8 Dave Parker 10184 170 683 1973 1991
9 Bill Buckner 10033 111 450 1969 1990
10 Al Oliver 9778 119 535 1968 1985
11 Ted Simmons 9685 188 855 1968 1988
12 Steve Garvey 9466 113 479 1969 1987
13 Garret Anderson 9177 104 429 1994 2010
14 Willie Stargell 9026 227 937 1962 1982
15 Orlando Cepeda 8695 154 588 1958 1974
16 Vladimir Guerrero 8469 247 720 1996 2010
17 Bill Mazeroski 8379 110 447 1956 1972
18 Garry Templeton 8208 144 375 1976 1991
19 Bill Russell 8020 106 483 1969 1986
20 Don Mattingly 7721 136 588 1982 1995
21 Leo Cardenas 7402 122 522 1960 1975
22 Ichiro Suzuki 7339 155 457 2001 2010
23 Tony Oliva 6879 131 448 1962 1976
24 Albert Pujols 6782 236 914 2001 2010
25 Willie Montanez 6407 103 465 1966 1982
26 Lou Piniella 6362 82 368 1964 1984
27 Shawon Dunston 6276 44 203 1985 2002
28 Tim McCarver 6206 119 548 1959 1980
29 Elston Howard 5843 82 373 1955 1968
30 Del Crandall 5581 95 424 1949 1966
31 John Roseboro 5527 110 547 1957 1970
32 Joe Pepitone 5476 73 302 1962 1973
33 Terry Kennedy 5421 86 365 1978 1991
34 Jim Spencer 5409 86 407 1968 1982
35 Manny Sanguillen 5380 96 223 1967 1980
36 Tommy Helms 5333 60 231 1964 1977
37 A.J. Pierzynski 5207 50 207 1998 2010
38 Johnny Edwards 5132 118 465 1961 1974
39 Miguel Cabrera 5089 122 535 2003 2010
40 Ken Reitz 5079 47 184 1972 1982
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 12/14/2010.

Thanks again to reader Joseph T.---this was another one of the little gems he emailed in as a suggestion.

This entry was posted on Tuesday, December 14th, 2010 at 6:33 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.

44 Responses to “Miguel Cabrera, Adrian Gonzalez, and 30 IBBs without 100 total BB in a season”

  1. What an eclectic list of guys! A mix of free swingers and some of the most feared hitters of all time. Leo Cardenas and Barry Bonds on the same list? THAT'S COOL.

  2. I think alot of these guys must have batted 8th. Why else would you walk them that much?

  3. I agree with Larry. I don't think Tommy Helms and Johnny Edwards were getting intentionally walked in games unless they were hitting ahead of the pitcher.

  4. dukeofflatbush Says:

    Hey Andy, this all sounds familiar... lol.
    In all fairness, only 30 IBB have been issued in a single season 25 times - 10 of those times to a guy named Barry. 3 times for Pujols and twice each for McCovey and Howard. Obviously this is a recent stat, or just recently became tallied with accuracy, so Ted Williams is the oldest guy on the list of 25.
    What is strange however, in addition to Cabrera and Gonzalez accomplishing the feat in 2010, Puljols just missed doing it by 3 walks. I think having Holiday behind him for a full season, plus the pressure of falling out of the play-offs, affected Albert's overall game.
    if you lower the IBB to 25, you get some interesting names and numbers on the list.
    For instance; Vlad, in 2006 received 25 IBB and 25 BB, for a total of 50.
    Also, Bill Russel shows up on the list 3rd, and for a power hitting 1974 LAD. 25IBB/28BB. Its pretty obvious, those were when he was hitting eighth.
    So with less than 100 BB and greater than 25 IBB, Vlad comes in first at 4 seasons, followed by Ramirez, Cabrera and Pujols.
    It was mentioned on a Pudge themed thread a while ago, that Latin players seem to have lower walk rates on average than US born players. I think Johnny Twisto pulled some #s to prove this. I think if you pulled out the outliers on lists like that, think Abreu and Puljols, I think the numbers would be even more striking.
    There must be something to the old axiom, "You can't walk off..."
    Another funny stat is Garry Templeton's '84-86 BB #s. He had 115 total BB for those three years, 38.33 a season, 68 of which were intentional. Again, I think this has more to do with batting eighth than any fear Templeton inspired amongst his peers.
    In related IBB silliness, the oft feared Manny Sanguillen, is the only player with at least 5000 PA to have 40% of his walks come via the intentional variety. Templeton is a close second with 38% in over 2000 more PA.

  5. [...] part you knew. What you probably didn’t know was that Cabrera (along with Adrian Gonzalez) joined a very exclusive club in 2010. With his 89 total walks, Cabrera became the fourth player ever (and first American Leaguer) to [...]

  6. Joseph I credited you for this idea at the end of post.

  7. Apparently a lot of intentional walks to the Cardinal teams of the mid-to-late 1970s. Simmons, Templeton and Reitz all made the list.

  8. Lawrence Azrin Says:

    I t's too bad they didn't keep trackof IBB's earlier in baseballhistory; it would've been interesting to see what the numbers for the likes of Ruth/ Gehrig/ Foxx would've been. Several people suggested that Ruth received as many as 75/80 IBB's a year, which seems very high until you see Bond's 2004 total (120)

    I've also read that both Mel Ott and Jimmy Foxx received 6 IBB's in a doubleheader - can anyone here verify that?

  9. And then there all those semi-intentional walks where the pitchers just don't give the hitters anything they can hit well.

  10. Willie McCovey just missed your cutoff: he would be 3rd on the list of IBB, 260 out of 1345, 19.3%...

  11. Johnny Twisto Says:

    It was mentioned on a Pudge themed thread a while ago, that Latin players seem to have lower walk rates on average than US born players. I think Johnny Twisto pulled some #s to prove this.

    Wait, I don't want the blame for that. I took one quick look which seemed inconclusive, though it could be interpreted that way. It requires a more rigorous study. (I'd be surprised if that has never been done before, but I'm not aware of it.)

    Several people suggested that Ruth received as many as 75/80 IBB's a year

    That doesn't seem believable. I'd assume that most of his IBBs would disappear once Gehrig was hitting behind him. From 1920-26, Ruth averaged 1 BB every 4.77 PA. By 1927, Gehrig started hitting like GEHRIG, and they were usually (not always) batting 3-4 in the lineup. 1927-32, Ruth averaged a BB every 5.26 PA. That's a change of 13 BB per 650 PA. There are other factors at play, maybe Ruth did get IBB'd a lot even with Gehrig behind him, but it doesn't seem likely to me.

  12. Lawrence Azrin Says:

    #11/ Johnny Twisto Says: "{L. Azrin}: Several people suggested that Ruth received as many as 75/80 IBB's a year.... {J.T}: That doesn't seem believable."

    Johnny T.: I didn't say that _I_ believe it, just that other people have stated that. Looking at yearly leaders, I'd guess that Ruth got 20-30 IBB's a year, and probably a lot less once Gehrig came into his prime c. 1926-27.

    We also need to know what the accepted strategy was for issuing IBB's in the 1930/1940's - was it something done quite rarely, or was it common practice to pitch around a team's best hitter?? Of course, without formal records, we are forced to rely on anectdotal evidence and the occasional game story mentioning this.

  13. dukeofflatbush Says:

    @ Andy,
    Sorry, I missed the very end of your post, but didn't feel slighted anyway.
    I think it's a telling post/theme, plus your second table is great as well. Its interesting to see the disparagey in player types on that list and guess how they ended up there.
    @ Johnny
    Sorry to you as well, I didn't mean to suggest that you concluded Latin players walk less, but I remember us discussing it. It is a pretty standard stereotype in baseball, which at first glance, there seems to be some truth in. I hope no one took that comment as racial bias. I only believe it is something worth looking into, that has several contributing factors. The culture and minutia of baseball has small variations due to the cultural and geographic environment.
    Just as Japanese baseball has its deviations from MLB, so I'm sure the Caribbean and Latin America does as well.

    Also, I'd like to know if anyone has an idea when the intentional walk was introduced as strategy. Also, when specific rules and guidlines were applied to the practice (ie - catcher staying in the box till the ball is released, etc).
    As to the unintentional intentional BB, I've heard stories from commentators (mostly McCarver) of Gibson and Drysdale preferring to hit a batter than give him the free pass.
    Also, does anyone remember when Miguel Cabrera stroked a single during an intentional walk, and is there anyone else to have done that.
    Lastly, I remember Bonds being IBBed by the D-backs with the bases loaded more than once. Has anyone else had this happen, and if so, is there a way to check on the play index? -- Maybe IBB + RBI?

  14. Lawrence Azrin Says:

    #13/ dukeofflatbush Says: "Also, I'd like to know if anyone has an idea when the intentional walk was introduced as strategy. Also, when specific rules and guidlines were applied to the practice (ie - catcher staying in the box till the ball is released, etc)."

    Dukeofflatbush, according to Wikipedia, before the 1920 season the rule of the catcher keeping both feet in the catchers box for an IBB was introduced (they also wanted all base runners to move up one base on an IBB, but that was defeated); before then, they could stand as far from home plate as they wanted. As for IBB's with the bases loaded, it lists:
    1896 - Jimmy Ryan
    1901 - Larry Lajoie
    1944 - Bill "Swish "Nicholson
    1998 - Barry Bonds

    It also mentions Miguel Cabrera hitting an intentional ball thrown in the 10th inning of a 6/22/2006 game against the Orioles.

  15. dukeofflatbush Says:

    Lawrence, you are my hero.
    thanx.
    I found the BoxScore to the Bonds game.
    http://www.baseball-reference.com/boxes/SFN/SFN199805280.shtml

    On the Mig Cabrera hit, the ball was at least a foot off the plate, and he got good wood on it, without leaving the batters box. Amazing!

  16. Lawrence Azrin Says:

    #15/ dukeofflatbush Says: "Lawrence, you are my hero. thanx."

    Dukeofflatbush, you're welcome. As conjecture, I'm going to guess that before the 1930's, IBB's were more of a rare "desperation" strategy (except for Babe Ruth), but that it became more common with the increase in home run threats in most line-ups. It would be interesting to know how the strategy of IBB'ing the 8th place hitter to get to the pitcher evolved; we can do that through P-I since 1955...

    As anectdote, I've read that some of Babe Ruth's HRs were hit off very low pitches (when they were "pitching around" him) which he golfed for high, towering shots.

  17. [...] the tide changed and the Reds went the way of the long ball. The second baseball-reference.com study listed the 40 players who had at least 20% of their career walks coming as intentional walks. While [...]

  18. Going off on the tangent of Babe Ruth's walk rate:

    From 1920-35, Ruth walked at a rate between 135 and 170 walks every year but 3:
    -- 1922, 119 walks per 700 PA.
    -- 1925, 97 walks per 700 PA.
    -- 1929, 86 walks per 700 PA.

    The 1922 and 1925 declines might be at least partly due to Ruth's missing big chunks of time at the start of the season -- the first 33 games in '22 due to suspension for barnstorming, and the first 41 games in '25 due to intestinal ailments. Perhaps Ruth was more aggressive at the plate those years, trying to make up for lost time.

    But what about 1929? Here are his walk rates for 1928-30, per 700 PAs: 140, 86, 141. That's a drop of 39% in the middle year, immediately restored the following year.

    Nothing else about his production changed significantly in that period. His HRs were 54, 46, 49. His BAs were .323, .345, .359. His SLG went .709, .697, .732. His OPS+ were 1.172, 1.128, 1.225. His Games were 154, 135, 145.

    What, if anything, was going on with Ruth in '29 that made such a huge dent in his legendary walk rate?

  19. Go to a players main page. Click on "Splits", selecting either career or a season. At the splits page go down to, "Bases Occupied". There you can see Bonds' bases loaded IBB, and also that he was intentionally walked 41 times with the bases empty. Go up to "Batting Order". You will see that Bonds was walked much more often when he batted 4th than 3rd. (Not surprisingly). To find the specific situations, rather than the total numbers, you have to go through the game logs and play by play in the box scores, a lot more work.

  20. dukeofflatbush Says:

    @ Kds

    Of those 41 IBBs Barry received with the bases empty, were any done with none out?
    The reason I'm asking is, I wonder how the averages work, run expectancy wise?
    I think when Bonds hit third, he had Kent behind him for protection, but hitting 4th, an over-the-hill Benito Santiago was his protection.
    Its got to hurt the ego a bit, to have the opposition putting men on base for you.

  21. dukeofflatbush Says:

    To self,
    Yep, Bonds led off an inning 5 times with an IBB. 3 in 2004 alone. He was also hit 25 times leading off an inning, which I'm sure not all of which were accidents. No offense Barry.

  22. @ 14 Lawrence Azrin

    In addition to the 4 players you named who are credited with walking with the bases loaded:

    1896 - Jimmy Ryan
    1901 - Larry Lajoie
    1944 - Bill "Swish "Nicholson
    1998 - Barry Bonds:

    I have 2 more players to add to your list:

    5/2/1928 Del Bissonette

    Then the most recent was Josh Hamilton

    On August 17, 2008 he was intentionally walked with the bases loaded against the Rays in the bottom of the ninth, with the Rays leading 7–3, to bring Marlon Byrd to the plate. The Rays went on to win the game 7–4. Hamilton thus became the sixth player in history to receive an intentional walk with the bases loaded.

    Joe Maddon said after the game, "We didn't want Hamilton to hit a home run. He's got 28, and Marlon Byrd's got 8."

    Additional Note: This was shortly after Josh Hamilton put on that explosive display of home run hitting in the Home Run Contest at the All Star game.

  23. "Also, does anyone remember when Miguel Cabrera stroked a single during an intentional walk, and is there anyone else to have done that."

    I recall a story where Willie Horton of the Tigers homered on an IBB attempt at old Yankee Stadium in the late '60's.

    The pitch came a bit too close and Horton reached out and flipped it over the 296 mark down the RF line.

  24. Pursuing my conundrum @18 re: Ruth's vanishing walk rate in 1929....

    So, what was going on with Ruth & the Yankees in 1929?

    -- Manager Miller Huggins was dying. Hug, the only skipper Babe had known in New York, succumbed to a rare skin infection on Sept. 25, just 5 days after stepping down as manager. (The AL cancelled its entire slate for the next day.) Ruth later said, "We had a few battles, but there was no man I liked better in baseball."

    -- The club finished 2nd with a respectable 88-66 record but 18 games behind the A's. The race was over early; NY ended May 7.5 games behind and never got closer than 6.5 the rest of the way.

    -- The Bombers' offense was, on the surface, as potent as ever, with nearly the same runs, BA, OBP and SLG; but whereas they led the league in all 4 in '28, in '29 they were bested in each category by the A's and/or the Tigers. The AL scoring average was up by 1/4 of a run.

    -- After hitting 3rd almost all of 1927-28 (backed by Gehrig), Ruth split the '29 season between the #3 and 4 spots, and Gehrig moved around among #3, 4 and 5. The cleanup spot was like a bus station, with 9 different players starting at least 3 games there, including Cedric Durst (17), Bill Dickey (13), Earle Combs and Bob Meusel (6 each), Samuel Byrd and Ben Paschal (4 each). I have no idea why any of this happened. If batting 4th bothered the Babe, you couldn't tell from his 1.228 OPS and 86 RBI in 66 games.

    -- There was no monthly or other split in which Ruth's BB rate was even close to his 1928/1930 average.

    -- The Babe did lower his Ks to 60 from league-leading totals of 87 and 89 the year before, so maybe this and the decline in walks reflects some kind of changed approach. However, he got his walks back up in 1930-32 while keeping his Ks at 62 or less.

    -- Long Bob Meusel had his first off year ever and was dealt to Cincinnati after the season.

    -- Yankee pitchers had a collective slump. Waite Hoyt and Herb Pennock had their first off years with the club; all 4 starters, including George Pipgras and Ed Wells, had ERA+ of 92 or below, and on the entire staff, only swingman Tom Zachary (158) had an ERA+ above 108.

    -- The overall AL walk rate actually increased from 3.1 BB/9 in 1928 to 3.4 in '29.

    That's about as far as I can go with the B-R data, and I don't see a clear answer. Anyone?

  25. dukeofflatbush Says:

    Just an odd note:
    The 1985 Mets had 5 guys with at least 10 IBB.
    Can anyone name them without cheating?

  26. Duke -- Hernandez, Carter & Strawberry on merit; Rafael Santana for batting 8th. Stumped for the 5th guy. Ray Knight???

    The lineup had a lot of lefty/righty alternation, so I'd guess most of the IBBs were chasing the platoon edge.

  27. dukeofflatbush Says:

    It was HoJo, which I can only assume was from pinch hitting for Santana? He only had 10 HRs that year.

    I was looking at your Babe dilemma, and must admit I'm stumped. Its not often you see a guys BA go up 20 points but his OBP go down 30 points in one year.
    I do remember one interview, I believe from a Ken Burns' film, in which Babe said he was getting frustrated that the league had stopped throwing him fastballs and only threw him junk. Apparently Babe liked the heat.
    I don't think the interview was dated, but maybe that had something to do with it.
    ?

  28. Back to the original theme, IBBs to guys who don't otherwise walk a lot:

    I searched for player-seasons with at least 10 IBBs and IBB > 0.5 BB.
    I found:
    -- A lot of #8 hitters;
    -- A lot of Garry Templeton & Manny Sanguillen seasons;
    -- Barry Bonds's record-setting year; and
    -- Roberto Clemente, 1968: 51 walks, 27 of them intentional.

    From 1964-70, Clemente drew 326 walks, 117 intentional.
    (Despite the low walk rate, he still had a 153 OPS+ for those years.)

  29. dukeofflatbush Says:

    Just a quick addition to your nice Clemente find.
    Willie Davis............... 2561 H, 418 BB, 75 IBB
    Garret Anderson........2529 H, 429 BB, 104 IBB
    Bill Buckner................2715 H, 450 BB, 111 IBB
    Steve Garvey.............2599 H, 479 BB, 113 IBB

    Ivan Rodriguez...........2817 H, 503 BB, 65 IBB
    Roberto Clemente......3000 H, 621 BB, 167 IBB
    Lou Brock.....................3023 H, 761 BB, 124 IBB

    The first 4 on that list are eerily similar.
    The next three are the two members of the 3000 Hit club with the fewest BBs, followed by the guy who should be joining them soon.

    A couple threads ago, I mentioned all the not so favorable lists Pudge heads, I forgot to mention this one, of course if he hangs on for 2 more seasons.
    Also, right now, Pudge sits 39th out of the 40 players with 2800 hits in OBP, trailed only by Brooks Robinson.
    In the 3000 hit club, Ripken sits lowest with a .340 OBP. Pudge, already trails by .006 points, that I can't see him making up in the next 2-3 years.
    So, Pudge will take the all time GIDP from Ripken and the lowest OBP for the 3000 hit club.

  30. [...] Continue reading Tags: career, coming-as-intentional, reds, reference, the-long, the-tide, their-career, tide, walks-coming, went-the-wayBookmark the permalink. ← When {Puffy} Meets ^RedDevil^: Good Reference For Linux /dev Arrowheadlines: Chiefs News 12/14 – Arrowhead Pride → © 2010 The Knowledge Blog – Dominima var _gaq = _gaq || []; _gaq.push(['_setAccount', 'UA-20235547-1']); _gaq.push(['_setDomainName', '.dominima.net']); (function() { var ga = document.createElement('script'); ga.type = 'text/javascript'; ga.async = true; ga.src = ('https:' == document.location.protocol ? 'https://ssl' : 'http://www') + '.google-analytics.com/ga.js'; var s = document.getElementsByTagName('script')[0]; s.parentNode.insertBefore(ga, s); })(); [...]

  31. For the 4 players in the original list above, here are their IBBs and those of their teammates:

    -- Vlad Guerrero, 32 / 53 (2002 Expos)
    -- Kevin Mitchell, 32 / 51 (1989 Giants)
    -- Adrian Gonzalez, 35 / 32 (2010 Padres)
    -- Miguel Cabrera, 32 / 18 (2010 Tigers)

    How unbalanced was Detroit's lineup? They got a 1.023 OPS from their cleanup hitters, mainly Cabrera. No other spot in the order had an OPS over .781.

  32. dukeofflatbush Says:

    For that last Miggy quip. I think that is undoubtedly a result of being the only American Leaguer on that list.
    Taking out the pitcher from the equation, I'd say they are all on or near par.

  33. Duke -- You made a reasonable inference @32, but I forgot to mention that I already checked that factor, and for 2 of the 3 NL teams, the difference was a lot more than the #8 man getting walked in front of the pitcher.

    Here are each team's IBBs to their #8 hitters:
    -- 2002 Expos, 21 (so, 32 IBBs to non-Vlad, non-#8 hitters)
    -- 1989 Giants, 13 (so, 38 IBBs to non-Mitchell, non-#8 hitters)
    -- 2010 Padres, 14 (so, 18 to non-Gonzalez, non-#8 hitters)
    -- 2010 Tigers, 1 (so, 17 IBBs to non-Miggy, non-#8 hitters)

  34. P.S. to #33 -- Believe it or not, the 1989 Giants got 13 IBBs to their #3 spot, which all went to Will Clark and almost always brought up Kevin Mitchell.

  35. Duke -- I took a quick look over the last 2 years. The NL has had a lot more IBBs than the AL each year, and it's only partly due to walking the #8 hitter to face the pitcher.

    For 2009-10 combined, and after subtracting all IBBs to #8 hitters, the NL has issued 345 more IBBs than the AL, which averages out to about 11 more IBBs per team per year.

    I don't know if this is a long-term thing or not.

  36. #35 et al raises an interesting question...sounds like a good topic for a future blog post. I'd be inclined to guess that IBBs to, say, #4 hitters are identical in both leagues.
    I also wonder if IBBs to #1 hitters in the AL are more common thanks to better hitters in the #9 hole in the AL, leading more often to #1 hitter coming up in key situations...

  37. Johnny Twisto Says:

    I don't know often the Cardinals (and sometimes the Brewers and Pirates?) still bat their pitcher #8. I doubt it's enough to affect those numbers too much but it should be considered when controlling for IBBs by batting order.

  38. Johnny Twisto @37 -- Excellent reminder. I completely forgot about that.

    Andy @36 -- Actually, the IBBs to the heart of the order are not nearly equal, at least over the past 2 years:

    Average IBBs to #3 & #4 hitters, by league, 2009-10:
    -- AL, 12.6 per team per year;
    -- NL, 17.9 per team per year.

    Maybe it's just a short-term blip. Maybe all the IBBs to hitters ahead of the pitcher creates a mentality that's more accepting of IBBs.

  39. dukeofflatbush Says:

    John and crew,
    Gotta remember the double switch is more frequent in the NL. So you may see a Matt Stairs type get IBBed in a weird batting order position, if the opposing manager wants to keep his righty in or just face the # 7 hitter with two on...
    I also would disagree, with no real proof, that there is an equal # of IBB to number 4 hitters regardless of league. With so many power hitting DHs, I'd say the AL has the better 4-5 combo.

  40. dukeofflatbush Says:

    Also, if you think of a team like the Yankees in the AL, who sport 9 guys who could hit 20 HRs, does it make sense to IBB anyone?

    As a youngster growing up in a Met fan in the eighties, I remember Strawberry being IBBed a ton to get to Kevin McReynolds. I wish I could find a way on play index where I could see how many times that backfired.

  41. Interesting that 5 of the top 17 are Pirates from the late 60's to late 70's. Manny was the original "I never met a pitch far enough from the plate" guy. He makes Vlad look like a patient hitter.

    Would be interesting to see the average pitch count/ab of these guys. Some of those free swingers put the first ball in play so never got through 4 pitches to come close to a walk.

  42. Re: the possible effect of NL double-switches on IBBs to the #3-4 spots:

    There were just 13 PAs by NL pitchers batting 4th or 5th in 2010. I can't imagine that those 13 PAs were preceded by more than a couple of IBBs.

    Of course, there were many more times that a pitcher was slotted into the #4 or 5 spot, but was replaced by a PH when his spot came up. How many times that happened, I don't know and won't guess. But I still think the number of IBBs generated by such scenarios would be very small. Managers don't like to switch out a #4-5 hitter when there's a significant chance that said spot might come up in a meaningful situation and there's no strong PH available to discourage the IBB to the preceding batter.

    But in the end, alas, I don't have the data to go any farther with this.

  43. Following up my post #42 -- Maybe there's something to be learned about AL/NL IBB tendencies from interleague games in AL parks, when both teams have a DH.

  44. IBBs issued by NL and AL in interleague games in AL parks (i.e., with DH):

    2010 (123 games): 27 IBBs issued by NL teams, 17 by AL teams.
    2009 (126 games): 27 IBBs issued by NL teams, 16 by AL teams.
    ---------------------------------------------
    2009-10 Total (249 games): 54 IBBs issued by NL teams, 33 by AL teams.

    I'd love to attach some importance to this data, given how it generally agrees with the rest of the IBB data over the past 2 years.

    But there's a big problem in the context: Overall, the majority of IBBs are issued when a team is trailing -- 57% in 2010 -- and most of the rest when the game is tied. Less than 11% of IBBs came when the pitching team was ahead. And over the last 2 years, NL teams went just 103-146 in AL parks.

    Thus, being behind much more often than they were ahead, NL teams would have been likely to issue more IBBs regardless of any general difference in IBB tendencies between the leagues.

    So, for now, I give up. It's not that important, anyway.