Run, Don’t Walk – First Base Ahead

Following up on the Imperfect Trifecta post, thought I’d give Rollins and Pierre a break and let some others share the limelight. The guy on the left was one of our faves back at the B-R Blog, a player with some quite unusual statistical characteristics, although not ones customarily associated with winning.

WARNING: This post is definitely written tongue in cheek. My apologies, in advance, if you are offended by the tone – not my intention, just having a bit of fun.

This post is about players who simply abhor walking. At any cost (and it’s often substantial). Instead, these purists insist on getting on base (or trying, at least) the difficult way, with their bats and their legs. Alas, it is an awfully hard chore for many of them.

So, let’s start with our current 2012 poster boys. These are the players with the longest current (through games of Apr 14th) “walkless” streaks.

Rk   Strk Start End 6 Games AB R H HR RBI SO BB BA OBP SLG OPS Tm
1 Vernon Wells 2011-09-04 2012-04-14 30 118 11 25 8 18 20 0 .212 .212 .475 .686 LAA
2 Josh Harrison 2011-09-01 2012-04-14 23 68 3 16 0 5 7 0 .235 .246 .368 .614 PIT
3 Emmanuel Burriss 2011-07-04 2012-04-14 20 42 7 7 0 2 6 0 .167 .186 .167 .353 SFG
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 4/15/2012.

In addition to these three, there are 186 other non-pitchers with one or more PAs who have yet to walk in 2012. But, they’ll have to go some to catch the players in the next list.

There have been 65 streaks of at least 100 AB without a walk to start a player’s season. Rob Picciolo has 3 such streaks, and Jeff Francoeur and Mariano Duncan each have two. Here are the longest of them.

Player Strk Start Strk End Games AB H BA OBP SLG OPS Tm
Rob Picciolo 1980-04-10 1980-09-30 84 259 61 0.236 0.236 0.324 0.560 OAK
Mariano Duncan 1995-04-27 1995-08-26 61 213 61 0.286 0.286 0.408 0.694 PHI-CIN
Jesus Alou 1965-04-12 1965-05-27 42 179 60 0.335 0.333 0.469 0.803 SFG
Kim Batiste 1994-04-08 1994-07-30 53 179 46 0.257 0.254 0.307 0.561 PHI
Craig Robinson 1973-07-27 1973-09-30 46 146 33 0.226 0.226 0.274 0.500 PHI
Angel Salazar 1987-04-06 1987-05-30 42 144 36 0.250 0.248 0.326 0.575 KCR
Mickey Hatcher 1985-04-09 1985-05-13 30 134 42 0.313 0.311 0.425 0.736 MIN
Emil Verban 1944-04-18 1944-05-21 30 134 33 0.246 0.246 0.291 0.537 STL
Alejandro Sanchez 1985-04-24 1985-09-25 54 133 33 0.248 0.248 0.459 0.707 DET
Gee Walker 1934-04-17 1934-05-25 32 131 37 0.282 0.282 0.374 0.656 DET
Jeff Francoeur 2006-04-03 2006-05-07 31 130 30 0.231 0.241 0.415 0.656 ATL
Joe Nossek 1967-04-11 1967-08-16 57 126 25 0.198 0.197 0.246 0.443 KCA
Oscar Azocar 1990-07-17 1990-08-17 31 125 38 0.304 0.302 0.448 0.750 NYY
Bob Thorpe 1952-04-17 1952-06-09 32 125 34 0.272 0.278 0.408 0.686 BSN
Jeff Kunkel 1984-07-23 1984-09-18 39 125 26 0.208 0.211 0.344 0.555 TEX
Ernie Bowman 1963-04-17 1963-09-22 47 125 23 0.184 0.181 0.208 0.389 SFG

So, Picciolo went from opening day to the end of September without a walk. Then he ruined it with not one, but two walks in the final 3 October games.

But a few players have managed to play an entire season (min. 100 PA) without drawing a walk. Drum roll, please!

Rk Player PA BB Year Age Tm G AB R H HR RBI SO BA OBP SLG OPS Pos
1 Craig Robinson 148 0 1973 24 PHI 46 146 11 33 0 7 25 .226 .226 .274 .500 *6/4
2 Alejandro Sanchez 133 0 1985 26 DET 71 133 19 33 6 12 39 .248 .248 .459 .707 D9/78
3 Ernie Bowman 131 0 1963 27 SFG 81 125 10 23 0 4 15 .184 .181 .208 .389 645
4 Rob Picciolo 128 0 1984 31 CAL 87 119 18 24 1 9 21 .202 .200 .277 .477 *65/49
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 4/15/2012.

Whew, that’s better. At least Rob didn’t blow it a second time.

We started with the list of the longest current walkless streaks. But, there have certainly been longer streaks in the past. Much longer.

Player Strk Start Strk End Games PA AB H BA OBP SLG OPS Tm
Mariano Duncan 1994-06-24 1995-08-26 86 325 318 84 0.268 0.269 0.382 0.651 PHI-CIN
Shawon Dunston 1999-04-21 2000-06-22 133 322 310 90 0.292 0.304 0.455 0.758 STL-NYM
Rob Picciolo 1979-09-15 1980-09-30 97 316 308 67 0.221 0.221 0.310 0.531 OAK
Rob Picciolo 1977-07-02 1978-07-25 96 308 299 64 0.215 0.214 0.273 0.487 OAK
Virgil Stallcup 1949-05-04 1949-07-24 65 271 271 76 0.280 0.280 0.387 0.668 CIN
Hal Lanier 1964-07-02 1964-09-16 69 276 268 78 0.291 0.290 0.362 0.652 SFG
Ivy Griffin 1920-05-26 1920-08-25 69 258 244 51 0.209 0.222 0.234 0.455 PHA
Tony Pena 2007-05-06 2007-07-25 65 241 233 71 0.305 0.305 0.395 0.700 KCR
Ozzie Guillen 1989-06-02 1989-08-10 63 239 232 66 0.284 0.282 0.353 0.635 CHW
Joe Pepitone 1964-07-05 1964-09-08 59 228 224 52 0.232 0.235 0.415 0.650 NYY
Woody Jensen 1937-09-10 1938-09-14 76 225 222 52 0.235 0.239 0.258 0.497 PIT

Seems there’s a certain name that keeps popping up. But, some other interesting names as well. That’s Tony Pena the younger, with 20 career walks in 870 PA, even more of a free-swinger than Dad who had 25 walks in his first 3 seasosns (767 PA).

In addition to the two streaks above, Rob Picciolo had a 3rd long streak of 207 PA, notable in that it lasted almost 3 years, from July 5, 1982 to June 8, 1985.

Here’s another quirk of impatient hitters – these are the players with 2 or more seasons (min. 300 PA) with more GIDP than walks.

Rk   Yrs From To Age  
1 Ivan Rodriguez 5 1999 2010 27-38 Ind. Seasons
2 Hal Lanier 4 1964 1968 21-25 Ind. Seasons
3 Bengie Molina 3 2003 2009 28-34 Ind. Seasons
4 A.J. Pierzynski 3 2002 2010 25-33 Ind. Seasons
5 Pat Meares 3 1993 1996 24-27 Ind. Seasons
6 Andres Thomas 3 1986 1989 22-25 Ind. Seasons
7 Jesus Alou 3 1965 1968 23-26 Ind. Seasons
8 Ernie Lombardi 3 1933 1943 25-35 Ind. Seasons
9 Miguel Tejada 2 2008 2009 34-35 Ind. Seasons
10 Johnny Estrada 2 2006 2007 30-31 Ind. Seasons
11 Mariano Duncan 2 1993 1996 30-33 Ind. Seasons
12 Andre Dawson 2 1993 1994 38-39 Ind. Seasons
13 Doug Flynn 2 1981 1982 30-31 Ind. Seasons
14 Damaso Garcia 2 1980 1986 23-29 Ind. Seasons
15 Ellis Valentine 2 1979 1982 24-27 Ind. Seasons
16 Ken Reitz 2 1973 1974 22-23 Ind. Seasons
17 Manny Sanguillen 2 1969 1971 25-27 Ind. Seasons
18 Paul Casanova 2 1967 1968 25-26 Ind. Seasons
19 Jerry Adair 2 1963 1969 26-32 Ind. Seasons
20 Virgil Stallcup 2 1949 1951 27-29 Ind. Seasons
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 4/14/2012.

I wonder when was the last time that Mariano Duncan and Doug Flynn had their names next to a HOFer on one of our lists. Incidentally, the career WAR for the two HOFers here, and the guy at the top of the list who will be joining them, comes out to 163 and change – almost a 2 to 1 edge on the other 17 players who have collectively accumulated just 86 WAR.

But, you may say, those are just some quirky seasons. Have any non-pitchers had more GIDP than walks for an entire career (min. 1500 PA)? Well, actually yes.

Rk Player PA GDP BB From To Age G AB R H HR RBI SO BA OBP SLG OPS Pos Tm
1 Jesus Alou 4577 143 138 1963 1979 21-37 1380 4345 448 1216 32 377 267 .280 .305 .353 .658 97/D83 SFG-HOU-TOT-OAK-NYM
2 Andres Thomas 2185 66 59 1985 1990 21-26 577 2103 182 493 42 228 301 .234 .255 .334 .589 *6/5 ATL
3 Rob Picciolo 1720 34 25 1977 1985 24-32 731 1628 192 381 17 109 254 .234 .246 .312 .558 *64/53D79 OAK-TOT-MIL-CAL
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 4/14/2012.

Gee, there’s that name again! And, look at his strikeouts compared to the other two, in quite a bit less playing time. Which brings us to SO/BB ratios. Hey, it’s instructive for pitchers – why not for hitters too?

Here are the players with more than one season (min. 300 PAs) with 7 times as many strikeouts as walks. There are 38 others with one season like this.

Rk   Yrs From To Age  
1 Miguel Olivo 3 2006 2008 27-29 Ind. Seasons
2 Ivan Rodriguez 2 2005 2007 33-35 Ind. Seasons
3 Shawon Dunston 2 1995 1997 32-34 Ind. Seasons
4 Craig Paquette 2 1993 1995 24-26 Ind. Seasons
5 Mariano Duncan 2 1993 1996 30-33 Ind. Seasons
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 4/14/2012.

And, lastly, here are the players with careers (min. 1500 PAs) with 7 times as many strikeouts as walks.

Rk Player PA SO BB From To Age G AB R H HR RBI GDP BA OBP SLG OPS Pos Tm
1 Steve Carlton 1881 413 41 1965 1988 20-43 745 1719 123 346 13 140 33 .201 .223 .259 .482 *1 STL-PHI-TOT-MIN
2 Greg Maddux 1812 419 34 1986 2008 20-42 759 1591 103 272 5 84 15 .171 .191 .205 .395 *1 CHC-ATL-TOT-SDP
3 Rob Picciolo 1720 254 25 1977 1985 24-32 731 1628 192 381 17 109 34 .234 .246 .312 .558 *64/53D79 OAK-TOT-MIL-CAL
4 Phil Niekro 1707 314 17 1964 1987 25-48 866 1537 80 260 7 109 35 .169 .183 .211 .395 *1 MLN-ATL-NYY-CLE-TOT
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 4/14/2012.

Or, ten times as many. But, who’s really counting.

Rob, we really do love you. :)  And, to prove it, here they are – the top 10 greatest games of your career. Look at all those crooked numbers. And, two almost perfect columns of zeros under BB and SO.

Rk Date Tm Opp Rslt PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO WPA RE24 aLI BOP Pos. Summary
1 1984-04-20 CAL TOR W 10-6 2 2 3 2 2 0 0 0 0 0 0.453 1.550 2.433 2 PR 2B RF
2 1979-08-28 OAK TOR W 6-3 4 4 2 4 1 0 0 2 0 0 0.388 3.072 1.420 9 2B
3 1979-06-30 OAK TEX L 3-4 4 3 1 3 2 0 0 1 0 0 0.332 1.981 1.730 9 SS
4 1981-06-09 (2) OAK BAL W 3-2 3 3 0 1 1 0 0 1 0 0 0.280 0.656 1.950 9 SS
5 1979-08-07 OAK CAL W 9-5 4 4 1 3 0 0 0 3 0 0 0.280 2.041 2.358 9 SS
6 1979-04-18 OAK SEA W 5-2 3 3 0 2 0 0 0 1 0 0 0.270 2.294 1.837 9 SS
7 1979-04-16 OAK SEA W 4-2 3 3 1 2 0 1 0 1 0 0 0.233 1.898 .973 8 SS
8 1979-08-31 OAK DET W 5-3 4 4 1 3 0 0 1 1 0 0 0.226 1.798 1.218 9 2B
9 1979-09-01 OAK DET W 6-3 4 3 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 1 0.208 1.699 1.234 9 SS
10 1978-09-26 OAK CHW W 10-3 4 4 2 3 1 0 1 3 0 0 0.200 2.996 1.067 9 SS 2B
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 4/15/2012.

Comments

Run, Don’t Walk – First Base Ahead — 25 Comments

    • Yes, an odd name to appear on the list.

      But, I wouldn’t call Gee Walker a hacker. He had a .294 career BA and his K/BB rate was under 2, which is great considering he walked in only 4.6% of his PAs. He might have really done some damage if he could have balanced his aggressiveness with a bit more selectivity at the plate.

      • Sorry , Doug ,just trying to fall in with the humorous tone, I’m an old guy with no idea how to put one of those smiley thing on to warn you that I’m joking. Gee Walker was no hacker ,although the .294 was mostly compiled in the high-scoring thirties.

      • No worries, Bryan.

        To get a happy face, type a colon, followed immediately by a right parenthesis (no spaces in between). A sad face is colon followed by left parenthesis.

  1. Doug ; another Doug (Flynn, 1985) has the most PA for a non pitcher whose entire season OBP<BA since 1961, a real achievement at first-base avoidance.

    • That is something.

      The sac fly that put Flynn’s OBP below his BA came in a tight 2-1 game won by Flynn’s Tigers. But, Flynn still had negative WPA for the game despite a hit and a sac bunt to go with his sac fly. It was the last RBI of Flynn’s career.

  2. On a tangent: Through Saturday’s games, here are the players with no walks and OBP equal to or less than their BA:

    Player # of PAs
    Josh Hamilton 38
    Michael Young 37
    Brennan Boesch 35
    Chris Johnson 34
    Jimmy Rollins 34
    Gaby Sanchez 33
    Jesus Montero 33
    Alex Presley 32
    Nolan Reimold 31
    Giancarlo Stanton 31
    Vernon Wells 30
    Kendrys Morales 30

    • Pierre also got thrown out trying to steal 3rd base with 2 out and 2 on in the 4th inning, with Rollins at bat and the Phils down by a run. That’s not the kind of play we expect from a veteran like Juan D’Vaughn Pierre! (Or a Pony League player, for that matter.)

      Interesting … Last year, Pierre was perfect in 10 steals of 3rd base, but went 17 and 17 in steals of 2nd.

        • Yeah, Timmy Pea, eclipsed only by Brett (I’m just being to be aggressive) Lawrie trying to steal home in Saturday’s Toronto loss to the Orioles with the score tied, the bases loaded, two out and Jose Bautists at the plate.

          Granted Bautista had an 0-2 count at the time, but really ????

          You know I had to find somewhere to post this. :-)

          • Wow, Neil, that’s one of the dumbest plays I’ve ever heard of. Besides who was at bat and the fact that the bases were loaded and a RHP on the mound, the Blue Jays were already ahead by a run.

            And while Lawrie has good speed, I don’t think he’s a burner.

            I hope the young man received corrective instruction from his elders.

          • JA, @16, yes, look at the box.

            Omar Vizquel talked to Brett Lawrie in the dugout even before John Farrell had a chance to say anything.

  3. Always fun explaining to people how your OBP can be lower than your BA. My brother, who is a pretty smart guy, couldn’t believe that was possible. It’s all in the magic of SF. Good lists – fun stuff.

    • Like most baseball stats OBP is defined arbitrarily and less than totally
      logically. SF count in the denominator, but SH do not. RoE’s are counted as outs even though base has been reached safely. Certain fielder’s choice plays where everybody is safe don’t count, because they counted as SH, even though the batter reached. I think it would make sense to measure how often the batter safely reached base in all his PA. (With no base runners being forced out.) But they seem to think it’s more important to include the scorers opinion on what “should” have happened, than to show what actually did happen. End of rant. We now return you to your regularly scheduled game, as arbitrary as it may be.

      • I think it makes sense to count SF but not SH in the denominator for OBP. With most SH, it’s clear that the batter is voluntarily giving up his chance to hit safely (usually under manager’s orders). With SF, the question of intent is much more opaque.

        What I find illogical is that SF are not counted as AB. That hasn’t always been the case; in fact, there were periods when the batter was charged with an AB and not credited with an RBI.

        The absurdity of the SF-not-an-AB rule can be seen in the 9th inning when a team is behind by more than one run. A scoring fly ball in that situation is worthless, and obviously no hitter would be trying to give himself up with a routine fly to bring in the run. If a batter squared around and bunted in the 9th when the runner(s) advanced do not represent the tying or go-ahead run, proper scoring would not credit a SH. (See Rule 10.08(a) Comment.)
        http://mlb.mlb.com/mlb/official_info/official_rules/official_scorer_10.jsp

        I would not object to counting reached on error as a “time on base” for OBP purposes, although it would break from over a century of tradition.

        • If HBP counts as a TOB so should ROE. They are each a result of a misplay by the defensive team, what’s the difference what you call it.

          • But Richard, couldn’t that line of reasoning end in treating anything good for the hitter as the result of a “misplay” by the defensive team?

            Tonight I watched Atlanta’s Tommy Hanson throw 5 straight curveballs to Ike Davis with 2 on and 2 out in a tie game. The 5th one hung a bit, and Davis crushed it, and there’s your ballgame. Davis has been vulnerable to breaking balls all year, but 5 in a row, from a RHP to a LHB? That was clearly a mistake by Hanson and/or Brian McCann, in pitch selection and execution.

            HBP have more to do with the batter than you’ve implied, otherwise we’d hardly remember Ron Hunt. Among active hitters with 3,000 to 5,000 PAs, the career HBP totals range from Chase Utley’s 139 all the way down to Coco Crisp’s 5.

            The same logic was applied to walks once upon a time; that’s why the walk wasn’t included in the batter’s line in Chadwick’s original box score — it was considered a pitcher’s mistake, not a batter’s accomplishment. Nowadays we realize that, in general, batters actually have more impact on walks than pitchers, because there’s a much wider range of walk rates among batters than among pitchers.

          • Good pickup on Hanson’s overuse of his curveball, John. He’s had problems before over-relying on it and losing confidence in his fastball. It happened for a good part of 2010, but he eventually righted himself.

    • Indeed, and even, apparently, as young as 23 with a league leading 25 GIDP. For his career, Reitz stole 10 bases and was caught 14 times.

      Reitz had 7 straight seasons with walk totals between 19 and 25. His other 4 years total to about one-and-a-half full seasons, with a walk total of 26. At least, he was consistent.

  4. Reitz appeared in old-timers games in St. Louis as early as 1983. He also played for the San Jose “Bad News” Bees in 1986.

  5. Hal Lanier just missed the list for more GIDP than walks (135/136). Lanier’s offensive totals are a monument to inadequacy. Ten years, 1196 games, mostly as a regular, 49 OPS+. The maximum number of EBH he had in any one year was 24 (when he “peaked” at 41 R’s as well). But it does show you that in the low run era he played in, no one really seemed to care.

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