2012 Streaker Awards for Batters

No, not that kind of streaking. But, now that I have your attention, here are the 2012 gold, silver and bronze medal awards for streaks for various batting categories.

For each category, I’ve indicated both the hottest and coldest streaks. I’ll leave it for you to decide whether these streaks indicate that a player is prone to streaky play, or is just consistently good … or bad.

Some preliminaries. First, pitchers are arbitrarily excluded from all streak queries. Second, for an apples-to-apples comparison, I am counting streaks only for games in which a player was in the starting lineup and had at least one PA. Counting starting games only avoids streaks being broken when a player appears in a substitute role with possibly limited PA opportunities (or none) to extend a streak. This means that games as a substitute may be interspersed within these streaks without affecting them, regardless of what a player did or didn’t accomplish in those substitute appearances.

Further to the treatment of substitute appearances within a streak:

  • players effectively get a “mulligan” if they, in fact, break a streak in a substitute game
  • OTOH, players are not rewarded if they extend a streak in such games

On the whole, I think this is a fair and balanced approach, but feel free to differ.

So, here are the 2012 Streaker Awards.

Rk RUNS Strk Start End Games Tm Rk NO RUNS Strk Start End Games Tm
1 Mike Trout 2012-07-05 2012-07-23 15 LAA 1 Jose Lopez 2012-05-18 2012-06-23 22 CLE
2 Austin Jackson 2012-06-30 2012-07-16 13 DET 2 Clint Barmes 2012-04-25 2012-05-20 21 PIT
3 Miguel Cabrera 2012-09-11 2012-09-23 11 DET 3 Brandon Crawford 2012-04-13 2012-05-11 20 SFG
1 Jose Reyes 2012-07-13 2012-08-08 26 MIA 1 Omar Quintanilla 2012-08-15 2012-09-05 10 BAL
2 Robinson Cano 2012-06-24 2012-07-20 23 NYY 1 Luke Scott 2012-06-02 2012-07-05  10 TBR
3 Michael Brantley 2012-05-20 2012-06-15 22 CLE 3 A.J. Ellis 2012-09-11 2012-09-22  9 LAD
3 Josh Thole 2012-08-15 2012-08-31 9 NYM
 3 Cliff Pennington 2012-05-23 2012-06-03  9 OAK
1 Freddie Freeman 2012-07-08 2012-07-20 8 ATL  1 John Baker 2012-05-18 2012-08-16  32 SDP
2 Chris Davis 2012-09-25 2012-10-02 7 BAL  2 Drew Stubbs 2012-08-18 2012-10-03  30 CIN
2 A.J. Pierzynski 2012-07-23 2012-08-06 7 CHW  2 Emilio Bonifacio 2012-04-04 2012-05-08  30 MIA
2 Albert Pujols 2012-07-30 2012-08-05 7 LAA
2 Paul Goldschmidt 2012-05-30 2012-06-08 7 ARI
1 Chris Davis 2012-09-26 2012-10-02 6 BAL 1 Ben Revere 2012-04-07 2012-10-03  118 MIN
2 A.J. Pierzynski 2012-07-30 2012-08-05 5 CHW 2 Jamey Carroll 2012-04-06 2012-09-02  115 MIN
2 Mike Napoli 2012-04-15 2012-04-21 5 TEX 3 Jemile Weeks 2012-04-14 2012-09-13  104 OAK
1 Alberto Callaspo 2012-08-01 2012-08-11 10 LAA 1 Miguel Olivo 2012-07-02 2012-09-16  32 SEA
1 David Ortiz 2012-07-03 2012-07-16 10 BOS 2 Cesar Izturis 2012-05-12 2012-08-04  31 MIL
3 Kevin Youkilis 2012-07-04 2012-07-15 8 CHW 2 Humberto Quintero 2012-04-24 2012-06-23  31 KCR
3 Chris Young 2012-05-29 2012-06-08 8 ARI
3 Curtis Granderson 2012-05-19 2012-05-27 8 NYY
3 Dan Uggla 2012-05-20 2012-05-27 8 ATL
3 Chase Headley 2012-04-07 2012-04-15 8 SDP
1 Ryan Zimmerman 2012-09-03 2012-09-12 9 WSN  1 Nyjer Morgan 2012-04-07 2012-05-31 29 MIL
1 Robinson Cano 2012-06-27 2012-07-06 9 NYY 2 Ramon Santiago 2012-06-26 2012-10-02  28 DET
1 Carlos Beltran 2012-06-22 2012-07-02 9 STL 3 Danny Espinosa 2012-04-09 2012-05-10  26 WSN
1 Adam Dunn 2012-04-06 2012-05-09 31 CHW  1 Chris Getz 2012-06-14 2012-08-01 15 KCR
2 Kirk Nieuwenhuis 2012-04-24 2012-06-02 29 NYM  1 Carlos Lee 2012-05-14 2012-05-28  15 HOU
3 Rick Ankiel 2012-05-06 2012-07-01 23 WSN 3 Dustin Pedroia 2012-07-01 2012-07-30  14 BOS
 3 Juan Pierre 2012-05-25 2012-06-13 14 PHI
 3 Ryan Theriot 2012-04-29 2012-06-03 14 SFG
 3 Jeff Keppinger 2012-04-12 2012-05-08 14 TBR
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 12/3/2012.

Note the last entry in the above table, of games with and without strikeouts. I was curious when strikeout streaks started getting longer than no-strikeout streaks. Adam Dunn’s 31-game strikeout streak in 2012 is the longest in-season streak of this century, and part of a 35 game streak begun at the end of the 2011 season. Here are the longest in-season streaks of earlier decades.

Decade Strk Start End Games Tm
1990s Shane Andrews 1999-08-27 1999-09-30 22 MON-CHC
Tony Clark 1996-08-23 1996-09-14 22 DET
1980s Jeff Kunkel 1989-06-24 1989-07-21 21 TEX
Pete Incaviglia 1988-06-15 1988-07-23 21 TEX
1970s Bernie Carbo 1976-07-15 1976-09-08 25 MIL-BOS Part of a 27 game streak ending 1977-04-10
1960s Ken Hunt 1963-04-16 1963-08-08 25 LAA Dave Nicholson had a 37 game streak
spanning 1964 (17 games) and 1965 (20)
1950s Bob Speake 1955-07-17 1955-09-19 24 CHC
1940s Oscar Grimes 1944-09-04 1944-09-21 12 NYY
1930s Vince DiMaggio 1937-06-05 1937-06-22 14 BSN
1920s Babe Ruth 1922-08-20 1922-09-05 12 NYY
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 12/3/2012.

So, a pretty sudden shift from the 1940s to the 1950s, but relatively stable since then. That is, until we get to Big Donkey.

A rather different story when we look at streaks of not striking out. In 1929, Joe Sewell went 115 starting games without whiffing (see below), a mere 100 games longer than the top such streak of 2012.

Decade Strk Start End Games Tm
2000-12 Juan Pierre 2004-08-16 2004-09-19 31 FLA
1990s Tony Gwynn 1995-06-03 1995-07-17 39 SDP
1980s Bob Bailor 1984-05-10 1984-09-30 35 LAD Part of a 56 game streak from 1983-10-01 to 1985-08-20
1970s Dave Cash 1976-05-28 1976-07-17 47 PHI
1960s Nellie Fox 1962-07-22 1962-09-03 39 CHW
1950s Nellie Fox 1958-05-17 1958-08-22 98 CHW
1940s Emil Verban 1949-04-21 1949-06-17 53 CHC Dale Mitchell (73 games) and Lloyd Waner (69)
Debs Garms 1940-06-16 1940-09-13 53 PIT had longer streaks spanning multiple seasons
1930s Carey Selph 1932-05-20 1932-09-11 66 CHW Joe Sewell had an 81 game streak spanning
Joe Sewell 1930-05-27 1930-08-27 66 CLE 1931 (17 games) and 1932 (64)
1920s Joe Sewell 1929-05-19 1929-09-19 115 CLE
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 12/3/2012.

So, the big change here occurred in the 1960s. It’s now been over 50 years since a player has had an in-season streak of 50 games or more without striking out.

However, a more recent trend to fewer and shorter streaks is evident. Juan Pierre has had two 30+ game streaks since 2000, the only player to have even one such streak. In the past five seasons, Jeff Keppinger has two 20+ game streaks, again the only player with even one. Thus, since 2008, strikeout streaks have become longer and more common than no-strikeout streaks, a first in MLB history.

I will follow up with a similar post on pitchers.

24 thoughts on “2012 Streaker Awards for Batters

  1. 1
    Chad says:

    Ironic seeing Dale Mitchell on the longest streaks without a strikeout list, as he has one of the more famous strikeouts of all-time.

  2. 2
    Richard Chester says:

    During Sewell’s streak in 1929 all games were consecutive, establishing records for most consecutive games (115) and most consecutive PA (at least 517) without a strikeout.

    In 1941 Lloyd Waner set records for most games played (77) and most PA (234) in a season without a strikeout. He started only 47 of those games.

    • 3
      Doug says:

      Thanks Richard,

      Waner’s 47 game starts in 1941 are part of his referenced 69 game streak that ran from 1940 to 1942, during which Waner played for four different teams. For his career, Waner played for 3 different clubs (Braves, Reds, Dodgers) for whom he never struck out.

      Lee Quillin of the 1906-07 White Sox has the most games (53) and PAs (179) among players never to strikeout in a career.

    • 4
      Richard Chester says:

      Sewell’s streak should read “(at least 516)”.

    • 17
      Richard Chester says:

      Johnny Sain holds the record for most PA by a pitcher with no strikeouts with 104 PA in 1946. It’s hard to believe a pitcher would accumulate that many PA without striking out. Career-wise he had 856 PA with just 20 SO, 7th best ratio for players with more than 800 PA.

  3. 6
    Jim Bouldin says:

    Doug I was very disappointed not to see any actual stats regarding streakers. Baseball has not been the same ever since you could go to Tiger Stadium and see Fidrych pitch and a couple of folks test the odds of whether they could make it from the left to right field corners in their birthday suits after a few 3.2% beers.

    I’m deeply disappointed in this post.

  4. 8
    deal says:

    Oddity – Drew Stubbs NO-XBH streak is still ongoing across seasons as it was active at the end of 2012. However he did have 2 XBH in the NLDS after not having one for a month and a half during the regular season.

    • 10
      John Autin says:

      Of the 24 players who have fanned in at least 25% of their career PAs (with 2000+ PAs), Stubbs has easily the worst rate of XBH, whether measured as a percentage of hits, a percentage of PAs, or Isolated Power.

      • 12
        mosc says:

        I wouldn’t have believed Stubbs had 2000 PA without looking. Amazing they didn’t send him down earlier. I don’t think a 26 year old player would have led the league in strikeouts in the old days like Stubbs did in 2011, he would be in the minors before that.

        Did he sign an MLB contract out of the draft or something? Was he on the 40 man roster burning up option years? The new rules make it hard to keep high draft picks in the minors for very long, maybe to their own detriment.

        • 13
          John Autin says:

          The 2009 Reds were playing Willy Taveras in CF (48 OPS+) before they brought up Stubbs, so I think desperation was a factor.

          Stubbs performed well enough in 42 games to earn the job for 2010. That year was going poorly through Sept. 6 — .237 BA, .307 OBP, .708 OPS, with a ton of strikeouts. But the Reds still had the Central flag pretty well in hand.

          And then Stubbs went on a season-ending tear: Starting with a 6-for-11 run in Colorado, he hit .350/1.117 in his last 24 games, with 7 HRs. That tear was fueled by a .447 BAbip (he still fanned at a pace of 183 for a season), but it lifted his final numbers to respectability (105 OPS+). With his speed and defense, it gave him 2.8 WAR for the year.

          Once a young player has a decent full season in the league, it generally takes at least couple of bad years to play himself out of a job.

          It’s easy to see the allure of his speed, and the Reds don’t have much of that — he’s easily led the team in both SB and infield hits each of the last 3 years. And maybe last year’s .213 BA was a fluke, driven by a .290 BAbip that was 45 points below his previous career average.

          It’s hard to tell exactly what Stubbs should do differently, besides make more contact. You might think that a player with his speed should try to hit more ground balls, but last year his GB/FB ratio was a career-high 1.07, 9th among NL qualifiers — yet the results stank.

      • 15
        Doug says:

        Stubbs is also the worst in terms of SO/XBH ratio. He is the only player with 20+ XBH, having two seasons (2011 and 2012) with more than 5 times as many strikeouts as XBH. Willie Taveras, whom Stubbs succeeded, also makes the list.

        Rk Player XBH SO Year Age Tm BA OBP SLG OPS Pos
        1 Willy Taveras 20 103 2005 23 HOU .291 .325 .341 .666 *8
        2 Cito Gaston 20 117 1969 25 SDP .230 .275 .309 .585 *8
        3 Jackie Hernandez 20 111 1969 28 KCR .222 .278 .282 .560 *6
        4 Tommie Agee 20 103 1968 25 NYM .217 .255 .307 .562 *89
        5 Dave Nicholson 20 126 1964 24 CHW .204 .329 .364 .693 *7/9
        6 Manuel Lee 21 107 1991 26 TOR .234 .274 .288 .561 *6
        7 Billy Maloney 22 118 1906 28 BRO .221 .286 .272 .558 *8/9
        8 Adam Dunn 27 177 2011 31 CHW .159 .292 .277 .569 *D3/9
        9 Ron LeFlore 27 139 1975 27 DET .258 .302 .347 .649 *8
        10 Drew Stubbs 29 166 2012 27 CIN .213 .277 .333 .610 *8
        11 Delino DeShields 29 151 1991 22 MON .238 .347 .332 .680 *4
        12 Jose Hernandez 34 177 2003 33 TOT .225 .287 .347 .634 *56/843
        13 Drew Stubbs 40 205 2011 26 CIN .243 .321 .364 .686 *8
        Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
        Generated 12/4/2012.

        Adam Dunn and Dave Nicholson are the only players on the list with a ratio of over 6 SO per XBH in a season, with Dunn’s 2011 season having the highest mark at 6.56.

    • 14
      Richard Chester says:

      Counting all games in which he appeared, Stubbs has gone through 121 consecutive AB without an XBH through the end of the season. As far as I could determine from the PI the record (1918-2012) for such a streak, for position players, is at least 252 AB by A’s 3B Eddie Mayo in 1943. Including pitchers the record is 698 AB by Bob Buhl.

  5. 16
    JDV says:

    Bob Bailor did strike out once in 1984 in a pinch-hitting appearance (which was excepted by your criteria), but still pretty impressive.

    • 18
      Doug says:

      Thanks for checking, JDV.

      The no strikeout streak is the one case where may not make a lot of sense to exclude appearances as a substitute. If you strikeout, whether as a starter or sub, the streak should be over. However, the flip side is these non-strikeout streaks can appear more impressive than they really are if the number of games includes numerous single-PA appearances. The latter consideration was why I went with counting only games as a starter. Unfortunately, can’t have it both ways with P-I.

  6. 19
    John Autin says:

    Re: Brantley’s 22-game hitting streak — I remember noticing the streak during the season and remarking on how relatively unproductive it was: .337 BA, .367 OBP (4 walks), .442 SLG (6 XBH), .809 OPS, 12 Runs.

    In the past 5 years, among 38 hitting streaks of 20+ games, Brantley’s ranks:
    — 33rd in BA
    — 34th in OBP
    — 35th in SLG
    — 36th in OPS

    Two further points:

    1) In 2010, Brantley had a 19-game hitting streak that was even paler: .286 BA (26 for 91), .309 OBP (3 walks), .319 SLG (1 double, 1 triple, no HRs), .627 OPS, and 6 Runs. All those figures are the worst of the 94 hitting streaks of 17+ games in the past 5 years, except the Runs (one guy scored 5).

    2) The dearth of walks in Brantley’s 2012 streak belies the progress he made in that area this year. Through June 15, the last day of the streak, he had drawn just 13 walks in 256 PAs for the year (against 27 SO), and had a .320 OBP.

    He drew a walk in the streak-ending game (after 8 straight games without), and from June 16 onward, he drew 40 walks in 353 PAs (with 29 SO), giving him a .368 OBP.

    It’s interesting because Brantley’s minor-league BB/SO data were a big part of what made him a top prospect. In 6 years on the farm, he walked quite a bit more than he whiffed (292-218 over all), with a positive ratio at every level. In his full year at AA (the last before Cleveland got him in the Sabathia deal), Brantley hit .319 with a .395 OBP, 50 walks and just 27 SO, and scored 80 runs in just 106 games. At 21, he was one of the 9 youngest hitters in that league. His future looked rosy.

    But in his first 3 years in the bigs, the BB/SO data were reversed: percentages of 12% BB and 9% SO in the minors were degraded to 7% BB and 14% SO in the majors. That contributed to an unacceptable .316 OBP and 89 OPS+.

    This year, and especially *after* that hitting streak, Brantley stabilized at 9% in both BB and SO, helping him to a .348 OBP and 113 OPS+. He’s still just 25 and not yet arbitration-eligible, so Cleveland may finally get some value out of the CC trade.

    • 20
      Ed says:

      John – Thanks for the extended analysis re: Brantley. As an Indian’s fan, I’ve been quite puzzled by Branley’s minor to major’s transition. Part of it is the BB/SO rate that you cite. Part of it is his batting average which has been a lot lower in the majors. And then there’s his stolen bases. He has an 80% success rate in the minors with as many as 46 steals. But in the majors he’s only at 66% with a high of 13. Still, as you said, he does seem to be improving and there’s hope that he’ll eventually turn some of his doubles into homeruns.

      As for the Sabathia trade, I think most Indian’s fans view it as a failure. Personally, I think that’s the wrong way to view the trade. Brantley seems like he’ll be a decent player. And there’s still hope that Rob Bryson will turn out to be a solid 7th or 8th inning reliever. Sure Laporta’s been a huge disappointment but the alternative was to let Sabathia walk and take the draft picks. Obviously we don’t know who the Indians would have taken but the picks would have been #39 and #73 of the 2009 draft. Most guys taken in that range never do as much as Brantley already has. And when you look at who the Brewers took with those picks, wouldn’t you rather have Brantley and Bryson then these two guys?



      Davis is only one year younger than Brantley but he’s still at AA. And not putting up impressive numbers. Walla’s a lot younger (21) and at A so maybe he’ll develop but a sub .700 OPS for an outfielder is never anything to get excited about. So I may be the only Indian’s fan who thinks we got a decent return for Sabathia (I think Indian’s fans have been permanently spoiled by the Colon trade and expect that sort of return all the time).

      As an aside, in looking at the 2009 draft, I see that Mike Trout was a compensation pick for the Yankees signing Mark Teixiera. I hadn’t realized that before. Obviously we don’t know if the Yankees would have selected Trout but I still felt a huge sense of relief when I saw that.

  7. 24
    John Autin says:

    “Who the heck was Carey Selph?”, I wondered as I scanned Doug’s list of each decade’s longest no-strikeout streaks.

    Turns out, that streak of 66 starts without whiffing also marked the end of his MLB career.

    After a brief trial with the ’29 Cardinals, second baseman Selph went back to the Texas League for two more years, hitting a combined .332 with about 200 hits a year, but little power. The White Sox snagged him in the rule 5 draft (he was almost 30) and made him a regular in 1932, mostly at 3B. Selph hit .283 with no HRs, while the Sox lost 102 games.

    At the end of the year, Chicago sent Connie Mack $100,000 for 3B Jimmy Dykes and OFs Al Simmons and Mule Haas.

    So they sent Selph back to St. Louis to complete a players-to-be-named deal for Evar Swanson, a 29-year-old ex-big-league OF (and NFL player from 1924-27) who had just hit .375 with 50 doubles and 18 triples in the American Association, missing the batting crown by 1 point. Swanson’s Bullpen page adds that he “ran around the bases in 13.3 seconds in 1932, a record which apparently has never been broken.”

    Swanson in ’33 hit .306 with 93 walks and 102 runs for Chicago, giving him two 100-run years in two full seasons in the majors. (He’s one of 29 modern players with 100 runs in his first MLB season; 5 of those, including Swanson, did it in 1929.)

    In ’34 Swanson hit .298 with a .385 BA, but no HRs and just 9 doubles in 117 games. And that seems to have been the end of his career in pro ball.

    Selph, meanwhile, returned to the Texas League and hit .310+ for two more years as player-manager, giving him a .327 lifetime mark in the minors. His Wikipedia page says that he scored 169 runs in his pro debut, in class C, 1926, but B-R doesn’t have the Runs data. He was elected to the Texas League Hall of Fame in 2007, 30 years after his death.

    The other PTBL in the Selph/Swanson deal was Jack Rothrock, who had been a sort of utility-regular with the BoSox for several years before spending the end of ’32 with the Pale Hose. St. Louis stashed him at Columbus for a year, where he hit .347. In 1934 he became the Gas House Gang’s everyday RF and #2 hitter, batting .284 but with a little power and 106 Runs. He played all 7 games in the WS and led the Cards with 6 RBI.

    By the way, this was the decade in which Commissioner Landis twice freed large numbers of minor-leaguers from Branch Rickey’s extensive farm system.

    And that’s all I know about Carey Selph.

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