The 10 best offensive seasons among the worst hitters of the last 30 years

In this upcoming series of posts, we look at great batting seasons by players who were otherwise among the worst of their contemporaries, at least with the bat.

Before we dive in, let me explain the methodology and the meaning.

  • The “worst hitters of the last 30 years” were the 200 batters, excluding pitchers, with the worst WAR batting runs totals from 1986 to 2015. To give you a sense...

Note from Game 4 of the ALCS

Another day, another crazy ALCS game. Here are some notes:

  • Cliff Pennington became the first position player in post-season history to pitch in a game. This excludes, of course, 3 games by Rick Ankiel and 3 by Babe Ruth, all coming before their careers primarily as position players.
  • RA Dickey became the first Blue Jays’ starting pitcher to fail to go at least 2 IP in a playoff game. The previous shortest outing was 2.0 IP...

Notes from Game 3 of the ALCS

(Note: we’re still updating the theme on HHS, so please ignore all the silly formatting issues. They will get resolved in the coming days.)

2015 ALCS Game 3: Blue Jays 11, Royals 8

That was quite a game. Here are a bunch of stats:

  • The Royals had lost 31 previous post-season games in franchise history, but none while scoring more than 6 runs (until last night).
  • The Royals were also involved in the last AL playoff game in which the losing team scored 8+ runs–that was the crazy ALWC card last year vs the Athletics that the Royals won 9-8...

Website update, new writers, and more changes

Hi folks.

Sorry for the site outage. I don’t know the cause but our ISP has fixed things.

Going forward, we are going to change some things here. Within the week, I will be changing to a new streamlined theme that will eliminate ads and other bells and whistles that slow things down.

Without ads, the site will no longer pay for itself. If someone has a good no-cost hosting option...


Even Hotter High Heat Stats

Great news!

I am about to change over the website to a new theme that will run substantially faster and resolve some of the bugs that folks have been seeing. I will be getting rid of advertisements and also using fewer plugins.

Please bear with me on Monday evening as I get these changes in place.


Breaking down Danny Graves @dgravy32

Yesterday, I got to talking to former MLB pitcher Danny Graves on Twitter. He’s part of the team at the newly-launched 120Sports, a brand new sports network. It’s a cool concept, focusing on video analysis that is typically about 2 minutes long for each story, getting you up-to-the-minute updates on everything that’s going on.

Anyway, I asked Danny about his unusual career:

@HighHeatStats I liked to pitch to contact. Unless runner on 3rd w/ less then 2 outs...


Has the game actually changed since the peak of the Steroid Era?

Run scoring and such have dropped since the peak of the Steroid Era, but at least for now, the face of the game remains unchanged. Although homers have dropped off some, three other events–triples, intentional walks, and sac bunts–continue to hurtle towards extinction.

Here’s the simple ratio of HR per game to the sum of those other three events. Suddenly, 2013 is looking more like the offensive peak years of 1999-2000.


The rise and fall of the non-starter

Here’s a simple plot showing, by year, the percentage of all plate appearances given each year to any non-starter, as well as the percentage given to pinch-hitters specifically.

The pinch-hitter data goes back only to 1945 (the limit of full play-by-play availability) and happens to coincide with a dramatic increase in the use of the pinch-hitter in baseball. From 1945 until 1960, nearly 3% more of all plate appearances went to pinch-hitters...