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December 7, 2012

BP Unfiltered

Koji Uehara Has Done Some Things

by Sam Miller

These aim to be spectacular factoids about Koji Uehara, who is spectacular. They feature a moderate amount of cherry-picking and sample size cheats, but not that much! All statistics except where noted are since 2010, when Uehara converted from starting to relief. And they almost all center around one core fact: Uehara has, in his career, including as a starter, struck out 7.97 batters for every walk, which is the best ratio in history (minimum 100 innings). The next best is Sergio Romo, all the way back at 5.77, and nobody else is over 5. Already spectacular!

  • As a Ranger, Koji Uehara struck out 66 and walked four.
  • After a first-pitch strike, Koji Uehara has struck out 132 and walked six.
  • After a first pitch strike and a second-pitch strike, Koji Uehara has struck out 106 and walked one.
  • Against the eighth and ninth hitters in the lineup, Koji Uehara has struck out 50 and walked one.
  • Against right-handed batters, Koji Uehara has struck out 90 and walked three.
  • After the July trade deadline, Koji Uehara has struck out 80 and walked two.
  • From July 19, 2010 until April 21, 2011, he struck out 46 batters without walking anybody.

Koji Uehara walked three batters during the 2012 season, in 36 innings. 

  • 85 pitchers walked three batters or more in an appearances that lasted one inning or less in 2012; 
  • Edinson Volquez walked at least three batters in 25 of his 32 starts. 
  • Alfredo Aceves walked four batters on April 21. He didn't retire a batter.

He has never hit a batter, including as a starter. Only one active pitcher (Hisanori Takahashi) has thrown more innings in his career without hitting a batter (29 more than Uehara), and only one additional pitcher (Andrew Bailey) has thrown even 70 career innings without hitting a batter. Oddly enough, he has five wins in his career (including two as a starter) and walked six batters, while striking out eight, in those five games. 

Koji Uehara signed for one year and $4.5 million. Jeremy Affeldt, who is exceptionally good at getting lefties out, signed for three years and $18 million. Affeldt has held lefties to a .524 OPS in the past two years; Uehara has held lefties to a .499 OPS in the past two years, in the harder league, in hitters parks. 

Koji Uehara signed for one year and $4.5 million. Brandon League, who is exceptionally good at getting righties out, signed for three years and $21 million. League has held righties to a .508 OPS in the past two years; Uehara has held righties to a .523 OPS in the past two years, all of it in the harder league, in hitters parks.* 

*he also allows a lot of home runs

Sam Miller is an author of Baseball Prospectus. 
Click here to see Sam's other articles. You can contact Sam by clicking here

Related Content:  Boston Red Sox,  Koji Uehara

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