April 23, 2001
The Daily Prospectus
Gary DiSarcina has been unable to play so far this season, but his swinging spirit lives on in the DiSar Awards. The DiSars, named in the honor of the Angels shortstop who once stated it was his desire to go through an entire season without drawing a walk, are given to the player in each league who accumulates the most at-bats before hearing the words, "ball four."
Last year, we prematurely awarded the National League's inaugural DiSar Award, so we'll be waiting until at least midseason before declaring any winners. You contest entrants will have to hold on until the All-Star break to find out whether you've won a copy of Baseball Prospectus 2002. In the meantime, though, let's have a look at the players who have managed to get even this deep into the season without accepting any free passes.
American League National League Player Team AB Player Team AB Alfonso Soriano NY 82 Aaron Boone CIN 68 Deivi Cruz DET 60 Marquis Grissom LA 43 Glenallen Hill ANA 52 Danny Bautista ARZ 25 Chris Singleton CHW 39 Eli Marrero STL 25 A.J. Pierzysnki MIN 37 Wes Helms ATL 24
"And a child shall lead them...". The Yankees' Alfonso Soriano is burying his competition in the AL, thanks in part to his batting second in Derek Jeter's absence. The crown is his to lose, with a 22-at-bat lead over Deivi Cruz, who is actually a pretty comparable player to Soriano. No one else is that close to Soriano.
In the NL, there's an even bigger gap, as Reds third baseman Aaron Boone--a name seen on exactly zero DiSar ballots--has a healthy lead over the Dodgers' Marquis Grissom. No one else is even in the same time zone as those two.
It should be noted that no players who have walked had season-opening skeins than would surpass those of Soriano or Boone. Fernando Vina and Shea Hillenbrand both managed more than 50 at-bats without walking, but succumbed to temptation last week. Honorable mention has to go to Jay Payton, who walked in his third plate appearance of the season on Opening Day, and is still waiting--or rather, not waiting--for his second base on balls.
As we saw last season, when veteran hacker Shawon Dunston caught and passed teammate Placido Polanco in July, no lead is insurmountable. Soriano and Boone look good now, but you never know what the next few months will bring.
Dunston, by the way, has 19 walkless ABs so far in part-time play with the Giants. Don't clear shelf space for the Golden Crutch just yet, Aaron.
Joe Sheehan is an author of Baseball Prospectus. Contact him by clicking here.