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August 22, 2012 9:22 am

The Platoon Advantage: Plunk Cost


Bill Parker

Some players get hit by pitches so often that it must be a skill. But is it a good skill to have?

You don’t read much about the hit by pitch, except tangentially, and then only when some pitcher gets in trouble for throwing at some hitter. For the most part, the HBP just isn’t that interesting; it doesn’t happen often, and when it does, it doesn’t mean all that much. The run-value result of an HBP is basically indistinguishable from that of a walk, and it happens about a tenth as often. HBPs can be exciting or aggravating or scary when they happen while you’re watching a game, but after the fact, if no one got hurt or suspended, they’re hard to care about.

Some guys are really, really good at getting hit, though, and I’ve always thought they were pretty interesting. Carlos Quentin is the overall leader among players to have compiled at least 2000 plate appearances since 1961 (I put the cutoff, somewhat arbitrarily, at the onset of the 162-game schedule; heres the top 200)—he’s been hit by pitches in 4.1 percent of his career plate appearances, better than the career walk rates of Yuniesky Betancourt, Miguel Olivo and Bengie Molina. All those plunkings do add up; if Quentin’s 4.1 percent HBP rate were reduced to the 2012 NL average of 0.76 percent, he’d have 21 career HBP instead of 112, and his career .349 OBP would drop all the way to .326.

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Talking arbitration with long-time baseball arbitrator, professor, and author Roger Abrams.

While looking toward the future with our comprehensive slate of current content, we'd also like to recognize our rich past by drawing upon our extensive (and mostly free) online archive of work dating back to 1997. In an effort to highlight the best of what's gone before, we'll be bringing you a weekly blast from BP's past, introducing or re-introducing you to some of the most informative and entertaining authors who have passed through our virtual halls. If you have fond recollections of a BP piece that you'd like to nominate for re-exposure to a wider audiencesend us your suggestion.

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November 5, 2010 9:00 am

On the Beat: Big Game Hunting


John Perrotto

The success of the Rangers' offseason will depend largely on if they are able to re-sign Cliff Lee.

The Rangers got their first order of off-season business done Thursday when they signed manager Ron Washington to a two-year contract extension after he led them to the first American League pennant in the franchise's 49-year history. Now comes the hard part for Jon Daniels: The general manager must find a way to re-sign Cliff Lee.

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June 24, 2009 12:25 pm

You Could Look It Up: Bruised but Unbowed?


Steven Goldman

The Mets' present predicament with multiple injuries has its echoes in the game's history.

With Carlos Beltran joining the Mets' All-Star parade of injured athletes, I began a hunt for the most injured team ever to win anything, hoping to demonstrate the way that successful teams cope with the unexpected. There are some obvious candidates, such as the 1949 Yankees (a team already thoroughly explored in many books, including my own Forging Genius), but in the end this seemed something of a fool's errand. Surviving injuries is most often a reflection of organizational depth.

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April 13, 2008 12:00 am

Prospectus Q&A: Roger Abrams


David Laurila

Talking arbitration with long-time baseball arbitrator, professor, and author, Roger Abrams.

The Richardson Professor of Law at Northeastern University School of Law, Roger Abrams has been a baseball salary arbitrator since 1986. A former scholar-in-residence at the Baseball Hall of Fame, Abrams is the author of four books, including Legal Bases: Baseball and the Law, and Money Pitch: Baseball Free Agency and Salary Arbitration. David talked to Abrams about the baseball arbitration process, including who is eligible, what can and cannot be argued at a hearing, and why arbitration works.

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Two, two, two bags in one! How do managers employ this high-reward tactic?

--Cubs manager Lou Piniella showing his affection for the double steal

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With cooking metaphors exploding on the back page of every sports section across America, the simmering hot stove provides its share of quotables.

"We're going to a create a calm, peaceful environment to get something done. We're going to shy away from giving daily updates, or updates at all. We're going to negotiate it in peace and quiet and try to get something done."
--Red Sox general manager Theo Epstein, on negotiations with Scott Boras on a deal for Daisuke Matsuzaka.

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ANAHEIM ANGELS Placed RHP Al Levine on the 15-day DL (shoulder tendinitis), retroactive to 6/27; recalled RHP John Lackey from Salt Lake. [6/28] I don't disagree with the idea of bringing up John Lackey to move into the rotation. Lackey is the organization's best upper-level prospect, and he's obviously ready to go.

Recalled RHP Matt Wise from Salt Lake; optioned RHP John Lackey to Salt Lake. [6/25]

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August 24, 2001 12:00 am

6-4-3: Reader Mail


Gary Huckabay

But today, I want to take this opportunity to respond to a few of the e-mails I've received from readers recently. It didn't feel right to just dominate a mailbag column with one person's stuff. Next week, I'm doing a piece called "Heaven on Earth," which could interest upwards of a dozen people.

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It's the Management, Stupid

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  • Pedro Astacio pitched very well after joining the Mile High Club in mid-August 1997 after a trade from the Dodgers, which led to high expectations for 1998. Those expectations came crashing down when Astacio had only one quality start in his first eleven trips to the mound. Baylor used him in the same way that he used Kile, which enabled Astacio to toss nearly 210 innings despite his ineffectiveness. Although Astacio had the misfortune of making 19 of his 34 starts at home, this doesn't help to explain his poor campaign. He was equally unproductive home and away (42% QS+BQS at Coors, 40% on the road).

  • Despite being only 23 years old, 1998 was Jamey Wright's third season in a Rockies uniform. As in his previous seasons, Wright was plagued by inconsistency. He was most successful when working on four days' rest (52% QS+BQS), which may have encouraged Baylor to use him more than he should have. Wright was even chosen (along with Kile) to work on three days rest while Baylor mulled over bringing somebody up from the minors to replace the disabled John Thomson. While Baylor should be commended for keeping Wright's pitch counts lower than those of his veteran starters, Wright still finished the year with over 200 innings pitched--too many for such a young arm.
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