Equivalent Average, Value Over Replacement Player, PECOTA, Pitcher Abuse Points, Marginal Value/Marginal Win, Vladimir, Park-Adjusted Defensive Efficiency, the DiSars.

One of these things is not like the others…

In a room full of people who’ve developed innovative and enlightening tools and metrics that enhance our enjoyment and understanding of baseball, my one claim to fame is a silly little number that’s more fun than fascinating. The DiSar Awards, named in honor of Gary DiSarcina, go to the player who gets the deepest into his season without drawing a base on balls. This is the eighth year in which I’ve awarded them, and while we no longer run the contest, I still enjoy tracking the race in-season.

Who won last year? It should be no surprise in the National League, where Jeff Francoeur picked up his second Golden Crutch by going 132 ABs before picking up his first free pass. (For the record, the DiSars do not delineate between intentional and unintentional passes.) He became the second repeat winner in the seven-year history of the award, joining Shawon Dunston, and the first to go back-to-back.

In the AL, slow and steady won the race, as a couple of backup catchers-Mike Redmond and Vance Wilson-made swing after swing to surpass the early leader in the clubhouse, Rondell White. On August 6, both players drew their first free pass; Redmond after 122 AB, Wilson after 116. That puts Redmond’s name on the following hallowed list:

Year   American League      National League
2006   Mike Redmond         Jeff Francoeur
2005   Andres Blanco        Jeff Francoeur
2004   Cesar Crespo         Jose Macias
2003   Jose Molina          Rainer Olmedo
2002   Carl Crawford        Shawon Dunston
2001   Alfonso Soriano      Marquis Grissom
2000   Jacque Jones         Shawon Dunston

The trend of AL winners coming from behind to pull it out continued, as that makes four straight seasons in which a bench player or call-up has win the AL Golden Crutch.

Here are the standings for 2007, the top five, and all other notable active streaks:

Ivan Rodriguez      68
Shea Hillenbrand    63
Ben Zobrist         61 (active)
Craig Biggio        59
Shannon Stewart     56
Jose Castillo       30 (active)

Happy hacking, Jose!

I run the DiSars today as my own tribute to the man who has helped me with the piece each and every year, Keith Woolner. As you may have read already, Keith will be leaving Baseball Prospectus to take a job with the Cleveland Indians. This is a great signing by the Tribe, who pick up one of the great minds in performance analysis, as well as a funny, engaging, and honorable man.

I want to say thanks to Keith, whose work changed the way I look at baseball, whose leadership has enabled BP to grow and develop into a viable business, and whose dry sense of humor will be missed perhaps more than both of those things. It has been a privilege to call you my colleague, and an honor to call you my friend.