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
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
–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