Saturday, October 12, 2013
Randy Choate and the one-pitch outingPosted by James Gentile
In the seventh inning of last night's thrilling 13-inning contest, Cardinals manager Mike Matheny tapped veteran southpaw Randy Choate to face Carl Crawford in a relatively high leverage situation (1.53 LI). Choate, now 37 years old, has been the quintessential example of a high leverage LOOGY for as far back as many of us can remember. So facing one batter and then heading to the bench has not been an unusual occurrence in his career.
But Crawford offered at the first pitch Choate gave him, and immediately popped out to third, resulting in the strange and amusing demonstration of a one-pitch outing.
Since 2002, for which FanGraphs has pitch-by-pitch data, Choate ranks second among all regular-season one-pitch appearances:
Recent one-pitch outings leaders
Although, as Christopher Kamka noted in a tweet last night, since 2000 Choate and Lopez are actually tied at 21 one-pitch games. If we combine the FanGraphs 2013 data, with the historical data of Retrosheet, we can see that Chaote and Lopez rank fourth all-time (rather, since 1988) and Jesse Orosco tops them all with 28:
One-pitch outings leaders since 1988
All left-handers, no surprise.
A disproportionate number of Javier Lopez's one-pitch appearances come from the 2013 season, in which he had five. Only three pitchers have had more than five one-pitch games in a single season: Joe Beimel and Dennys Reyes in 2008 and Trevor Miller in 2009.
One final note, speaking of Miller: the different sources of data will not always jibe with some of these plate appearances. Miller's outing on July 8, 2003 is one such example. Baseball-Reference has Miller with an eight-pitch outing that night, but FanGraphs lists this game as one of his one-and-done performances. The majority of the time there are no discrepancies, but on occasion this can interfere with our rankings.
James Gentile writes about baseball at Beyond the Box Score and The Hardball Times. You can follow him on twitter @JDGentile