Hit by pitches and pitchf/x

The ability to get hit by a pitch is an under-appreciated skill, perhaps to an even greater extent than the ability to draw walks. I’ve always felt that simple HBP per plate appearance leaderboards captured the best Biggios in the game, but in a needless effort to complicate things, I decided to bring a crude analysis using pitchf/x data into the mix.

My dataset consists of 544 players who saw at least 500 pitches from one side of the plate. I classified pitches at least a foot from the center of the plate as inside. The correlation between HBP per pitch and HBP per pitch inside is .9, which suggests to me that this line of analysis is probably unnecessary. There is actually a weak negative correlation between the rate at which a batter is pitched inside and his propensity to get hit by those pitches. This suggests to me that pitchers are somewhat aware of which hitters are willing to take one for their team and therefore avoid going inside on them. Here are the leaderboards, with the note that the average rate of getting hit by a pitch is once per every 37 pitches classified as inside.

FirstLastBatsHBPRateInsideRate FirstLastBatsHBPRateInsideRate
DavidDellucciL19%4% MarkTeixeiraR1%17%
AugieOjedaL19%4% AlexRodriguezR3%17%
ChaseUtleyL16%5% VladimirGuerreroR1%16%
MikeRabeloL15%4% RichieSexsonR0%16%
J.R.TowlesR15%5% MattHollidayR3%16%
AlexCoraL15%5% MattDiazR3%15%
KellyShoppachR14%8% MiltonBradleyR5%15%
CarlosQuentinR13%9% MelkyCabreraR1%15%
FrankCatalanottoL12%6% MaicerIzturisR0%15%
BrianBixlerR11%7% LanceBerkmanL1%15%

Full dataset can be found in a google spreadsheet here.

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  1. MikeS said...

    While I understand why you consider this a “skill,” personally, I would consider the ability to get OUT of the way of a 5 oz projectile travelling at upwards of 80 mph to be a better skill.

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