One of my favorite things about being this early in the season is the hilarity of some of the numbers generated by the small sample size of stats that can be found within the first 12 games of the year. Joey Votto, for example, has walked 20 times in 59 plate appearances, as of the moment in time at which I clicked the thing that made that stat be in front of me. In spite of this, it took me a surprisingly long time to find a picture of Joey Votto taking a pitch. I suppose taking a pitch isn't really something worth taking a picture of, much less posting it on the internet. Seems like the kind of shot that you'd take, only to look back upon it and think "Bah. Nothing happened." and just fucking delete it.
It's a pretty boring event, really. Just a guy standing there. With a stick. Ready to hit something. And then just nothing happens. Would you watch a youtube video of a guy standing there, brandishing a weapon, but definitely not using it? Not on purpose, you wouldn't. Think of it this way: describe the game of baseball in a sentence or two. A guy has a ball and he throws it, and then a guy has a bat and he uses it to try and hit that ball and then he runs and everybody's happy. A walk just really sounds like someone's not doing their job.
Anyway, I'm trailing off. There's usually someone who sucks really bad, and does absolutely nothing offensively for the first few weeks, to the point of having a slash line that looks like .123/.177/.155, or whatever, in which the OBP is higher than the SLG. I don't think I've ever seen a slash line that had OBP>SLG and did anything other than laugh or ridicule the guy.
Well. Joey Votto is currently hitting .289/.542/.447 on the season.
People always joke about teams going 162-0, or Bryce Harper being on pace to hit 324 HR's or whatever. Nobody laughs anymore, because it isn't funny. What I do find funny is that, despite being 12 games in to the season, there are some (batting title qualified) people who haven't drawn a walk yet. Six of them, in fact. That's the kind of thing I'm looking for here.
My favorite highlights:
- Twins CF Aaron Hicks has 46 plate appearances, and has struck out in 20 of them. He has the most strikeouts in baseball right now, but that's probably only because he's gotten more plate appearances than Brett Wallace, who used to be a top prospect, and now has 17 strikeouts in 26 plate appearances. Wallace is the proud owner of the aforementioned hilarious OBP>SLG slash line of .042/.115/.042, which is apparently marginally better than Hicks' line of .047/.109/.047 (-58 vs. -61 wRC+)
- Rick Ankiel hit the first homerun of the 2013 MLB season in his first plate appearance. In the 22 plate appearances since, he has struck out 17 times, walked 0 times, and has earned a single, double and HR. Despite having only four plate appearances that resulted in him not striking out, he has 8 RBI's.
- A few familiar faces in slots # 4, 5 and 19. JPA, Colby Rasmus, and Emilio Bonifacio have struck out 18, 17 and 14 times respectively, drawing 1, 4 and 1 walk in the process. Emilio Bonifacio is batting lead-off for the Blue Jays.
- Maicer Izturis is the only player with 20 or more plate appearances without a strikeout. He has two walks as well. Aaron Hill has 1 strikeout (and 5 walks) in 42 plate appearances. He's come a long way.
- Jay Bruce has walked twice. Both intentionally. Dom Brown has three walks, with two being intentional.
- Joey Votto has walked 20 times over 59 PA's, or 34% of all PA's. As far as I know, Barry Bonds is the only player to ever eclipse a 30% walk-rate in a season (twice, in 2002 and 2004).
- Torii Hunter is one of several players yet to draw a walk, but I single him out because he has more plate appearances than any of the other non-walkers, with 55. He's batting .407 on the year. I happen to know that both Brandon McCarthy and Ross Detwiler both have drawn 1 walk in 4 and 6 PA's, respectively.
- Shin-Soo Choo has apparently been hit by 7 pitches in 60 plate appearances (11.6%). What. In the electrical fuck? He was hit 14 times last year over 686 PA's. Trevor Plouffe and Jason Heyward rank tied for second, with 3. I can't even find a ridiculous small-sample pace that hasn't come close to normalizing yet to beat that. Ben Francisco has been beaned once in 10 PA's, good for 10%.
- Max Scherzer has a 4.91 ERA, and a FIP under 2.
- AJ Burnett has 27 strikeouts in 17 innings.
- Neither Paul Maholm nor Barry Zito has given up an earned run yet. Maholm has a FIP of 2.06, and Zito has 2.71. Edwin Jackson has given up a lot of earned runs. 11 of them, in fact, over 16 innings. His FIP is conveniently sandwiched between that of Maholm and Zito (2.56).
- Other FIP vs. ERA outliers include Vance Worley (10.59/2.99), Carlos Villanueva (0.64/3.49), Bud Norris (1.69/4.03), Ross Detwiler (0.69/4.22) and Jake Westbrook (0.00/4.59).
- About Westbrook-- 10 walks, 11 hits, 4 strikeouts over 15.2 IP. 0 earned runs.
- Jose Mijares has beaned two batters over 1.2 innings of work. Hector Rondon has 2 over 4.2 innings. Doug Fister and Roberto Hernandez have 3 over 13ish innings.
- Brett Myers has given up 8 HR's over 16 innings.
- Cliff Lee, Adam Wainwright, Zach McAllister, Kyle Lohse and Bartolo Colon are the only qualified pitchers who haven't walked a batter yet, though McAllister has beaned a guy.
- Four pitchers have 3 hits, including Barry Zito and Adam Wainwright, both of whom have pitched outrageously well. Jackie Bradley Jr., Jonny Gomes, and Pedro Alvarez also have three hits in 35, 22 and 43 PA's respectively, while definitely not being pitchers.