- Dumb Luck Wins
- Tough Luck Losses
- Out Prevention Percentage
- Infield Outs Prevented
During his current 10-game hitting streak, Martin Prado has struck out only twice. He has also, however, grounded into 6 double plays in that span. That made me curious. Who was the last hitter to qualify for a batting title while having more GIDPs than strikeouts?
Since 1933 (when GIDPs began being tracked), this feat has been done 55 times by 29 different players. The all-time king in this category is Ernie LombardiNellie Fox Don Mueller George Kell Frank McCormick
As you might expect in this era of huge strikeout totals, this feat has become increasingly rare. It was done 15 times in the 30′s, 22 times in the 40′s, and 10 times in the 50′s. Since 1960, though, it’s only been done 8 times. Here are those 8 seasons:
The three most recent seasons were all strike-shortened, too, so they must come with caveats. However, I think it’s fair to say that Gwynn’s 1995 season would certainly have still qualified in a full year; he amassed nearly 600 PA and had 5 more GIDPs than strikeouts, which is the best differential since Fox’s 1961 season.
Aside from Gwynn, the last player to have more GIDP than strikeouts is Bill Buckner, who is of course a bit more famous for something that happened later in his career.
Which players have come closest to doing it since Gwynn last did it in 1995? Here are the only 3 players to even come close:
|2||Carlos Baerga||1996||23||27||CLE NYM||126||544||507||.254||.293||.381||.674|
Pierzynski came oh-so-close to joining this illustrious club in 2004. He just needed one more GIDP or one fewer strikeout. Gwynn’s 1998 season was the closest he came to matching the glories of 1994 and ’95, but it was still a good ways from qualifying.
Who has the best chance of threatening Gwynn this season? Here are all the players with at least 70 PA and less than twice as many strikeouts as GIDPs:
If I had to place bets, I’d bet on Polanco–he’s the current king of not striking out, and he’s only 3 GIDPs off the pace. Pierzynski, as we saw in 2004, is a strong threat as well. My worry with him is that if he keeps hitting like this, he really shouldn’t get enough PA to qualify for a batting title. Pujols and Molina should keep hitting into lots of double plays, but their strikeout numbers will go up even more.
Overall, it’s pretty unlikely that anyone will do it this year, or any time in the near future. One more reason to celebrate the amazing, anachronistic career of Tony Gwynn.
Tagged with: A.J. Pierzynski Albert Pujols double plays Ernie Lombardi good bad seasons Nellie Fox strikeouts Tony Gwynn Yadier Molina
This blog is devoted to the invention and use of unusual baseball statistics. These Junk Stats are designed to reveal the not-so-meaningful quirks that make baseball so fascinating.
JunkStats is written by Jacob Peterson, who also writes for the Braves blog Talking ChopBeyond the Boxscore
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