The Fish and HBP


Jack Moore of Fangraphs recently did an article on Jason Kendall’s hidden value in ability to be hit by pitches.  This got me thinking, do the Marlins have anyone with this specialty?

As a team, the Fish are very good at getting hit.  They finished tied-5th last year in the majors in HBP at 63, and have been in the top 5 every year since this core was obtained (2006).  Now this isn’t a lot of added value; last year this only added about a half of a win compared to the average and one win compared to last place (Mets, 36).  But more runs is more runs.  After the jump I’m going to look at the career rates of HBP for the players on our roster next year.

First of note is that the average HBP rate is 5 HBP / 600 PA.  And for anyone with less than 1200 ML PA, I incorporate minor league numbers as they do not have a big enough ML sample size.  First, the starting line up:

Name HBP/600
Coghlan 7.1
Maybin 5.3
Ramirez 6.1
Cantu 6.6
Uggla 8.2
Ross 8.7
Baker 3.1
Sanchez 8.1

The only hitter with a below average rate would be John Baker. Every one else, while not stellar, has average to slightly above average rates. This is how we’re able to be one of the better teams in the area: No one stands out, but every one does their part. Cody Ross and Dan Uggla lead the way, and if Gaby Sanchez’ minor league track record carries over he should be up there with them. As far as the bench goes

Name HBP/600
Paulino 1.7
Helms 8.9
Carroll 14.9
Bonifacio 3.0
Jimenez 16.7

The Ronny Paulino/Baker platoon does end up being below average in one area offensively, and Emilio Bonifacio proves again that he is allergic of anything that will improve his OBP. Wes Helms is fine being plunked, and Brett Carroll just again shows how much of a hard-nosed player he is. After having a rate of 15.4 in the minors, BC’s so far gotten hit in the majors at a rate of 10.5 per 600 PA in a very small sample size. But even he is topped by Jorge Jimenez, although JJ2 might not be in our organization come April.

We have lost some guys that were strong here. Josh Willingham more or less carried us in HBP before, getting hit an absolute whopping 15.3 times per 600 PA. I’ve often glanced over his stats and had a “His OBP seems a lot higher than his BB% should dictate” but never put much more thought into it, and now this answers why that is. And while we did not have The Hammer last year, we did have Nick Johnson. Johnson is willing to clog the bases in more ways than one, with a rate of 13.1 times in his career and getting hit 6 times in 150 PA for the Fish last season.

Without having one of those strong guys in the line up, we probably won’t finish in the top 5 again but we should be above average next season.

As far as the minors go, we don’t really have any prospects with a greatly above average rate. From the top-7 prospect series:

Name HBP/600
Stanton 9.9
Dominguez 6.7
Morrison 4.5
Smolinski 7.8
Cousins 5.5
Petersen 6.9

Stanton has a strong rate, but every one else is around average.

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Tags: Miami Marlins

  • http://marlinsdiehards.com David

    “Emilio Bonifacio proves again that he is allergic of anything that will improve his OBP.”

    That’s the best sentence I’ve read all week. Well done.

  • David C.

    I wonder… For some reason, I’m having a hard time taking this seriously. How exactly can a batter control their HBP Rate besides having a ridiculously close stance ala Chase Utley? I would think this would be entirely up to the opposing pitchers unless the Marlins elicit an above-average amount of hate and anger?

    • Michael Jong

      David C,

      The stance definitely plays a role, David. I remember Josh Willingham stood very close to the inside of the box and I always felt like he was a huge target to get hit by pitches. For some of these players, I don’t think there’s a particularly good year-to-year correlation, but for some guys in their stance or motion, HBP’s come naturally. I don’t think it’s a fluke, for example, that Jason Kendall got hit so often.