Monday, May 16, 2005

The rearview mirror

Jason Kendall is the next active player behind Craig Biggio on the all time Hit By Pitch list, with 180. He averages about 19.7 plunks per year, so he has an excellent chance of surpassing Hughie Jennings mark (the current record) sometime around the 2010 season. Kendall turns 31 this June, so it's a decent bet he'll still be playing in 5 years. Whether or not he breaks the record will depend on his ability to keep up his current pace and continue to stay healthy, and how long Biggio continues to play and push out the record once he breaks it.

Behind Kendall, at 157 HBPs is Fernando Vina. He's gotten hit about 13 times per season, but at the age of 36 he has a much smaller chance of contending for the record. He would need to keep playing at his current plunk-per-season average for another 10 year, to age 46.

Only David Eckstein and Craig Wilson are likely contenders among active players, based on season averages through 2004. Eckstein has been getting hit 19 times per season, and Craig Wilson 17.75 per season. They should both get into the 287 HBP stratosphere around the 2016 or 2017 season, but it may be too early to judge whether either can expect a 15+ year major league career.

Jose Vizcaino (1 HBP per season) will have to play until he is 309 years old to reach the current plunk record.

Top 10 active players by HBP per season, through 2004:
playerHBP per seasontotal HBP
Jason Kendall19.7180
David Eckstein1979
Craig Wilson17.876
Reed Johnson1638
Craig Biggio15.1260
Fernando Vina13.1157
Mark Teixeira1227
Jason LaRue1277
Melvin Mora10.767
Carlos Delgado10.2127

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