Friday, March 24, 2006

2006 Preview: Minnesota Twins

The Astros will face the Minnesota Twins three times this season. Will Minnesota use those games as an opportunity to improve on their 2005 total of 43 hit batters (2nd lowest in the AL), or will they continue their tendency to nothing but the strikezone? The Twins pitchers walked only 348 batters last year - the lowest total recorded in a full season since 1968.
The Twins only pitcher in camp this year who has hit Craig Biggio with a pitch was Gabe White, but White decided to retire earlier this spring. White hit Biggio for the Reds on September 22, 1997.

The Twins plunking leaders in 2005 were starters Kyle Lohse (9) and Brad Radke (7), but their 3 others expected to start in '06 - Johan Santana, Carlos Silva and Scott Baker - only hit a total of 4 batters in 69 starts. It doesn't sound like there will be much to work with for Craig Biggio against this staff, but if there's one thing we know about Twins, it's that one of them always turns out to be evil.

The Twins also employ the anti-Biggio. Juan Castro of the Twins has recorded 2034 career plate appearances and never been hit by a pitch. He ranks 12th all time in plate appearances for a player who's never been plunked, just behind the immortal Herm Winningham.

Based on Craig Biggio past statistics against the Twins, his probability of being plunked at least once by the Twins is 22.6%. A multi-plunk season against the Twins is 2.6% likely and a 7 plunk year is 0.00000023% probable. If you see a Twins fan, remember that last percentage and ask them if that's more or less likely than the Twins getting a new stadium anytime soon.

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