Friday, March 17, 2006

2006 Preview: SF Giants

The Giants haven't hit Craig Biggio with a pitch since 1999 so what could possibly make us think they'd go and start hitting him again this year? The addition of Jamey Wright is a good place to start. Despite being a non-roster invitee Wright appears to have a good chance at a starting job with the Giants, and he has already hit Craig Biggio 4 times. Wright has hit 104 batters in his career, ranking him 12th among active pitchers. The Giants also acquired Matt Morris through free agency. He hit Biggio with a pitch once, but also has 48 other career plunks. These changes to the pitching staff may signal a strategic shift in the way the Giants intend to pitch to Craig Biggio. Or, I guess they could be considering non-plunk related factors in their personnel moves, but that doesn't seem as likely. After all, I'm sure the Giants wouldn't put the pursuit of one particular statistical record ahead of the good of their team or the good of the game.

Even though the Giants have gone 6 seasons without hitting Craig Biggio, they did hit 19 times before that. So, based on Biggio's lifetime plunks per plate appearance against the Giants, the probability of his being hit by them at least once this year is 51.6% if he steps to the plate 30 times. A multi-plunk year against the Giants is only 16% likely, and a single team personal record plunk year (7 hbps) is only 0.00055% probable. Or, just to put that another way, Biggio would have to get about 280 plate appearances to even have a 50-50 chance of being hit 7 times. Tough to do in only 6 games.

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