Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Biggio vs league leaders

Last week, commentor Tom asked if Craig Biggio got hit by pitches at an increased rate in games he played against players who were leading the league in HBPs at the time. It would be extremely difficult to establish who was leading the league in HBPs at the time of each particular game, but it's not quite as complicated to look at Biggio's stats in game in which he faces someone who would finish the season at the to of the HBP standings.

From 1988 to 2005, Craig Biggio played in 653 games in which a player starting for the opposing team would finish the season in the top 5 in their league in HBPs. In those games, Biggio was hit by 71 pitches, at a rate of one plunk per 40.6 plate appearances. That's about 3% more often than in games when he didn't face a top 5 get-hitter. In those games he got hit about once every 41.9 plate appearances. In 64 of those games, there were 2 players on the other team who would go on to make the top 5 in HBPs that year, and Biggio was plunked just once per 46 plate appearance against them. And, Biggio played 8 games in which 3 players starting for the other team would finish in the top 5 on the plunk charts - but he was only hit once against them, in 35 plate appearances.

While Biggio's plunk rate sligthly increases when playing against a top 5 get-hitter, it appears to decrease in games against players who would finish in the top 3, or those who would win the plunk title. In 439 games against players who would finish in the top 3, he's been hit 42 times at a rate of once per 45.6 plate appearances, compared to once per 40.8 plate appearances when not facing a top 3 get hitter. In 122 games against players who would go on to at least tie for the league plunk title, he's been hit just 7 times, at a rate of once per 74.9 plate appearances, compared to once per 40.7 plate appearances in games when the Astros are not facing a player who is going to win the plunk title that season.

So, it would appear that Craig Biggio does not feel any strong need to step up his getting-hit just because there may be another great get-hitter on the opposing team.

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