Wednesday, April 04, 2007

do pitchers with long names hit more batters?

Recently, reader Tom left a comment asking whether there is any connection between the number of letters in a pitcher's name and the number of times he hits batters. I suspect he's trying to figure out if he should trade for tonight's opposing starter Tom Gorzelanny in his all HBP fantasy league, or if he should stick with Zach Duke.

Among pitchers who have plunked Biggio, there doesn't appear to be a direct relationship between longer or shorter names and more incidents of plunking Biggio, but it does look like the average per pitcher peaks in the middle of the distribution - so people with average length tend to be more likely to throw multiple plunks than those with uncommonly short or long names.

Average number of times plunking Biggio (among those who have), by length of last name:
Characters in
Last Name
Average
HBP:BGO
Count of pitchers
312
41.3622
51.1741
61.3345
71.4445
81.3936
91.3116
1014
1121


Average number of times plunking Biggio (among those who have), by length of first name:
Characters in
First Name
Average
HBP:BGO
Count of pitchers
222
31.1324
41.3379
51.4566
61.1822
71.2715
811
91.52
1011


Average number of times plunking Biggio (among those who have), by combined length of first and last name:
Characters in
First + Last Name
Average
HBP:BGO
Count of pitchers
714
8117
91.130
101.0447
111.1748
121.0955
131.1828
141.0616
151.147
1614
1711


A similar trend appears in the numbers for plunks per 9 innings for the 2006 season. Pitchers with 6 letter last names threw 0.407 HBPs per 9 innings last year, and the average pitcher had 6.4 letters in his last name in 2006. The average length of first names last season was about 5 letters, and the pitchers with 5 letter first names hit 0.394 batters per 9 innings. If you add those together you'll note that the average combined letters in the names of pitchers last year is a little over 11, and pitchers with 11 letters in there names hit 0.409 per 9 innings in 2006.

Characters in
Last Name
HBP per 9Count of pitchers
30.30311
40.38354
50.368117
60.407166
70.370143
80.36277
90.37042
100.41118
110.2776
120.4631


Characters in
First Name
HBP per 9Count of pitchers
21.0291
30.30055
40.384211
50.394209
60.36578
70.39547
80.43420
90.35711
100.2533


Characters in First + Last NameHBP per 9Count of pitchers
601
70.3333
80.34030
90.39079
100.361118
110.409118
120.384117
130.37377
140.37545
150.38626
160.34115
170.3804
180.2372




Among pitchers who threw in 2006, there doesn't look to be much connection between length of names and career hit batters:
Characters in
Last Name
Average
Career HBPs
Count of pitchers
318.2711
420.6954
515.42117
618.19166
718.16143
817.8877
921.1742
108.1118
1113.676
12241


Characters in
First Name
Average
Career HBP
Count of pitchers
241
318.4755
417.66211
519.17209
615.4578
720.6647
87.620
98.5511
1025.333


Characters in First + Last NameAvg Career HBPCount of pitchers
611
7173
815.2730
919.8279
1019.52118
1115.80118
1218.33117
1320.3977
1415.5145
1511.7726
1614.9315
1714.54
1832



In 2006, the average total length of the names of pitchers who plunked Biggio was slightly longer than the league average for name length, but over his career the names of those who hit him have been shorter than the league average in 10 of the 18 years he's been hit.

Only one pitcher has plunked Biggio once for every letter in the pitcher's last name - Pedro Astacio. Chan Ho Park, Kerry Wood and Steve Reed are one plunk away (although Reed is retired).

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