Linear projections for plunks
As you may have noticed, this site usually features a Bruise Board in the upper right corner, that lists a projected end of season total for Craig Biggio's HBPs. That end of season total is based on a linear projection of Biggio's season plunk total and the number of games the Astros have played. Reader DM suggested yesterday that now that Biggio has been hit this season, it's time to project from there to predict when he'll record the record breaking Plunk 288.
Last night's game was the 12th of the season - so if Biggio continues to get plunked exactly once every 12 games, he'll record his 288th plunk Friday, June 22nd (which happens to be two days after reader DM's prediction, as listed in the sidebar). If you use the same method to project when he'll reach that popular hits milestone he's chasing, you'll see that he has 14 hits in 12 games so far, and at that rate he'll need 60 games to record 70 hits. 70 hits plus the 2,930 he started the year with equals 3,000 hits on June 8th at Wrigley Field (assuming they actually play all games scheduled between now and then). If you believe in linear projections, you might want to buy tickets to that game and a flight to Chicago, because using the that method, that figures to be the same game he ties Hughie Jennings with 287 career plunks. Enjoy that coincidence while it lasts, because it will only be true until they play their next game - unless he somehow manages to record 1/12th of a plunk and 1.1667 hits.
However, projecting linearly from Biggio's first plunk of the year has never successfully predicted his 5th or 6th plunk. Projections based on his 1st plunk have only been accurate 4 times in his career. In 1997, he was first plunked in the Astros 4th game of the year, and recorded his 11th plunk in game number 44. In 2001, plunk number 1 was in game 5 and plunk his third plunk of the year was in game 15. And, in 2004 he was first plunked in the Astros 9th game, and hit next in game 18. In 2005, he was first plunked in the 7th game of the Astros season, and recorded his 10th of the year in Astros game number 70.