Part Two of our look at the under-appreciated hit by pitch statistic in fantasy baseball focuses on those players who will help your team on base percentages thanks to their willingness to “take one for the team.”
While WHIP doesn’t accurately count hit by pitch into its ratios, OPS (on base plus slugging average) does do it right. A hit by pitch counts towards a hitter’s on base percentage and is therefore accurately portrayed in those fantasy baseball leagues who use on base percentages or OPS categories.
If you want to look at an old school player who is willing to take one for the team, look no further than the best second baseman in baseball, Chase Utley. Its not surprising how often Utley gets hit by pitch given where he stands in the batters box; his toe is barely in the deepest part of the box and closest to home plate. Utley has led the majors in hit by pitches for the past two seasons. Chase got plunked 27 times last year in the Phillies championship run which is two more than Utley amassed during the 2007 season.
While Utley and Ryan Braun are tied for the National League lead thus far in 2009 with 5 hit by pitches, they are running behind Carlos Quentin of the White Sox and Kelly Shoppach of the Indians who have both been bruised 8 times this season.
Active Hit by Pitch Leaders
- Jason Kendall, Brewers - 235
- Carlos Delgado, Mets - 172
- Jason Giambi, Athletics - 161
- Alex Rodriguez, Yankees – 141
- Derek Jeter, Yankees – 140
All-Time Hit by Pitch Leaders
- Hughie Jennings – 287
- Craig Biggio – 285
- Tommy Tucker – 272
- Don Baylor – 267
- Ron Hunt – 243
Hughie Jennings of Boston was hit by pitch 51 times from ’94 through ’98 (that’s 1894 and 1898 if you don’t recall Hughie). Ron Hunt led the league in hit by pitches from 1968 through 1974 and was hit 50 times in 1971. Craig Biggio was a more modern day warrior; Biggio led the league in HBP’s five times and is second on the all-time HBP list.