Wednesday, May 12, 2004

jack McDowell is an idiot. He was right not to write off Roger Clemens in the National League and he is perhaps right that Roger Clemens is not a "headhunter," but his use of statistics is deplorable.

Here are the hit batsmen per 100 innings pitched for selected pitchers through the end of last season:
Pedro Martinez--4.76
Roger Clemens--3.30
Curt Schilling--1.51

And some pitchers from history whose reputations were as headhunters or as wildmen on the mound:
Don Drysdale--4.49
Carl Mays--2.95
Nolan Ryan--2.93
Bob Gibson--2.63
Sal "the Barber" Maglie--2.55
Juan Marichal--1.14

And for fun's sake:
Jack McDowell--2.54

Which doesn't mean that Clemens is a headhunter, merely that Clemens' hit-by-pitch numbers are not unusual for a pitcher with a headhunting reputation and a "haedhunter" may not be the (good) pitcher hitting the most batsmen.

McDowell seems to think that a "headhunter" will necessarily hit more batters than other pitchers or that wildness is best indicated by HBP, although he is at least smart enough to not try to compare a pitcher like Clemens to outright scrubs.

A headhunter, rightfully so in my opinion, seeks to control the plate and to intimidate. This doesn't mean going out and hitting someone just because he can. Ideally, it is a conscious, reasoned choice rather than simply evidence of a mean streak. A brushback pitch isn't necessarily meant to hit, so they won't necessarily rack up hit-by-pitch numbers. And if the pitcher actually hits a batter, well, it just takes one or two early in your career to establish the proper reputation, which isn't really going to affect your career HBP by that much.

(6:33 PM) Links to this post


Post a Comment

<< Home