Reversing roles, pitchers at the plate in 2013

zack greinke

In 2013, only 20 pitchers in the American League registered a hit. 6 of those 20 pitchers had more than one hit (all 6 had 2) and 10 of the 20 had previously played in the National League. Three teams in the AL didn’t have a hit by a pitcher; Yankees, Rangers, Mariners. Also, no pitcher hit a triple or homerun in the AL last season.

Player Team PA AB R H 2B RBI  BA   OBP   SLG 
Jake Peavy Boston Red Sox 9 9 1 1 1 0    .111    .111    .222
Jeremy Hellickson Tampa Bay Rays 3 3 0 1 0 0    .333    .333    .333
Bud Norris Baltimore Orioles 3 3 0 2 0 0    .667    .667    .667
R.A. Dickey Toronto Blue Jays 6 6 2 2 1 1    .333    .333    .500
Doug Fister Detroit Tigers 7 5 0 2 0 1    .400    .400    .400
Max Scherzer Detroit Tigers 3 3 0 1 1 1    .333    .333    .667
Rick Porcello Detroit Tigers 3 3 0 2 0 0    .333    .333    .333
Scott Kazmir Cleveland Indians 4 4 0 1 0 0    .250    .250    .250
Justin Masterson Cleveland Indians 2 2 0 1 0 0    .500    .500    .500
Jeremy Guthrie Kansas City Royals 5 4 0 1 0 0    .250    .250    .250
Luis Mendoza Kansas City Royals 5 5 0 2 0 1    .400    .400    .400
Ervin Santana Kansas City Royals 4 4 0 1 0 0    .250    .250    .250
James Shields Kansas City Royals 3 3 1 1 0 0    .333    .333    .333
Bruce Chen Kansas City Royals 2 2 1 1 0 0    .500    .500    .500
Scott Diamond Minnesota Twins 7 7 0 1 0 0    .143    .143    .143
Dylan Axelrod Chicago White Sox 2 2 1 1 0 0    .500    .500    .500
Tommy Milone Oakland Athletics 8 8 2 2 0 1    .250    .250    .250
C.J. Wilson LA Angels 11 8 1 1 0 0    .125    .222    .125
Joe Blanton LA Angels 6 6 0 1 0 0    .167    .167    .167
Lucas Harrell Houston Astros 6 4 0 1 0 0    .250    .500    .250
Bud Norris Houston Astros 4 4 0 1 0 0    .250    .250    .250

 

This is too small of a sample size given the amount of at-bats for each player listed. It simply cannot represent a realistic comparison to the pitchers of the National League. But take a look at Bud Norris who registered a hit with both the Astros and Orioles in 2013. Norris played for 4 years in the National League with the Astros before the team made the switch. In those four seasons, Norris had a batting average of .135 with 22 hits and 10 RBIs. Solid, above average numbers for an AL pitcher (AL average .0.085 BA) but is exactly the league average (.135 BA) in the NL.

Just looking at the list, three teams stand out with the number of pitchers with a hit; Tigers, Indians, and Royals. All three teams are part of the AL Central and help give the division the best slash line, by far, in the American League.

Division PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB BB SO  BA   OBP   SLG 
AL East 124 111 5 6 2 0 0 2 0 2 45 .053 .068 .070
AL Central 113 94 4 14 1 0 0 3 0 4 43 .146 .179 .157
AL West 118 102 7 6 0 0 0 1 0 9 59 .057 .134 .057

 

The AL Central clearly had pitchers who performed better at the plate compared to the rest of the American League. The Royals alone had 6 hits which tied both the AL East and West totals. Hitting pitchers, though stand at the plate a few times a year, are not an essential part of the American League game. That being said, the National League separates itself from the AL with the pitchers hitting in the ninth spot each game played in the NL.

A few names stood out in the National League last season. NL Rookie of the Year, Jose Fernandez, was quite impressive from the plate. He put together a slashline of .220/.216/.340 with 11 hits in 50 at-bats. He was also the only pitcher in the entire league to record a double, triple and homerun throughout the season. It’s hard to believe that this kid is only 21 years old.

Heading into the NL Central, three pitchers proved their worth in the National League: Adam Wainwright, Yovani Gallardo and Travis Wood.

In 75 at-bats in 2013, Wainwright had 15 hits, 4 doubles and 6 RBIs with a slashline of .211/.208/.268. Milwaukee Brewers’ ace Yovani Gallardo went yard twice with 12 hits and 2 doubles giving him a slashline of .211/.211/.351. Travis Wood was the most productive pitcher at the plate in the NL Central last season. In 63 at-bats, Wood recorded 8 runs, 14 hits, 3 home runs and 8 RBIs with a slashline of .222/.258/.381. His ability to drive in runs definitely gives the Cubs an advantage when he takes the mound and fills the 9th spot in the rotation.

Just check out this performance against the Giants.

There were several solid performances from pitchers in the NL West; Andrew Cashner‘s 13 hits and .245/.259/.321 slashline, Tyler Chatwood‘s .300 BA with 7 RBIs and 12 hits in 40 at-bats, and the NL Cy Young award winner Clayton Kershaw‘s 14 hits, league-leading 10 RBI’s, 3 doubles and one homer.

Impressive as all these names may be, they do not compare to Zack Greinke‘s year at the plate. In 52 at-bats, Greinke had 19 hits, 3 doubles and 4 RBIs. Though failing to go yard or drive in runs like Wood or teammate Kershaw, his slashline of .328/.409/.379 exceeded the field. Let’s put his numbers in perspective.

Greinke outperformed several hitters used by the Dodgers last season. Check out his numbers in comparison to Dodgers shortstop and utility man, Justin Sellers.

Player G PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB SO  BA   OBP   SLG 
Zack Greinke 29 72 58 5 19 3 0 0 4 2 10    .328    .409    .379
Justin Sellers 27 77 69 6 13 1 0 1 2 0 20    .188    .263    .246

 

Greinke is just a freak athlete who has proved his worth from both sides of the game. It is no surprise that he was named the winner of the Silver Slugger Award for the best offensive performance by a pitcher in 2013.

Stephen Strasburg failed to repeat his impressive .277/.333/.426 from only a year ago when he was honored with the Silver Slugger Award with the Nationals. In 49 at-bats in 2013, Strasburg batted .143 with 7 hits, 2 doubles and a pair of runs batted in. Though a regression from the season prior, his numbers still impress when compared to pitchers such as Lance Lynn, Francisco Liriano and Jorge De La Rosa. In 52 at-bats in 2013, De La Rosa recorded just 2 hits while batting .038 at the plate.

Only 6 pitchers stole a base last season with all 6 coming from the NL. Kris Medlen, Jake Westbrook, Tony Cingrani, and Travis Wood all successfully stole a base while Zack Greinke and Andrew Cashner both stole two. It’s hard to ignore the correlation between these pitchers’ baserunning ability and production at the plate. Wood, Greinke and Cashner have already been noted for their excellent performances but Medlen, Westbrook and Cingrani all put up respectable numbers as well. Medlen batted .164 with 9 hits, 4 RBIs, 2 doubles and 1 home run in 55 at-bats, Westbrooks touched home plate 5 times with 6 hits, 2 doubles and 4 RBIs, and Cingrani had 28 at-bats where he batted .250 with 7 hits and 1 RBI. In the top five pitchers in runs scored, two of them recorded stolen bases. If you take the average batting average of the top eleven pitchers in runs scored you get .195 which is far above the NL average of .135. Though it is apparent that these pitchers have an increased opportunity to score runs and steal bases due to their high OBP (in comparison to pitchers), their athleticism and performance in 2013 should not go unnoticed.

The following are three lists, by division, of the pitchers with at least 10 at-bats or registered a hit or more in 2013.

NL East

Atlanta Braves
Player PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI  BA   OBP   SLG 
Mike Minor 70 61 3 10 1 0 1 6    .164    .190    .230
Kris Medlen 67 55 3 9 2 0 1 4    .164    .217    .255
Julio Teheran 65 58 1 13 3 0 0 2    .224    .250    .276
Paul Maholm 57 52 2 7 2 0 0 2    .135    .151    .173
Tim Hudson 48 38 2 6 1 0 1 3    .158    .238    .263
Alex Wood 22 21 1 0 0 0 0 0       -       -       -
Brandon Beachy 12 8 1 1 0 0 0 0    .125    .222    .125
Freddy Garcia 10 8 0 0 0 0 0 0       -       -       -
Washington Nationals
Player PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI  BA   OBP   SLG 
Jordan Zimmerman 73 65 4 8 1 0 0 2    .123    .134    .138
Gio Gonzalez 66 56 2 5 1 0 1 1    .089    .121    .161
Stephen Strasburg 61 49 2 7 2 0 0 2    .143    .176    .184
Dan Haren 55 47 2 8 3 0 0 2    .170    .204    .234
Ross Detwiler 25 22 1 2 0 0 0 0    .091    .130    .091
Ross Ohlendorf 19 15 0 0 0 0 0 1       -    .063       -
Taylor Jordan 18 14 0 2 0 0 0 0    .143    .143    .143
Tanner Roark 15 14 0 4 1 0 0 1    .286    .286    .357
Zach Duke 1 1 0 1 0 0 0 0    1.000    1.000    1.000
New York Mets
Player PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI  BA   OBP   SLG 
Dillon Gee 71 60 0 8 0 1 0 4    .133    .175    .167
Matt Harvey 64 58 2 5 2 0 0 2    .086    .102    .121
Jonathon Niese 45 39 6 8 2 0 0 4    .205    .279    .256
Jeremy Hefner 39 32 0 0 0 0 0 1       -    .059       -
Zack Wheeler 34 30 1 4 1 0 0 2    .133    .161    .167
Shaun Marcum 27 22 0 3 1 0 0 0    .136    .174    .182
Carlos Torres 18 16 0 1 0 0 0 1    .063    .118    .063
Daisuke Matsuzaka 13 12 0 3 0 0 0 1    .250    .250   .250
Jenrry Mejia 11 11 0 0 0 0 0 0       -       -       -
Aaron Harang 7 7 1 2 0 0 0 0    .286    .286    .286
Philadelphia Phillies
Player PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI  BA   OBP   SLG 
Cliff Lee 72 60 5 11 1 1 0 6    .183    .210    .233
Cole Hamels 71 56 4 10 1 1 0 5    .179    .207    .232
Kyle Kendrick 66 56 1 7 1 1 0 2    .125    .155    .179
Jonathan Pettibone 32 29 4 3 1 0 0 0    .103    .188    .138
John Lannan 25 21 2 4 1 0 0 1    .190    .261    .238
Tyler Cloyd 22 18 1 2 1 0 0 1    .111    .200    .167
Roy Halladay 20 18 0 0 0 0 0 1       -    .053       -
Ethan Martin 10 9 0 0 0 0 0 0       -       -       -
Zach Miner 6 6 0 2 0 0 0 0    .333    .333    .333
Raul Valdes 4 3 0 1 1 0 0 0    .333    .333    .677
Miami Marlins
Player PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI  BA   OBP   SLG 
Jose Fernandez 58 50 5 11 1 1 1 5    .220    .216    .340
Tom Koehler 41 39 1 3 0 0 0 0    .077    .077    .077
Jacob Turner 38 35 0 3 0 1 0 0    .086    .086    .143
Nathan Eovaldi 35 31 1 2 0 0 0 1    .065    .094    .065
Henderson Alvarez 35 30 2 9 3 0 1 6    .300    .291    .500
Ricky Nolasco 34 30 1 3 1 0 0 0    .100    .182    .133
Kevin Slowey 28 21 1 1 0 0 0 0    .048    .130    .048
Alex Sanabia 18 16 1 1 0 0 0 0    .063    .118    .063
Wade LeBlanc 13 12 1 2 0 0 0 0    .167    .167    .167
Brian Flynn 6 5 0 2 0 0 0 0    .400    .400    .400
Ryan Webb 3 3 1 1 0 0 0 0    .333    .333    .333

NL Central

St. Louis Cardinals
Player PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI  BA   OBP   SLG 
Adam Wainwright 81 71 4 15 4 0 0 6    .211    .208    .268
Lance Lynn 69 54 1 4 0 0 0 2    .074    .138    .074
Shelby Miller 63 53 3 4 1 0 1 2    .075    .109    .151
Jake Westbrook 42 34 5 6 2 0 0 4    .176    .263    .235
Joe Kelly 40 33 4 5 1 0 0 2    .152    .171    .182
Michael Wacha 22 21 0 3 0 0 0 3    .143    .143    .143
Jaime Garcia 21 21 0 0 0 0 0 0       -       -       -
Tyler Lyons 13 12 0 2 0 0 0 0    .167    .167    .167
Seth Maness 5 5 0 1 0 0 0 0    .200    .200    .200
Pittsburgh Pirates
Player PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI  BA   OBP   SLG 
A.J. Burnett 67 59 1 4 0 0 0 2    .068    .098    .068
Francisco Liriano 56 47 0 3 0 0 0 1    .064    .137    .064
Jeff Locke 54 47 3 5 0 0 0 0    .106    .143    .106
Charlie Morton 38 36 1 5 0 0 0 1    .139    .139    .139
Gerrit Cole 36 34 3 7 0 0 0 5    .206    .229    .206
Wandy Rodriguez 24 22 0 2 0 0 0 1    .091    .091    .091
Jeanmar Gomez 13 13 0 1 0 0 0 0    .077    .077    .077
James McDonald 12 11 2 3 0 0 0 0    .273    .333    .273
Brandon Cumpton 12 9 0 0 0 0 0 0       -    .100       -
Vin Mazzaro 6 6 0 1 0 0 0 0    .167    .167    .167
Bryan Morris 5 5 1 1 0 0 0 0    .200    .200    .200
Cincinnati Reds
Player PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI  BA   OBP   SLG 
Mat Latos 78 71 3 9 2 0 0 4    .127    .139    .155
Bronson Arroyo 75 59 0 4 0 0 0 0    .068    .068    .068
Homer Bailey 73 58 3 9 1 0 0 1    .155    .210    .172
Mike Leake 69 63 8 12 2 1 0 2    .190    .215    .254
Tony Cingrani 35 28 4 7 1 0 0 1    .250    .250    .286
Johnny Cueto 22 20 1 3 0 0 0 1    .150    .150    .150
Greg Reynolds 9 7 1 1 1 0 0 0    .143    .143    .286
Alfredo Simon 7 7 0 1 0 0 0 0    .143    .143    .143
Manny Parra 2 2 1 1 0 0 0 0    .500    .500    .500
Zach Duke 1 1 0 1 0 0 0 0    1.000    1.000    1.000
Milwaukee Brewers
Player PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI  BA   OBP   SLG 
Kyle Lohse 68 55 2 8 0 0 0 3    .145    .161    .145
Yovani Gallardo 64 57 4 12 2 0 2 4    .211    .211    .351
Wily Peralta 60 50 1 7 0 0 0 0    .140    .157    .140
Marco Estrada 40 34 1 7 1 0 0 2    .206    .229    .235
Tom Gorzelanny 18 17 0 1 0 0 0 0    .059    .059    .059
Tyler Thornburg 18 16 0 0 0 0 0 0       -       -      -
Donovan Hand 14 11 0 1 0 0 0 0    .091    .167    .091
Alfredo Figaro 12 12 1 3 0 0 0 2    .250    .250    .250
Johnny Hellweg 11 10 0 0 0 0 0 0       -       -       -
Hiram Burgos 10 8 0 1 0 0 0 0    .125    .125    .125
Chicago Cubs
Player PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI  BA   OBP   SLG 
Jeff Samardzija 73 62 4 7 2 0 1 2    .113    .127    .194
Travis Wood 67 63 8 14 1 0 3 8    .222    .258    .381
Edwin Jackson 59 52 4 4 1 0 1 4    .077    .111    .154
Scott Feldman 35 34 2 6 2 0 1 8    .176    .176    .324
Carlos Villanueva 34 32 2 5 0 0 0 1    .156    .156    .156
Chris Rusin 21 19 1 2 0 0 0 2    .105    .105    .105
Matt Garza 20 18 1 4 1 0 0 2    .222    .263    .278
Jake Arrieta 19 15 0 2 0 0 0 2    .133    .133    .133

NL West

Los Angeles Dodgers
Player PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI  BA   OBP   SLG 
Clayton Kershaw 92 77 8 14 3 0 1 10    .182    .241    .260
Zack Greinke 72 52 5 19 3 0 0 4    .328    .409    .379
Hyun-jin Ryu 66 58 5 12 3 1 0 5    .207    .233    .293
Ricky Nolasco 30 20 2 3 1 0 0 1    .150    .261    .200
Chris Capuano 29 24 1 1 0 0 0 0    .042    .080    .042
Stephen Fife 18 17 0 1 0 0 0 0    .059    .111    .059
Josh Beckett 12 8 0 1 0 0 0 0    .125    .222    .125
Edinson Volquez 9 8 1 1 0 0 0 0    .125    .125    .125
Arizona Diamondbacks
Player PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI  BA   OBP   SLG 
Patrick Corbin 73 65 8 8 4 0 0 3    .123    .162    .185
Wade Miley 69 60 2 8 3 0 1 8    .133    .148    .233
Trevor Cahill 53 49 2 4 1 1 0 5    .082    .082    .143
Ian Kennedy 44 37 0 5 2 0 0 1    .135    .179    .189
Brandon McCarthy 42 37 0 1 0 0 0 0    .027    .100    .027
Randall Delgado 37 32 2 7 0 0 0 1    .219    .242    .219
Tyler Skaggs 13 10 0 1 0 0 0 1    .200    .200    .200
Josh Collmenter 12 11 1 1 0 0 0 0    .091    .167    .091
San Diego Padres
Player PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI  BA   OBP   SLG 
Eric Stults 69 61 2 10 1 0 1 4    .164    .177    .230
Andrew Cashner 60 53 7 13 1 0 1 3    .245    .259    .321
Edinson Volquez 43 34 3 4 1 0 1 4    .118    .143    .235
Jason Marquis 43 42 0 5 1 0 0 2    .119    .119    .143
Tyson Ross 36 33 0 6 0 0 0 0    .182    .182    .182
Ian Kennedy 20 16 1 2 1 0 0 0    .125    .263    .188
Robbie Erlin 19 16 0 1 0 0 0 1    .063    .118    .063
Clayton Richard 15 14 1 3 0 0 0 1    .214    .214    .214
Burch Smith 10 9 0 1 0 0 0 0    .111    .200    .111
Sean O’Sullivan 6 6 0 1 1 0 0 0    .167    .167    .333
San Francisco Giants
Player PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI  BA   OBP   SLG 
Madison Bumgarner 69 56 3 6 0 0 0 4    .107    .177    .107
Tim Lincecum 67 57 3 6 0 1 0 1    .105    .150    .140
Matt Cain 64 52 0 5 0 0 0 2    .096    .130    .096
Barry Zito 43 34 3 5 0 0 0 2    .147    .147    .147
Ryan Vogelsong 36 29 2 2 0 0 0 2    .069    .156    .069
Chad Gaudin 29 25 0 1 0 0 0 1    .040    .111    .040
Yusmeiro Petit 17 16 0 1 0 0 0 2    .063    .118    .063
Mike Kickham 6 6 0 1 1 0 0 0    .167    .167    .333
Colorado Rockies
Player PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI  BA   OBP   SLG 
Jhoulys Chacin 70 63 2 12 1 0 1 7    .190    .221    .254
Jorge De La Rosa 59 52 2 2 0 0 0 0    .038    .074    .038
Juan Nicasio 50 36 4 5 0 0 0 3    .139    .225    .139
Tyler Chatwood 45 40 3 12 1 0 0 7    .300    .333    .325
Jon Garland 21 19 0 3 1 0 0 0    .158    .158    .211
Jeff Francis 20 14 0 1 1 0 0 1    .071    .222    .143
Chad Bettis 14 11 0 0 0 0 0 0       -       -       -
Adam Ottavino 9 9 0 1 0 0 0 0    .111    .111    .111
Roy Oswalt 7 6 0 2 0 0 0 0    .333    .333    .333
Collin McHugh 4 4 0 1 0 0 0 0    .250    .250    .250

And finally here is a list of the NL totals by team:

Team PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB SO  BA   OBP   SLG 
Atlanta Braves 362 310 13 46 9 0 3 17 1 131    .148    .185    .206
Washington Nationals 344 291 11 37 8 0 1 9 0 115    .127    .156    .165
New York Mets 338 295 11 34 6 1 0 15 0 139    .115    .155    .142
Philadelphia Phillies 333 280 17 40 7 3 0 16 0 125    .143    .184    .189
Miami Marlins 316 277 14 38 5 2 2 12 0 126    .137    .157    .191
St. Louis Cardinals 372 319 18 40 8 0 1 19 1 140    .125    .156    .160
Pittsburgh Pirates 347 308 12 32 0 0 0 10 0 141    .104    .138    .104
Cincinnati Reds 374 319 21 48 7 1 0 9 1 114    .150    .169    .179
Milwaukee Brewers 324 278 9 40 3 0 2 11 0 137    .144    .156    .176
Chicago Cubs 336 301 22 44 7 0 6 29 1 121    .146    .166    .229
Los Angeles Dodgers 356 293 22 52 10 1 1 20 2 108    .177    .237    .229
Arizona Diamonbacks 350 308 15 36 10 1 1 19 0 119    .117    .147    .166
San Diego Padres 336 299 14 46 6 0 3 16 2 126    .154    .176    .204
San Francisco Giants 339 281 11 27 1 1 0 14 0 135    .096    .144    .107
Colorado Rockies 330 282 11 39 4 0 1 18 0 98    .138    .177    .163

 

…and by division:

Division PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB SO  BA   OBP   SLG 
NL East 1693 1453 66 195 35 6 6 69 1 636    .134    .167    .179
NL Central 1753 1525 82 204 25 1 9 78 3 653    .134    .157    .170
NL West 1711 1463 73 200 31 3 6 87 4 586    .136    .176    .174

 

All stats courtesy of Baseball-Reference.