Currently historic: A truly rare achievement

Welcome back. We’ve got about 20 percent of the season under our belts now, and some interesting things are starting to happen. Let’s take a look.

So here’s something new: This year, Bartolo Colon has pitched 37.1 innings. Guess how many batters he’s walked?


Right now, he is averaging 0.2 walks per nine innings. To find someone else in that league, you have to go back to George Zettlein who once walked six in 234 innings. He also struck out 10 that year. It was 1876. Times were different.

I don’t know if Bartolo Colon is going to set a modern record for the infrequency with which he offers free passes. I do know he has been an excellent control pitcher for a long time and I’m going to pay attention.

By the way, in 1904, Cy Young finished the season with 0.687 walks per nine innings. That’s the modern record. If Colon throws exactly 162 innings this season, he can walk 11 more batters and still beat that number. Stay tuned.


In 2007, Kenny Lofton played his final major league game. Since that time, there have been no active major leaguers with 600 stolen bases. Indeed, Lofton didn’t reach that number until that final season. But now, the club has a new member.

This week, Juan Pierre stole base number 600 (and 601, 602, and 603). Pierre has never been a great player, but he has often been a solid one and he has always been able to run. He has fewer years in the majors than all but two of the men ahead of him on the list (dead-ball player Billy Hamilton had 14, the same as Pierre now has, and Vince Coleman had 13). If teams keep giving him the chance to play every day, he could move quite a bit higher on the list.

When Pierre plays, he still seems to be a good bet for 30 or more steals a season. He’s off to a banner start this year, with 12 already. If he gets 20 more before the end of the season, he’ll pass Kenny Lofton for 15th. Another season of 30 steals on top of that gets him to only 14th. One more and he’s 12th.

To enter the top 10, Pierre would need 120 more steals than he has right now. That would tie him with Honus Wagner at 723. That seems like a tall task to me, but it’s certainly possible. I hope Pierre continues to be good enough to convince teams to play him every day. We’ll keep him on the list here as he continues his climb up the charts and his pursuit of 200 times being caught stealing.


Time for week two of strikeout tracking. Remember, we’re tracking only players whose career numbers seem to indicate a reasonable chance of hitting 200 strikeouts.

Chris Carter, 51 Ks, 264 K pace: Carter’s pace has slowed just slightly. Remarkably, it would take only a good game or two for him to be a league-average hitter.

Rickie Weeks 37 Ks, 199 K pace: Down a bit here. Still basically a 200 K pace, though.

Adam Dunn, 39 Ks, 216 K pace: Dunn turned it up a bit this week. His hitting has been awful so far this year, though. I wonder if he might be done (yes, or Dunn. Fine, fine, I made the joke, are you happy now?)

A Hardball Times Update
Goodbye for now.

Will Middlebrooks, 38 Ks, 197 K pace: Down a bit. There was some sentiment in the comments last week that Middlebrooks is going to get only so many chances. I’ll try to keep a close eye on him.

Pedro Alvarez, 35 Ks, 193 Ks pace: Exactly the same pace he was on last week.

Rick Ankiel, 35 Ks, 177 K pace: Ankiel is probably not going to K 200 times, he’s just striking out so much while playing in only about 80 percent of his teams games that I have to track him. And in some of those games he’s pinch-hitting. It’s amazing.


Joey Votto has been walking a bit less lately (and is currently riding a nine-game hitting streak) and is now on pace for just 147 walks. That’s still worth tracking as a decent week will put him back over the 150 walk pace.


The Astros actually upped their strikeout pace last week and are now averaging more than 10 per game. Their current pace would have them finish with 1,635. They really might make the current record of 1,387 look trivial as their current pace would have them pass it with almost a month to go in the season.


Now’s it’s time for our weekly list…

Todd Helton (573) is back from the DL, so the one double he needs to enter the top 20 should be forthcoming reasonably soon.

Adrian Beltre had a double this week and needs 31 more to reach 500.

Home runs:
Albert Pujols continues his march to 500. He now needs only 20, and 33 more will get him into the top 20.

Prince Fielder hit two homers this week and needs 32 to reach 300.

Extra-base hits:
Todd Helton still needs 36 extra base hits to get to 1,000. We’ll see.

Runs batted in:
Albert Pujols now needs 47 to reach 1,500.

Stolen bases:
Michael Bourn (277) is on the DL, but there are at least rumors of a rehab assignment soon. We’ll keep him around.

Showing up:
Mariano Rivera is now in a tie with Dan Plesac for the sixth most appearances ever (1,064). Hoyt Wilhelm (1,070) and Dennis Eckersley (1,071) are next.

Andy Pettitte (497 starts), CC Sabathia (390), and Bartolo Colon (381) keep on keepin’ on. Barry Zito started his 400th last week, and Roy Halladay (384) is hurt. (I think we all saw that coming, didn’t we?)

Tim Hudson, who we’ve already talked about at some length, got win number 200 before last week’s article was even up. It will be interesting to see if he can stick around long enough to get to 250. He might have an interesting Hall of Fame case if he does. Sabathia (195) didn’t win any this week. He’s try again next week.

Jonathan Papelbon (262) needs 38 to get to 300.

Ryan Dempster struck out only four last time out and needs 35 to reach 2000.

Pettitte needs only six to reach 1000.

Team Accomplishments:
Pittsburgh had a rough week and needs 22 wins to make it to 10,000.

Thanks for reading. As always, stats are through Monday’s games. Tell me if I’m missing anything.

Jason teaches high school English, writes fiction, runs a small writing program and writes about education and literature. He also writes for Redleg Nation and both writes and edits for The Hardball Times. Follow him on Twitter @JasonLinden, visit his website or email him here.
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9 years ago

Another blow to Ankiel’s chances of 200 Ks is that he was DFA-ed two days ago. Also hurts the Astros’ quest to break the team strikeout record.

9 years ago

Ya think things were different in 1876? 

I’m a good bet to have about 30 steaks a year during baseball season also.  Me and Juan Pierre.

Ankiel has been designated for assignment.  You’re right, may not make 200 K’s.

Professor Longnose
9 years ago

We missed it, but a few games ago, the Giants made their half-millionth out.

The Dodgers should achieve that later in the season.

The Cubs, of course, have the all-time record.

Professor Longnose
9 years ago

Oops—that’s only batted outs. It doesn’t include outs on the bases, DPs, or Css.

Jason Linden
9 years ago

Hey guys, sorry I missed the Ankiel thing. Obviously, that should have been included.

Detroit Michael
9 years ago

Three batters – John Buck, Justin Upton and Adam Dunn – are on pace to cract the top 10 in HR/H ratio.  Dunn’s 2012 season is in the top 10 now, so he’s got the all or nothing approach to make that list again. 

All time leader is Bonds’ 73 HR season at 46.8%, which is in no danger of falling.

Greg Simons
9 years ago

Jim – the steaks/steals typo has been fixed.

9 years ago

Greg, I wasn’t expecting a typo fix, I thought the Freudian slip was great.  Especially since I’m sitting here in cold Colorado waiting to start grilling steaks and seeing baseball in shirt sleeves.  May get to a cold rainy 50 degrees tomorrow to see the Yankees’ second team.  Hope they are wrong about the weather, but they are never wrong about bad weather, just the good weather.

Ian R.
9 years ago

Small sample, of course, but recently Adam Dunn has gotten back to playing like Adam Dunn. In his last 11 games (47 PA), he’s hitting .225/.340/.475 with three homers, six walks and 13 strikeouts.

I’m definitely rooting for him to keep it up.

Detroit Michael
9 years ago

You wrote:  “By the way, in 1904, Cy Young finished the season with 0.687 walks per nine innings. That’s the modern record.”  No, it’s not.  Assuming we limit this to pitchers who qualify for the ERA title, the recordholder with 0.43 walks per nine innings is Carlos Silva in 2005.

More tangentially, when I was a boy, I inferred that the convention for a “modern” baseball record was from 1901 onward.  One wonders whether we ought to update that.  In a non-technical sense, Cy Young is not a modern pitcher.  I tend to think of modern now as post-WWII.

Greg Simons
9 years ago

Jim – I had spotted it earlier and meant to fix it but forgot.  Then I read something that said “muse” instead of “must,” and I was reminded.  It is a funny mix-up, or else Jason has some inside information that Pierre is not a vegetarian.

9 years ago

In 1920, Babe Adams of the Pirates also bettered Young’s season-low walk rate, when he walked just 18 batters in 263 innings (0.616 per 9ip).

That remains the best mark, minimum 200 ip.

No ma'am we're musicians
9 years ago

This is always a great read, and one of few regular events that I actually remember to follow.  Some of the simplest of stats, yet it makes you think…

But I wonder what is the big deal about a strikeout.  Batters make plenty of outs during a year, why is one type singled out above the rest?  Why is a first pitch dribbler hit inside the first baseline directly to the firstbaseman a better out than having a 20 pitch at bat that finally ends in a strikeout?

As another Cobb showed today, a record setting number of strikeouts doesn’t keep you in the game or make you the ‘winner’.