>Time for another installment of my post-season accolades, but I must first note that strangely enough, no players have contacted me to accept their awards.
These Dunndies go to the players who led the Majors in categories related to swinging the bat. Because no one kept track of this data for most of the 20th century, I can’t dig up a forgotten player and name the award after him, so the winners from this year will have the future award named after them.
The first award goes to the players with the highest contact rate in the Major Leagues. These are the players who swung-and-missed at the fewest percentage of pitches.
The 2009 “Larco Scutillo” award goes to: Marco Scutaro, Blue Jays, and Luis Castillo, Mets, with a 93.3% contact rate.
These two middle infielders managed to tie for the award, so I was forced to create an awkward portmanteau of their names for the award. I assume that Mr. Larco Scutillo, should he actually exist, would likely hail from Who-ville.
Anyway, while Castillo was slightly better at making contact with pitches in the zone, Scutaro was better at making contact with pitches outside the zone. Scutaro swung at more pitches overall (34.5% to 31.3%), but both players swung at bad pitches at about an equal rate, 12.3% for Scutaro to 12.2% for Castillo.
An interesting thing about contact percentages is that they indicate nothing about a player’s true hitting ability, but possibly hint to a player being a middle infielder. Dustin Pedroia, Robinson Cano, and Todd Helton join Larco Scutillo in the top 12, but so do David Eckstein and (the worst everyday player ever) Yuniesky Betancourt.
Next up, the 2009 Mark Reynolds award, for exceptional work in the field of swinging-and-missing.
The 2009 Mark Reynolds award goes to: Mark Reynolds, Diamondbacks.
When Mark Reynold’s brain issued the “swing” command in 2009, his hands instead executed the “miss” action 37.8% of the time. When he did make contact, he did so HARD, as the ball jumped out of the park 44 times. So apparently all swinging paid off in a big way whenever he didn’t miss. Still, he missed a lot, striking out a Major League record 223 times. Here’s a list of all the players that have struck out 200 or more times in a single season:
2009 Mark Reynolds: 223
2008 Mark Reynolds: 204
Mark Reynolds: Making history since 2008.
The other leaders in the expanding field of swinging and missing were also sluggers. Carlos Pena, Ryan Howard, Jason Bay, and Adam Dunn were all among the top ten whiffers. If you swing and miss often, you have to be sure that when you do get a hold of one, you make it count.
More Dunndies to come . . .