Would you be up to it in a Major League game if you knew there was a 10% chance that you were about to be hit by one of the pitches? Maybe you would put your foot in the box and stick around and hope the pitcher had enough control. this time, but every time that pitcher started winding up, wouldn’t it be racing in your mind, “Where is this one going to go?” Am I about to be punched in the face? Am I too worried about being hit by that next pitch to make me jump a fastball? What if he throws a cursor that starts up and looks like it wants to hit me, then enters the strike zone? ”
All the right questions! (That you would have milliseconds to think it over.) Luckily for Major League-level hitters, pitchers have developed enough control that they don’t have to worry about being hit by a pitch so often… n ‘is this not ?
Meet Austin adams, a reliever for the San Diego Padres. He has a solid two-throw (fastball-slider) arsenal with a 4.17 ERA, 1.23 WHIP, 13.0 K by nine, and … 24 HIT BATSMEN?!?!
Yes, in 49.2 innings pitched in 2021, Austin Adams hit 24 batters. He’s faced a total of 230 batters, and in more than one in ten cases a batter gets a first pass to go with a bruise on his lower back. This unfounded lack of control is new to Adams. Prior to 2021, Adams pitched 38 innings for the Nationals and Mariners and had only touched two batsmen. Did anything change in the offseason, or is it just a recreation of that famous Bull Durham scene where Kevin Costner’s character Crash Davis tells Robbins character LaLoosh to throw the next throw on the mascot in order to throw the batters.
If Adams intentionally hits any of these hitters, he’s doing it in the worst possible way. It launches its cursor, which has a average speed 86.9 mph, 87.4 percent of the time. If you’re going to hit someone and you think so, you fire up the heater. When you look back at some of these RAPs, none of them seem intentional. I mean, for god’s sake, Adams took the plunge OF THEM hitters while the bases were loaded! These are two points given to the opposition on a piecemeal basis – one against the Phillies on August 21 and one against the Dodgers on September 12. The one against the Dodgers was his 23rd pitching hit of the season, tying it with Howard Ehmke for the highest number of RAPs in a single season. Ehmke hit 23 batters as a member of the Detroit Tigers… in 1922. It had been almost 100 years since someone had given out so many free passes via plunk. Not to mention, Ehmke hit his 23 batters in 279.2 innings, while Adams did it in just under 50. If you listen to the clip of Adams hitting Mookie Betts to lead in a race, the announcers don’t. not even care that a race was marked. They just can’t believe Adams tied the record.
Of course, Adams has since broken the record – winning his 24th RAP last night against the cardinals.
It is clear that Adams’s ability to smoke opposing hitters is unmatched! Even in an age when speed is king and control comes second, Adams stands head and shoulders above his comrades. Adams hits opposing hitters at a rate of 10.43%. Of the next four highest rates in a single season, three have occurred in the past 15 years: 2021 Dillon maples (5.76%), 2013 Johnny Hellweg (4.94%) and 2007 Sean Blanc (4.85 percent). However, neither of these guys pitched more than 36 innings. Adams threw 50, and that batting rate just keeps going up.
Pedro Martinez, who was famous for fending off batters, has never pitched more than 16 batters in a season, and that in 217 innings. Bob Gibson, famously the baddest pitcher who ever lived, has never hit more than 13.
The question now is, “Is Adams’ habit of plunking pasta worth everything he brings to the table?” For the most part, I would say yes. In 50 innings, the man has not awarded a home run. Home runs happen all the time these days, and this guy didn’t allow one! It’s impressive. If you’re wondering why Padres manager Jayce Tingler would even love the idea of putting someone as volatile as Adams on the mound with bases loaded, look no further than strikeout rate. from Adams. If you’re trying to get out of a round with minimal damage Adams is a huge bet, but the payoff is huge. Let’s say there are no outs and the databases are loaded. With Adams’s 13.0 strikeouts by rate of nine, it’s more than likely Adams can send the first guy back to the bench via the K, and at this point all your team needs is a double. game to get out of the round. It’s easier said than done, but the plan is there. Adams is much more likely to hit two hitters in a row than Adams to hit in a run by hitting the man at home plate.
If Adams can get his control under … control (I couldn’t think of a better way to put it), he obviously has the tools to be a top reliever in Major League Baseball. His slider is missing bats at a 34.7% clip, and the xwOBA against that ground is only 0.306 in 2021. However, do we want Adams to understand his control? Of course, we want to protect the hitters. This should be of the utmost concern. However, there is something oddly beautiful about what Adams does. We’ve never seen someone at the top of baseball with so little control as Adams. If he doesn’t know where the ball is going, how are hitters supposed to know? The number one job of a pitcher is to confuse the batter, and Adams did a remarkable job in that regard.
Maybe we need to keep Adams for science, because something like that should never happen, and either of the two things will happen in a few years. Either more pitchers are called up with great setbacks but a lack of control leading to more hitters, or Adams’ 24 hitters will never spawn again. This is my assumption and I stand by it.