Keep’em Dancing

Jim Kaat - Twins pitcher from 1961 - 1973

June 25, 2011 – To be a good pitcher they say, you need to keep the hitters off balance and you can’t let the hitters get comfortable at the plate. If you look at the Twins pitching history, you will see that some of the Twins top pitchers were not afraid to plunk a hitter now and then. I can’t tell you for sure if these pitchers threw at batters on purpose or if they just felt that they owned the plate and they were not afraid to pitch inside, but either way, the pitchers on this list hit their share of batters and a number of these pitchers pitched in the days when they themselves had to step up to the plate to hit. Jim Kaat hit the most batters when he pitched for the Twins, hitting 89 batters (plus 7 more as a Washington Senator before he became a Minnesota Twin) but he also pitched just under 3,000 innings and he averaged a hit batter once every 33.25 innings. Mike Smithson, who certainly was not afraid to pitch inside hit 46 batters in his time with the Twins and he did this in just 816 innings so he hit a batter every 17.74 innings, far and away the most hit batters per innings pitched. Let’s take a look at the Twins top ten.

  Name Batters hit Innings Innings per hit batter
1 Jim Kaat 89 2,959 33.25
2 Bert Blyleven 80 2,566 32.08
3 Brad Radke 62 2,451 39.53
4 Jim Perry 50 1,883 37.66
5 Mike Smithson 46 816 17.74
6 Kyle Lohse 44 908 20.64
7 Scott Erickson 42 979 23.31
8 Dave Boswell 34 1,036 30.47
9 Frank Viola 29 1,772 61.10
10 Johan Santana 27 1,308 48.44

Now let’s take a look at the Twins current starters and see how they compare.

  Name Batters hit Innings Innings per hit batter
1 Scott Baker 25 915 36.60
2 Francisco Liriano 20 617 30.85
3 Nick Blackburn 17 668 39.29
4 Carl Pavano 12 397 33.08
5 Brian Duensing 6 289 48.17

 

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