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Stats corner: Marte, Pirates getting plunked at record pace

| Saturday, May 11, 2013, 8:47 p.m.

When Pirates manager Clint Hurdle penciled Starling Marte's name into the leadoff spot, some questioned whether the speedy-but-free-swinging left fielder would get on base often enough to set the table for the lineup's big boppers.

Marte has quashed those concerns, posting the fourth-highest on-base percentage (.399) in the majors among regular lead-off batters through Friday's games.

While Marte is hitting for both average and power, he's also taking plenty of hits. He has been plunked by eight pitches already in 2013, trailing only human baseball magnet Shin-Soo Choo among MLB hitters.

HBP leaders, 2013

Batter Team HBP

Shin-Soo Choo Reds 11

Starling Marte Pirates 8

Jon Jay Cardinals 5

Josh Willingham Twins 5

Trevor Plouffe Twins 4

Russell Martin Pirates 4

Lorenzo Cain Royals 4

Daniel Nava Red Sox 4

Kendrys Morales Mariners 4

Trevor Plouffe Twins 4

Source: Baseball-Reference.com

Record-setting pace

If Marte keeps accumulating bruises at this pace, he will finish the season with about 37 hit by pitches. That would make him the Pirates' single-season plunk king, surpassing the likes of Jason Kendall (31 in both 1997 and 1998) and Craig Wilson (30 in 2004).

Marte has company in reaching first base the hard way, as the Pirates have been bruised a major league-high 21 times. In fact, the 2013 Pirates could set a franchise record for the fewest number of plate appearances between beanings. The Pirates are getting hit every 61 times they come to the plate compared to the MLB average of 114 plate appearances between bean balls.

Fewest PAs between HBP in Pirates history

Year PA per HBP

2013 61

2004 64

1998 67

1997 67

2006 70

David Golebiewski is a freelance writer.

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