Stats Corner: Pirates' Morton plunking batters at historic rate
On a pitching staff that frequently bruises opposing batters, Charlie Morton inflicts the most pain.
Morton leads the majors in hit by pitches after finishing second during a partial 2013 season, plunking far more hitters (13) than second-place Bud Norris and Scott Feldman (eight apiece). Overall, the Pirates pace the big leagues in HBPs (37 entering Saturday) for a second consecutive year.
Morton's stuff is leaving imprints on hitters like no other Pirate during the Expansion Era (1961-present). The right-hander has thrown a bean ball to about every 47th batter that he has faced during his Pirates career. That's the highest rate among any Expansion-Era pitcher facing at least 2,500 hitters with the Pirates and nearly twice as often as the next hurler on the list, Kip Wells.
Putting a hurt on 'em
Pitcher Years BF per HBP
Charlie Morton 2009-14 46.5
Kip Wells 2002-06 91.6
Paul Maholm 2005-11 93.2
Josh Fogg 2002-05 95.8
Bruce Kison 1971-79 109.4
Morton has been dramatically more HBP-prone since returning from Tommy John surgery last June. He has nicked a batter every 28 plate appearances post-Tommy John compared to every 73.6 plate appearances before the procedure. Overall, MLB pitchers have hit a batter every 118 plate appearances since 2013.
Including his lone season with the Atlanta Braves in 2008, Morton has plunked a batter every 50.8 plate appearances during his MLB career. That's the seventh-highest HBP rate for any Expansion-Era pitcher facing at least 2,500 batters, behind only Jack Hamilton (36.8), Rolando Arrojo (45.4), Byung-Hyun Kim (46.1), Carlos Marmol (49.4), Brian Fuentes (50.4) and Victor Zambrano (50.6).
David Golebiewski is a freelance writer.
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