Beanball: Highest Hit Batters-To-Walk Ratios In Baseball

Ball8Stats

A.J. Burnett hit the second most batters (16) in baseball in 2014, while also leading the league walks (96). In other words, Burnett was wild. Very wild.

But what about pitchers who issue few walks but still manage to hit a relatively high number of batters?

In 2014, six pitchers who qualified for the ERA title hit at least a quarter as many batters at they walked. In other words, they hit at least one batter for every four that they walked – which, as you’ll see below, is relatively tame compared to the beanballiest seasons in MLB history.

Rk Player HBP BB Year Age Tm G GS CG SHO W L IP H ERA FIP
1 Jeremy Guthrie 14 49 2014 35 KCR 32 32 1 0 13 11 202.2 215 4.13 4.32
2 Bud Norris 14 52 2014 29 BAL 28 28 0 0 15 8 165.1 149 3.65 4.22
3 Mike Leake 13 50 2014 26 CIN 33 33 0 0 11 13 214.1 217 3.70 3.88
4 Chris Sale 11 39 2014 25 CHW 26 26 2 0 12 4 174.0 129 2.17 2.57
5 Doug Fister 7 24 2014 30 WSN 25 25 1 1 16 6 164.0 153 2.41 3.93
6 Phil Hughes 5 16 2014 28 MIN 32 32 1 0 16 10 209.2 221 3.52 2.65

Phil Hughes had the highest HBP/BB ratio at 0.31, followed by Jeremy Guthrie and Doug Fister‘s 0.29. For Guthrie and Bud Norris, the 14 hit batters tied them for first in the American League – and fifth overall in baseball.

This is far from the highest in baseball history, however. Since 1901, nine players have a HBP/BB ratio of 0.40 or higher in a season (for every five batters they walked, they hit at least two):

Rk Player HBP BB Year Age Tm G GS CG SHO W L IP H ERA FIP
1 Bronson Arroyo 20 47 2004 27 BOS 32 29 0 0 10 9 178.2 171 4.03 3.82
2 Dave Bush 18 38 2006 26 MIL 34 32 3 2 12 11 210.0 201 4.41 3.98
3 Jeff Weaver 18 43 2005 28 LAD 34 34 3 2 14 11 224.0 220 4.22 4.47
4 Kevin Brown 16 33 1996 31 FLA 32 32 5 3 17 11 233.0 187 1.89 2.88
5 Pedro Martinez 14 32 2000 28 BOS 29 29 7 4 18 6 217.0 128 1.74 2.17
6 Barney Wolfe 13 26 1904 28 TOT 24 19 15 2 6 13 160.1 162 3.26 2.58
7 Danny Darwin 12 27 1996 40 TOT 34 25 0 0 10 11 164.2 160 3.77 3.98
8 David Wells 9 21 2005 42 BOS 30 30 2 0 15 7 184.0 220 4.45 3.83
9 Bill Reidy 9 21 1903 29 TOT 20 18 16 1 7 11 147.0 183 3.61 3.06

Barney Wolfe‘s 1904 seasons is the highest HBP/BB ratio on record at 0.50, followed by Kevin Brown‘s 1996 season at 0.48. He finished second in Cy Young voting that year. Dave Bush‘s ratio was 0.47, followed by Danny Darwin and Pedro Martinez at 0.44, respectively.

Finally, here are the players with career HBP/BB ratios of 0.20 or higher – or hitting one batter for every five they walked (minimum 1,000 innings pitched):

Rk Player HBP BB IP From To G GS W L SV H ERA FIP Tm
1 Jeff Weaver 124 516 1838.0 1999 2010 355 274 104 119 2 1997 4.71 4.41 DET-NYY-LAD-STL-LAA-SEA
2 Jack Warhop 114 400 1412.2 1908 1915 221 150 69 92 7 1366 3.12 3.19 NYY
3 Dave Bush 80 296 1144.1 2004 2013 211 187 56 69 0 1199 4.73 4.69 TOR-MIL-TEX
4 Jesse Tannehill 78 280 1705.2 1901 1911 220 202 118 74 2 1639 2.56 2.59 PIT-NYY-BOS-WSH-CIN
5 Johnny Cueto 75 364 1208.1 2008 2014 194 194 85 57 0 1074 3.27 3.87 CIN
6 Fred Glade 48 237 1072.2 1902 1908 132 126 52 68 2 950 2.62 2.45 CHC-SLB-NYY

Jack Warhop has the highest HBP/BB ratio in baseball history at 0.29, followed by Jesse Tannehill (0.28), Bush (0.27), Jeff Weaver (0.24), Johnny Cueto (0.21) and Fred Glade (0.20).

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