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Monday, August 26, 2013

Who's on first? Ichiro Suzuki, a Singles King.

Upon completing a plate appearance (PA) Ichiro Suzuki is no further than first base a high percentage of the time: 30.45%.  This excludes events in which he creates an out such as hitting into a force play.  It includes singles (1B), bases on balls (BB) and hit by pitch (HBP).  Click this link to view the data.

By contrast let's look at two of his teammates, one a home run hitter, one not.  All three players have spent their entire careers in the American Conference with the designated hitter rule.

Derek Jeter actually stops at first base in a slightly higher percentage of PA than Suzuki: 30.77%.

Alex Rodriguez stops at first base in 27.75% of PA.

Those differences do seem great but consider their home run rates:
NameABHRAB/HR
Suzuki8,52511077.50
Jeter10,57025641.29
Rodriguez9,72864914.99

Now their on base and slugging averages:
NameOBASLG
Suzuki0.3620.416
Jeter0.3810.477
Rodriguez0.3840.559

Suzuki actually has by far the lowest OBA of the three AND, by a huge margin, the lowest HR rate, only one every 77.5 at bats (AB).  This is reflected in his lower SLG.

Here are the percent of PA in which they stop at a base:


NameFirstSecondThirdHome
Suzuki30.45%3.50%0.90%1.20%
Jeter30.77%4.40%0.55%2.15%
Rodriguez27.75%4.57%0.27%5.78%

Percent of Hits per hit type (example: singles/Hits) and percent of PA resulting in BB:
Name1B2B3BHRBB
Suzuki81.10%11.82%3.05%4.04%5.86%
Jeter74.46%15.84%1.96%7.74%8.74%
Rodriguez59.13%17.61%1.03%22.23%10.89%


81% of Suzuki's hits are singles and only 11.8% are doubles, which contributes to his low SLG.  While Suzuki's triple rate (.9%) is the best of the three, triples account for only 3% of his Hits.

For players leading the league/conference in singles click this link.

Suzuki led the American Conference in singles in:
2001
2002
2003
2004
2005
2006
2007
2008
2009
2010.

Every season for each of ten consecutive seasons.  Jeter led in 1997, 1998, 2012.

Nellie Fox led seven consecutive seasons:
1954
1955
1956
1957
1958
1959
1960.

I do not see any batter who comes close to matching the singleness of Ichiro Suzuki.  Here are the top ten in singles in a season:

Other than Suzuki at numbers 1, 3, 6, 10, the only batters in the top ten since the 1800s are Lloyd Waner (2) and Wade Boggs (9).  2004 is the season in which Suzuki broke the record of George Sisler for most hits in a season.  Suzuki also broke the record for most singles that same season: 85.9% of his 262 Hits in 2004 were singles.  In 1920 Sisler had 171 singles out of 257 hits: 66.5%.

For a minimum 120 hits: 415 player seasons had singles that were at least 85% of the players's hits.  Suzuki at 85.9% in 2004 was number 316 of the 415 seasons.  Roy Thomas had the ranks 1, 3, 11, 18, 20.  His tops was in 1900: 95.%; 168 hits, 161 singles, 4 doubles, 3 triples.  Thomas had career OBA .413, SLG .333 OPS+ 124.  Thomas is the all time singles king but Suzuki is the singles king of recent decades.

Since 1980 Suzuki's 2004 season ranks number 43.  Two seasons exceeded 90%: Steve Sax 1985 (90.4%) and Otis Nixon 1998 (90.2%).

Pete Rose topped out on singles with 181 in 1973 tied at number 18: 78.7% of his hits that season were singles.

Ty Cobb topped out on singles with 169 in 1911 tied at number 62: 68.2% of his hits that season were singles.

Rose led in singles: 1973 (181), 1979, 1981.

Cobb led in singles: 1907, 1909, 1911 (169), 1912, 1915, 1917.

Suzuki may not be the Hit King but he certainly is a Singles King.

1 comment:

Kenneth Matinale said...

Private message:

"It has also been pointed out that Ichiro's singles are not as valuable as other players', because many are infield singles, which only advance baserunners one base at a time."