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Friday, August 17, 2018

Data shows Jose Urena hit Ronald Acuna intentionally: modest BB, high HBP.

Braves rookie Ronald Acuna had hit leadoff homers in three consecutive games against the Marlins, then was Hit By Pitch on the first pitch thrown by Marlins starting pitcher Jose Urena in the first inning of the fourth game of the series, which the Braves swept.

Acuna had also homered in five consecutive games, including two in the previous game, and in 7 of the previous 8 games. On the Met telecast that night after the incident had become known, former Met Keith Hernandez stated that Acuna had to be hit.

After Braves and Marlins benches and bullpens cleared for a brawl, the umpires eventually ejected Urena for intentionally hitting Acuna. The video makes it look intentional but look at the data for this season.

It's been my contention for several years that pitchers with relatively few Bases on Ball (BB) but high HBP are hitting batters, not because they are wild, but because they want to hit batters.

For 2018, Qualified for league ERA title, sorted by smallest Bases On Balls per 9 IP from baseball-reference.com

Best control among 74 qualifying pitchers:
RkPlayerBB9HBPWPBBIPYearAgeTmLgGGSCGSHOGFWLW-L%SVHRERSOERAFIPK%BB%ERA+BAbipHRBFAB2B3BIBBSHSFGDPSBCSPOBKBAOBPSLGOPSOPS+PitStr
1Corey Kluber1.182222168.0201832CLEAL2525210156.714013356501602.683.3124.8%3.4%166.25521646619222012130600.215.243.359.6025824211618
2Bartolo Colon1.533223135.1201845TEXAL2422101710.41201488078755.195.1213.2%4.0%91.2762657053629911751110.276.306.509.81510920281349
3Justin Verlander1.537228164.1201835HOUAL2626110118.579012249462172.522.9833.8%4.4%157.2702364360324401423322.202.245.370.6147026261796
4Miles Mikolas1.555226151.1201829STLNL2424110123.800013352481022.853.3716.9%4.3%139.26811605564144464152101.236.274.333.6077022271533
5Marco Gonzales1.776128142.2201826SEAAL2424100128.600014864621253.913.5821.3%4.8%102.32016588549341014223460.270.310.423.73310422051495
6Carlos Carrasco1.786427136.1201831CLEAL2322200146.700012657531553.503.1428.1%4.9%127.319165515132334231111210.246.290.396.6858120791399
7Zack Greinke1.794031156.0201834ARINL2525000128.600013353521583.003.6425.3%5.0%146.2722262558524212351400.227.270.388.6587424311574
8Mike Leake1.804231154.2201830SEAAL252500087.53301647367963.904.1115.0%4.8%102.29718642604354311221520.272.311.432.74310722841527
9Mike Fiers1.805226130.1201833TOTAL232300086.571013152491003.384.5318.4%4.8%131.2792254551226311167300.256.298.447.7459920171313
10Sean Manaea1.848931151.2201826OAKAL2525110118.579012760581023.444.2116.6%5.1%118.24019613570232131105400.223.272.370.6427822371507

Number 74:
Lucas Giolito 4.92 13 8 72 in 131 innings
Giolito hits many batters because he has bad control, more than one BB every two innings.

Number 30, right in the middle of the pack of 74:
Jose Urena 2.58 11 2 37 in 129 innings
Urena hit batters intentionally.  Only 2 WP. Only one BB every 3.5 innings.

Intent follows the data. Pitchers with at least 10 HBP, sorted by BB9:
RkPlayerBB9HBPWPBBIPYearAgeTmLgGGSCGSHOGFWLW-L%SVHRERSOERAFIPK%BB%ERA+BAbipHRBFAB2B3BIBBSHSFGDPSBCSPOBKBAOBPSLGOPSOPS+PitStr
1Chris Sale2.0311433146.0201829BOSAL2323000124.75009134322191.971.9538.7%5.8%221.2761056651920200346210.175.239.279.5184022921567
2Rick Porcello2.1411236151.2201829BOSAL2525100155.750013873681504.043.7423.6%5.7%108.2851963658226202564011.237.292.387.6788223981587
3Jose Berrios2.5811244153.2201824MINAL2525210118.579012965641573.753.8024.7%6.9%115.2741963557729112194210.224.291.376.6678024031555
4Jose Urena2.5811237129.0201826MIANL2424000312.200012869681044.744.1719.2%6.8%79.30515542487232743124621.263.327.411.73811421251329
5Jakob Junis2.6212537127.0201825KCRAL2222000611.353013073681224.825.0622.1%6.7%88.2942655349619312665300.262.325.470.79511720601334
6Tanner Roark2.8110545144.1201831WSNNL2423001712.368014068661254.124.0120.5%7.4%103.30216610545223346154610.257.322.396.7189323591487
7Cole Hamels3.1314746132.1201834TOTML232300079.438012673621344.224.7523.4%8.0%111.291235725072320041615212.249.326.438.76410021691380
8Felix Hernandez3.3311548129.2201832SEAAL2423000811.421013790811015.625.0717.5%8.3%71.29721576509332034129100.269.343.466.80812521451344
9Jhoulys Chacin3.4110355145.0201830MILNL2626000124.750011865601193.724.1219.6%9.1%112.2571460653024414786400.223.304.362.6668322891430
10Clayton Richard3.4810658150.0201834SDPNL2525000710.412014186831024.984.6316.0%9.1%79.27817638563295152205231.250.330.410.74010922431401
11Charlie Morton3.5412254137.1201834HOUAL2323000123.800010447441712.883.4430.2%9.5%137.28714566496213013103320.210.301.349.6508322001394
12Lucas Giolito4.9213872131.2201823CHWAL242400089.47101269290916.155.7915.4%12.2%67.267215915013121141221200.251.358.447.80512422591352
Urena has the fourth best control in this group. The two at the top are Red Sox. Chris Sale has a BB to HBP ratio of 3 to 1 (33/11). Sale hits batters intentionally. In an August 3 dust up at Fenway Park with the Yankees Sale was the leading antagonist in the Boston dugout when Yankee starter Luis Severino threw up and in to Boston leadoff batter Mookie Betts after Yankee leadoff batter Brett Gardner had just been HBP by ... number two above Rick Porcello.

If the league ever cracks down on these criminals, it might stop. This without getting into a morality play about this ridiculous barbarity. The league is afraid of the players union, half of whom, the ball players, should favor such a crackdown.

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