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Monday, November 14, 2005

Reaching on Error

Awhile back I wrote a post about Willie Wilson and reaching on errors. There I called into question John Miller's recollection that Bill James once wrote that Wilson had reached base on errors 31 times in a season. I doubted the statement since the most I could find in the period 2000-2004 was 16 by Miguel Tejada in 2004.

Well, I've now loaded all 3.7 million records of play by play data for 1970-1992 and ran the following query to see who had reached base the most on errors in individual seasons. The winners with 15 or more ROEs in the period were...


1985 Wally Backman 26
1985 Bob Meacham 26
1987 Wally Backman 22
1986 Willie McGee 21
1977 Bert Campaneris 20
1979 Jack Clark 20
1986 Carney Lansford 20
1984 Al Wiggins 20
1990 Mariano Duncan 20
1975 Dave Cash 19
1974 Lou Brock 18
1973 Pete Rose 18
1975 Thurman Munson 18
1975 Claudell Washington 18
1982 Garry Templeton 18
1985 Dan Gladden 18
1986 Dan Gladden 18
1982 Rafael Ramirez 17
1983 Garry Templeton 17
1975 Ralph Garr 17
1977 Bill Almon 17
1979 Al Cowens 17
1973 Mickey Stanley 17
1971 Cesar Tovar 17
1984 Steve Sax 17
1991 Cal Ripken 17
1970 Mickey Stanley 16
1971 Sandy Alomar 16
1974 Larry Bowa 16
1972 Don Money 16
1978 Larry Bowa 16
1976 Bill Russell 16
1982 Pedro Guerrero 16
1980 Willie Wilson 16
1989 Dan Gladden 16
1985 Mariano Duncan 16
1986 Mariano Duncan 16
1988 Dan Gladden 16
1989 Roberto Alomar 16
1982 Paul Molitor 15
1983 John Castino 15
1983 Tim Wallach 15
1984 Julio Franco 15
1983 Ryne Sandberg 15
1977 Gary Matthews 15
1977 Amos Otis 15
1975 Felix Millan 15
1975 Manny Trillo 15
1973 Tommy Harper 15
1975 Bucky Dent 15
1974 Len Randle 15
1974 Rennie Stennett 15
1970 Aurelio Rodriguez 15
1986 Bob Horner 15
1985 Tom Herr 15
1985 Glenn Hubbard 15
1984 Ryne Sandberg 15
1989 Ricky Jordan 15
1990 Shawon Dunston 15
1990 Joe Carter 15

What I get out of this list is that reaching on errors contains both a component of speed as the list is dominated by speedsters but also an element of luck (Larry Bowa made the list twice after all) mixed with right handed hitters who pulled the ball in the hole (Horner, Carter, Clark, Guerrero). Dan Gladden makes the list four times (85,86,88,89).

You'll also notice that Wilson's best season was 1980 when he reached 16 times on errors.

2 comments:

DM said...

Interesting, Dan. Thanks for this information.

What does the "reach on error" data tell us about whether strikeouts are "bad" outs? On the Nats there's been an issue of how bad Brad Wilkerson's abundance of strikeouts truly are. Some argue that it's just another out and that he avoids double plays by striking out. I've always thought that he also avoids reaching on error, too, but had no data to point to. Any thoughts?

Dan Agonistes said...

That's an interesting question. My gut not having looked at Wilkerson specifically is that the number of double plays he avoids by striking out is probably greater than the number of times he would have reached on errors. One reason is that Wilkerson is a left-handed hitter and they reach less often on errors since bobble on the right side of the infield are more often recovered.

Remember that the list here are the top ROE seasons and a normal year would be more in the range of 3 to 6 or so for most players.