After working on the Fred Lewis post some, I got to thinking about how the Giants ranked over the last 10 years as a team in BB%. BB% is simply BB/PA or how many times per plate appearance a batter draws a walk. League average for hitters has tended to be between 8-9% in recent times. I also subtracted Barry Bonds’ BB% contributions from the overall team just for fun and to see how much he was impacting the overall BB% line.
- You can see that the league average for BB% was up between 1999-2000, posting rates of 9%+. But, I had forgotten of how well the Giants actually walked, as a team, at one point that wasn’t all that long ago. From 1998-2000, even if you subtracted Bonds’ BB% from the team, the Giants still walked at an above-average rate. In 1998 Bill Mueller posted a line of: .294/.383/.395 with a 12.7 BB%. Taking 1998 for example, the Giants also had players like Darryl Hamilton (13.5%) and Stan Javier (13.2%) putting up excellent BB%’s.
- Thinking of Bill Mueller, he was always one of my favorite Giants that was, I think, underrated to an extent. He was a average-ish defender (check out some of his TZ numbers) at third base that knew how to take a walk. We often hear that Conor Gillespie is compared to Mueller because they’re similar players in skill-set, and if Conor can turn into Bill Mueller, we’d all be very lucky.
- You can see that as Bonds really started to peak in his career and go crazy, he was the reason that the Giants had an above-average BB%. Check out the huge spike in the 2004 BB%. I’m guilty of this all the time, but as great as Bonds was, when I look at his numbers today sometimes I’m still in awe of what he did at the plate. For example: in ’04 he hit .362/.609/.812. That’s an OBP of six hundred and nine! Though, to be fair that includes the 120 times in ’04 that Bonds was intentionally walked. He was walked intentionally twice as much as any hitter on the 2008 Giants that walked the old fashioned way. The team high for walks in ’08 was 59 walks by Randy Winn. Anyways, back to his amazing ’04, that season Bonds had a BB% (which remember, doesn’t include his IBB’s) of 37.6%. By standard walk alone, Bonds walked in more than 1/3 of his plate appearances.
- When Bonds missed 99% of the 2005 season, the team BB% quickly came crashing down. It’s the second biggest difference between the league BB% and the team BB% on our plot. The Giants team in ’05 was -1.36% under the league average for BB%. The biggest difference between league and team BB% was for the ’08 season, the Giants were -1.46% under the league average for walks by plate appearance.
- I didn’t want to this to be a purely Barry Bonds post, but it’s kind of turned out that way. It’s hard not to include him in any discussion that deals with the Giants and the base on balls.
- The 2008 team just didn’t walk much. As previously mentioned, Randy Winn drew the most walks but the highest BB% of the ’08 team for full-time players goes to Fred Lewis with a 9.8 BB%. The lowest goes to Bengie Molina and his 3.5 BB%.
Comment Starter: Prediction time. True or False, in 2009 the Giants will post a league average team BB%.