July 31, 2014

WFNY Stats & Info: 2013 Indians’ making history with wild pitches

With four more wild pitches on Sunday, the 2013 Indians pitching staff now has the most wild pitches per game (.595) in MLB history.

Your all-time leaderboard:

1. 2013 Indians: 44 wild pitches, 74 games = .595
2. 2000 Reds: 96 wild pitches, 163 games = .589
T-3. 2012 Rockies: 94 wild pitches, 162 games = .580
T-3. 1986 Rangers: 94 wild pitches, 162 games = .580
5. 1970 Astros: 91 wild pitches, 162 games = .582

The highest rate ever for a previous Indians team was .556 (90 wild pitches) in 1973, which ranks seventh-highest of all-time. Last year’s team finished with only 67 wild pitches, good for a .414 mark.

Carlos Santana has been the biggest culprit, permitting an MLB-leading 31 wild pitches in his 385.0 innings behind the plate (per 9-inning game: .725). It’s so high that in fact, entering Sunday, only one other 2013 catcher with 100 innings has a rate of .600+: Chicago Cubs part-time catcher Dioner Navarro (163.1 innings, 17 wild pitches, .937).

wild pitchers by catcher

Both Cleveland starters and relievers have 22 wild pitches, meaning that the relievers (per 9-inning game: .884) have thrown balls away at a much higher rate. Typically, relievers do have more wild pitches.

On the whole, wild pitches per game have increased rapidly since the early ’60s. Notably, before action on Sunday, 2013′s .359 wild pitches per game ranks second all-time only behind the strike-shortened 1994 season’s mark of .363. Wild pitches are generally highest in April/March, so it’s possible that has affected the rate in the early going.

wild pitches per game

[Related: The Diff: Building the Cleveland Indians’ 2014 rotation]

  • LaundroMat

    There is a distinction to be drawn between wild pitches and passed balls before we call Carlos Santana the “biggest culprit.” It would seem that pitchers are the primary culprits on wild pitches, though I’d grant that a different catcher might’ve prevented some he’s not (but then perhaps he’s prevented some a different catcher would not have).

  • The_Real_Shamrock

    And Santana wasn’t even catching Sunday too! It’s catchy or not catchy in this case.

  • The_Real_Shamrock

    No Santana has been worse then horrible behind home plate. I wonder how much his lack of defense effects his pitch calling. Perhaps the Indians don’t allow him to call pitches. If this were the case I’d feel slightly better about Santana behind home plate but just slightly.

  • Harv 21

    Disagree. Any ball at a catcher’s shoes or lower that gets past him will be ruled a wild pitch. Stopping these pitches is precisely where Santana is awful.

    Because Gomes is getting better I suspect the problem is not Alomar’s coaching. It’s the FO’s determination to get unusual offensive production from the catching position. Santana just looks lazy with his catching fundamentals. Looks like he’d rather hit.

  • Kildawg

    I don’t know if the ratio of wild pitches to passed balls is heavily swinging to the favor of wild pitches because looking at Santana, about half of his wild pitches allowed should have been ruled passed balls.