Friday, August 21, 2009

The Top Ten List: The Top Ten Pinch Hitters List

By Will-He-M

I found this list to be quite interesting, when compiling it. For instance, did you know that Drew Hansen, one of the best pinch hitters of all time, was only a career .233 hitter as a PH?

I didn't use too many requirements for this list. I just took whoever was successful, and used regularly as a PH. I used a stat called Pinch Hit Leverage Index (PH-LEV), which purports to judge the importance or context of each pinch hit attempt or plate appearance. A player who scores above 1.0 indicates that he faces, on average, higher pressure situations than the league average. Anything below 1.0 indicates a lower-than-league-average situation, pressure-wise.

Please note the format difference with this list. I'm not using a player's complete career numbers, rather his career pinch hitting line.

10. Stephen "Steve" Braun (Minnesota Twins, Seattle Mariners, Kansas City Royals, Toronto Blue Jays, St. Louis Cardinals 1971-1985)
393 AB, 113 H, 5 HR, 51 RBI, .288 AVG, 1.63 PH-LEV

World Series Champion (1982)
Finished 6th in American League in Walks with 80 (1977)
2x Finished 8th in American League in OBP with .389, .384 (1975, 1976)
Finished 12th in career Pinch Hits (113)

9. John Vander Wal (Montreal Expos, Colorado Rockies, San Diego Padres, Pittsburgh Pirates, San Francisco Giants, New York Yankees, Milwaukee Brewers, Cincinnati Reds 1991-2004)
528 AB, 129 H, 17 HR, 64 RBI, .244 AVG, 1.36 PH-LEV

Holds MLB record for Pinch Hits in a season with 28 (1995)
Only added 7 Hits as a starter (1995)
Finished 7th in career Pinch Hits (129)

8. Jose Morales (Oakland Athletics, Montreal Expos, Minnesota Twins, Baltimore Orioles, Los Angeles Dodgers 1973-1984)
352 AB, 123 H, 10 HR, 59 RBI, .349 AVG, 1.96 PH-LEV

Finished 8th in career Pinch Hits (123)
Retired as 9th oldest player in National League (39)
Finished 0-for-2 in post-season

7. Mark Sweeney (St. Louis Cardinals, San Diego Padres, Cincinnati Reds, Milwaukee Brewers, Colorado Rockies, San Francisco Giants, Los Angeles Dodgers 1995-2008)
679 AB, 175 H, 15 HR, 75 RBI, .258 AVG, 1.27 PH-LEV

Finished 2nd in career Pinch Hits (175)

6. Rusty "Le Grand Orange" Staub (Houston Astros, Montreal Expos, New York Mets, Detroit Tigers, Texas Rangers 1963-1985)
356 AB, 100 H, 8 HR, 71 RBI, .281 AVG, 1.93 PH-LEV

Holds MLB record for consecutive Pinch Hits with 8 (1983)
Holds share of MLB record for Pinch Hit RBI in a season with 25 (1983)
6x All-Star (1967-1971, 1976)
Finished 18th in career Pinch Hits (100)
Led National League in Doubles with 44 (1967)

5. Willie "Stretch" McCovey (San Francisco Giants, San Diego Padres, Oakland Athletics 1959-1980)
257 AB, 67 H, 16 HR, 52 RBI, .261 AVG, 2.14 PH-LEV

Holds MLB record for career Pinch Hit Grand Slams (3)
2x National League Rookie of the Year Award winner (1959)
TSN Player of the Year Award winner (1969)
National League MVP (1969)
3x National League Home Run Crown winner (1963, 1968, 1969)
2x National League RBI Crown winner (1968, 1969)
All-Star Game MVP (1969)
6x All-Star (1963, 1966, 1968-1971)
Hall of Fame (1986)

4. Gerald "Jerry" Lynch (Pittsburgh Pirates, Cincinnati Reds 1954-1966)
414 AB, 116 H, 18 HR, 64 RBI, .281 AVG, 1.69 PH-LEV

Holds share of MLB record for Pinch Hit RBI in a season with 25 (1961)
Finished 10th in career Pinch Hits (116)
Finished 22nd in National League MVP voting (1961)
Traded straight-up for Bob Skinner (1963)

3. Forrest "Smoky" Burgess (Chicago Cubs, Philadelphia Phillies, Cincinnati Redlegs, Pittsburgh Pirates, Chicago White Sox 1949-1967)
418 AB, 145 H, 15 HR, 94 RBI, .347 AVG, 2.25 PH-LEV

World Series Champion (1960)
6x All-Star (1954, 1955, 1959-1961, 1964)
Finished 4th in career Pinch Hits (145)
Finished 6th in National League Batting with .368 (1954)

2. Manuel "Manny" Mota (San Francisco Giants, Pittsburgh Pirates, Montreal Expos, Los Angeles Dodgers 1963-1982)
494 AB, 150 H, 4 HR, 96 RBI, .304 AVG, 2.11 PH-LEV

All-Star (1973)
Finished 3rd in career Pinch Hits (150)
Retired as oldest player in MLB (44)

1. Leonard "Lenny" Harris (Cincinnati Reds, Los Angeles Dodgers, New York Mets, Colorado Rockies, Arizona Diamondbacks, Milwaukee Brewers, Chicago Cubs, Florida Marlins 1988-2005)
804 AB, 212 H, 5 HR, 75 RBI, .264 AVG, 1.28 PH-LEV

Holds MLB record for career Pinch Hits (150)
Holds MLB record for career Pinch Hit At-Bats (804)
Holds MLB record for Pinch Hit At-Bats in a season with 83 (2001)
Holds MLB record for Pinch Hit Games Played in a season with 95 (2001)

That was the eleventh list in the series. To see the Top Ten installments of the baseball Top Ten Lists, click here:

First Basemen
Second Basemen
Third Basemen
Left Fielders
Center Fielders
Right Fielders
Designated Hitters
Utility Men

1 comment:

  1. Elmer Valo had 90 pinch hits and 90 walks as a pinch hitter