Stat of the day: Infield hits & bunt hits

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Here are the infield hit leaders, listed along with their number of bunt hits.
Numbers taken from Fangraphs.com
1. Ichiro Suzuki – 49 – 6
2. Michael Bourn – 29 – 17
3. Carl Crawford – 27 – 0
3. Shane Victorino – 27 – 0
5. Cristian Guzman – 26 – 1
6. Ryan Braun – 25 – 0
6. Jacoby Ellsbury – 25 – 9
6. Scott Podsednik – 25 – 5
9. Everth Cabrera – 23 – 13
9. Matt Kemp – 23 – 3
And here’s bunt hits, along with each player’s number of infield hits:
1. Erick Aybar – 18 – 15
2. Emilio Bonifacio – 17 – 18
2. Michael Bourn – 17 – 29
4. Willy Taveras – 15 – 13
5. Nyjer Morgan – 14 – 15
6. Everth Cabrera – 13 – 23
6. Rafael Furcal – 13 – 19
8. Denard Span – 10 – 19
9. Luis Castillo – 9 – 18
9. Jacoby Ellsbury – 9 – 25
9. Chone Figgins – 9 – 13
– Ichiro does rather stand out up there, doesn’t he? But I wonder if he wouldn’t be even better if he attempted a few more bunts. He’s 6-for-10 reaching base when he gets a bunt down this year, and he’s over 50 percent for his career.
But, then, I also wonder if he wouldn’t be worse off for it. Ichiro may just be the one hitter in baseball who doesn’t benefit from having the infield come in against him. His ability to beat out seemingly routine grounders is legendary. He probably doesn’t want the shortstop and second baseman any further in than they already are.
– Ichiro aside, the great “bunt for hitters” are generally in the 40s as far as reaching first when they get a bunt down. Cabrera (50), Bourn (47) and Ellsbury (47) are the best of the guys on the leaderboard. Castillo is the low man at 28 percent.
Also in the 50 percent club are Colby Rasmus (7-for-14) and B.J. Upton (6-for-12). Troy Tulowitzki and Brian Roberts are both 4-for-5. Bunting against the shift, Carlos Pena is 5-for-8 and Jack Cust is 3-for-3. Kemp is also 3-for-3.
– Back to infield hits, here’s the bottom of the leaderboard:
1. Brian McCann – 2
1. Bengie Molina – 2
1. Daniel Murphy – 2
4. Jermaine Dye – 3
4. Brad Hawpe – 3
4. Paul Konerko – 3
4. Brad Hawpe – 3
4. Andy LaRoche – 3
4. Carlos Pena – 3

Mike Trout has a torn thumb ligament, could require surgery

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Yesterday Mike Trout left the Marlins-Angels game after hurting his thumb while sliding head first into second base. After the game the Angels talked about it as if it were just a sprain. Trout had an MRI today, however, and the diagnosis is far worse: he has a torn thumb ligament.

While a treatment option has not yet been chosen, surgery is a possibility. A certainty is that he’ll miss, at the very least, several weeks of play. He has been placed on the disabled list for the first time in his career.

Trout, the reigning AL MVP and, without question, the best player in baseball, is batting .337/.461/.742 with 16 home runs, 36 RBI, 36 runs scored, and 10 stolen bases in 206 plate appearances this season. Even with the one of the weaker supporting casts in baseball, Trout had the Angels near .500 and in at least arguable contention in the AL West.

Without him, they are likely sunk. Without him, baseball is worse off.

Basebrawl! Harper, Strickland punch away, Nats-Giants fight

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SAN FRANCISCO — Nationals slugger Bryce Harper and San Francisco reliever Hunter Strickland both landed punches to the head during a wild brawl that erupted Monday after a hit by pitch.

Harper was hit in the right hip by Strickland’s 98 mph fastball in the eighth inning with Washington ahead 2-0.

Harper pointed the bat toward Strickland, charged the mound and fired his batting helmet wide of the pitcher. They started to swing away and they each connected as the benches and bullpens emptied.

At least two Giants players forcefully dragged Strickland from the middle of the brawl all the way into the dugout. Harper and Strickland were both ejected.

In the 2014 NL Division Series, Harper hit two home runs off Strickland. After the star’s second shot, in Game 4, he stared at Strickland as he rounded the bases.