While not in Carlos Quentin territory Shin-Soo Choo has always been hit by a lot of pitches, averaging 12 per 150 games for his nine-year career.
He (or at least the pitchers plunking him) have taken that to another level this season, as the Reds leadoff man has already been hit by nine pitches in 18 games. Obviously that leads baseball, but it also puts Choo on a record-shattering pace.
Choo sat out one game, so the Reds have actually played 19 times this year. Here are the all-time leaders in times hit by a pitch through 19 team games:
Shin-Soo Choo 2013 9
Chase Utley 2007 7
Prince Fielder 2010 7
Fernando Vina 2001 6
David Eckstein 2008 6
Craig Biggio 1995 6
Eddie Yost 1955 6
Nick Johnson 2002 6
Ron Hunt 1968 6
Bill Freehan 1967 6
Richard Hidalgo 2000 6
It would probably be impossible to keep up that pace without winding up on the disabled list, but so far it has helped Choo post a league-leading .523 on-base percentage. Hughie Jennings holds the singe-season hit by pitch record with 51 in 1896 and Ron Hunt got plunked 50 times in 1971, so Choo still has a long way to go. No player has been hit by 30 or more pitches since Craig Wilson in 2004.
Barring physicals and roster reshuffling, the Yankees and Reds are all but ready to finalize a deal involving right-hander Sonny Gray, Fancred’s Jon Heyman reported Saturday. The exact return has not been confirmed, but Heyman hears that the Yankees will receive top infield prospect Shed Long and a draft pick in exchange for Gray, with an as-yet unnamed third player possibly involved as well.
According to several reports earlier in the day, negotiations came down to the wire as the Yankees first had their eye on the Reds’ no. 6 prospect, 22-year-old catcher Tyler Stephenson. The Reds ultimately elected to hang on to Stephenson and send Long to New York, as they currently have a greater need for catching depth and weren’t expected to be able to provide a full-time role for the infielder in 2019. Long, 23, is ranked seventh in the Reds’ system and appears to be nearing his MLB debut after batting .261/.353/.412 with 12 homers and a .765 OPS across 522 PA at Double-A Pensacola last year.
Gray figures to step into a prominent role within the Reds’ rotation, which is likely to be a mix of recently-acquired left-hander Alex Wood and right-handers Tanner Roark, Luis Castillo, Anthony DeSclafani, and Tyler Mahle, among several others. Despite Gray’s struggle to remain productive on the mound — he’s three years removed from his only All-Star campaign and turned in a disappointing 4.90 ERA and 2.16 SO/BB rate in 2018 — he might yet help stabilize a team that trotted out the fifth-worst rotation in the majors last season. If, on the other hand, the veteran righty finds the hitter-friendly confines of Great American Ball Park a little too unforgiving this year, the Reds can take some comfort in the fact that he’s due to enter free agency in 2020.