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.
On Sunday, Blue Jays closer Ken Giles spoke to Rosie DiManno of the Toronto Star. Giles said, “I’m actually enjoying the game more than I did for my entire tenure in Houston.” Giles won a World Series with the Astros last year, but talked about communication issues with the Astros and compared them unfavorably to the Blue Jays. Giles described the communication as having been “lost” and credited the Jays for staying patient with him.
Astros manager A.J. Hinch responded to Giles’ comments on Monday. Per Sportsnet’s Shi Davidi, Hinch said:
I think he’s wrong and I’m disappointed that he would go down that path given how much work and time and energy and communication that our front office, our coaching staff, me, we all went through this with him. And I understand, there was some disappointment in his tenure as an Astro because of the turbulent way things went about. We gave him every opportunity, we communicated with him effectively, we have an incredible culture where every single player will tell you it’s one of the best cultures they’ve had, one of the best communication envrionments they’ve had. They all know their roles. They all know their situations. To have one person out of all the guys in our clubhouse come out and claim otherwise is flat wrong.
While Giles certainly could be embellishing or deliberately misconstruing his time there, Hinch’s rebuttal doesn’t actually disqualify anything Giles said. Giles certainly could have had a negative experience in Houston even if everyone else was enjoying the “incredible culture” and “one of the best communication environments.”
Given how the Astros — including Hinch — responded to criticism about their acquiring an accused domestic abuser, they’re not in the best position to boast about an “incredible culture” anyway.
At any rate, this is a he-said, he-said situation. If anything more comes of it, it will be Giles further torching a bridge.