Reds center fielder and leadoff man Shin-Soo Choo was hit by a pitch yesterday for the 17th time this season, which leads baseball by a wide margin over Starling Marte with 12. And no one else has been hit by more than seven pitches.
Some other crazy stats to consider …
Coming into this season Choo averaged 12 hit by pitches per 150 games for his career and was never hit more than 17 times in a season.
Choo has a .441 on-base percentage, which ranks third in baseball behind Joey Votto and Miguel Cabrera. If you remove his 17 hit by pitches (and those 17 plate appearances) his on-base percentage would fall to .399.
Choo has been hit 17 times in 264 plate appearances and the rest of the Reds’ roster has been hit a combined 14 times in 1,993 plate appearances.
Choo has been hit more times than the combined totals of 13 teams and the same number of times as three other teams.
Choo is on pace to be hit 48 times, which would shatter the Reds’ record of 24 and be the third-most in the history of baseball behind only Hughie Jennings with 51 in 1896 and Ron Hunt with 50 in 1971.
José Bautista hasn’t appeared in the majors since 2018 but the 39-year-old isn’t done playing just yet. Last month, we learned via a report from ESPN’s Jeff Passan that Bautista is hoping to come back as a two-way player. He spent the winter working out as a pitcher.
Bautista had also been working with former Blue Jays teammate Marcus Stroman. Back in January, Stroman tweeted, “My bro @JoeyBats19 is nasty on the mound. We been working working. All jokes aside, this man can pitch in a big league bullpen. I’ll put my word on it!”
In March, Passan added some details about Bautista, writing, “I’ve seen video of Jose Bautista throwing a bullpen session. Couldn’t tell the velocity, but one source said he can run his fastball up to 94. His slider had legitimate tilt — threw a short one and a bigger bender. @STR0 said in January he could pitch in a big league bullpen.” Stroman retweeted it, adding, “Facts!”
Stroman reiterated his feelings on Tuesday. He tweeted, “Since y’all thought I wasn’t being serious when I said it the first time…my bro @JoeyBats19could EASILY pitch in a big league bullpen. Easily. Sinker, slider, and changeup are MLB ready!” Stroman attached a video of Bautista throwing a slider, in which one can hear Stroman calling the pitch “nasty.”
Stroman attached another video of Bautista throwing a glove-side sinker:
Replying to a fan, Stroman said Bautista’s body “is in better shape than 90-95% of the league.”
I am not a scout and won’t pretend to be one after watching two low-resolution videos. And Stroman’s hype is likely partially one friend attempting to uplift another. That being said, I’ve seen much worse from position players attempting to pitch. It’s a long shot, especially given his age, that Bautista will ever pitch in the majors, but it wouldn’t be surprising to see him get an opportunity to pitch in front of major league scouts.