It’s July 19, but Yankees outfielder Jacoby Ellsbury has already set the new single-season record for catcher’s interference, per Jared Diamond of the Wall Street Journal. He swung and hit the mitt of Orioles catcher Caleb Joseph in the first inning of Tuesday night’s game and was awarded first base as a result. It’s his ninth time reaching base on catcher’s interference.
Ellsbury has 23 instances of catcher’s interference in his 10-year career.
Ellsbury’s ability to induce catcher’s interference is clearly a skill — Rangers catcher Brett Nicholas certainly thinks so — but it’s not reflected in on-base percentage. In the box score, he’s only credited with a plate appearance, nothing more. If his nine CI events counted towards his OBP, it would rise from .338 to .355. That’s pretty significant. It takes him from 87th in baseball (among qualified batters) to 58th.
Coming into Tuesday’s game against the Orioles, Ellsbury was batting .271/.338/.384 with four home runs, 30 RBI, 38 runs scored, and 16 stolen bases in 352 plate appearances.