Friday, December 15, 2017
Tampa Bay Rays

Cubs-Indians World Series features hit-by-pitch artists Brandon Guyer and Anthony Rizzo

UPDATE: A version of this story appeared on tampabay.com earlier in the week. In Brandon Guyer's first plate appearance of the World Series, Cubs starter Jon Lester struck him with a 90 mph pitch. In his five other plate appearances, Guyer has one hit, two walks and two strikeouts. Anthony Rizzo has not been hit by a pitch this postseason.

For all the talk of suffering heading the World Series between the Chicago Cubs and Cleveland Indians, little has been said about the pain a couple of players have endured in recent seasons.

We're talking about Indians outfielder Brandon Guyer, whom Cleveland acquired in an August trade with the Rays, and Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo. Since the start of the 2014 season, no player has been hit by pitches more often than Guyer and Rizzo.

RELATED STORY: Never Budge: Missing out on Brandon Guyer's incredible run at baseball history

Guyer has been hit a major-league-high 66 times in that span, while Rizzo has been hit 61 times, second-most. Guyer led baseball this season with 31 HBPs, the most since Pirates catcher Jason Kendall also had 31 in 1998. Rizzo led baseball last season with 30 HBPs. He was hit 16 times this season, fifth-most.

To be plunked more than 60 times over three seasons is remarkable in itself, but even more astounding is that Guyer has been hit five more times than Rizzo and yet has about half as many plates appearances (1,024 to Rizzo's 1,993).

In fact, through his five-season career, Guyer has been hit like no player in baseball history. He has been plunked once every 16.3 plate appearances.

No one else comes close. Hughie Jennings, who played from 1891 to 1903, is second with a hit-by-pitch rate of once every 19.6 appearances. Ron Hunt, who led baseball in HBPs seven times, was hit once every 25.3. Don Baylor, who also led seven times, was hit once every 35.2. Craig Biggio, who led five times, was hit once every 43.9. Rizzo has been hit once every 43.3.

Rizzo, a left-handed hitter, stands closer to the plate than Guyer, his back foot on the chalk of the batter's box and his hands out over the inside part of home plate. Guyer, a right-handed hitter, stands in the middle of the box, but when he takes his stride, his front foot lands on the chalk of the box.

Pitchers often hit Rizzo's arms or back. Guyer is a bit of an anomaly. Pitchers tend to hit his lower half, in part because of his stride. When they throw an offspeed pitch inside, he just doesn't budge. He's content to let it hit him in the thigh so he can take his base.

This World Series is the first since 1979 in which each team's roster features a player who finished the regular season in the top five in hit-by-pitches. In the 1979 series, the eventual champion Pirates had outfielder Dave Parker (nine HBPs) and the Orioles had outfielder Gary Roenicke (12).

The Philadelphia Phillies, who beat the Rays in the 2008 World Series, are the last champion to roster the major-league leader in hit-by-pitches. Second baseman Chase Utley was hit 27 times that season. He leads all active players with 190 HBPs.

Contact Thomas Bassinger at [email protected] Follow @tometrics.

Comments
No big deal for Rays at winter meetings, but it’s still coming

No big deal for Rays at winter meetings, but it’s still coming

LAKE BUENA VISTA — Here’s the one thing we definitely know:Rays officials headed home from the winter meetings and back across I-4 Thursday without making deals to trade any of their bigger-name, higher-paid players. Not closer Alex Colome, not third...
Published: 12/14/17
Are Tampa Bay Rays going to make a major deal involving Alex Colome, others? Well …

Are Tampa Bay Rays going to make a major deal involving Alex Colome, others? Well …

UPDATE, 4:02: It doesn't sound like the Rays and Cardinals will be making a deal today, Derrick Goold writing for the St. Louis Post Dispatch that Cardinals execs "leave the Walt Disney Dolphin resort with good feel for what Tampa Bay would be willin...
Published: 12/14/17
Rays re-sign pitcher Jonny Venters, among 13 invited to spring training

Rays re-sign pitcher Jonny Venters, among 13 invited to spring training

LAKE BUENA VISTA — LHP Jonny Venters got as far as Triple A in September. Now the former All-Star is positioned to make it all the way back to the majors for the first time since 2012, re-signing with the Rays and headlining Thursday’s announcement o...
Published: 12/14/17
Veteran Jonny Venters, prospect Joe McCarthy among 13 Tampa Bay Rays spring invitees

Veteran Jonny Venters, prospect Joe McCarthy among 13 Tampa Bay Rays spring invitees

Inspiring veteran LHP Jonny Venters and intriguing prospect 1B/OF Joe McCarthy are among 13 players invited to major-league spring training camp with the Rays.Others coming as a result of signing minor-league contracts with invites are: RHP R.J. Alan...
Published: 12/14/17
Tampa Bay Rays lose RHP Burch Smith in Rule 5 draft, keep Nick Ciuffo

Tampa Bay Rays lose RHP Burch Smith in Rule 5 draft, keep Nick Ciuffo

The Rays lost RHP Burch Smith in Thursday's Rule 5 draft but were happy to see him get an opportunity in Kansas City.They also were pleased to hang on to C Nick Ciuffo, who was left exposed but not selected.Smith, 27, was acquired from the Padres as ...
Published: 12/14/17
Live from Disney: Winter meetings update, day 4

Live from Disney: Winter meetings update, day 4

UPDATE, 11:09: RHP Steve Cishek, who was a very effective addition to the Rays pen last season, has reunited with pitching coach Jim Hickey, agreeing to a deal with the Cubs.UPDATE, 10:40: Like most teams, Rays officials are heading out of the meetin...
Published: 12/14/17
Disney-Fox deal gives ESPN control of local cable rights to Rays, Lightning games

Disney-Fox deal gives ESPN control of local cable rights to Rays, Lightning games

As part of its deal to buy a massive package of 21st Century Fox assets, Disney will acquire Fox Sports Regional Networks, which control the local cable rights to a slew of professional teams, including the Tampa Bay Rays and Tampa Bay Lightning.Assu...
Published: 12/14/17
Tampa Bay Rays making progress in trade talks

Tampa Bay Rays making progress in trade talks

Without getting into specifics – especially the who and the where – Rays officials are for the first time talking optimistically about making a trade before the winter meetings end Thursday.Speaking at around 5:15, senior VP Chaim Bloom s...
Published: 12/13/17

Winter meetings journal: Rays trade for money to sign top international free agent

LAKE BUENA VISTA — While most of the business conducted at the meetings impacts the big-league team one way or another, the Rays are working to finalize a move they hope pays off big sometime in the 2020s.In trading Wednesday to acquire $1 million in...
Published: 12/13/17
Live from Disney: Winter meetings update, day 3 – updated with news

Live from Disney: Winter meetings update, day 3 – updated with news

UPDATE, 5:55: Trade talks apparently picked up this afternoon, perhaps related to previous activity by other teams, and for first time Rays officials sound like something could happen tonight."At this point today, some of those conversations are movi...
Published: 12/13/17