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Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Dominican Walk Rates Over Time

While both lines have fluctuations, the overall trend is pretty clear: the walk rate for Dominican-born hitters has been catching up to that of non-Dominicans. Comparing the walk rates of 1964 and 2012, the non-Dominican walk rate is almost the same; it has increased by 0.6%. The walk rate of Dominican-born hitters, in contrast, is about 48% higher in 2012 than in 1964.

By itself, of course, this does not tell us much. Many things have changed since Ozzie Virgil’s debut. The number of Dominicans in the majors leagues and major-league presence there and elsewhere internationally is obviously far greater now than it was 50 years ago. In 1964, only 10 non-pitcher Dominicans got major-league plate appearances. By the early ’00s, the seasonal number is more than 50 — usually around 10% of plate appearances by non-pitchers. That in itself is enough to indicate great changes that would have far-reaching effects. Which of those are most germane with respect to walk rates. That is something for a future piece. There are a number of factors that would have to be considered. Here is a short list of possible considerations. It is not meant to be exhaustive, nor are these possibilities mutually exclusive.

 

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No more brain dead Carribbean hitters swinging at slop?

While both lines have fluctuations, the overall trend is pretty clear: the walk rate for Dominican-born hitters has been catching up to that of non-Dominicans. Comparing the walk rates of 1964 and 2012, the non-Dominican walk rate is almost the same; it has increased by 0.6%. The walk rate of Dominican-born hitters, in contrast, is about 48% higher in 2012 than in 1964.

By itself, of course, this does not tell us much. Many things have changed since Ozzie Virgil’s debut. The number of Dominicans in the majors leagues and major-league presence there and elsewhere internationally is obviously far greater now than it was 50 years ago. In 1964, only 10 non-pitcher Dominicans got major-league plate appearances. By the early ’00s, the seasonal number is more than 50 — usually around 10% of plate appearances by non-pitchers. That in itself is enough to indicate great changes that would have far-reaching effects. Which of those are most germane with respect to walk rates. That is something for a future piece. There are a number of factors that would have to be considered. Here is a short list of possible considerations. It is not meant to be exhaustive, nor are these possibilities mutually exclusive.

 

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: October 30, 2012 at 09:24 AM | 3 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: dominican, walk rates

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   1. RollingWave Posted: October 30, 2012 at 11:03 AM (#4288223)
Mostly that's just Robinson Cano no? ;)
   2. Walt Davis Posted: October 30, 2012 at 05:06 PM (#4288652)
I think he missed an obvious "explanation." I recall I took a quick, much less thorough than this, look at this question and found that once you controlled for power/position, there never was much of a difference. Sluggers walk, not (generally) Cs and middle infielders. The early Dominican players were largely middle infielders and speedy CFs with no power.

If you look at Dominicans whose careers were primarily pre-1980, your sluggers are:

Carty: 299/369/464, above-average
Cedeno: 285/347/443, average
F Alou: 286/328/433, below-average
M Jimenez: 272/337/401, average (only 1100 PA)

and that's it for guys with a decent career length and an ISO over 110. It's true that Julian Javier didn't walk but neither did Glenn Beckert.

The next generation still didn't produce many sluggers:

P Guerrero: above-average
G Bell: well below-average
J Samuel: below-average

and then Tony Fernandez and his awesome 110 ISO (and average-ish walk rate) is next on the list.

We're up to about 1990 and the Dominican has produced just 4 corner players (1B/LF/RF) with a career of decent length. That's better than I thought actually as they produced only about 20 players with careers of decent length through 1990. This is still probably below-average overall (i.e. a guy with Carty's power probably should have walked more than he did) but it's not particularly extreme. The crappy walk rates were for skinny little defensive specialists and most of those guys don't walk much.

We've seen a ton of Dominican-born power hitters over the last 15-20 years and even somebody like Vlad got enough IBB to end up league average in BB rate.

Greatest Dominican hitter?

Esteban Yan: 2 for 2 with a HR, OPS of 3500, that's better than John Paciorek

Honorable mention: Luis Silverio, 6 for 11 with a 2B and 3B, 545/615/909
   3. Gold Star - just Gold Star Posted: October 30, 2012 at 07:54 PM (#4288795)
You can walk off the island?

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