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Move over Jim Rice, Michael Cuddyer on record-shattering double play pace

May 21, 2010, 1:42 PM EDT

One of the downsides to the first four hitters in the Twins’ batting order having on-base percentages of .365, .358, .410, and .477 is that their already double play-prone No. 5 hitter Michael Cuddyer has an incredible number of chances to make two outs at a time.
Cuddyer has grounded into an MLB-high 12 double plays in 41 games, which puts him on pace to finish with 48 or so double plays on the season and shatter Jim Rice’s all-time record of 36 in 1984. Rice also holds the No. 2 spot with 35 in 1985, and a player has hit into 30 or more DPs just 15 times in baseball history.
Cuddyer leads MLB in DPs and is on pace to break Rice’s record by 35 percent, yet his DP rate–how often he hits into a DP when given an opportunity–isn’t even among the 10 worst. Cuddyer has hit into a double play 24 percent of the time, which is a very high rate and well above his career norms, but Ivan Rodriguez leads MLB at 33 percent and Yadier Molina, Mark DeRosa, Carlos Lee, Orlando Cabrera, Aaron Rowand, Matt LaPorta, Billy Butler, Alberto Callaspo, Paul Konerko, and Garrett Atkins are all above 25 percent.
You’ll notice that, like Cuddyer, nearly all of those guys are right-handed batters without much speed, but unlike Cuddyer not all of them have had a gazillion chances to hit into a double play this year. On the flip side, Twins cleanup hitter Justin Morneau has yet to ground into a double play. In addition to being left-handed and not having his own .477 OBP constantly standing on first base, Morneau also has the lowest ground-ball rate in the entire league. Crushed fly balls are rarely DPs.

  1. (Not That) Tom - May 21, 2010 at 2:28 PM

    Michael Cuddyer; most feared hitter of our generation.

  2. Brian - May 21, 2010 at 2:30 PM

    So – do you move him down in the order to reduce the number of double plays, or does it hurt the team more to have a a different guy in there?
    If Delmon was hitting fifth, would the post be roughly the same with a different name?
    Who should be hitting there if not Cuddyer?

  3. ThatGuy - May 21, 2010 at 2:33 PM

    There isn’t really anyone else to put there. Delmon would ground into just as many, Kubel maybe but then you have 3 lefties in a row which Gardy doesn’t like. I imagine the law of averages will tkae care of this problem…

  4. mike in MN - May 21, 2010 at 2:40 PM

    Delmon has a huge ground ball percentage (which if he doesn’t “fix” will stop him from being all that good someday). I can’t even imagine how many dps he’d hit into…..I don’t think Aaron is arguing for a change, just making an observation.

  5. Ace - May 21, 2010 at 4:26 PM

    Now this is where you’ve got to give Dusty Baker credit. He’d never let his number 5 hitter go up there with the bases all clogged up like that.

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