php32003MOver on his blog, Joe Posnanski provided a list of all the Rays offensive league leaders.

Tampa Bay has someone leading the league in hitting (Jason Bartlett), doubles (Evan Longoria), home runs (Carlos Pena), RBIs (Longoria), walks (Pena), stolen bases (Carl Crawford), extra base hits (Longoria), batting average vs. lefties (Akinori Iwamura) and hardest to double up (Carl Crawford) and as a team they lead the league in runs scored. And they are three games under .500.

The only name on that list that surprises us is Carl Crawford leading the league with zero double-plays grounded into. How strange is it? You might be surprised to learn that Crawford, despite his speed and left-handed bat, normally is prodigious when it comes to GIDPs.

In 2007, Crawford stole 50 bases and grounded into 11 double-plays. In the last 20 years only 8 players have stolen at least 50 bases and grounded into more double plays, and only one of those had more than 13. Three times in his career he has grounded into at least 10 double-plays in a season, including 10 last year despite only playing 109 games.

What is different this year? It has to be more than his healthy legs. Certainly he hasn’t had bad hamstrings his entire career.

This is where we are supposed to pull some statistic out of our butt to magically explain why CC has yet to ground into a double-play this season.

First we thought it might be fewer ground balls this season. After all, CC has always had a high ground ball rate (49.6% for his career). Well, this season it is 49.7%. So that is not the answer.

Maybe he has fewer plate appearances with a runner on first base. In 2008 he came to the plate 155 times with runners on 1st, 1st and 2nd, 1st and 3rd or the bases loaded, or about 1.42 per game. This year it is 1.21 times per game. Less? Yes. But enough to explain the steep decline in GIDPs? Not likely.

In fact, we got nothin’. Maybe Crawford really is in the best shape of his career and maybe at age 27, he is actually a step faster than he was at age 23. Or maybe it is that mythical stat that some use to explain anything out of the norm of statistical reason: Luck*.

Whatever the answer, we are just glad that we have not yet had to watch one of the fastest players in baseball hit into yet another 4-6-3.

*as one person pointed out, this would be improper usage of the “luck” statistic because luck is never a positive stat for the Rays. The Rays are only ever “unlucky.”

So how about this? [Joe Posnanski]



  1. I'll pull a stat out of my ass: B.J. Upton's batting average. If the guy in front of you never gets on base, than you're less likely to hit into a double play.

    • i considered this, but the number of plate appearances with a runner on first base is not that far off of last year. Also consider that both Bartlett and Aki were hitting well before their injuries, so while BJ was not getting on base, the other two guys in front of CC were.

      • Joe D. says:

        Is it possible that Aki with a full season under his belt at 2B, and Bartlett being a SS batting in front of CC, being middle infielders, are better at breaking up DP's trying to be turned, then say Upton who's mostly been a CF at the ML level? It doesn't make too much sense... These guys were ahead of CC in the line up last year too..

        Prof., I'm wondering is there any stat kept on how many times CC has grounded in to Fielder's Choices or any changes to CC's spray charts that could indicate a difference in the change in GIDP's?

  2. theraysparty says:

    Anyway Crawford's legs seem to be as healthy as ever and he may hitting the ball to the right spot far enough to force a spot on DP to get him.

    Aki was one of the hardest players to double up last year so CC doing it is not out of the realm.

    Both Posnanski and CC should get into the HOF someday.

  3. Don says:

    Joe P. has too much time on his hands!
    So many "stats" little to show for it...Who on the Rays should we talk to about this???

  4. Rayhawk says:

    My theory on the golf course is its better to be lucky than good..say the 7 hcper...;o)

  5. Don says:

    The more you practice.... in any game... the luckier you get!

  6. John says:


  7. Chris says:



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