StaTuesday: Brewers iron-man catcher Grandal racking up the walks
Grandal has walked 104 times this season, which currently ranks him sixth in the major leagues and third in the National League. Grandal’s batting eye has picked up lately. In 46 games in August and September, he’s drawn 44 bases on balls.
Only one other Brewers player has ever walked 100+ times in a season – Prince Fielder, who did it three times form 2009-11. However, Fielder never had 100 unintentional walks in a season. Take away intentional walks, and Fielder was issued a free pass 89, 97 and 75 times in those three years (he was given an intentional walk 32 times in 2011 – no player in the majors has been issued more than 29 since). Grandal has been intentionally walked just twice.
What makes Grandal different from the other five players who have 100 walks this season and also Fielder is that he’s a catcher. A player at that position walking 100 times is quite rare.
Grandal is just the 10th catcher in MLB history (min. 50% games played at that position) to accumulate 100+ walks in a season. The last to do it was the Yankees’ Jorge Posada in 2000, but Posada had 10 intentional walks of his 107. The last catcher to have 100+ unintentional walks in a season was Philadelphia’s Darren Daulton in 1993.
CATCHERS WITH 100+ WALKS
If it seems like Grandal is playing nearly every day it’s because, well, he is. Grandal has played in 147 games entering the final week of the season, appearing in 131 games at catcher including 118 starts. This is the second time Grandal has played 130+ games at catcher – he had 135 games behind the dish last year with the Dodgers, although with just 110 starts. The 118 starts this year with the Brewers is a career high.
In Brewers history, only three others have played 130+ games at catcher in a season: Jason Kendall (2008 and ’09), Jonathan Lucroy (2011 and ’14) and Charlie Moore (1977). Of those, only Lucroy in 2014 and Grandal have an OPS over .703.
In fact, if Grandal can maintain his pace or better – his OPS is currently .851 – he’ll have the highest OPS for a catcher who appeared in at least 130 games behind the plate since St. Louis’ Yadier Molina had an .874 OPS in 2012 while playing 136 games with the tools of ignorance.
This decade, only one other has an OPS of .851 and played 130 games at catcher (Detroit’s Alex Avila, .895 in 2011) and Grandal would mark the 20th time it’s been done since 2000 (and the 12th catcher overall).
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