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(Don't) Walk This Way

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With only six K's so far in August, Chad Tracy is no longer on pace to strike out a franchise record number of times. I think it's time to close the Tracy K Watch, and replace it with something else for a bit. I chewed over some of the various options, such as the Shawn Green Trade Index - that's slipping sharply, with Green hitting .204 after the All-Star Break, and just .152 (10-for-66) since July 22.

That will be the J-Strada Walk Watch, as Johnny has managed only eight in total all season, and just one of them came since June 3rd. In addition, of those eight bases on balls, the majority were intentional, so he has worked just three free passes all year. The last one of those came in the sixth inning on April 23. Estrada has since gone 278 at-bats without taking ball four, certainly a spectacular lack of patience.

I'm trying to find out where that sits as far as records go, but I know that he's got company on our roster, since new pitcher Livan Hernandez (691 at-bats, 6 walks) is among the career champions. In the meantime, here's how Estrada stacks up against the least patient other contenders (min: 200 plate appearances, UBB = unintentional walks):

                 PA  BB  IBB  UBB PA/UBB  P/PA
Johnny Estrada  344   8    5    3  114.7  3.11
Neifi Perez     231   5    2    3   77.0  3.21
Jeff Francoeur  501  11    4    7   71.6  3.26
Miguel Olivo    316   6    1    5   63.2  3.42
Juan Uribe      354  10    1    9   39.3  3.40

The lowest pitches per plate appearance goes to Vinny Castilla at 3.03, but he has coaxed 9 walks, all unintentional, in 269 times up. Jay Payton is next, at 3.10 (13 walks in 409 PAs), then it's J-Strada. Interestingly, just above him is Nomar Garciaparra. His 3.17 ranks 285th of 288, but he still has 26 unintentional walks and is hitting .329. Other notorious free-swingers in the bottom twenty include Robinson Cano (.331) and Vlad Guerrero, batting .315 with 26 homers.

Of course, this lack of walks is not absolutely a bad thing, given Estrada's still hitting better than .300. However, if he could develop even a bit more patience at the plate, then he'd be a real gem, rather than someone whose value depends very heavily on pure batting average.