Who had the Best Eye? (continued)

See previous article for background.

The batters who walked most often per AB in MLB history (minimum 800 walks drawn) are, in order:
Hitter Walks At Bats Walk rate
T Williams2021 7706 .208
B Bonds 2558 9847 .206
M Bishop 1153 4494 .204
B Ruth 2062 8398 .197
E Stanky 996 4301 .188
F Fain 904 3930 .187
G Tenace 984 4390 .183
Cullenbine853 3879 .180
E Yost 1614 7346 .180
M Mantle 1733 8102 .176
J McGraw 836 3924 .176
MMcGwire1317 6187 .176

But some batters played when walks were more or less common. Using the Baseball Prospectus translated stats to adjust for this, and for ease of competition, below is a ranking of batters who had the highest translated walk rate.
At bats walks walk rate
BBonds 9876 2495 .202
MBishop 4492 1074 .193
BRuth 8494 1984 .190
RThomas 5627 1305 .188
JMcGraw 4101 941 .186
THartsel 5099 1146 .184
GTenace 4447 981 .181
TWilliams 7703 1691 .180
EStanky 4321 926 .176

Aha – Ted Williams played when the AL was a league where walks were freely given out; his ‘eye’ maybe was not QUITE as precise as legend has it (but fear not, Splinter fans, his bat still was!). Roy Thomas and Topsy Hartsel played 100 years ago; their names are not as well known, but check out their records. Thomas led the NL in bases on balls 7 times in 8 years. Oddly, Hartsel played in the same city (Philadelphia) in the other league at the same time, and had many of the same skills.

Now… how about we adjust for the players’ (isolated) POWER. Using the formula translated walk rate + .015 – translated ISO ^ 2 * .656, below is the table of Best Eye Hitters – those who would have walked the most often, given they had average power (i.e., equally feared [or not!] by opposing pitchers).
ab w iso walk rate
adj walk rate
MBishop 4492 1074 0.111 .239 .246
RThomas 5627 1305 0.102 .232 .240
JMcGraw 4101 941 0.149 .229 .230
EStanky 4321 926 0.117 .214 .220
THartsel 5099 1146 0.181 .225 .218
MHuggins 5826 1126 0.099 .193 .202
GTenace 4447 981 0.272 .221 .187
Henderson11139 2162 0.189 .194 .186

The Babe was walked more due to his incredible bat more than anything else. Ditto Ted and Barry. The real king of the strike zone was the man whose nickname was…. Camera Eye. Max Bishop, the man who scored 1153 runs in his major league career, which only lasted 1338 games. He had the best eye. Ever.

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3 Responses to Who had the Best Eye? (continued)

  1. TomH says:

    well, I learned tables don’t line up like I thought 😦

  2. marty says:

    which fictional basebal player had the best eye?
    the kid from tompkinsville?
    or was he a pitcher?
    roy hobbs?

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