The Rays Discover Walks

Pat Burrell's career OBP is .367.

In the Rays history, 180 different individual seasons have recorded 100 or more plate appearances. Only 23 have had an OBP greater than or equal to .367. That number declines 20 with 200 plate appearances, 16 with 300, 10 with 400, and 9 with 500 - B.J. Upton and Carlos Pena own a total of four of those nine. Fred McGriff owns three, Jose Canseco and Ben Grieve each own one.

The Rays never really became walk conscious until Friedman and company took over. Observe:

Year Rays BB LL BB LL-Rays
1998 393 678 285
1999 544 770 226
2000 558 775 217
2001 456 678 222
2002 456 643 187
2003 420 684 264
2004 469 705 236
2005 412 653 241
2006 441 672 231
2007 545 689 144
2008 626 646 20

Or, in dandy graph form:

Raysbb_medium

Pretty, no? I would also like to note the decline in walks since 2000, then a sudden spike in 2004. Some will note the Rays climbing over the 500 walks plateau twice early on, and that's great, but look at the differences listed in the table again. 558 walks in 2000 is like 429 walks in 2008.

 

Year LAVG BB
1998 548
1999 596
2000 608
2001 527
2002 542
2003 530
2004 541
2005 507
2006 528
2007 536
2008 545

Raysavg_medium

I believe a few commenters brought up how the lineup has changed since Friedman arrived. Physically, the names and numbers have changed, but there's also some philosophical differences between what Chuck LaMar and company wanted in a hitter and what Andrew Friedman and company want in a hitter. That's not groundbreaking, but it's pretty clear part of Friedman's recipe calls for walks.

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