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So John Northey was lamenting that the GIDPs, among other things, were killing the Jays offense. I looked into the subject, made a few notes, and things got out of hand. Too out of hand to put in a comment...

I haven't worried that much about GIDPs since 2008, when they were such a huge problem that the Blue Jays found it necessary to fire the manager in the desperate hope that that might solve the problem. Which it did, although no one knows why. Almost halfway through the 2008 season the Jays had been on pace to set an all-time major league record for most GIDPs. In the end, they didn't even lead the league. After that harrowing experience, I haven't worried much since.

But the Blue Jays did lead the league in GIDPs one year ago with 136; this season they're on pace to hit into 130, and they have the third most in the league at the moment. Last season, they hit into a DP in 11.5% of their opportunities; this year, they're down to 10.6% (league average was 10.2% last year, 10.1% this year.) That's not too bad - only one team in the AL has had more opportunities to hit into DPs than the Jays, and that would be the Angels, who do in fact lead the league in GIDPs.

The team that makes the most of their opportunities is Houston, second in the league in hitting into DPs despite being middle of the pack in DP opportunities. And no one does a better job of avoiding the DP than Texas - despite plenty of opportunities (third most in the league), the Rangers have actually hit into fewer DPs than Kansas City and Oakland.

You would, however, expect the Blue Jays to have been reduced their GIDPs much more this year than they have actually managed. Teoscar Hernandez (18 GIDPs) and Raimel Tapia (12 GIDPs), who both hit into far more DPs than one would expect from their opportunities to do so, are no longer here. Neither is Lourdes Gurriel (11 GIDPs), who basically matched the team average. A great deal of those at bats have gone to Brandon Belt and Daulton Varsho, two players who practically never hit into GIDPs (just 4 between the two of them.)

You're all looking at Vladimir Guerrero - I know you are - he's second in the AL in GIDPs after leading the league a year ago. Not only is Guerrero as perfect a DP candidate as one could expect to see - only one AL hitter has had more opportunities to hit into a DP than Guerrero. But Guerrero has actually reduced the rate at which he hits into them. So has Bo Bichette. So has Matt Chapman, who never hit into many anyway. Neither does Biggio or Jansen.

Whit Merrifield is hitting into a few more DPs than you would expect, although he's not much above the league average. It's just that you wouldn't expect it - Merrifield doesn't hit that many ground balls, and he's got good speed. Still, he's a RH batter who makes a lot of contact. Stuff can happen.

But ultimately there are three main culprits, and one of them is a huge surprise to me - Kevin Kiermaier. He's a LH batter with excellent speed. But he's already hit into 7 DPs in just 44 GDP opportunities, which is simply shocking. His  career high is just 8 for a single season. Why? I don't knpw. He's hitting more balls on the ground this year than ever before. He's probably lost a step. But still, this is just plain weird.

The second culprit is Alejandro Kirk and we all saw this coming, surely. Kirk was born to hit into double plays. Like Guerrero, he is a RH batter who hits the ball hard and strikes out less than an average hitter. And Kirk is just a wee bit slower than Vlad. (He may be turning into Jose Molina right before our eyes.) He was probably very lucky indeed to only hit into slightly more than the league average a year ago (11 GIDPs in 90 opportunities, 12.2%). This year Kirk's hit into 9 DPs in just 48 opportunities, which 18.8% of the time. Yikes.

But George Springer? Last season Springer had 95 chances to hit into a DP. And he hit into just 7 of them, a positively Chapman-esque level of DP avoidance. But in 2023? He's already hit into 12 of them in just 65 opportunities this season. Springer is hitting into DPs with the same regularity as Alejandro Kirk. How is this even possible? What is going on?
A Quick Note on Double Plays | 19 comments | Create New Account
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soupman - Wednesday, July 12 2023 @ 08:34 PM EDT (#431636) #
i agree that the concern around VGJ's gidp rate is overblown. he hits balls hard and on a line and doesn't run fast. i do think he could force a few more throws because he isn't *that* slow. i remain convinced that the wrist injuries in early may mounted. the hr in the white sox series to right field and some signs of pop returning the week before seem promising signs. i think the jays need to think about load management down the line. he clearly wants to play everyday, and if they have any breathing room in september and he comes out of the gates here might want to give that some strong consideration, imo.
hypobole - Wednesday, July 12 2023 @ 09:30 PM EDT (#431637) #
Teams that hit a lot of fly balls usually don't ground into many DP's. Dodgers had the highest FB% last year and this year as well. They have the fewest GDP's this year and the 2nd fewest last year.

Last year the Jays were 27th in FB%, The Jays and the 3 teams with a lower FB% finished 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 6th in GDP's. We are 21st in FB% so far this year.

Conversely, Miami has the highest GB% this year and is far and away the GDP leader.

There are anomalies though. The Angels this year have the 2nd highest FB%, but also the 2nd most GDP's.
Magpie - Wednesday, July 12 2023 @ 10:06 PM EDT (#431638) #
Yeah, that's why Chapman, Biggio, Jansen don't produce many GIDPs - they hit everything in the air. So does Merrifield, so he's a bit of a mystery.
Magpie - Wednesday, July 12 2023 @ 10:10 PM EDT (#431639) #
Well, Merrifield not so much. More like average. He has had an awful lot of GIDP opportunities. Only Guerrero and Bichette have had more chances to hit into one.
John Northey - Wednesday, July 12 2023 @ 11:14 PM EDT (#431641) #
I figure a big part of it is the same luck that has killed the Jays RISP numbers - line drives that hit the ground and go one hop to an infielder at 100 mph thus making it so even fast players get out. No numbers, but it sure feels that way and it fits Springer hitting into them (always seems to be a line drive grounder right at someone). The solution? Get better luck. If anyone knows how to do that, please let me know so I can use it to buy lottery tickets.

A bit surprised when I checked for the Jays team that hit into the most DP's ever - 1980, a 95 game loser hit into 206 double plays with a 309 OBP - how the heck do you do that? The highest for a Jays playoff team was 1989 at 164 (they won 89 but the AL East was weak then) tied with 1985 (the 99 win team). For a full season the lowest is 1992's WS winners at 109 (1994, 1981 both strike years of under 120 games, with 2020 the lowest obviously with just 60 games, 47 DP's).
BlueJayWay - Thursday, July 13 2023 @ 08:02 AM EDT (#431644) #
Yeah I was looking at the GIDPs a few days ago and noticed that about Kiermaier. For his career he's consistently been around the 5-8% rate, and this year is just under 16%
Magpie - Thursday, July 13 2023 @ 08:38 AM EDT (#431645) #
the Jays team that hit into the most DP's ever - 1980, a 95 game loser hit into 206 double plays with a 309 OBP - how the heck do you do that?

They didn't - the major league record for a single season is 174 by the 1990 Red Sox, and bb-ref gives 119 GDPs for the 1980 Jays. But those Blue Jays turned 206 DPs on defense, which makes sense. (I believe the all-time record is 217, by the 1949 A's, another terrible team.) What it requires is a good DP combination (the Jays had Griffin and Garcia) and no shortage of opportunities.

The 2008 Blue Jays hit into 84 DPs in their first 74 games, which would have taken them comfortably past the 1990 Red Sox. At that point, Gibbons was fired. The team kept right on hitting into them under Gaston for about a week - they had 92 of them after 80 games. Then Gaston got them to... stop doing that. (I can't explain it.) They finished the year with 150 of them.

It was another Gibbons team that holds the team record with 166 GIDPs in 2006 (second in the league.) They led the league last year, of course. Also in 2016, 1988, and, somehow, in 1977.
bpoz - Thursday, July 13 2023 @ 08:46 AM EDT (#431646) #
Cito's teams were talented unlike Kevin Cash's IMO. I know Cash and the FO are smart. TB has won a lot with J Maddon and now with Cash.

What is TB's history of hitting into double plays? They probably were not bad.
Magpie - Thursday, July 13 2023 @ 08:51 AM EDT (#431647) #
Yeah, John, I'm pretty sure you were looking at how many they turned on defense. The playoff teams that hit into the most were the two Gibbons teams in 2015 and 2016, finishing second and first in the league. Gaston's playoff teams were almost all in the bottom half of the league in GIDPs (except the 1993 squad, which was fourth.) I'm didn't notice which team hit into the fewest, but the 108 in 1991 is probably a contender.
Magpie - Thursday, July 13 2023 @ 08:58 AM EDT (#431648) #
I do think this tells us that Cito Gaston put a real emphasis on staying out of the double play - it was a part of his approach. (Unfortunately, no one ever asked him about this stuff, and he never volunteered any information on anything.) But Gaston came up in the National League in the 1970s, and Sparky Anderson's teams were dominating. And Sparky talked all the time about the importance of the double play. Turn them on defense, stay away from them on offense. Do that and you will win. And he won.
Magpie - Thursday, July 13 2023 @ 09:37 AM EDT (#431649) #
What is TB's history of hitting into double plays?

In the Kevin Cash years (since 2015), they've done quite a good job at staying out of the DP. They've been below the league average every year but one. Joe Maddon's first good teams in Tampa never hit into any either, but Maddon's last few teams there were hitting into plenty of them.
hypobole - Thursday, July 13 2023 @ 10:00 AM EDT (#431650) #
Here is my theory.. With a runner on 1st and less than 2 outs, pitchers want either a K or a potential DP GB. Some pitchers have the stuff to consistently get the former, but most will throw pitches that attempt to get to do the latter. Those GB pitches work especially well with flatter swings like a lot of Jays have.  Maybe what Cito and Sparky told their players was really simple. Lay off those pitches. If it's a strike, so be it, but make the pitcher come up. You won't be a hero not swinging, but just because you can hit a ball down in the zone, doesn't mean you should hit a ball down in the zone.
ISLAND BOY - Thursday, July 13 2023 @ 11:29 AM EDT (#431652) #
That's a good analysis, hypobole.
92-93 - Thursday, July 13 2023 @ 12:14 PM EDT (#431654) #
On Sunday with the Jays down 3-1 Kiermaier grounded into a big double play after originally being called safe on the field. Baez throws well but it was still shocking to see. KK has clearly lost a step getting to first base.
hypobole - Thursday, July 13 2023 @ 01:10 PM EDT (#431655) #
Looked at statcast for KK. 29.2 ft/sec 2021. 29.1 last year, 28.9 this year. So he is slowing a bit. His 57.4 GB% is also a career high, up 5% from last year.
Leaside Cowboy - Thursday, July 13 2023 @ 02:23 PM EDT (#431656) #
Between Tampa Bay and Toronto, Kevin Kiermaier has played his entire career (home games) on artificial turf.

Astroturf is more spongy and springy than it used to be. Recently, artificial turf has been scrutinized for adding to injuries in the National Football League.
Leaside Cowboy - Thursday, July 13 2023 @ 08:43 PM EDT (#431665) # " The Blue Jays and MLB released the 2024 schedule Thursday, Toronto will kick things off with a four-game series at Tampa Bay, close to their spring training facility in Dunedin . . . then visit Houston and the New York Yankees before hosting Seattle in its home opener on April [8th] . . . home series against the Colorado Rockies [April] and Los Angeles Dodgers [April] . . . trip to Seattle [July] . . . The Los Angeles Dodgers and San Diego Padres will start the season early, with a pair of games in Seoul [South Korea.] "
scottt - Friday, July 14 2023 @ 10:20 AM EDT (#431669) #
They start with a 10 game road trip so that they have an extra 2 week to wrap up the next set of renovations.
mathesond - Friday, July 14 2023 @ 10:59 AM EDT (#431670) #
'They start with a 10 game road trip so that they have an extra 2 week to wrap up the next set of renovations.'

Sounds familiar...
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