Michael Martinez: A Stat Oddity

Brian Garfinkel

Martinez is on track to accomplish something that no Phillie, and very few in the history of baseball, have ever done. And as one might guess, it's not a good thing.

Michael Martinez now has 34 PAs this year, and a line of .176/.176/.176.  That's because he has nothing but singles to show for his efforts -- no extra base hits to boost slugging, no walks or HBPs to increase OBP, and no sacrifice flies to reduce it.

And if the season ended today, those 34 PAs would be the most ever in a season by a Phillies non-pitcher which resulted only in outs and singles, and none of that other stuff.   The team record for such a season is 33 PAs, set by Glen Gorbus in 1956, with a .182/.182/.182 line.

Across all of MLB, there have been only 22 seasons by non-pitchers since 1901 with at least 34 PAs and the same BA, OBP, and SLG. The record is 79 PAs, by one Aleck Smith in 1901. Recent examples include:

- William Bergola (2005 Reds, 38 PAs)
- Fernando Perez (2009 Rays, 35 PAs)
- Ryan Sweeney (2006 White Sox, 35 PAs)

Other notable names with fewer PAs:

- Matt Alexander (1976 A’s, 30 PAs), pinch running specialist (career stats: 374 games, 195 PAs, 103 SB, 42 CS)
- Kyle Hudson (2011 Orioles, 29 PAs), the Phils acquired him last year for Rich Thompson, but released him in the off-season
- Dal Maxvill (1964 Cards, 27 PAs), long time St. Louis shortstop
- Walt Hriniak (1968 Braves, 26 PAs), one of the most successful hitting coaches in recent history
- Ruben Amaro Sr (1966 Yankees, 23 PAs)
- Shoeless Joe Jackson (1908 A’s, 23 PAs)

There have only been 9 such seasons since 1901 with 40 or more PAs, so there is something for MiniMart to shoot for.

What is actually kind of amazing is that the Sacrifice Fly wasn't tracked consistently until the 1950s, which means that some of the seasons of the early 20th century that are recorded as not having any SFs may in fact have had some, which would make what Martinez is doing an even more rare feat.

Martinez also doesn't have any sacrifice hits, and there have only been 8 seasons in MLB history with 34+ PAs and no XBH, BB, HBP, SF, or SH.  The record for most PAs in such a season is 41 by Joe DeMaestri with the 1961 Yankees.

So the Mini Watch is on.  If we have to endure watching him trying hit a baseball, at least we can track his progress to immortality by avoiding extra base hits and walks. The hardest part might be avoiding HBPs and Sac Flies, since doing so also depends on other players and cannot be accomplished by MiniMart's ineptitude alone.

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