It’s a pretty slow day around these parts and my capacity for original thought has bottomed out, so I’m just sharing something I saw on Twitter. Greg Maddux is one of the best to ever do it and his legend is only growing with time, particularly as the game continues to evolve toward higher velo numbers and nastier stuff. Mad Dog was filthy, of course, and he could have thrown harder, but why?
Using pinpoint accuracy that was enhanced by a very liberal strike zone, he dominated with a two-seam and changeup that carved and sliced like dual scalpels. Imagine a pitcher in today’s game throwing an 85 mph fastball 69% of the time and winning four consecutive Cy Youngs. Dude was not normal.
Just how not-normal was he? According to Codify, Maddux threw a total of 8,006 called balls to 8,025 batters he faced from 1995-2003, a span that stretched from his fourth Cy Young season to his last year in Atlanta. That’s less than one ball per batter, which just numbs the brain to think about.
Not counting batters who were intentionally walked, Greg Maddux faced 8,025 batters during the 1995-2003 seasons.
Total pitches to those batters called balls? 8,006. 😮
Just totally insane. pic.twitter.com/teovXo83q6
— Codify (@CodifyBaseball) January 21, 2023
Maddux walked a total of 300 batters across those nine seasons and never walked more than 45 in any individual campaign. But here’s the thing: 74 of those walks were intentional. That means he tallied a mere 224 unintentional walks in that span, an average of 24.9 per season. In 1997, he issued a staggeringly low 14 unintentional walks to 893 batters faced.
And you have to think some of those might have been at least a little intentional even if they weren’t officially categorized as such.
Anyway, this unfathomable little nugget struck me as way cooler than forcing something about a projected Cubs lineup. Not that there’s anything wrong with such prognostication, mind you, it’s just that it took me like 20 minutes just to cobble this together.