Finally, some news worth commenting on! In their biggest splash of the off-season, the Phillies have traded away Wilson Valdez. Now, I think my disdain for the human oil spill that is "Exxon" Valdez has been pretty apparent. Why do I dislike him so?
Here's a look at Wilson Valdez' numbers from the past two seasons with the Phillies:
2010 - 20 GIDP - 363 PA (5.5% of all plate appearances ended in 2 outs.)
2011 - 13 GIDP - 300 PA (4.3%)
During those two years, Baseball's top GIDP victims were Billy Butler (32 in 2010) and Albert Pujols (29 in 2011). Had Wilson Valdez reached the same plateau of PAs in each season, in 2010 he would have set a new Major League Baseball record for GIDPs in a season with 37.35. We're talking about a sport that's been around for 140+ years and Wilson Valdez would have been the all time season leader in grounding into DPs had he been an every day player! In 2011, had he reached Pujols' PA numbers he would have been a close second in all of baseball with 28.21. Unfortunately, Valdez can't support his GIDP numbers with the same OPS numbers that Pujols puts up!
But plate appearances are probably a bad statistic to use, so let's consider "opportunities" instead:
2010 - 20 GIDP - 83 Opportunities (24.1%)
2011 - 13 GIDP - 79 Opportunities (16.5%)
The league average is 11%
The man with the most double plays in any one single season is Jim Rice. In fact, he's 1st, 2nd, and tied for 8th on the single season list! But even he peaked at 20% in his worst year and ended at 15% for his career. He's also a Hall of Famer. The biggest active double play machine is Ivan Rodriguez (a future Hall of Famer for sure) with 337 GIDPs in his career, but even he only causes two outs at a rate of 15.6% of his opportunities. Wilson Valdez is at 18.3% for his career!
In 2011 for the Phillies, only Placido Polanco GIDP more than Valdez (15 to 13) and that was in nearly twice as many plate appearances with a bad back AND a sports hernia! In 2010, no one else on the team was even close.
And while Wilson Valdez does have have more career victories than the lefty reliever, Jeremy Horst, that the Phillies got in return (oddly enough his W was against Cincinnati who must have been afraid to face him again next season), raise your beers with me this weekend as we toast the departure of Wilson Valdez and save ourselves a handful of two out ground balls for 2012!