As a Chicago White Sox fan, I couldn’t help but think about the implications AJ Pierzynski will have on the defense of the Texas Rangers when he signed with them over the winter. While I am thankful for everything Pierzynski did on the Southside, I became very frustrated with his defensive efforts last season. Outside of Wilin Rosario, who has set the standard for shoddy catching, Pierzynski was the worst catcher in baseball last season. Pierzynski led the American League in wild pitches allowed (54) and was near the top of the league in passed balls (8); he was also one of the worst throwing catchers in the league, too.
With all of that in mind, I started to think about Texas’ most wild – yet dominant – pitchers in their rotation, Yu Darvish. The idea of Pierzynski catching Darvish is a scary thought. In fact, it’s so scary that it could potentially break a MLB record.
I was bored earlier today, so I looked up the record for wild pitches thrown in a season. I can’t really count anything before Deadball Era, seeing as the innovation of equipment totally changed the position. If I counted the Deadball Era, though, the record would be Mark Baldwin’s, who threw 83 wild pitches in 1889. The modern-day record, however, was set by Tony Cloninger in 1966 with 27 wild pitches, unless my skimming of the leaderboard was incorrect.
Darvish only threw eight wild pitches last season, which is a lot less than I originally thought. But he didn’t have a catcher who refused to move laterally like Pierzynski. In order to break the record, Darvish would have to have about four wild pitches per five starts. Although it may be unlikely that Darvish sets this completely meaningless record, it will definitely be something to keep an eye on early in the season, figuruing Pierzysnki is just as bad as he was in 2012.