That Stat Was... 4-Pitch Unintentional Walk Percentage

On Sunday, I gave you a stats riddle. Given the top 10 and bottom 10 pitchers and hitters in an unknown stat (created by me), could you guess the simple ratio stat that I used to rank the players? While there were some interesting guesses, no one came particularly close to the answer: 4-pitch unintentional walk percentage (4PUBB%).

This is defined fairly simply as follows: the percentage of unintentional walks that come on 4 pitches (4PUBB% = 4-pitch unintentional walks / unintentional walks). The numerator was found using Baseball-Reference's Play Index; I don't think I've ever seen a list of that particular stat anywhere else. The denominator is obtained via the the very simple subtraction of intentional walks from all walks*.

* I think it's odd that neither B-Ref nor FanGraphs lists unintentional walks, given the usefulness of that stat in evaluating players' plate discipline. I guess they figure that if you're on those sites, you are competent at subtraction!

The league average 4PUBB% since 2009 is 19.4%, so about 1 in 5 unintentional walks have come on 4 pitches. Among the pitchers in the data set (minimum 150 IP since '09), the average was a bit lower: 18.7%. The standard deviation was 5.3%.

Take another look at the leaderboards (repeated after the jump). Do the results make sense, or are they counterintuitive? Any ideas for further research along these lines?

The numbers were calculated from the start of 2009 through the games of this past Friday (4/27). I set a minimum of 150 IP for pitchers and 500 PA for hitters, resulting in a data set of 311 pitchers and 396 hitters. Here we go:

Top 10 Hitters

  1. Cesar Izturis, 41%
  2. Bengie Molina, 40%
  3. Robinson Cano, 40%
  4. Kazuo Matsui, 39%
  5. Pedro Feliz, 39%
  6. Aaron Miles, 36%
  7. Jason Kendall, 36%
  8. Brett Wallace, 35%
  9. Jose Guillen, 35%
  10. Shane Victorino, 34%

Top 10 Pitchers

  1. Charlie Morton, 36%
  2. Luke Gregerson, 34%
  3. Joakim Soria, 32%
  4. Michael Wuertz, 32%
  5. Todd Wellemeyer, 31%
  6. Dontrelle Willis, 31%
  7. Luke Hochevar, 31%
  8. Jamey Wright, 31%
  9. Carlos Carrasco, 30%
  10. Jeff Samardzija, 30%

Bottom 10 Hitters

  1. Alberto Gonzalez, 3%
  2. Matt Diaz, 7%
  3. Delwyn Young, 7%
  4. Ross Gload, 7%
  5. Shelley Duncan, 7%
  6. J.P. Arencibia, 8%
  7. Chris Iannetta, 9%
  8. Ivan Rodriguez, 10%
  9. Johnny Damon, 10%
  10. Scott Sizemore, 10%

Bottom 10 Pitchers

  1. Huston Street, 4%
  2. Koji Uehara, 4%
  3. Matt Thornton, 6%
  4. Scott Linebrink, 6%
  5. Brian Moehler, 6%
  6. Brian Wilson, 6%
  7. Erik Bedard, 7%
  8. Guillermo Mota, 7%
  9. Jonathan Papelbon, 7%
  10. Carl Pavano, 8%

What do you guys think? Does this stat tell us anything about pitchers or hitters, or is it just another of my junk stats?

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