It takes a special type of player to appear in all 162 games. These iron men are a rare breed. Playing in 162 games in about 180 days does not only wreak havoc on the body, but it's also mentally exhausting. Just thinking about it tires me out.
To accomplish this feat, a player must be able to avoid serious injury and have the ability to play through the daily aches and pains (see Cal Ripken Jr.). Some players are naturally injury-prone, like Troy Tulowitzki, while others, Prince Fielder for example, have managed to stay healthy (before the 2014 season at least) year in and year out. But not only does it take a healthy body to complete the 162-game marathon, it takes motivation. There are only a select few who never ask for a day off and never want to see their names out of the lineup. Those are the unique ones.
Health is the biggest factor when it comes to playing in as many games as possible. A player doesn't even need to have skill for this to happen. Yuniesky Betancourt, owner of a career 77 wRC+, averaged 155 games a season during a three-year span with the Seattle Mariners beginning in 2006. With that being said, however, only the best can make it to game 162 without taking a day off, and usually, their stats are good.
In 2014 four players played the entire season: Hunter Pence, Freddie Freeman, Alcides Escobar and Evan Longoria. Let's take a look at their performances.
These four players were fortunate enough to stay healthy and perform at high enough level to reach the mark. Pence, Freeman and Longoria stayed in the lineup every day because they are fantastic hitters, and even though Longoria had a down year at the plate, Joe Maddon still would never want his bat on the bench, just like Ned Yost doesn't want Escobar's glove or arm on the bench.
But in terms of hitting, combining to create 16% more runs than average isn't all that great. Now, just for fun, and let me be clear, this means absolutely nothing, let's compare them to other players who have played in all 162 games during the last two seasons. Let's start with 2013.
Pence makes the list again, but as a group, the 2013 team wipes the floor with the 162-game players from 2014. They created 33% more runs than league average and had a better wOBA by 30 points. And wow, I forgot how great Votto was.
Now, it's time for the 2012 team to make their case.
If not for his neck injury, Prince Fielder probably would have made it a third season in a row without missing a game. I guess some players just have a knack for it.
So there you have it, Team 2013 wins. 2012 and 2014 combined for basically identical stat lines while 2013 completely blew them away. Escobar and Suzuki brought their teams down, while everyone was consistently awesome for Team 2013.
Reminder, this means nothing. It's just something interesting to look at.
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All statistics courtesy of FanGraphs
Justin Schultz is a Featured Writer at Beyond the Box Score. You can follow him on Twitter at @JSchu23.