Grant Green Says Au Re*flies out*

By Jason Wojciechowski on July 24, 2013 at 10:45 PM

Grant Green has made a grievous error. The former no. 13 overall pick was called up to the A's just before the All-Star break to much noise, some of it wailing and gnashing, some of it laudatory, some of it simply yelling because everyone else was yelling so who are we to stand aside quietly? (You can guess where in this I fall, though you might argue that I'm lying about having yelled at all. I won't fight with you if that's your argument. Mainly because you're right.)

The thing Grant Green did is walk to the plate sixteen times and make sixteen outs. One of those outs drove home a run, but still: sixteen walks to the plate, sixteen walks to the dugout. Or maybe six walks to the dugout (strikeouts) and 10 jogs (outs on balls in play). He made no walks. He made no hits. He made only outs. The Man Who Made Only Outs.

The Play Index is made for this kind of thing, and one of the perks of being an ESPN SweetSpot-affiliated blog is access to the Play Index. The longest games streak of not reaching base to start a career is Edwards Guzman (more than one Edward) with 18. To get to the players with five straight games, you have to get all the way through the 152 players with six or more straight on-base-less games to start their careers. Further, some good players had bad starts: Brian Giles (six games, albeit just seven at-bats), Bobby Abreu (six games, nine at-bats), Pete Reiser (seven games, nine at-bats), and Ryan Klesko (10 games, 13 at-bats) all appear above Green. The again, the other 148 are terrible and/or pitchers. (I excluded pitchers in the sense that pitchers appearing as pitchers were taken out, but if a pitcher appeared in a game at another position, that game counted toward his streak. For instance, Livan Hernandez appeared in 10 games from 1998 to 2006 at some other position without getting a hit.)

Green, then, could be Brian Giles or he could be Jerry Snyder (691 career PA from 1952 to 1958, .220 career True Average).

New question: what if Green never makes it back to the big leagues this year, or he gets called up in September but doesn't play? Where would his no times on base in 16 PA stack up among the all-time futile seasons?

From 1871 to 2013, Green would be tied for tenth in the most PA without a hit in a single season (non-pitchers). Here's the list:

Rk Player PA Year Age Tm G SO SH SF GDP
1 Hal Finney 35 1936 30 PIT 21 8 0 0
2 Jason Smith 27 2009 31 HOU 21 9 1 1 1
3 Fred Tauby 20 1937 31 PHI 11 5 0 0
4 Harry Redmond 20 1909 21 BRO 6 6 1
5 Cliff Carroll 20 1888 28 PIT 5 8
6 Bill Plummer 19 1971 24 CIN 10 4 0 0 2
7 John Kenney 19 1872 28 BRA 5 1 0
8 Nelson Liriano 17 1998 34 COL 12 7 0 0 1
9 Bill McNulty 17 1969 22 OAK 5 10 0 0 0
10 Grant Green 16 2013 25 OAK 5 6 0 1 0
11 Edwards Guzman 16 1999 22 SFG 14 4 1 0 0
12 Nigel Wilson 16 1993 23 FLA 7 11 0 0 0
13 Les Fleming 16 1939 23 DET 8 4 0 1
Provided by View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 7/24/2013.

One of the impressive things is how many of these players were obviously not regulars: 27 PA in 21 games for Jason Smith, for instance, clearly indicates a pinch-hitter/pinch-runner/defensive replacement/whatever. Just five players on the list have a PA:G ratio implying that they were actually starting their games.

I'm not rooting against Grant Green, obviously, but if there's a way for the A's to:

  1. make the playoffs AND
  2. have Green be a good player in 2014 and beyond AND
  3. have Green make history for futility in 2013

well, hell, I'm in this for entertainment.