It appears as though Kelly Shoppach is just a physical exam away from being the Mariners’ (probable) starting catcher. The thing I remember most about Kelly Shoppach is his manliness. As I noted toward the end of the 2009 season, Shoppach took a high percentage of pitches off his manly body. An AL-leading 18 pitches pegged him that season (in just 327 plate appearances), good for 5.5% of his total plate appearances.
Fact: Miguel Olivo walked that often in just three of his ten full seasons.
The next Fact: Since 2005 when Shoppach first caught games in the majors, he ranks 5th among all batters in HBP frequency. At 3.1%, he finds himself behind only Ryan Garko, Reed Johnson, Daniel Nava and Carlos Quentin. So I guess that doesn’t necessarily mean he’s good, but still manly for sure.
Your next question likely concerns whether or not he can keep it up. Russell Carleton chimes in with an emphatic “YES!” Getting hit by pitches may seem completely out of a batter’s control, but Carleton shows that it stabilizes after just 240 PA. Since 2008, Shoppach has been hit nearly 3.7% of the time in 1,415 trips to the plate. So you can add it to the list of things to look forward to in 2013:
1) Seeing a few of the M’s top 100 prospects play in Seattle.
3) Seeing Kendrys Morales hit homeruns.
4) And watching on as Shoppach gets plunked, each time doing his best Kevin Bacon impression, “Thank you sir! May I have another?”