In the last dozen years or so, an occasional card will end up with a weird combination of 0s and 6s in the first column. Prior to this time, the only extra base hit you could have with a 0 was a 1. So is there any rhyme or reason to who gets this combo.
Let’s first take a look to see who has it. In the 2014 set, discounting pitchers and anyone else with less than 100 PA, there are 17 players with a 0 on 66 and a 6 either on 11 or 33 or both. Let’s take a look at the “Special 17”:
- Two players have 6-6-0: Conor Gillaspie and Starlin Castro
- Two players have 6-0-0: Randal Grichuk and Chris Heisey
- The other 13 have 6-0: Corey Hart, Dee Gordon, Stefen Romero, Grant Green, Paul Konerko, Elian Herrera, Jason Kipnis, Nate Schierholtz, Allen Craig, Emilio Bonifacio, Gerald Laird, Joaquin Arias and Clint Barmes.
So what do they have in common?
- None of the players have enough HR to qualify for a first column 1.
- All of them have enough doubles to qualify for at least one first column 6.
And strangely that’s it. Some thoughts I had:
Hypothesis #1: These players all hit a homer with just a runner on 3rd, as a 6 is a HR in that situation: This does not hold water, as four of the players (Herrera, Laird, Arias and Barmes) did not hit a homer in 2014.
Hypothesis #2: These players were all out stretching a double into a triple, and a single column 6 is used as a way to have that happen in the computer game. 49 players in 2014 were out stretching a double into a triple. Only two of the “Special 17” were in that group (Castro and Green), so it’s not that.
Hypothesis #3: It has something to do with batting handicaps. Nope, all of the ratings except 2 are represented and one PL is included.
Hypothesis #4: It has something to do with position or bat-handedness. Nope, every position is represented, every batting hand is represented. Oddly, they all throw right, but that is likely a coincidence.
Hypothesis #5: They have no second-column singles. That actually works for a lot of the players, but it does not work for three of them (Laird, Arias and Barmes).
Hypothesis #6: Something weird happens if your only extra base hits are doubles. This actually has merit. Three of the group (yet again Laird, Arias and Barmes) did not hit any triples or homers. Additionally, all other players with at least 100 PA got a single column 6 or 6s except one, Jose Molina. Jose Molina didn’t really hit enough doubles to warrant even a single column 6, so he was given a 0 with 10 double column 6s). So we have figured out that if all of your extra base hits are doubles, you will get a single column 6 as long as you can warrant it. So we’ll remove Laird, Arias and Barmes from the equation, and move on to the “Frustrating 14”.
Hypothesis #7: Let’s revisit #5 since the three removed were the outliers in Hypothesis #5. So we have 14 players who have no double column singles for those players who have a double column. There are 8 other players who also would qualify in this situation, yet do not have the first column 6. So it’s something more than this?
Data Set Removal #1: One of the 8 players without the single column 6, Andrew Romine, does not qualify for a single column 6 since he only qualifies for one extra-base hit number and a quarter of that number should be a homer. So he is given a single 0 and we’re not going to worry about him in the later hypothesis, so we’ll call this other group the “Silly 7”.
Hypothesis #8: Is it something to do with the double rate? No, as the players seem to mix. The highest ranked doubles hitter in the combination of the two groups is in the Frustrating 14 (Gillaspie) but the second is in the Silly 7 (Jayson Werth).
Hypothesis #9: Is it something to do with the triple rate? Each group has a player with no triples, and the other players mix again, so it isn’t this.
Hypothesis #10: Is it something to do with the home run rate? There is a weird thing where the lowest number in the Silly 7 is 0.65, but there are players in the Frustrating 14 with a higher rate.
Since I can’t think of anything else that seems to work, I’m going to go with this to determine whether a player gets a 6-0, 6-6-0 or 6-0-0 combination:
- Player must have at least one double for each 34.25 PA.
- Player must have fewer than one homer for each 34.25 PA.
- If the player has hit no triples or homers, the player will have at least one first column 6 and then the requisite number of 0s.
- If the player will not have any single column singles, the player may have at least one first column 6, but they may not.
Do you have a hypothesis of your own? Then don’t be a stranger, leave a comment…