The Indians on Aug. 1 acquired outfielder Brandon Guyer from the Rays in a three-player swap, and ever since then Guyer has been key to the Tribe’s ability to get buy without the injured Michael Brantley. Entering Tuesday’s slate, Guyer had a line of .326/.436/.457 in 19 games with Cleveland. Obviously, Guyer isn’t likely to sustain that level of performance, but we’re still talking about a guy who boasts an OBP of .361 since the start of the 2015 season. Throw in his ability to man all three outfielder positions, and you’ve got a useful player.
As for that OBP of his, much of it flows from Guyer’s ability to induce the hit-by-pitch. Since the start of 2015, Guyer’s been on base 217 times, and a whopping 24.0 percent of those occasions have come via the HBP. In all, Guyer’s been plunked 52 times since Opening Day, 2015. This season, Guyer may well be on his way to history, as this tweet and righteous graphic from Jordan Bastian show …
Sure, Guyer’s raw total is impressive, in that it puts him in range of Don Baylor’s all-time single-season mark, but what’s most impressive of all is that Guyer’s amassed such a tally in fewer than half of Baylor’s plate appearances. Stated another way, Baylor in ’86 got drilled in 5.1 percent of his PAs, while Guyer this season has worn it in 9.4 percent of his trips to the plate.
So how does he do it? Although he doesn’t always load the same way, Guyer usually strides diagonally toward the plate as the ball approaches the plate. Often enough, that leads to this …
As you see in the graphic above, Guyer’s taken a lot of pitches in the real estate that spans from his left ankle to his left hip. That plate-ward stride surely helps make that happen. He also induces HBPs at a much higher rate against left-handed pitchers, so that’s worth bearing in mind moving forward.
As for the road ahead, Guyer is presently on pace to tie Baylor’s record. However, if he enjoys increased playing time the rest of the way — a possibility, given his effectiveness with the Indians — then recent history suggests he’ll break the record.
Source: CBS Sports / LOOK: Indians’ Guyer may end up getting hit by more pitches than anyone ever