JULIAN TAVAREZ – Dominican GIDP King
“What counts aren’t the number of double plays, but the ones you should have had and missed.” – WHITEY HERZOG
Growing up in Baltimore during the 1970’s, one of my earliest baseball memories was being taught to chant “6-4-3” when the Orioles pitcher put a man on first base. Of course, that was to exhort the opposition to hit the ball to the Orioles sure-handed shortstop Mark Belanger, so that ‘The Blade’ could turn it into a double play. A twin killing. The pitcher’s best friend.
Just yesterday, I noticed that Fausto Carmona of the Indians induced 32 double play grounders in as many starts in 2007 (plus 4 more in 3 post-season outings). Not only did that tie Chien-Ming Wang for the MLB lead, when I looked it up, 32 tied the single-season record for pitchers from the Dominican Republic. The Cardinals Joaquin Andujar, in 1985, and Miguel Batista of the 2006 Diamondbacks did it previously.
Next, I checked the 20 Dominicans that started 100 or more MLB games to see who induced double plays most frequently. Here are the top 5 by IP/GIDP (using only statistics as a starting pitcher):
7.36 – Julian TAVAREZ (1993-active)
9.21 – Miguel BATISTA (1992-active)
10.20 – Bartolo COLON (1997-active)
10.83 – Daniel CABRERA (2004-active)
10.95 – Pedro ASTACIO (1992-2006)
Carmona has only made 39 big league starts to date, but his 6.81 figure would top the list. (Mario Soto, at 24.24 ip/gidp, generated twin killings least frequently)
Impressed by Carmona’s ability to get two outs with one pitch, I examined every Dominican pitcher that logged at least 100 innings in the majors; more than 100 in all. Using statistics compiled both in starts and relief, here are the 10 best pitchers at getting double plays:
7.03 – Julian TAVAREZ (1993-active)
7.07 – Fausto CARMONA (2006-active)
7.59 – Bill CASTRO (1974-1983)
7.61 – Franklyn GERMAN (2002-2006)
7.61 – Francisco LIRIANO (2005-active)
7.76 – Antonio ALFONSECA (1997-active)
7.90 – Leo NUNEZ (2005-active)
8.19 – Hipolito PICHARDO (1992-2002)
8.19 – Duaner SANCHEZ (2002-active)
8.30 – Jose PANIAGUA (1996-2003)
(Cubs reliever Carlos Marmol’s rate of one GIDP per 36.59 IP is the worst, though he’s pitched fewer than 150 innings thus far in his career).
Considering Tavarez has made more than 500 more relief appearances than starts in his career, it’s fair to say Carmona may prove to be the best double play machine among Dominican starting pitchers thanks to his wicked sinker. It bears watching whether he can shatter a little known record among his countrymen this year.
by MALCOLM ALLEN
JULIAN TAVAREZ FACTS:
His blister remedy = Pop it, repeatedly swab with rubbing alcohol. Crush aspirins and mix them with Red Bull energy drink. Rub them on blister.
Has been suspended 5 times in his MLB career.
Denies that he doctors the ball by rubbing pine tar from his cap
As young players with the Indians, Tavarez & Manny Ramirez asked beat writers to lend them $60,000 to buy motorcycles after Cleveland’s GM told them no.
If he wasn’t playing baseball, he’d be in the porno industry