Originally posted on Fangraphs  |  Last updated 7/5/13
Michael Cuddyer just finished going streaking. His 27-game streak, which lasted from May 28th to June 30th, was the longest since Dan Uggla’s 33-gamer in 2011. While he didn’t reach the 30-game benchmark that many sites use, 27 games is nothing to shake a stick at — Cuddyer’s streak was just the 135th of 25 or more games since 1916 that happened during the same season (there were also 18 that spanned two seasons, but I don’t count those. If you have a problem with that you can go suck a lemon). I didn’t have the time to go through all of those streaks, but I did have a chance to take a look at the streaks of 30 or more games, and I thought we could put Cuddyer’s streak into perspective. To start, obviously, Cuddyer’s was at least three games fewer. That’s a given, and I didn’t need to explain that to you. Breaking down one of the 30-game-streak lists, which actually go back further than 1916, we find 54. But for our purposes here, we need to trim a little bit. We first eliminate the 12 streaks that span multiple seasons. I’m just not counting them. Nothing I do in September of one year has anything to do with what I do in April of the following year. It’s nonsense, as far as I’m concerned (feel free to disagree in the comments). We also have to eliminate the 12 streaks that occurred before 1916, which is the first season for which Baseball-Reference has game logs. They are: Player Games Year Bill Dahlen 42 1894 Ty Cobb 40 1911 Fred Clarke 35 1895 George Davis 33 1893 Hal Chase 33 1907 Ed Delahanty 31 1899 Nap Lajoie 31 1906 Cal McVey 30 1876 Elmer Smith 30 1898 Tris Speaker 30 1912 The Ty Cobb streak from 1911 seems like it would have been particularly awesome — he hit .420/.467/.621 for a .506 wOBA that year, and won the American League Most Valuable Player Award to boot. Chances are, he hit pretty freaking well during that streak. But we can’t say for sure because we don’t have the game logs. Or, we can’t directly compare it to other hit streaks because we don’t have the game logs. In any case, we are left with 32 hit streaks. Three of the 32 streaks appear dubious to me — Moises Alou in 2007, Albert Pujols in 2003 and Ken Landreaux in 1980. During each of these streaks, there was a game in which the player had a single plate appearance, but was either walked or hit by a pitch, and thus did not have an official at-bat. These are still generally accepted streaks, and so I will accept them as well, but they don’t seem to be capturing the spirit of the thing. I just wanted to point that out. Mostly because I’m a nerd. To make the comparisons, I took each player’s raw stats from their game logs as compiled by B-Ref, and then used the fantastically awesome Guts! page to help me calculate the wOBA and wRAA of each streak. Assuming I did all of that correctly (and there’s always a chance that I didn’t), here is how Cuddyer’s streak shakes out: Player Games Year BA OBP SLG WPA wOBA wRAA Joe DiMaggio 56 1941 0.408 0.463 0.717 0.528 36.7 Rogers Hornsby 33 1922 0.466 0.494 0.808 0.573 28.8 Tommy Holmes 37 1945 0.423 0.494 0.699 1.377 0.550 28.7 Ty Cobb 35 1917 0.464 0.516 0.754 0.593 28.7 Paul Molitor 39 1987 0.415 0.495 0.683 2.224 0.501 27.9 Rico Carty 31 1970 0.451 0.53 0.743 1.5 0.554 24.4 George Brett 30 1980 0.467 0.504 0.746 2.703 0.544 24.0 George Sisler 41 1922 0.454 0.489 0.615 0.501 23.7 Dan Uggla 33 2011 0.377 0.438 0.762 1.507 0.510 22.4 Chase Utley 35 2006 0.405 0.452 0.699 1.994 0.483 21.7 Albert Pujols 30 2003 0.39 0.471 0.712 2.611 0.501 19.7 Vladimir Guerrero 31 1999 0.386 0.431 0.756 2.066 0.499 18.8 Luis Gonzalez 30 1999 0.4 0.466 0.696 1.716 0.492 17.5 Eric Davis 30 1998 0.4 0.43 0.708 1.897 0.478 17.4 George McQuinn 34 1938 0.386 0.457 0.572 0.467 16.8 Ryan Zimmerman 30 2009 0.382 0.427 0.649 1.435 0.465 16.1 Nomar Garciaparra 30 1997 0.383 0.407 0.652 2.573 0.457 15.6 Stan Musial 30 1950 0.388 0.435 0.661 0.912 0.488 15.2 Goose Goslin 30 1934 0.376 0.443 0.616 0.472 15.0 Andre Ethier 30 2011 0.397 0.462 0.56 1.617 0.453 14.1 Willie Davis 31 1969 0.435 0.463 0.532 1.792 0.450 13.7 Sandy Alomar, Jr. 30 1997 0.422 0.455 0.595 1.333 0.462 13.5 Moises Alou 30 2007 0.403 0.445 0.588 0.586 0.455 13.4 Pete Rose 44 1978 0.385 0.421 0.462 1.305 0.400 12.3 Ken Landreaux 31 1980 0.392 0.445 0.496 1.206 0.428 11.6 Sam Rice 31 1924 0.402 0.448 0.5 0.440 10.9 Michael Cuddyer 27 2013 0.372 0.4 0.575 0.693 0.423 10.5 Luis Castillo 35 2002 0.403 0.436 0.468 1.806 0.401 10.2 Dom DiMaggio 34 1949 0.34 0.418 0.487 0.631 0.420 10.1 Heinie Manush 33 1933 0.362 0.413 0.486 0.414 9.8 Benito Santiago 34 1987 0.346 0.36 0.559 0.353 0.397 8.2 Jerome Walton 30 1989 0.338 0.352 0.449 1.543 0.357 4.7 Willy Taveras 30 2006 0.349 0.404 0.426 0.660 0.370 4.6 One item of note — the WPA comes from B-Ref, and it appears that they don’t have WPA for any pre-World War II seasons. I’m not a mathematician, but I’m pretty sure Joe DiMaggio would have a positive WPA during his hit streak. As you can see, Cuddyer’s streak wasn’t historically awesome, and if I went back and included all of the 27-, 28- and 29-game hit streaks, it might fare even worse. But it wasn’t the worst. It was worth more in wRAA than streaks that were as many as eight games longer. This strikes me as pretty cool, even as someone who knew that Luis Castillo’s streak wasn’t anything to write home about as it was happening back in 2005. When the Rockies traded Seth Smith and signed Michael Cuddyer following the 2011 season, several people were critical of the moves, including myself. Then Cuddyer went out and underwhelmed when he did play in 2012, which was mainly the first half — he missed all but 19 games in the second half with an oblique injury — which didn’t help matters any. This year however, Cuddyer has silenced critics, and the hit streak is only part of that. If he maintains it, his 158 wRC+ will easily be a career best, and even though he has been an atrocious fielder in right field, he has already doubled his WAR from last season in roughly 2/3 the games played. Hitting streaks the length of which Cuddyer just put together don’t come around every year, and they are a pretty interesting subject that I may dig into more in the near future. Players compile these streaks more frequently than they used to, but you still only have to look back to 2010 to find a year without a hitting streak of 25 or more games. He may not have had the best hitting streak ever, but Cuddyer’s streak was still pretty sweet, and while his defense will hold him out of any serious MVP discussions, he is putting together a pretty nice season overall.
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