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No Boots, No Walking

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A good friend of “Stat of the Week”, ESPN Chicago radio host Mike Murphy, asked the following question: has a shortstop ever led Major League Baseball in the fewest errors and walks in the same season? This question was inspired by Tim Anderson, rookie shortstop of the Chicago White Sox, who has only one error and one walk in his first 28 games.

We looked at the overall current leaders this season in fewest walks and errors prorated to a full season of play (1400 innings played and 600 plate appearances). The qualified hitters are ones who have had at least 273 plate appearances so far in 2016. Tim Anderson (128 plate appearances) is also included to see where he theoretically stands in the rankings.

Fewest Errors and Walks, prorated to a full season, 2016
Player Position Errors Walks Errors + Walks
Tim Anderson, White Sox SS 6 5 11
Khris Davis, Athletics LF 0 20 20
Kevin Pillar, Blue Jays CF 5 16 21
Matt Kemp, Padres CF 4 21 25
Billy Burns, Athletics CF 5 21 26
Starling Marte, Pirates LF 6 21 27

We can see that Tim Anderson is currently leading Major League Baseball with a combined total of eleven prorated errors and walks. Left-fielder Khris Davis is second with twenty combined errors and walks.

In order to answer the proposed question, we looked at all of the seasons since 1957, when the modern rules started for player qualification, to see if a shortstop has ever had the fewest combined errors and walks. We included Tim Anderson in the table, as he is currently leading this season, to show where he ranks compared to shortstops since 1957. His numbers are prorated to 1400 innings played and 600 plate appearances.

Seasons with Shortstop Leading Combined Errors and Walks, since 1957
Season Player Errors Walks Errors + Walks
2016 Tim Anderson, White Sox 6 5 11
1994 Felix Fermin, Mariners 10 11 21
1996 Ozzie Guillen, White Sox 11 10 21
2001 Rey Sanchez, Braves/Royals 6 15 21
1985 Ozzie Guillen, White Sox 12 12 24
1982 Tim Foli, Angels 12 14 26
2000 Deivi Cruz, Tigers 13 13 26

There have been six seasons since 1957 that had a shortstop with the fewest total walks plus errors in baseball. None of these shortstops, however, had as few combined as Tim Anderson's prorated total for this season. Anderson cannot, in fact, lead in fewest boots and walks because he won’t have enough playing time to qualify, but if he did…

With a shout-out to Nancy Sinatra and her hit tune, These Boots Are Made For Walking. Sorry, Nancy. Corny pun, but Ozzie Guillen is not your friend.

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