David Bush : Dirtiest Player in the Game?

David Bush : Effective Wildness King

 Is David Bush the Ric Flair of profesional baseball (the dirtiest player in the game)? Upon an e-mail correspondence of sorts with Brewer & overall baseball guru Jeff Sackmann, I’ve added a few more wringles to the David Bush saga. 

Quick Primer: David Bush is the regining two-time champion in Effective Wildness, a ratio that divides BB/HBP. Bush also owns two of the all-time six lowest scores since 1900. In 2006 his 1.63 BB/9IP was the 8th lowest total in the majors, yet his 18 HBP tied for 2nd place. He only threw 6 wild pitches, a low total if he has trouble controlling his curve. The 18 HBP vs 6 WP is a 3 – 1 ratio, and the rest of the MLB (outside the top 10 EF) has a 1.21 ratio. 

One major question arose after talking to Jeff (and earlier from fellow columnist Calman). Bush occasionally lacks control of his curve. One hypothesis regarding his curve was that when Bush is wild with it, he’s likely to hit more batters. And in these games when he lacks total command of the pitch, he’s more likely to hang it, thus giving up a higher percentage of home runs. I still had a few questions about this, due to the low wild pitch numbers, but I figured I’d go back anyways into the game logs. Below is the tally of David Bush’s stats in games where he hit a batter (14 games), and in games where he did not (20 games).

  H/9 BB/9 K/9 K/BB HR/9 ERA
With HBP 8.87  1.36  6.47  4.77 


Without 8.58  1.85  7.69  4.16  1.33  4.36 

David Bush in-fact gave up less HR per 9 innings in games where he hit a batter. David showcases a higher level of control in these games (0.49 fewer BB/9), and even has a higher strikeout/walk ratio. David clearly had better control in the games where he hit batters. So why were the batters getting hit? Is he really doing this on purpose? If so, should he be celebrated or vilified? David Bush : Dirtiest Player in the Game?

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