Another fun article by Jayson Stark in The Athletic this week got me thinking about walking. Stark noted that while the Angels Mike Trout drew nine walks over just four games of 2018, Dee Gordon of the Mariners drew the same number of free passes in 588 plate appearances of the whole season! That’s the fewest walks in that many plate appearances of a single season in almost 70 years.
Stark didn’t mention any Red Sox players in his analysis, but that’s where RSNStats gets to work. It turns out Boston’s own Eduardo Núñez made some Sox history of his own in this department last season.
Núñez stepped to the plate 502 times in 2018, his most PA in one season since a career-high 595 PA in his 2016 All-Star Season. But in all those trips to the dish last season Eduardo drew just 16 walks. Only the aforementioned Gordon had fewer in all of baseball. In fact, Núñez went walk-less in 41 straight games from April 19 to June 8, the longest such streak in the American League for 2018.
Núñez in 2018 became just the seventh Red Sox player in franchise history with fewer than 20 walks in 500 or more plate appearances, the first since Shano Collins set a club record with seven walks in 503 PA of the 1922 season.
Núñez and Gordon were two of just five major league players with fewer than 20 walks in 500 or more plate appearances last season. The others were Salvador Perez, Kevin Pillar, and Jonathan Schoop.