I have been battling the flu for two days, so upfront apologies if this ends up sounding like I’m writing this while there’s a pressure washer on full-blast stuck in my ear.
Anyway, the art of being intentionally walked has long been a aura, of sorts. While it’s no discernable skill, it’s an indirect way of measuring just how much the other team fears your abilities. It’s not something you do, per se, but something you damn well would have done if given the opportunity.
A quick perusal of the MLB leaderboard for IBB during the 2022 season tends to corroborate that once again. Aaron Judge and the mighty New York Yankees led all of baseball with 30 IBB during the season, while Cleveland finished runner-up on the backs of the brilliant Jose Ramirez and his league-leading 20. Shohei Ohtani and Mike Trout and the lack of anything else of substance on the Angels led to that LA club ranking 3rd with 28, while each of the Padres, Dodgers, Mets, and Astros ranked among the next handful of teams.
I’ll give you a minute to collect your thoughts and ponder the existence of Logan Lerman, durian, and the Cincinnati Reds. Then, I’ll hit you with the most obvious thing I’m sure you intuitively knew already had you not blocked out everything about the 2022 Reds season already:
They had the fewest IBB in baseball, with 6, tied with the imitable Oakland A’s in that regard. One Red, and one Red only was walked intentionally more than once the entire season, and that was Tyler Naquin, who was no longer a Red after the trade deadline.
Nobody was afraid of the Cincinnati Reds offense in 2022, except those of us who occasionally chose to watch it with any expectation.