What is HBP in Baseball? What You Need to Know

Not all pitches thrown are hit by the batters; some hit the player instead of their bat. Such an instance is called Hit-By-Pitch or HBP. In this article, we will take an in-depth look into what HBP is in baseball and why it is important. 

We will talk about that as well as different records of batters with most HBPs in their MLB careers. It is important to know that HBP is only called when the batter does not swing their bat, and the ball hits them directly, as in a bodily impact. 

Such a pitch is considered a dead ball; all action is immediately stopped, and the batter is awarded a free first base; that is, they get to walk to the first base without the pitch being counted.

Why Does an HBP Occur?

In most cases, a hit-by-pitch occurs because the ball slips out of the pitcher’s hand. This can be due to any number of reasons, including sweaty palms, a ripped grip of the ball gone unnoticed, or an unstable throw where the pitcher’s arm and body posture did not calibrate. 

In some cases, it can be intentional; the pitcher may retaliate to a previous homerun by the batter, or the batter mocks the pitcher with some taunting gesture. Either way, aggression can clearly be seen at the pitch, and a warning is passed to the pitcher to avoid such behavior in the future. 

Baseball is a game where you need utmost sportsmanship as sometimes it just might not be your day, and your team can get bashed by your opponent. A good athlete is one who takes the loss with honor and dignity instead of lashing out at players. 

In very rare circumstances, the pitcher is ordered by the team manager to throw a foul ball in an attempt to injure the star batter of the opposing team. Such kind of gross misconduct is not only prohibited but can result in teams getting banned from MLB; however, managers are hardly highlighted as the responsible party.

How Often Do Batters Get Hit by Pitches?

In the past, as veteran players often call “the good times,” players had way more sportsmanship. No matter how bad the game would be, pitchers refrained from throwing foul balls intentionally. 

Nowadays, things are different, especially over the last four seasons of MLB; HBPs have become way more common and frequent. The average currently is one batter per game being hit by the pitch, which may not seem like a big deal to some of you, but to people who have witnessed the evolution of MLB, it’s a disaster of the basic essence of the game. 

A few of the remarkable records for the highest HBP are as follows:

  1. Hughie Jennings: 287 
  2. Craig Biggio: 285
  3. Tommy Tucker: 272

These records are considered legendary, meaning these batters were so notorious in the field that whichever game they played, pitchers wanted to hit them in order to keep them from striking. These players usually had a high WAR. The Hall of Fame remembers these legends for their accomplishments in baseball. 

Conclusion for What Is HBP In Baseball

To summarize this article, a hit-by-pitch is a foul ball thrown by the pitcher, either by mistake or with intent to harm, that hits the batter and leads to a free point being awarded. 

It is important to remember the role of the umpire in deciding whether the pitch was intentional or accidental. If the umpire deems the pitch intentional, they can eject the pitcher from the game, and the umpire does not need to explain their decision. If they think both the batter and the pitcher are causing trouble, they may eject them both from the game. This usually happens in cases where the batter keeps showing off their prowess after every homerun, which is, of course, taken as an insult by the pitcher. 

The umpire also holds the right to call off the game if he senses the manager telling his pitchers to throw with such intent. With the consequences in mind, let’s hope the average HBP drops in the future of MLB, as it is just a plain sign of bleak sportsman’s spirit and weak training of players by management. 

What Is HBP In Baseball – FAQs 

How does being struck by a pitch influence a player’s batting average? 

Being hit by a pitch, often abbreviated as HBP, does not affect a player’s batting average because it is not considered an official at-bat. In calculating batting average, only plate appearances resulting in hits, outs, sacrifices, or certain defensive plays are considered. When a batter is hit by a pitch, they are awarded first base without it being considered an at-bat; hence, it doesn’t impact their batting average.

Who topped the MLB in hit-by-pitch incidents? 

In the current year, Mark Canha secured the top position in Major League Baseball for being hit by a pitch, tallying an impressive 28 times. This statistic highlights his ability to endure pitches aimed at him and still contribute to his team’s offensive efforts by reaching base through being hit.

Why is being hit by a pitch not factored into the WHIP statistic? 

The WHIP (Walks plus Hits per Inning Pitched) is a statistic used to evaluate a pitcher’s efficiency in preventing baserunners. It encompasses walks and hits to provide a clear measure of a pitcher’s control and ability to limit the number of opponents on base. However, being hit by a pitch is excluded from the WHIP calculation because it’s considered a deadball situation. WHIP specifically focuses on walks and hits, which directly pertain to a pitcher’s performance in controlling the game and minimizing offensive opportunities for the opposing team.

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