Some pitchers give up 1-2 home runs or more per game, while some of them are masters at keeping the ball in the park. We did a gopher ball list last year, so here is the opposite…the pitchers who give up the fewest home runs per nine innings, and therefore the guys you want in the game when the game is on the line:
1. Mariano Rivera, New York Yankees (0.4953)—Amazingly, Rivera gave up 11 home runs his rookie year (1995) and since then, only 50. That’s 50 home runs in like 15 years, or about 3 per season. That’s just sick. No wonder the guy has so many career saves (538).
2. Tim Hudson, Atlanta Braves (0.7141)—If only Hudson was able to stay healthy for any length of time, he’d be a lock for the Hall of Fame.
3. Derek Lowe, Atlanta Braves (0.7221)—When you have a ball that drops like six feet before it reaches home plate, you’re not going to have a lot of hitters get under your pitches. What you’ll get are lots of ground balls.
4. Aaron Cook, Colorado Rockies (0.7384)—If you’re a pitcher in Colorado, it’s sort of like being a meatball sandwich in a pizza joint. You’ll get noticed, but only when they run out of pizza…or in this case, when the Rockies aren’t hitting. Still, when you think about Cook and how he’s spent his entire career in Denver, being fourth on this list is quite an accomplishment.
5. Roy Halladay, Philadelphia Phillies (0.7385)—A perfect game only added to Halladay’s Hall of Fame resume.
6. Carlos Zambrano, Chicago Cubs (0.7445)—He’s always angry but always has nasty stuff, and, like Cook, he pitches in a hitter-friendly park.
7. Andy Pettitte, New York Yankees (0.7671)—Lucky for the Yankees, Pettitte’s career high of 27 home runs allowed was when he was with the Astros in 2006.
8. Roy Oswalt, Houston Astros (0.7729)—He has an impeccable nose for the strike zone, but puts enough on his pitches to keep hitters guessing and in the park.
9. Jake Westbrook, Cleveland Indians (0.7999)—He hasn’t pitched much in the last three years, but when he does, Jake Westbrook is very good at keeping the ball in the yard.
10. AJ Burnett, New York Yankees (0.8213)—As if the Yankees needed another guy like this in their rotation.
Source: Baseball Reference