Burgh Bites: Josh Harrison is leading MLB in HBP

You may think this Burgh Bites series is only about Josh Harrison, but that just happens to be the case for the first two articles in this series. Harrison got plunked twice in last night's game against the Brewers, pushing him to a league-high 14 HBP this season, including getting hit twice in three different games as well as four consecutive plate appearances earlier in the season.

There are many possible reasons a guy gets hit a lot, most notably how close he stands to the plate. However, Harrison doesn't seem to stand anomalously close to the plate like some hitters do. Watch these Anthony Rizzo HBPs and you'll see how much he hangs over the plate, leading to the obvious conclusion that this is why he gets hit. Don't just look at his feet, look at where his body is positioned relative to the plate in all those plate appearances in that video.

However, Harrison doesn't seem to do the same thing. Look at the screenshot below from one of HBP earlier in the season:

harrison getting hit.png

His feet are close to the chalk of the batter's box, but he isn't hanging over the plate, asking to get hit. Maybe his tiny frame psyches out pitchers who are worried they won't throw it in the small strike zone and actually end up more wild as a result. Maybe pitchers are throwing retaliatory pitches for the single transgression of being a bubbly, happy player throughout his career. Maybe he has a magnet installed his body that only attracts the juiced ball. No matter the reason, this is a strange thing that's happening.

What's even weirder is that pitchers have pitched Harrison down and away for his entire career:

Courtesy Fangraphs.

Courtesy Fangraphs.

A similar chart is generated for this season only, despite all the HBP he's had this year. I don't have much of an explanation for this season other than that maybe it's just a statistical outlier because those kind of things happen. Either way, it's helping his OBP (and his All-Star game case) this year.