Choo Shin-Soo Leads Majors in OBP by Hitting, Getting Hit

Cincinnati Reds outfielder Shin-soo Choo has pulled into the lead in Major League Baseball’s (MLB) on-base percentage (OBP) after getting on base for all five at-bats against the Miami Marlins on Sunday.

The Reds’ 10-6 victory was powered in large part by Choo’s success in getting on base with two hits, one walk and being plunked by two pitches. Choo’s performance came on the heel of Saturday’s game in which he got on base base six times with three hits and three walks.

The weekend was no fluke. Choo has reached base in 31 consecutive games, including the first 18 games of this season to bring his OBP to 0.523, edging out that of teammate Joey Votto’s 0.522 for the majors’ top OBP.

Choo’s bat has given him an impressive .382 with 26 hits in 68 at-bats, but his tough hide has contributed its share to his OBP. So far this season Choo has gotten on base nine times by being hit with pitches, partly due to his aggressive stance on inside pitches. That gives him over twice as many bruises as the four suffered by Kevin Youkilis of the New York Yankees, the runner up in that stat.

Choo is currently on pace to set a new record for getting plunked. No MLB player has been hit as many times during the first 19 games of the season (Choo sat out one game this season). The closest are Chase Utley and Prince Fielder, who were both hit 7 times in 2007 and 2010, respectively. But Choo will have to get hit 42 more times to tie the painful record of 51 set by Hughie Jennings in 1896.

Choo, 30, came over from S. Korea to join the Mariners in 2005. He was traded to the Indians in 2009, then to the Reds at the end 2012. His current salary is $7.35 mil.