Leaderboarding: Most infield hits, bunts for hits

By Matt Snyder | Baseball Writer

Dee Gordon is a master of the infield hit.
Dee Gordon is a master of the infield hit. (USATSI)

Previously in Leaderboarding: Best pitchers at leaving guys on base

In a version of leaderboarding last week, we took a look at the players who most often take the extra base. Let's again concentrate on speed -- seriously, the power hitters and power pitchers get plenty of attention -- but go back to players getting from home plate to first base.

That is, which speedsters have gotten to first base via the infield hit most often this season (hat-tip to James Smyth on Twitter). After that, let's check out who have done so via the bunt most often.

To the Leaderboarding machine.

MLB leaders in infield hits (via baseball-reference.com AL/NL)

1. Dee Gordon, Dodgers, 39
2. Billy Hamilton, Reds, 26
3. Jean Segura, Brewers, 24
4. Jose Altuve, Astros, 23
4. Adam Jones, Orioles, 23
6. Adam Eaton, White Sox, 22
6. Yasiel Puig, Dodgers, 22
6. Alexei Ramirez, White Sox, 22
9. Carlos Gomez, Brewers, 21
10. Elvis Andrus, Rangers, 20
10. Howie Kendrick, Angels, 20

Obviously one won't find any slow players on here, but it's good to see the hustle from guys with good power like Jones, Puig and Gomez. No surprise that Gordon and Hamilton sit at the top, but it's at least mildly surprising just how big that gap is.

The difference, though, can't be attributed to speed. Gordon's batted ball rates show that he's putting himself in a far better position to succeed on this front and considering the respective skill sets here. He's at 58.1 percent groundballs right now compared to 20.1 percent fly balls (the 21.8 percent line drives are the rest). Hamilton, meanwhile, is at 40.1 percent grounders and 36.9 percent fly balls. Hamilton does have a touch more power, but he might be able to up that on-base percentage -- which is ultimately what his team needs the most from him -- by taking the approach Lou Brown required Willie Mays Hayes to take.

The Gordon approach here would seem to be of that ilk. Only 10 players in all of baseball have hit the ball on the ground at a higher rate this season.

As far as bunting for a hit, though, the two are at a dead heat.

MLB leaders in bunt hits (via baseball-reference.com AL/NL)

1. Dee Gordon, Dodgers, 12
1. Billy Hamilton, Reds, 12
3. Danny Espinosa, Nationals, 9
4. Erick Aybar, Angels, 7
4. Asdrubal Cabrera, Indians, 7
4. Jarrod Dyson, Royals, 7
4. Jean Segura, Brewers, 7
8. Norichika Aoki, Royals, 6
9. Alejandro de Aza, White Sox, 5
9. Craig Gentry, Athletics, 5
9. Carlos Gomez, Brewers, 5
9. Anthony Gose, Blue Jays, 5
9. Brandon Guyer, Rays, 5
9. Bryan Holaday, Tigers, 5
9. Leonys Martin, Rangers, 5
9. Michael Saunders, Mariners 5
9. Denard Span, Nationals, 5

Not surprisingly, you'll find a mix here of some of the game's better speedsters and leadoff men in addition to some lesser hitters who have great speed. A few like Cabrera and Saunders were mild surprises, but neither are slow by any stretch.

The biggest surprise is easily Holaday, a catcher with fewer than 100 plate appearances. Lots of circumstances were involved in his specific case, but it's impressive nonetheless.

Maybe as the game evolves in terms of defensive shifts we'll start to see some big-time lefty power hitters make a mark, but for now the best we have is Cubs slugger Anthony Rizzo with three (two coming in the same game).

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