Are hit batters an inevitability of pitching?

From Tom Tango at The Book on April 11, 2012:

I looked at all pitchers born since 1931, who faced at least 10,000 batters (120 pitchers).  The average number of hit batters per 38 batters faced (roughly 9 innings) was 0.21.

The best pitchers (based on ERA+ at were:
Pedro (0.42 HBP/38 batters faced)
Clemens (0.30)
Doc (0.25)
RJ (0.42)
Maddux (0.25)

So, the five best pitchers, perhaps ever, were all above average in hit batters.  The next guys on the list:
Schilling (0.15)
Seaver (0.15)

Then back to normal:
Gibson (0.24)
Hudson (0.36)
Brown (0.39)

Then finally:
Palmer (0.09)

So, for the best pitchers, most had higher than average hit batters, even though they had better than average control.  Pitching inside was part of the strategy, and the inevitability of hit batters.  Except for Jim Palmer, and maybe Schilling/Seaver.

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Originally published: April 11, 2012. Last Updated: April 11, 2012.