Who is the Most Intimidating Hitter in Today’s Game?
For a pitcher, deciding who gets the “Intimidator” label is easy: Guys like Gibson, Clemens, R. Johnson, Pedro. Guys who throw 95, with a mean streak. Guys who throw with skull-cracking menace. Guys who stand you up, then knock you down.
It’s harder to define an intimidating hitter. It’s not about who the “best” hitter is—or else the list might begin and end with Ted Williams. Wade Boggs, Rod Carew and Tony Gwynn were superb hitters, but they were more frustrating than intimidating to pitchers. Sammy Sosa averaged 60 HR a season for four years, but his hop and smile didn’t intimidate anyone – meanness counts. At his peak, Edgar Martinez had no weakness as a hitter, but his preternatural calm seemed designed to lull, rather than panic. And it’s not just about size: Adam Dunn, Jose Canseco, and Dave Kingman could each launch a ball 500 feet; they were also out machines.