0ld Fashioned Stats Still Shine

Jose Altuve fell to 2nd place in the AL batting average race last night to Seattle’s Jean Segura.


As one who grew up playing and following baseball during the Holy Grail .300 batting average adoration era, Mickey Mantle’s sorrow over the slippage of his career BA at the the end to .298 was my shared, over-identified grief with his disappointment. “.300” always rode hard as the bottom line on greatness for hitters back in the day, especially for guys who received their first nose-sniffing taut for the Hall of Fame as an 18 year old first-time camper with the New York Yankees.

The baseball gods forgot to tell the irrigation system at Yankee Stadium that its nozzles should not be high-enough, quick-enough, or powerful-enough to bring down a comet from Commerce, Oklahoma on its first fly by a Yankee World Series game. The injury to Mantle on the famous “Pardon me, Mr. DiMaggio” play in the 1951 World Series undoubtedly stands as the major reason that Mickey missed out on .300 as a career batting average achievement. Playing too long did it, as did lifestyle probably contribute, but even those issues alone were not the real measurable BA stat killers. The assassins were the loss of running speed that would have turned so many close outs into hits over time.

Without the presence of those missing hits, Mantle wasn’t dropping to .300 when he played probably four seasons too many. He was dropping from too near .300 to escape its ultimate loss.

On the larger subject of the batting average and its value to building a great team, I still believe what I believed as a kid when my weekly copy of The Sporting News arrived in the mail.

Each week, for the longest time, I would use the weekly reported batting average stats to pick my favorite current All Star teams for the American and National Leagues. My base consideration was the .300 batting average. I looked at power hitting through doubles, triples, HR, and slugging average. I looked at stolen bases as an indicator of speed. I paid attention to runs and RBIs as indicators of production. I looked at BB/K ratios as indicators of the batter’s skill to work the strike zone. And, of course, I was most forgiving of big HR hitters with high K rates.

Want to have some fun, maybe? Below is the current list of Top Twenty Hitters in the American League, through all games of July 17, 2017. If you wish to try, see how deep you can go into an eight-man position and one DH lineup for the AL stars using the players and these stats as your first choices. You may have to drop below .300 to fill the club out in some cases, but that’s OK.

Just remember. It’s all in fun. As it always used to be, when we were kids. I’m betting we can still put together s club based on the fundamental baseball stats that will compete favorably with any of the new geek squad analytic offerings.

American League Top Twenty Batting Averages

Through Games of Monday, July 17, 2017:

1 Jean Segura SEA 272 95 18 0 6 .349
2 Jose Altuve HOU 352 122 27 2 14 .347
3 Jose Rameriz CLE 344 112 29 5 17 .326
4 Ben Gamel SEA 271 87 16 2 4 .321
5 Carlos Correa HOU 325 104 18 1 20 .320
6 Avisail Garcia CWS 313 98 17 3 13 .313
7 Eric Hosmer KC 349 109 20 1 13 .312
8 Corey Dickerson TB 260 112 26 3 17 .311
9 Aaron Judge NYY 322 100 13 3 30 .311
10 Starlin Castro NYY 304 94 14 1 12 .309
11 Dustin Pedroia BOS 296 91 15 0 4 .307
12 Josh Reddick HOU 280 86 21 3 9 .307
13 Trey Mancini BAL 273 83 15 1 14 .304
14 George Springer HOU 349 106 21 0 27 .304
15 Michael Brantley CLE 265 79 17 1 5 .298
16 Yuli Gurriel HOU 309 92 26 0 11 .298
17 Xander Bogaerts BOS 338 100 20 4 6 .296
18 Jose Abreu CWS 357 105 24 3 16 .294
19 Jonathan Schoop BAL 335 98 24 0 18 .293
20 Nelson Cruz SEA 312 91 17 0 20 .292


PS: Marwin Gonzalez’s .308 BA (69 for 124) was not considered enough times at bat to qualify him. Otherwise, he would have ranked #11. Feel free to use Marwin on your picks, if you decide to build s team. And, if you do, please share your picks in the comment section. We always used Innings Pitched, Complete Games, 3.00 ERA or less, and strong SO/K ratios to pick starting pitchers. We simply did not research the Top 20 AL Pitchers for this little exercise.


Bill McCurdy

Principal Writer, Editor, Publisher

The Pecan Park Eagle


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