Friday, June 5, 2009

Can Joe Mauer Bat .400 This Year?

His average right now is .436 and people are already talking about it. You can read a couple of articles about this here and here and here. But he only has 110 at-bats so far. He will need to hit about .390 the rest of the way to finish at .400 (assuming about 3.5 at-bats per game and 107 more games).

Just about a year ago I had a post on Chipper Jones batting .400. You can read that here. He was at .421 on June 6, in over 200 ABs but he finished at .364. In that post, I looked at the previous .400 hitters. What I found was that on average, since 1900, the mean of their previous career average was .342, they hit .378 on average the year before, their average age was 27 and the league average in the year they hit .400 was, on average, .282.

How does Mauer compare to this profile? He came in to 2009 with a career average of .317 and hit .328 last year. So those numbers are not very close to the .400 hitters. His age is about right. But the league average in the AL this year is just .267, well below the norm of .282. When Ted Williams hit .406 in 1941 (the last time anyone hit .400), the league average was .266. But that included the pitchers. Taking them out, the average was .276. So except for age, Mauer does not fit the profile of a .400 hitter.

One more thing. The highest average ever recorded by a catcher who qualified for the batting title was .362 by Mike Piazza in 1997. That means that he (Mauer) would be 38 points ahead of the next best. Here are the top 2 in season average for the other 7 positions. No one else has a 38 point lead

George Sisler 1922 .420
George Sisler 1920 .407
Bill Terry 1930 .401

Nap Lajoie 1901 .426
Rogers Hornsby 1924 .424

Hughie Jennings 1896 .401
Luke Appling 1936 .388

John McGraw 1899 .391
George Brett 1980 .390

Tip O'Neill 1887 .435
Ed Delahanty 1899 .410
Jesse Burkett 1896 .410

Hugh Duffy 1894 .440
Ty Cobb 1911 .420

Willie Keeler 1897 .424
Joe Jackson 1911 .408

The only one with a lead even close to 38 points is O'Neill. So a .400 average from Mauer would be simply unprecedented by this other standard

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

no one ever will.