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Saturday, April 19, 2014

Chase Utley is the hottest hitter in baseball and has a shot at .400

Wow! Who knew the dizzying vapors from Uncle Eddie Savitz’s apartment were still lingering around Philadelphia!

Utley isn’t the hitter the great Williams was — no one in history was — but Utley entered his 12th major league season as hot as Las Vegas in July. Even after the Phils’ 12-1 loss to the Rockies on April 18, Utley’s stats are amazing:

In 14 games, he leads the National League with a .429 average with 14 hits in 56 at-bats, seven doubles, three homers and 10 RBIs, a .484 on base percentage and a slugging average of .714 for an OPS of 1,198!

Even I don’t expect Utley to maintain that pace, but he is a lifetime .289 hitter with a lifetime OPS of .875, so he has proven that he is a fine hitter. In fact, his 162-game averages are even better:

105 runs, 174 hits,  37 doubles, 5 triples, 27 home runs, and 99 RBIs.

So the key to Utley’s .400 chances is his health. He missed great parts of the 2011 and 2012 season with knee problems, which seem to be a thing of the past. He’s trained and strengthened his lower body to the point where he can generate all kinds of power with that quick and short stroke. Utley will be 36 this December, so his ability to stay on the field and stay out of prolonged slumps will be important, but I feel Utley is the kind of hitter who can make a run at .400.

Of course, Utley will need help from the No.2 hitter, Jimmy Rollins, and the No. 4 hitter, Ryan Howard. If both have good years, it will make it less likely for the opposition to pitch around Utley, who hits in the No. 3 hole.

All three need productive batting averages for Utley to have a chance, but if the universe were to align just right, Utley could enter the season-ending series with the Braves at Citizens Bank Park with a chance to be the first player since 1941 to hit .400.

Repoz Posted: April 19, 2014 at 02:02 PM | 74 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: history, phillies

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   1. Best Regards, President of Comfort, Esq. Posted: April 19, 2014 at 02:15 PM (#4689128)
Utley isn’t the hitter the great Williams was — no one in history was


Except Babe Ruth and maybe Barry Bonds.

Also, this article: not worthy of a BTF link.
   2. Best Regards, President of Comfort, Esq. Posted: April 19, 2014 at 02:15 PM (#4689130)
Though Utley has a great chance to hit .400 if he suffers a season-ending injury this weekend.
   3. PreservedFish Posted: April 19, 2014 at 02:31 PM (#4689137)
Also, this article: not worthy of a BTF link.

Sometimes shitty articles are worth posting just because they let us talk about stuff. I don't come here for the news, I come here for the conversations.
   4. cardsfanboy Posted: April 19, 2014 at 02:36 PM (#4689140)
It wasn't really a shitty article, more of a philly fanboy talking about how hot Utley has been so far this season and wishful thinking on him being .400.

There is no analysis or anything of substance in the "article." It's exactly what you would expect from a teenage blog post. Nothing wrong with that, as it makes me think who are the 10 most likely players to hit .400 in the next decade or so?
   5. cardsfanboy Posted: April 19, 2014 at 02:45 PM (#4689148)
If I had to guess ten likely candidates? (ultimately I'm really talking about guys who might lead the league in batting average)
Not in any order, just as I think of them.
1. Matt Carpenter
2. Troy Tulowitzki
3. Joe Mauer
4. Miguel Cabrera
5. Mike Trout
6. Joey Votto
7. Jacoby Ellsbury
8. Dustin Pedroia
9. Carlos Gonzalez
10. Andrew McCutchen...


I didn't include Posey or Yadier, because I think their relative lack of speed creates a barrier to extremely high batting averages.
   6. steagles Posted: April 19, 2014 at 02:59 PM (#4689159)
i don't think anyone is gonna do it anytime soon, but if we're just throwing out names, i'd say paul goldschmidt should be in the conversation. he has mammoth power in a hitter-friendly ballpark and if he takes another step forward, he seems like he'll be in that pujols mold of high average power hitters for the next decade-ish.
   7. Dock Ellis on Acid Posted: April 19, 2014 at 03:02 PM (#4689160)
Obviously no shot at .400 but a very good year from Chase Utley would be a huge step forward in his HOF argument.
   8. Voros McCracken of Pinkus Posted: April 19, 2014 at 03:04 PM (#4689164)
Basically the best chance anyone is going to have is to hit for decent or better power while striking out at a below average rate. Basically you have to hit to hit close to .400 on non-in-play at bats, and that's hard to do these days with all the strikeouts league wide.

And then of course posting a .420 or so BABIP, also very hard.
   9. PASTE Thinks This Trout Kid Might Be OK (Zeth) Posted: April 19, 2014 at 03:05 PM (#4689168)
Goldschmidt strikes out way too much to ever bat anywhere near .400 over a season, even if he dramatically lowers his strikeout rate.

I posted that because POC (#2) beat me to what I came here to say.
   10. cardsfanboy Posted: April 19, 2014 at 03:12 PM (#4689175)
i don't think anyone is gonna do it anytime soon, but if we're just throwing out names, i'd say paul goldschmidt should be in the conversation. he has mammoth power in a hitter-friendly ballpark and if he takes another step forward, he seems like he'll be in that pujols mold of high average power hitters for the next decade-ish.


I thought about Goldschmidt for a nano-second, and then forgot to look him up to see if last year was a fluke or if his history backs it up or whatnot. The high strikeouts bother me, but if he has a year where he brings it down to 100 or less, then it's a possibility. (same could be said about Hanley or Cargo)

I do not categorically deny that .400 is possible, it's tough to do obviously, but I don't think there is an inherent reason why it can't be done. I would have thought .400 would have happened before the single season base hit record ever got broken.
   11. jacjacatk Posted: April 19, 2014 at 03:13 PM (#4689179)
Trout's got to be the far and away favorite for odds to hit .400 in the near future. Put in a lineup where teams could/did pitch around him ala late career Bonds, so he could get the requisite PAs with relatively fewer ABs, combined with an established ability north of .320, he's probably somewhere between a 5000-1 and a 40,000-1 shot. Cabrera would be a candidate in the same vein, though he's headed towards a decline phase one would think.

Obviously no shot at .400 but a very good year from Chase Utley would be a huge step forward in his HOF argument.


I'm only half kidding, but I think there's probably a better chance he hits .400 than gets into the HOF (though hitting .400 might get him both). Utley has to be one of the most underrated players in history and will very likely deserve to go in on the numbers, but he's going to have to play until 38-40 at his current abilities to reach even the most minimal levels of milestone-like numbers (2000 hits, 400 2B, 300 HR, 1000 RBI).
   12. cardsfanboy Posted: April 19, 2014 at 03:20 PM (#4689187)
I'm only half kidding, but I think there's probably a better chance he hits .400 than gets into the HOF (though hitting .400 might get him both). Utley has to be one of the most underrated players in history and will very likely deserve to go in on the numbers, but he's going to have to play until 38-40 at his current abilities to reach even the most minimal levels of milestone-like numbers (2000 hits, 400 2B, 300 HR, 1000 RBI).


I think Utley is tied with a similar player for that distinction, Grich. There are other underrated players, but those are the two I think of who have a fairly clear hof career that was hidden in the numbers too much for them to be properly appreciated.
   13. Jose Molina wants a nickname like "A-Rod" Posted: April 19, 2014 at 03:24 PM (#4689190)
It's early and SSS, but given his start to the season and pedigree, I might put Rendon on the list in #5.
   14. cardsfanboy Posted: April 19, 2014 at 03:25 PM (#4689191)
Trout's got to be the far and away favorite for odds to hit .400 in the near future. Put in a lineup where teams could/did pitch around him ala late career Bonds, so he could get the requisite PAs with relatively fewer ABs, combined with an established ability north of .320, he's probably somewhere between a 5000-1 and a 40,000-1 shot. Cabrera would be a candidate in the same vein, though he's headed towards a decline phase one would think.


I would consider Trout as probably the favorite.

As a Cardinal fan, I like what Matt Carpenter does with the bat and how he doesn't let the situation change his approach and it feels like he can be a perennial batting champ contender.
   15. cardsfanboy Posted: April 19, 2014 at 03:28 PM (#4689195)
It's early and SSS, but given his start to the season and pedigree, I might put Rendon on the list in #5.


As if on cue, he hits a double when you talk about him.
   16. The District Attorney Posted: April 19, 2014 at 03:29 PM (#4689197)
Utley has to be one of the most underrated players in history and will very likely deserve to go in on the numbers, but he's going to have to play until 38-40 at his current abilities to reach even the most minimal levels of milestone-like numbers (2000 hits, 400 2B, 300 HR, 1000 RBI).
Barry Larkin wasn't any above these numbers as a whole -- 2,340 hits, 441 doubles (which I highly doubt anyone cares), 198 HR, 960 RBI -- and yet cruised in within three years. The writers aren't that dumb, that they can't fathom that being a dominant middle infielder for a decade is HOF-worthy, even if it doesn't equate to monster career Triple Crown numbers.

The problem is that I don't think the writers, at least as of this moment, appreciate that Utley genuinely was a dominant middle infielder. MVP voting would certainly suggest that, anyway. His HOF case probably ends up depending entirely on how quickly the HOF electorate becomes sabermetrically minded. It could happen quicker than you think...
   17. Moeball Posted: April 19, 2014 at 03:34 PM (#4689209)
In 14 games, he leads the National League with a .429 average with 14 hits in 56 at-bats


First of all, 14 for 56 would be a .250 average, not .429. Clearly the author meant 24 for 56.

Chase Utley is the hottest hitter in baseball and has a shot at .400


No he doesn't.

   18. PreservedFish Posted: April 19, 2014 at 03:38 PM (#4689216)
I didn't include Posey or Yadier, because I think their relative lack of speed creates a barrier to extremely high batting averages.


I think the fact that they play fewer games is a major point in the favor of catchers.
   19. cardsfanboy Posted: April 19, 2014 at 03:46 PM (#4689222)
I think the fact that they play fewer games is a major point in the favor of catchers


Agree with that for the most part, but Yadier misses probably 15 or so infield hits that a normal player would have had, on top of that the defense is able to play extremely deep against him, effectively robbing him of a few regular hits that would have gone through if they played normal depth. I just think that lack of speed sets up a "cap" that a player can probably reach. Obviously a personal opinion on it, as guys like Wade Boggs or Williams have been up high batting averages without good speed.
   20. gehrig97 Posted: April 19, 2014 at 03:49 PM (#4689228)
A career .289 hitter with terrible legs? A guy who has hit over 300 twice in his career with a high of .332 in 2007? A guy who has hit .270 over his last 4 seasons?

He's a lock to hit .400. Put the house on it.
   21. jacjacatk Posted: April 19, 2014 at 03:49 PM (#4689230)
The writers aren't that dumb, that they can't fathom that being a dominant middle infielder for a decade is HOF-worthy, even if it doesn't equate to monster career Triple Crown numbers.


Well, Utley hasn't finished better than 2nd on his own team in the MVP voting, including not receiving a vote in 2010 when 4 other Phillies including Ryan Howard (1.2 WAR) did. He's also never won a GG. I'm pretty sure the writers are, mostly, that dumb.
   22. cardsfanboy Posted: April 19, 2014 at 03:55 PM (#4689238)
He's also never won a GG. I'm pretty sure the writers are, mostly, that dumb.


Not that this negates your point...but the managers vote on the gold glove.
   23. gehrig97 Posted: April 19, 2014 at 04:00 PM (#4689241)
I guess Trout would be the "favorite" in that he last slightly more than ZERO chance. But that's where the list ends as of today. There's a reason no one other than Carew has approached .400 over a full season in more than 70 years: It's just damned hard, and the game is just too finely calibrated for it to (in all likelihood)ever happen again (I'm sure most of the folks on this board have read or are aware of Stephen Jay Gould's essay on the subject). Infield shifts, ever increasing reliance on bullpen specialists, reduction in PED use (including amphetamines)... not happening.

How hard is it? Ichiro didn't get close when he lashed 262 hits in a season; Bonds didn't close when he walked 232 times in a season. Walker, Helton, et al couldn't crack it at the height of Coors Field absurdity. I mean, c'mon. I'd have to think that the conditions/circumstances needed to reach .400 are at least as unique as those required to put together a 57 game hitting streak. You'd need a contact specialist with blazing speed, superb plate discipline (to limit ABs), and historic luck on BABIP (i.e., a combination of 2004 Bonds and 2004 Ichiro).
   24. Cookie Monster! Posted: April 19, 2014 at 04:09 PM (#4689246)
In 14 games, he leads the National League with a .429 average with 14 hits in 56 at-bats, seven doubles, three homers and 10 RBIs, a .484 on base percentage and a slugging average of .714 for an OPS of 1,198!

Even I don’t expect Utley to maintain that pace


Then why write article? Me not expect Utley maintain, either. This not newsworthy.
   25. bobm Posted: April 19, 2014 at 04:25 PM (#4689256)
[8] For single seasons, From 1901 to 2014, (requiring batting_avg>=0.400 and Qualified for league batting title), sorted by greatest Batting Average on Balls In Play


                                                                                              
Rk                 Player BAbip   BA Year Age  Tm Lg   G  PA  AB   H HR  BB SO  OBP  SLG   OPS
1             Chase Utley  .447 .429 2014  35 PHI NL  14  62  56  24  3   5  6 .484 .714 1.198
2                 Ty Cobb  .444 .420 1911  24 DET AL 146 654 591 248  8  44 43 .467 .621 1.088
3    Shoeless Joe Jackson  .434 .408 1911  23 CLE AL 147 641 571 233  7  56 43 .468 .590 1.058
4        Charlie Blackmon  .431 .426 2014  27 COL NL  18  65  61  26  1   3  3 .446 .590 1.036
5                 Ty Cobb  .424 .409 1912  25 DET AL 140 609 553 226  7  43 30 .456 .584 1.040
6          Rogers Hornsby  .422 .424 1924  28 STL NL 143 642 536 227 25  89 32 .507 .696 1.203
7           George Sisler  .422 .420 1922  29 SLB AL 142 655 586 246  8  49 14 .467 .594 1.061
8              Nap Lajoie  .418 .426 1901  26 PHA AL 131 582 544 232 14  24  9 .463 .643 1.106
9                 Ty Cobb  .416 .401 1922  35 DET AL 137 613 526 211  4  55 24 .462 .565 1.026
10         Harry Heilmann  .414 .403 1923  28 DET AL 144 627 524 211 18  74 40 .481 .632 1.113
11          George Sisler  .401 .407 1920  27 SLB AL 154 692 631 257 19  46 19 .449 .632 1.082
12             Bill Terry  .400 .401 1930  31 NYG NL 154 708 633 254 23  57 33 .452 .619 1.071
13         Rogers Hornsby  .392 .401 1922  26 STL NL 154 704 623 250 42  65 50 .459 .722 1.181
14         Rogers Hornsby  .385 .403 1925  29 STL NL 138 606 504 203 39  83 39 .489 .756 1.245
15           Ted Williams  .378 .406 1941  22 BOS AL 143 606 456 185 37 147 27 .553 .735 1.287


Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 4/19/2014.
   26. cardsfanboy Posted: April 19, 2014 at 04:31 PM (#4689257)
I guess Trout would be the "favorite" in that he last slightly more than ZERO chance. But that's where the list ends as of today. There's a reason no one other than Carew has approached .400 over a full season in more than 70 years: It's just damned hard, and the game is just too finely calibrated for it to (in all likelihood)ever happen again (I'm sure most of the folks on this board have read or are aware of Stephen Jay Gould's essay on the subject). Infield shifts, ever increasing reliance on bullpen specialists, reduction in PED use (including amphetamines)... not happening.


Yet over a 162 game stretch, Tony Gwynn and Wade Boggs did hit over .400. There is no inherent reason other than the actual difficulty, that .400 can't be reached again.
   27. Ok, Griffey's Dunn (Nothing Iffey About Griffey) Posted: April 19, 2014 at 04:35 PM (#4689258)
He's only played 7 games so far, but, Devin Mesoraco has a .563 BAbip right now! And is 2-3, w/2-2b today. He's hitting .500/.530ish/1.000 right now. He's definitely hitting .400 this year!
   28. nick swisher hygiene Posted: April 19, 2014 at 04:36 PM (#4689259)
Repoz giving us a steady diet of "Send in the Clowns" lately....

[looks for shitty indie cover of "Send in the Clowns", fails to find easy YT link, gives up]
   29. cercopithecus aethiops Posted: April 19, 2014 at 04:45 PM (#4689264)
For his career, Utley strikes out in 17% of his at-bats. To hit .400 while striking out 17% of the time, you'd have to hit .482 on contact. Utley has homered in 4.4% of his career at-bats, so the only way he hits .482 on contact is to maintain his current BAbip, instead of regressing toward his career .307 mark.

Ted Williams had about twice Utley's HR rate and about 1/3 of his K rate in 1941.
   30. BDC Posted: April 19, 2014 at 04:50 PM (#4689266)
Oh for Ralph Garr's sake, what's wrong with getting excited about an April batting average. Live a little, people :)
   31. bobm Posted: April 19, 2014 at 04:58 PM (#4689269)
Utley has to be one of the most underrated players in history and will very likely deserve to go in on the numbers, but he's going to have to play until 38-40 at his current abilities to reach even the most minimal levels of milestone-like numbers (2000 hits, 400 2B, 300 HR, 1000 RBI).

It's hard to reach the HoF when you were a 24 year old rookie. Only 17 of 192 non pitcher HoFers were 24 or older in their rookie season, per BR PI. That includes Robinson, Campanella and Doby, which means really 14 of 192. Only Boggs, Puckett and Fisk are recent players, a 3000 hit machine playing at age 41, a popular early retiree and an iron man catcher playing at age 45 with a clutch World Series moment.


24+ year old HoFer non pitcher rookies, per BR PI

                                                            
Rk                               Year Age  Tm Lg   G  PA  AB
1      Jackie Robinson (RoY-1st) 1947  28 BRO NL 151 701 590
2                   Earl Averill 1929  27 CLE AL 152 680 597
3                       Sam Rice 1916  26 WSH AL  59 215 197
4                    Earle Combs 1925  26 NYY AL 150 674 593
5                 Roy Campanella 1948  26 BRO NL  83 320 279
6                    Kiki Cuyler 1924  25 PIT NL 117 515 466
7                     Bill Terry 1924  25 NYG NL  77 180 163
8                    Earle Combs 1924  25 NYY AL  24  39  35
9           Wade Boggs (RoY-3rd) 1982  24 BOS AL 104 381 338
10                   Hack Wilson 1924  24 NYG NL 107 434 383
11                   Kiki Cuyler 1923  24 PIT NL  11  46  40
12                    Larry Doby 1948  24 CLE AL 121 499 439
13                  Luke Appling 1931  24 CHW AL  96 331 297
14                    Bill Terry 1923  24 NYG NL   3   9   7
15                 Dave Bancroft 1915  24 PHI NL 153 665 563
16       Kirby Puckett (RoY-3rd) 1984  24 MIN AL 128 583 557
17        Carlton Fisk (RoY-1st) 1972  24 BOS AL 131 514 457


Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 4/19/2014.

   32. zonk Posted: April 19, 2014 at 05:01 PM (#4689271)
I'm with BDC... I know Chase probably won't be a HoFer, but I think he should be - and something like an oddball .400 Saxon - or even just a chase of one, so to speak, would really help his case.
   33. Misirlou's been working for the drug squad Posted: April 19, 2014 at 05:01 PM (#4689272)
I thought about Goldschmidt for a nano-second, and then forgot to look him up to see if last year was a fluke or if his history backs it up or whatnot. The high strikeouts bother me, but if he has a year where he brings it down to 100 or less, then it's a possibility. (same could be said about Hanley or Cargo)


The most K's ever in a .400 season is 50.

The highest BA ever in a 100 K season is .358.
   34. cardsfanboy Posted: April 19, 2014 at 05:05 PM (#4689274)
The most K's ever in a .400 season is 50.


Babe Ruth had 93 in a .393 season. But yes, if I was going to design a player who is likely to hit .400 I would probably look at a guy who avoids strikeouts, has the ability to hit to all fields, add in a little speed, willingness to take a walk and some power.

   35. 6 - 4 - 3 Posted: April 19, 2014 at 05:17 PM (#4689275)
Utley is far more likely to hit under .250 than .400 this season, the hot start notwithstanding.
   36. bobm Posted: April 19, 2014 at 05:18 PM (#4689276)
Grich, Whitaker, and Utley cluster around the Hall of Famers. As an aside, I did not realize Whitaker had that low a WAR7.

Second Base JAWS Leaders

                                                                                                                      
Rk                                       WAR WAR7  JAWS Yrs From   To ASG    G    PA    AB    H  HR  RBI  SB   BA OPS+
1                   Rogers Hornsby HOF 127.0 73.5 100.2  23 1915 1937   0 2259  9480  8173 2930 301 1584 135 .358  175
2                    Eddie Collins HOF 123.9 64.2  94.1  25 1906 1930   0 2826 12044  9949 3315  47 1300 741 .333  142
3                       Nap Lajoie HOF 107.4 60.3  83.8  21 1896 1916   0 2480 10461  9589 3243  82 1599 380 .338  150
4                       Joe Morgan HOF 100.3 59.2  79.7  22 1963 1984  10 2649 11329  9277 2517 268 1133 689 .271  132
5                Charlie Gehringer HOF  80.6 50.5  65.6  19 1924 1942   6 2323 10244  8860 2839 184 1427 181 .320  124
6                        Rod Carew HOF  81.0 49.7  65.4  19 1967 1985  18 2469 10550  9315 3053  92 1015 353 .328  131
7                          Bobby Grich  70.9 46.3  58.6  17 1970 1986   6 2008  8220  6890 1833 224  864 104 .266  125
8                   Frankie Frisch HOF  70.4 44.4  57.4  19 1919 1937   3 2311 10099  9112 2880 105 1244 419 .316  110
9                    Ryne Sandberg HOF  67.5 46.8  57.2  16 1981 1997  10 2164  9282  8385 2386 282 1061 344 .285  114
     Avg of 19 HOFers at this position  69.4 44.5  57.0                                                       
10                 Jackie Robinson HOF  61.5 52.1  56.8  10 1947 1956   6 1382  5804  4877 1518 137  734 197 .311  132
11                        Lou Whitaker  74.9 37.8  56.4  19 1977 1995   5 2390  9967  8570 2369 244 1084 143 .276  117
12                  Roberto Alomar HOF  66.8 42.8  54.8  17 1988 2004  12 2379 10400  9073 2724 210 1134 474 .300  116
13                         Chase Utley  59.2 49.1  54.2  12 2003 2014   5 1337  5733  4966 1434 220  818 129 .289  127
14                        Craig Biggio  65.1 41.6  53.4  20 1988 2007   7 2850 12504 10876 3060 291 1175 414 .281  112
15                      Joe Gordon HOF  57.1 45.8  51.4  11 1938 1950   9 1566  6537  5707 1530 253  975  89 .268  120
16                     Willie Randolph  65.5 36.1  50.8  18 1975 1992   6 2202  9461  8018 2210  54  687 271 .276  104
17                           Jeff Kent  55.2 35.6  45.4  17 1992 2008   5 2298  9537  8498 2461 377 1518  94 .290  123
18                    Billy Herman HOF  54.7 35.5  45.1  15 1931 1947  10 1922  8639  7707 2345  47  839  67 .304  112
19                       Robinson Cano  45.3 44.2  44.8  10 2005 2014   5 1390  5862  5400 1666 205  830  38 .309  125
20                     Bobby Doerr HOF  51.2 36.4  43.8  14 1937 1951   9 1865  8028  7093 2042 223 1247  54 .288  115
21                      Nellie Fox HOF  49.0 36.9  42.9  19 1947 1965  15 2367 10351  9232 2663  35  790  76 .288   93
22                    Tony Lazzeri HOF  49.9 35.1  42.5  14 1926 1939   1 1740  7314  6297 1840 178 1194 148 .292  121
23                       Tony Phillips  50.8 34.0  42.4  18 1982 1999   0 2161  9110  7617 2023 160  819 177 .266  109
24                     Chuck Knoblauch  44.6 38.5  41.5  12 1991 2002   4 1632  7387  6366 1839  98  615 407 .289  106
25                      Bid McPhee HOF  52.4 29.3  40.8  18 1882 1899   0 2138  9429  8304 2258  53 1072 568 .272  107
26                    Johnny Evers HOF  47.7 33.3  40.5  18 1902 1929   0 1784  7211  6137 1659  12  538 324 .270  106

29                      Dustin Pedroia  38.3 39.2  38.8   9 2006 2014   4 1032  4620  4098 1234  99  495 120 .301  116

32                        Eddie Stanky  39.3 35.7  37.5  11 1943 1953   3 1259  5436  4301 1154  29  364  48 .268  109
33                        Julio Franco  43.4 30.6  37.0  23 1982 2007   3 2527  9731  8677 2586 173 1194 281 .298  111
34                Red Schoendienst HOF  42.1 31.8  37.0  19 1945 1963  10 2216  9224  8479 2449  84  773  89 .289   94

50                  Bill Mazeroski HOF  36.2 25.7  30.9  17 1956 1972  10 2163  8379  7755 2016 138  853  27 .260   84


Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 4/19/2014.
   37. 6 - 4 - 3 Posted: April 19, 2014 at 05:18 PM (#4689278)
#34, I think that the player you're describing is Ichiro in his prime.
   38. Fred Lynn Nolan Ryan Sweeney Agonistes Posted: April 19, 2014 at 05:25 PM (#4689281)
Ichiro on the 1930 Cardinals does it twice ('04 and '09), misses in two other years by a total of five points.
I think if he'd played his whole career with the Red Sox he'd've done it at least once.
   39. cardsfanboy Posted: April 19, 2014 at 05:33 PM (#4689285)
I think that the player you're describing is Ichiro in his prime.


Ichiro was a good possibility. I think any batter who can semi-routinely challenge .350 is a good candidate.
   40. jacjacatk Posted: April 19, 2014 at 05:39 PM (#4689291)
Utley's HOF argument, such as it is, is basically Koufax's, except that Utley's peak value seasons didn't occur in reverse chronological order, and Koufax was actually recognized for his greatness as it was happening. Well, and 2B essentially get no respect.
   41. Booey Posted: April 19, 2014 at 05:57 PM (#4689298)
It's hard to reach the HoF when you were a 24 year old rookie.


Ichiro was a 27 year old rookie and looks like a pretty sure bet.

Averaging 220 hits a year for 10 years goes a long way...
   42. Walt Davis Posted: April 19, 2014 at 06:14 PM (#4689314)
I know it's common parlance but the term "middle infielder" really bugs me. 2B and SS are not the same. Not even remotely. And HoF voting results make it very clear that the voters have not considered them the same. Maranville, Aparicio, Ozzie, Concepcion's cromulent 15-year run, Vizquel the HoF candidate, even Trammell v. Whitaker/Grich.

2B and 3B are similar ... and the voters have treated them about equally shabbily.

As to Utley, he needs an incredible late-career run of health and productivity. He's on just 5700 PA, he's got only 1400 hits. No MVP, no GG, only 5 AS. He ain't Hank Greenberg.

He probably needs to be close to another Molitor -- 314/377/456, 119 OPS+, 1200 hits, 20 WAR from age 35 on. That was 4400 PA which would bring Utley to over 10,000 so he probably doesn't need quite that many. But how likely is it he'll hit 300 over such an extended stretch in his late 30s? Maybe 280/377/456 gets it done?

If I seem grumpy, sorry ... I'm depressed that Bonifacio's silliness didn't even last long enough for somebody to get out a "can Bonifacio hit 400" article.
   43. cardsfanboy Posted: April 19, 2014 at 06:19 PM (#4689317)
If I seem grumpy, sorry ... I'm depressed that Bonifacio's silliness didn't even last long enough for somebody to get out a "can Bonifacio hit 400" article.


You are making me think, if the internet was around in the 70's, what would have been written about Kenny Reitz in 1974.
   44. Barry`s_Lazy_Boy Posted: April 19, 2014 at 06:35 PM (#4689326)
Also, this article: not worthy of a BTF link.

Repoz likes fish-in-a-barrel links.
   45. valuearbitrageur Posted: April 19, 2014 at 06:40 PM (#4689329)
Zack Greinke and Mike Leake are the favorites for the next .400 season, and it ain't even close.
   46. SoSHially Unacceptable Posted: April 19, 2014 at 06:43 PM (#4689330)

You are making me think, if the internet was around in the 70's, what would have been written about Kenny Reitz in 1974.

'
While 74 was a nice start, Reitz had an even better run six years later*, hitting over .400 as late as May 13 (he only took a .400 BA through May 2 in 1974).

And while there was no BTF, I seem to recall a few "Will he hit .400?" pieces in 1980.

* If you haven't seen Reitz's monthly splits before, check them out. If there's a better blueprint for a sub-replacement player carving out an 8-year career as a starter (11 years total) than Kenny's, I haven't found it. If you hit like crazy every April, you can play like crap for the next five months while teams and fans wait for you to return to your normal level.
   47. tshipman Posted: April 19, 2014 at 07:11 PM (#4689336)
If I had to guess ten likely candidates? (ultimately I'm really talking about guys who might lead the league in batting average)
Not in any order, just as I think of them.
1. Matt Carpenter
2. Troy Tulowitzki
3. Joe Mauer
4. Miguel Cabrera
5. Mike Trout
6. Joey Votto
7. Jacoby Ellsbury
8. Dustin Pedroia
9. Carlos Gonzalez
10. Andrew McCutchen...


Matt Carpenter does not belong anywhere near this list. Ellsbury, McCutcheon and CarGo all strike out too much.

I think the only guys with a real shot are Mauer, Cabrera, Trout and Votto. Votto strikes out too much, but he has insane BABIP for his career.
   48. cardsfanboy Posted: April 19, 2014 at 07:20 PM (#4689340)
Matt Carpenter does not belong anywhere near this list. Ellsbury, McCutcheon and CarGo all strike out too much.

I think the only guys with a real shot are Mauer, Cabrera, Trout and Votto. Votto strikes out too much, but he has insane BABIP for his career.


I see Matt Carpenter play nearly everyday, this is a guy who sprays the ball to all fields, who doesn't really care what the count is, has decent power, average speed, works a count and is batting in front of some very good bats (especially if he gets moved to the number two spot, which is where Matheny wants him)

I know it's a fanboy pick, but he's going to challenge for batting titles over the next five years and as I said when I made that list, it was more or less a list of people who might lead the league in average.

   49. bobm Posted: April 19, 2014 at 07:51 PM (#4689355)
For single seasons, From 1914 to 2014, April/March (within Months), (requiring PA>=500 for entire season and >=18 games in April/March), sorted by greatest percentage of total Batting Average in this split


[46]
                                                                                                                          
Rk   I          Player       Split Year  G   BA BAtot     % GS  PA PAtot  AB HR RBI   BA  OBP  SLG   OPS BAbip tOPS+ sOPS+
1              Ron Cey April/March 1977 20 .425  .241 176.3 20  94   669  73  9  29 .425 .543 .890 1.433  .423   254   289
2          Pete OBrien April/March 1988 21 .437  .272 160.7 21  82   628  71  5   8 .437 .512 .690 1.202  .441   215   244
3        Lenny Dykstra April/March 1989 19 .375  .237 158.2 15  70   584  56  0   6 .375 .456 .554 1.009  .368   199   194
4      Alfredo Griffin April/March 1990 21 .329  .210 156.7 21  79   502  70  0   5 .329 .392 .429  .821  .348   221   135
5        Glenn Hoffman April/March 1982 20 .325  .209 155.5 20  83   513  77  3  13 .325 .373 .519  .893  .319   209   151
6           Juan Uribe April/March 2002 26 .373  .240 155.4 26 113   618 102  1  11 .373 .416 .510  .926  .440   195   150
7        Don Kessinger April/March 1968 18 .371  .240 154.6 18  80   707  70  0   7 .371 .443 .486  .929  .388   226   193
8            Ken Reitz April/March 1974 22 .417  .271 153.9 22  90   612  84  1  14 .417 .433 .560  .993  .442   199   176
9          Pete OBrien April/March 1989 22 .400  .260 153.8 22  93   646  80  2  10 .400 .462 .575 1.037  .395   184   202
10          Spike Owen April/March 1990 19 .359  .234 153.4 19  71   533  64  1   7 .359 .400 .578  .978  .373   189   176
11           Tony Pena April/March 1990 19 .403  .263 153.2 17  72   540  72  2  13 .403 .403 .556  .958  .443   185   172
12     Ronnie Belliard April/March 2004 22 .417  .282 147.9 21  98   663  84  0  11 .417 .500 .548 1.048  .467   172   175
13      Michael Tucker April/March 1997 21 .418  .283 147.7 17  83   554  79  2  20 .418 .446 .544  .990  .449   151   163
14           Von Hayes April/March 1989 22 .382  .259 147.5 22  99   652  76  7  22 .382 .505 .776 1.281  .400   203   270
15       Mark McLemore April/March 1998 26 .364  .247 147.4 25 117   567  99  2  18 .364 .452 .465  .917  .410   169   144
16         Brad Ausmus April/March 2006 22 .339  .230 147.4 19  78   502  62  0   7 .339 .462 .387  .849  .375   186   127
17           Ken Reitz April/March 1980 18 .397  .270 147.0 18  71   561  63  2  11 .397 .437 .540  .976  .390   188   176
18        Wally Joyner April/March 1996 24 .407  .277 146.9 24 109   510  86  1  14 .407 .528 .605 1.132  .472   190   192
19         Bobby Grich April/March 1985 19 .355  .242 146.7 18  79   571  62  2   9 .355 .481 .468  .948  .385   161   179
20     Kosuke Fukudome April/March 2011 19 .383  .262 146.2 15  73   603  60  0   2 .383 .486 .400  .886  .451   150   155
21          Coco Laboy April/March 1969 20 .377  .258 146.1 20  85   616  77  3  14 .377 .424 .610 1.034  .433   187   200
22        Paul Lo Duca April/March 2004 20 .416  .286 145.5 20  85   594  77  1  10 .416 .447 .545  .993  .408   162   159
23         Carlos Pena April/March 2012 23 .286  .197 145.2 23 102   600  84  4  13 .286 .412 .488  .900  .377   163   154
24      Carlos Santana April/March 2013 20 .389  .268 145.1 19  84   642  72  5  13 .389 .476 .722 1.198  .434   185   230
25          Derek Bell April/March 2000 26 .385  .266 144.7 25 118   622 104  4  16 .385 .449 .567 1.016  .456   162   155
26          Buddy Bell April/March 1978 19 .408  .282 144.7 19  81   606  76  1  10 .408 .430 .592 1.022  .435   182   189
27       Gregor Blanco April/March 2008 18 .361  .251 143.8  9  45   519  36  0   1 .361 .489 .417  .906  .481   169   151
28     Placido Polanco April/March 2011 26 .398  .277 143.7 25 114   523 103  2  19 .398 .447 .524  .972  .402   188   174
29         Pokey Reese April/March 2000 24 .366  .255 143.5 23 107   577  93  0   4 .366 .438 .462  .900  .442   157   129
30          Tony Perez April/March 1970 22 .455  .317 143.5 22  95   681  77 10  26 .455 .558 .870 1.428  .472   187   298
31          Johnny Ray April/March 1988 20 .438  .306 143.1 20  86   659  80  1  19 .438 .442 .600 1.042  .453   168   198
32     Richard Hidalgo April/March 2004 21 .341  .239 142.7 21  88   579  82  4  22 .341 .364 .622  .986  .393   161   152
33       Brian Daubach April/March 2000 18 .354  .248 142.7 18  81   549  65  4  15 .354 .444 .646 1.091  .380   185   172
34      Jose Hernandez April/March 2003 27 .320  .225 142.2 27 114   571 100  3  14 .320 .395 .460  .855  .433   170   128
35          Troy Glaus April/March 1999 23 .341  .240 142.1 23  96   631  82  5  16 .341 .438 .683 1.120  .390   184   186
36            Rob Deer April/March 1987 20 .338  .238 142.0 20  90   566  74  9  22 .338 .444 .770 1.215  .390   192   224


Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 4/19/2014.
   50. bobm Posted: April 19, 2014 at 07:58 PM (#4689357)
For entire career, April/March (within Months), (requiring PA>=5000 for entire season(s)/career), sorted by greatest percentage of total Batting Average in this split

                                                                                                         
Rk   I          Player       Split   G   BA BAtot     %  GS  PA PAtot  AB   BA  OBP  SLG  OPS BAbip tOPS+
1          Bob Allison April/March 150 .310  .255 121.6 140 614  5923 529 .310 .391 .539 .930  .316   124
2            Ken Reitz April/March 167 .314  .260 120.8 167 657  5079 606 .314 .351 .424 .775  .332   139
3        Ken Henderson April/March 168 .305  .257 118.7 158 701  5227 606 .305 .393 .457 .851  .345   130
4        Freddie Patek April/March 205 .281  .242 116.1 194 802  6247 700 .281 .361 .373 .734  .311   132
5            Pat Kelly April/March 128 .305  .264 115.5  97 438  5013 387 .305 .381 .377 .759  .362   108
6           Wally Moon April/March 146 .332  .289 114.9 124 577  5566 491 .332 .419 .534 .953  .346   133
7      Bill Wambsganss April/March  99 .297  .259 114.7  91 408  6107 350 .297 .372 .354 .727  .303   122
8           Hank Sauer April/March 118 .305  .266 114.7 107 472  5412 417 .305 .386 .544 .930  .305   121
9         Bill Freehan April/March 188 .299  .262 114.1 176 741  6900 635 .299 .386 .468 .854  .312   127
10      Jeff Burroughs April/March 202 .297  .261 113.8 181 769  6449 677 .297 .376 .487 .864  .317   117
11           Del Unser April/March 207 .293  .258 113.6 144 674  5813 604 .293 .350 .382 .732  .318   116
12        Ed Kranepool April/March 194 .295  .261 113.0 135 616  5997 559 .295 .343 .444 .786  .297   126
13            Lyn Lary April/March  82 .303  .269 112.6  73 356  5422 297 .303 .405 .421 .826  .335   123
14         Rick Monday April/March 261 .297  .264 112.5 221 979  7162 825 .297 .402 .497 .899  .337   124
15        Dom DiMaggio April/March 109 .334  .298 112.1 107 518  6478 434 .334 .438 .447 .885  .361   121
16     Frankie Gustine April/March  99 .297  .265 112.1  92 384  5040 347 .297 .356 .378 .734  .319   116
17           Jim Hegan April/March 117 .255  .228 111.8 104 393  5320 345 .255 .328 .374 .702  .290   120
18        Cecil Travis April/March 102 .350  .314 111.5  99 423  5416 389 .350 .400 .494 .894  .370   127
19        Bill Skowron April/March 173 .312  .282 110.6 154 675  6046 628 .312 .354 .545 .898  .315   125
20       Mike Scioscia April/March 223 .286  .259 110.4 205 801  5057 681 .286 .374 .389 .763  .293   118
21         David Segui April/March 229 .321  .291 110.3 217 933  5451 822 .321 .394 .482 .876  .360   119
22         Eddie Joost April/March 128 .263  .239 110.0 127 579  6789 499 .263 .362 .371 .733  .293   102


Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 4/19/2014.
   51. Walt Davis Posted: April 19, 2014 at 11:13 PM (#4689444)
I did not realize Whitaker had that low a WAR7.

Whitaker is one of the leading examples of a HoVG player with a really long career. Or at least the saber equivalent of that kind of player. (Think Winfield, Murray, Palmeiro, etc.) He has 1 point of black ink -- which appears to be for leading the league in games in a strike season -- and just 31 points of gray ink. Only 1 year with any MVP votes, etc.

Also he was platooned for a good chunk of his late career -- helped his rate stats, hurt his counting stats. 1991 ties for his best WAR year but he only started 11 of their first 19 games and had just 122 starts the whole year. He did miss a week in July with an injury (I assume) and started just 23 of 30 in August. He still put up nearly 7 WAR that year. 92 with just 117 starts also seems to be one of his WAR7 years. Whitaker's peak probably looks even worse compared to HoF 2B if you required consecutive years.

Votto strikes out too much, but he has insane BABIP for his career.

In part because he never pops up. I'd agree he's probably the best shot at 400 (think Olerud/Brett/Boggs).

By the way, when Boggs/Gwynn had their 162 game stretches of hitting 400 ... how long did that last, were they both exactly 162 games? Because that's the other aspect of this -- luck. Who knows how many 162 game stretches of hitting 400 there have been. Not a lot obviously but more than 400 seasons. Somewhat similarly, Neyer (I think) once went looking for "perfect games" by relievers -- there were quite a few as I recall.


   52. SoSHially Unacceptable Posted: April 19, 2014 at 11:27 PM (#4689452)
Somewhat similarly, Neyer (I think) once went looking for "perfect games" by relievers -- there were quite a few as I recall.


There is a significant difference between the two. Hitting .400 over a two-season 162-game stretch is no easier than hitting it in a single season*. But a reliever putting together nine consecutive 1-2-3 innings in different outings is considerably easier than a starter doing it over a single game.

* There are obviously more opportunities to do so if you're looking at a two-season span than with the specific end points of the first and last day of a single season, but the task itself is equally hard from Games 45 to 44 as it is from 1-162.
   53. McCoy Posted: April 19, 2014 at 11:54 PM (#4689459)
Gwynn did in exactly 162 games. If you use the first game of a DH then he falls below .400. I think Boggs lasts for a few more games.
   54. valuearbitrageur Posted: April 20, 2014 at 12:41 AM (#4689476)
Why are people focusing on Utley when Charles Blackmon is already 2 games closer to completing a .400 season this year?

And the last time anyone got close was 2007 when Geovany Soto and Timo Perez both hit .389.
   55. Russlan is fond of Dillon Gee Posted: April 20, 2014 at 12:54 AM (#4689480)
I do think Bonds could have hit .400 in his insane stretch from 2001-2004 if he decided that's what he wanted. With the crazy walk rate, shifts, and his home runs, I think he could have hit a few balls the other way and got to .400. He was only 10-15 hits a way from doing so and I think he was more focused on hitting homers.
   56. Joyful Calculus Instructor Posted: April 20, 2014 at 02:00 AM (#4689492)
Since 1942, the most PAs somebody has had in a .400 season is ... Bob Hazle with 134. Ted Williams is actually second with a .407 average in 110 PAs in 1953. If Blackmon and Utley were to suffer season ending injuries tomorrow, they'd be fifth and sixth in PAs in a .400 season.
   57. Cooper Nielson Posted: April 20, 2014 at 02:09 AM (#4689493)
There's a reason no one other than Carew has approached .400 over a full season in more than 70 years: It's just damned hard, and the game is just too finely calibrated for it to (in all likelihood) ever happen again

I won't dispute any of your points. It's hard to hit .400 over a full season. I think it's only been done once since 1930, and that's a lot of individual baseball seasons. However, it doesn't strike me as something that is essentially impossible, like 40 wins or 50 complete games. Gwynn and Boggs, as mentioned, did it over 162 games in the not-so-distant past; Carew and Brett got close in an (on-field) environment that wasn't drastically different from today's; four guys (rounding up for Bonds) have hit .370 or better since 2000, which is at least somewhat in range.

What I think you're discounting is that baseball could change in the next few years in a way that would make it easier for some types of hitters to hit for a higher average. Maybe it's a new style of swinging, maybe it's new pitching tactics that are willing to give up singles to prevent XBH or walks, maybe the strike zone or mound will be changed. Maybe there's some 15-year-old kid in the Dominican who is the best base-hitting artist in history. (Think a slightly better or more in-his-prime Ichiro. Remember, Ichiro didn't come to MLB until he was 27. It's actually possible that we didn't see him at his best. He hit .385 in Japan as a 20-year-old.)

In 1988, there were probably quite a few people who thought "No one will every hit 60 HR again. It's too hard with these specialized relievers, and the split-finger fastball, and the big parks, and the outfielders pulling back HR, and all the travel..." Then 10 years later, it starting happening with astonishing regularity -- 6 times in 4 years. And now it looks like it probably won't happen again... until it does.
   58. steagles Posted: April 20, 2014 at 02:39 AM (#4689496)
There is a significant difference between the two. Hitting .400 over a two-season 162-game stretch is no easier than hitting it in a single season*. But a reliever putting together nine consecutive 1-2-3 innings in different outings is considerably easier than a starter doing it over a single game.
didn't bobby jenks retire something like 45 consecutive batters without allowing a baserunner?

not sure if this has been mentioned elsewhere, but the phillies have not had an extra base hit since monday. they got kind of a bad break having to face jimmy chitwood and sparky lyles at coors field the last two days, so hopefully they'll be able to end this streak against julio nicotero today. fingers crossed.
   59. esseff Posted: April 20, 2014 at 03:03 AM (#4689498)
There's a reason no one other than Carew has approached .400 over a full season in more than 70 years:


Brett?
   60. jacjacatk Posted: April 20, 2014 at 08:06 AM (#4689516)
didn't bobby jenks retire something like 45 consecutive batters without allowing a baserunner?


Jenks retired 41. Buehrle got to 45 with the last batter he got before the perfect game in 2009, and then retiring the first 17 in his next start.
   61. Edmundo got dem ol' Kozma blues again mama Posted: April 20, 2014 at 08:22 AM (#4689525)
To go back to the article, Utley having a good season might be the only ray of sunlight on what could be a dismal year, so cut Phillies fans some slack if they go overboard. :) After watching him struggle over the last few years, it's really nice to see him driving the ball again and hustling down the line.
   62. SoSHially Unacceptable Posted: April 20, 2014 at 08:28 AM (#4689527)
Brett?


Brett only played 117 games (515 plate appearances) in his .390 campaign.
   63. Cooper Nielson Posted: April 20, 2014 at 09:05 AM (#4689540)
Brett only played 117 games (515 plate appearances) in his .390 campaign.

That's a good point. Instead of looking for 162-game stretches of batting over .400, we should look at 502-PA stretches to see how possible it is to hit .400 over a "full" (by MLB rules) season.

I think it's pretty likely (because it's easier) that the next .400 hitter will do it in while missing a lot of games (e.g., Brett in 1980) and/or getting a lot of walks (e.g., Barry Bonds in 2002-2004). Obviously any hitter is more likely to hit .400 over 350 AB than over 650 AB.
   64. GregD Posted: April 20, 2014 at 10:51 AM (#4689564)
I won't dispute any of your points. It's hard to hit .400 over a full season. I think it's only been done once since 1930, and that's a lot of individual baseball seasons. However, it doesn't strike me as something that is essentially impossible, like 40 wins or 50 complete games. Gwynn and Boggs, as mentioned, did it over 162 games in the not-so-distant past; Carew and Brett got close in an (on-field) environment that wasn't drastically different from today's; four guys (rounding up for Bonds) have hit .370 or better since 2000, which is at least somewhat in range.
I'm with you. Given that 1) some people have approached it over 502-PA stretches, 2) the game has in the past been configured in ways that made .400 easier, and 3) the game is always changing, sometimes unpredictably, I would give a lot of room for uncertainty.

My dad is 69 and in good health but still is a 69 year old male. Would I bet that he'll see a .400 hitter in his lifetime? (He just missed Williams by 4 years.) No, I wouldn't bet that.

I'm 42 in good health. If someone gave me 3-1 odds of seeing a .400 hitter in my lifetime, I would definitely take it. I might even take 1-1 odds. Any given person doing it in any given season is staggeringly unlikely, but there's going to be a lot of seasons in my life, if I possess average luck.

My kids are 6 and 7. I would for sure bet that they see a .400 season. Betting on stasis over what would project to be a long time is a losing bet, even if no one can predict when changes will come and what form they will take.
   65. cercopithecus aethiops Posted: April 20, 2014 at 12:17 PM (#4689600)
Betting against your kids seeing a .400 season is not betting on stasis. It's betting against change that would favor a .400 season.

Also, I was a little bit surprised that Roy Smalley's 1979 didn't show up on bobm's list in #49. But after checking the game logs, it makes sense. He was over .400 as late as May 20, and at .372 on July 4. Hit .271 for the year.
   66. Lance Reddick! Lance him! Posted: April 20, 2014 at 02:22 PM (#4689676)
When making a list of possible .400 hitters, start by eliminating everyone who bats right-handed.
   67. Walt Davis Posted: April 20, 2014 at 06:27 PM (#4689823)
Also, although it's not the playground it used to be, Coors still gives a nice boost to BA -- put Gwynn in Coors and he probably hits 400. (You probably need some power to do it ... not sure Ichiro would get a big BA boost at Coors.)
   68. CFBF Is A Golden Spider Duck Posted: April 20, 2014 at 07:06 PM (#4689849)
I often wondered what would have happened if the Rockies had ever just said, "Screw it", given up on ever getting good pitching and thrown all their resources into truly extraordinary, elite-level hitters. What sort of numbers could the Cyborg Death Machine version of Barry Bonds or even the circa-2000 version of Delgado, Giambi or Manny Ramirez put up in 81 games at Coors?
   69. SoSHially Unacceptable Posted: April 20, 2014 at 07:29 PM (#4689863)
Bonds played about a full season's* worth of games at Coors in his career. His numbers were impressive, but not otherwordly (at least not otherwordly for Barry). He hit .336/.463/.693 in 81 games worth. He had even better numbers at Jack Murphy in 125 more at bats (.343/.488/.729).

* A full season worth of home games that is.







   70. Booey Posted: April 20, 2014 at 08:49 PM (#4689927)
I agree with those bringing up Coors; pre-humidifier Coors was an offensive record waiting to happen. Walker in 1997 and Helton in 2000 put up some ridiculous numbers, and while they were legitimately very good hitters, neither was truly one of the best of the best, even amongst their own era. What would've happened if prime Bonds, Pujols, Manny, Thomas, Piazza, etc had played for the Rockies? I suspect we'd have seen a .400 season.

I don't know if singles/doubles hitters would really benefit from Coors as much as power hitters, but putting their stats in the Baseball Reference neutralizer and converting them to 2000 Rockies levels, Gwynn is a .398 lifetime hitter with eight .400 seasons. Carew is at .392 with six .400 seasons. Boggs also has six. Ichiro has four.

   71. Greg K Posted: April 20, 2014 at 10:52 PM (#4689995)
I think this thread speaks for itself in terms of those questioning why it got posted - it's generated some discussion. Utley's having quite a first month, and for a guy with a fairly ambiguous Hall of Fame case right now (as it stands probably deserving but unlikely to get voted in), one magical year where he recaptures his peak form could have ramifications. Also it's just fun talking about players who are playing well.

The article itself isn't terribly important, but Utley seems like as good a topic as any to discuss. Call it a OT: Utley Thread.
   72. Lassus Posted: April 20, 2014 at 11:39 PM (#4690006)
Obviously no shot at .400

Of course he has a shot. Everyone has a shot at it.
   73. Foghorn Leghorn Posted: April 21, 2014 at 09:06 AM (#4690090)
Yet over a 162 game stretch, Tony Gwynn and Wade Boggs did hit over .400. There is no inherent reason other than the actual difficulty, that .400 can't be reached again.
These are the types of guys that do this: People with career .330 averages.

Matt Carpenter? That's a worse fanboy pick than Utley. "Challenge for batting titles the next 5 years"? He's 28, and didn't even get a shot until he was 26. I doubt he'll still be a regular in 5 years, if in the major leagues.
   74. Walt Davis Posted: April 21, 2014 at 09:31 PM (#4690721)
I doubt he'll still be a regular in 5 years, if in the major leagues.

He just signed a 6-year contract. He's got a good chance to be a regular and very likely to still be in the majors.

I will agree I see no reason to expect him to challenge for batting titles on a regular basis. 299 career minor-league, best season was a 316 at AA in 2010 (which he beat in MLB last year). He did make it to 400 in their 9th game last year, he has hit 342 in May for his career and he hit 348 from May 7 to July 24 last year so of course it's possible he'll put it all together for a season and win a batting title. Also last year's 318 was good for 6th.

Obviously the Cards expect Carpenter to be (for example) a better version of Bill Mueller (certainly more power, maybe better BA) and Mueller did pull out one BA title somehow. They might even be thinking he's the next Chase Utley (at least as a hitter) and Utley pulled off a 332 season (3rd place). Bernie Williams had 1 top season and 3 other top 4 finishes. I'm surprised to find that in 94 (strike year) O'Neill hit 359. Raines had a first and two 3rds from 85-87. Lynn managed to win one and finish second (283 career BA). I know 3 of the 6 guys I've mentioned were switch-hitters but they're roughly Carpenter-like hitters.

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