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May 29, 2011

Between The Numbers

The Emptiest Batting Averages

by Colin Wyers

Sabermetricians have long talked about the empty batting average. So who so far this season holds onto the emptiest batting average?

We have a stat here at BP, called True Average, that accounts for the totality of a player’s production at the plate, while still being on the familiar scale of batting average. What’s missing from this is a sense of opportunities; the more playing time a player has, the emptier his batting average can really be.

To get hits, of course, we just take batting average and multiply by at-bats. If we want to come up with True Hits, we simply take True Average and multiply by… True At-Bats, right? So I took a player’s PAs and multiplied by the MLB at-bats per PA rate, excluding pitchers to come up with a number on the at-bats scale that doesn’t penalize a player for taking a lot of walks, and multiplied that by TAv to come up with True Hits. Now, the players whose actual hits exceed their True Hits by the most:

NAME

TEAM

AB

AVG

TAv

H

TrueH

Diff

Starlin Castro

CHN

211

0.322

0.270

68

53.0

15.0

Darwin Barney

CHN

185

0.308

0.254

57

44.7

12.3

Ryan Theriot

SLN

178

0.303

0.250

54

43.7

10.3

Aaron Miles

LAN

142

0.275

0.220

39

28.8

10.2

Vladimir Guerrero

BAL

199

0.302

0.271

60

50.3

9.7

A.J. Pierzynski

CHA

171

0.263

0.223

45

36.4

8.6

Jeff Baker

CHN

87

0.368

0.298

32

23.7

8.3

Elvis Andrus

TEX

197

0.259

0.222

51

42.8

8.2

Placido Polanco

PHI

200

0.315

0.278

63

55.0

8.0

Marlon Byrd

CHN

172

0.308

0.281

53

45.6

7.4

Orlando Cabrera

CLE

175

0.263

0.237

46

39.2

6.8

Michael Young

TEX

196

0.332

0.300

65

58.3

6.7

Jamey Carroll

LAN

185

0.297

0.268

55

48.8

6.2

Melvin Mora

ARI

92

0.272

0.215

25

18.8

6.2

Alex Gonzalez

ATL

199

0.271

0.258

54

47.8

6.2

Jose Reyes

NYN

222

0.324

0.306

72

65.9

6.1

Corey Patterson

TOR

171

0.287

0.265

49

43.0

6.0

Freddy Sanchez

SFN

188

0.298

0.272

56

50.1

5.9

Wilson Valdez

PHI

118

0.246

0.205

29

23.2

5.8

Martin Prado

ATL

224

0.281

0.266

63

57.6

5.4

A few very notable things about this list:

  • The Cubs absolutely dominate the top of this list – four of the top ten are all Cubs. On one hand, this is a surprising amount. On the other hand, if there was a team to do this, I would’ve bet on the Cubs.
  • You can be a good hitter and still end up on this list. Nobody is complaining about Jose Reyes or Starlin Castro.
  • You can be a poor hitter and be on this list. Wilson Valdez is probably my favorite, somehoe managing to come up with an empty batting average while only hitting .246.
  • Special credit goes to Jeff Baker and Melvin Mora, who make this list with less than 100 at-bats apiece.

Colin Wyers is an author of Baseball Prospectus. 
Click here to see Colin's other articles. You can contact Colin by clicking here

1 comment has been left for this article.

<< Previous Article
Grumblings from a Surl... (05/27)
<< Previous Column
Between The Numbers: A... (05/24)
Next Column >>
Between The Numbers: A... (06/08)
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The Week in Quotes: Ma... (05/30)

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