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Gwynn, Boggs, Carew, Molitor, Mauer... Where have all the high avg hitters gone?

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#1 Doug Y

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Posted 16 June 2014 - 12:13 PM

Has hitting evolved to such a level that will will never see the high avg player again?

There are still many high average players in MLB, but many of them are also power guys. Ultimately, that is what every team dreams of (rarely find), but what happened to the high average, high contact, low to medium power, low strikeout, leadoff and #3 hitters? The Tony Gwynn, Wade Bogg, Rod Carew, Ichiro Suzuki, Mark Grace type of player. There used to be more of this type of player, but seem to be disappearing as most players try to add some power to their game.

#2 tobi0040

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Posted 16 June 2014 - 01:10 PM

Has hitting evolved to such a level that will will never see the high avg player again?

There are still many high average players in MLB, but many of them are also power guys. Ultimately, that is what every team dreams of (rarely find), but what happened to the high average, high contact, low to medium power, low strikeout, leadoff and #3 hitters? The Tony Gwynn, Wade Bogg, Rod Carew, Ichiro Suzuki, Mark Grace type of player. There used to be more of this type of player, but seem to be disappearing as most players try to add some power to their game.


I know what happened. They were all ridiculed for not hitting HR's. Just one left in the league.

#3 Kirby_Waved_At_Me

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Posted 16 June 2014 - 01:23 PM

Also, they've been replaced by guys that do both - Mike Trout, Albert Pujols (in his prime), Miguel Cabrera.

#4 Doug Y

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Posted 16 June 2014 - 01:29 PM

Brian Dozier is having a great season hitting .245, because in many people's eyes he is hitting home runs. Yes, he is stealing bases and scoring runs, but if Chuck Knoblauch was ever hitting .245 we would be asking want is wrong. Knobby didn't hit homeruns. Even most of the Twins radio and TV announcers say Dozier is having a great season.

Am I overvaluing batting average and guys that can get base hits? Should I look at OBP?

#5 tobi0040

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Posted 16 June 2014 - 01:36 PM

Also, they've been replaced by guys that do both - Mike Trout, Albert Pujols (in his prime), Miguel Cabrera.


If each of the 30 teams has 13 hitters, I think we are a few players shy of fielding them with guys that hit for both average and power.

I looked at the 6 teams in 1st place (DET, OAK, TOR, ATL, MIL, and SF) and found a total of seven players that are hitting over .285 with 10 or more HR's. Miggy, Victor Martinez, Carlos Gomez, Mike Morse,, Evan Gattis, Jose Bautista, and Melky Cabrera. .285 is a pretty low bar for a great average and 10 HR almost half way through the year is also quite low.

Edited by tobi0040, 16 June 2014 - 01:43 PM.


#6 nicksaviking

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Posted 16 June 2014 - 01:38 PM

Yeah, I don't think teams or fans are complaining that high average guys are also hitting HR too.

I think these guys are still around, but they just aren't always as prominent as the HR hitters who are also hitting for a high average. Jacoby Ellsbury and Dustin Pedroia seem to apply. Joey Votto had a couple of plus power seasons but looks to have more average power now. Same with Andrew McCuthen, I'm not sure that he profiles to be more than a low 20 HR per year guy going forward. If Freddy Freeman continues to hit, I don't know that he will hit with a ton of power and rookie Christian Yelich seems to be a high average low power guy as well.

Edited by nicksaviking, 16 June 2014 - 01:40 PM.


#7 Brock Beauchamp

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Posted 16 June 2014 - 01:45 PM

Brian Dozier is having a great season hitting .245, because in many people's eyes he is hitting home runs. Yes, he is stealing bases and scoring runs, but if Chuck Knoblauch was ever hitting .245 we would be asking want is wrong. Knobby didn't hit homeruns. Even most of the Twins radio and TV announcers say Dozier is having a great season.

Am I overvaluing batting average and guys that can get base hits? Should I look at OBP?


Eh, they all have value. You're only going to run into issues if you ignore one at the expense of the other.

For example, Brian Dozier doesn't have a good batting average but he compensates for that with strong discipline, which results in a solid OBP. Overall, he's just fine. It'd be nice if his BA was higher but because of his discipline and power, it's really a non-issue.

#8 Doug Y

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Posted 16 June 2014 - 01:52 PM

Looking at the year-by-year league batting avg, since 1973 it has mostly fluctuated between .255 and .265, except for a few late 90s steroid years, while the home runs per year have gone from approx .8/game in the 70s and 80s to about 1.00/game the last 10 years.

Maybe hitters are settling for a .270 avg with a few more home runs, rather than trying to hit .300.

#9 biggentleben

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Posted 17 June 2014 - 08:38 PM

Yeah, I don't think teams or fans are complaining that high average guys are also hitting HR too.

I think these guys are still around, but they just aren't always as prominent as the HR hitters who are also hitting for a high average. Jacoby Ellsbury and Dustin Pedroia seem to apply. Joey Votto had a couple of plus power seasons but looks to have more average power now. Same with Andrew McCuthen, I'm not sure that he profiles to be more than a low 20 HR per year guy going forward. If Freddy Freeman continues to hit, I don't know that he will hit with a ton of power and rookie Christian Yelich seems to be a high average low power guy as well.


I'd disagree on McCutchen, Freeman, and Yelich, but it's all on a matter of what a home run hitter is considered. In 1988, a home run hitter was someone who hit 30+, and I believe McCutchen is a high-20s sort of player, and Freeman will settle in as a Fred McGriff type with 30-35 home run power but better average than McGriff. Yelich's swing says all kinds of raw power, but he's been inside-out'ing pitches and making power sacrifices in his swing due to his role as the leadoff hitter this season. I believe he settles into a very similar hitter to McCutchen, high 20s power. We're not in the late 90s to mid 2000s anymore, and there are more very good pitchers in the game than in that era (though you could argue that some of the most elite-in-comparison-to-average pitchers pitched in the steroid era), so while home runs are up per game, the home runs for any one player have actually gone down.
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