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Qualifying seasons batting under .200

Posted by Andy on July 15, 2009

At the break we have 2 guys qualified for the batting title who are batting under .200. Here are all such seasons since 1901:

 Year Number Players Matching
 1917      5 Joe Evans / Steve O'Neill / Eddie Ainsmith / Fritz Maisel / Joe Leonard 
 1909      5 Bill Bergen / Jimmy Williams / Billy Sullivan / Fred Beck / Bill Bradley 
 1908      5 Billy Sullivan / Bobby Byrne / Billy Maloney / Bill Bergen / Red Kleinow 
 1918      4 Joe Dugan / Mickey Doolan / Ralph Young / Bert Adams 
 1915      4 Bill Wambsganss / Mickey Doolan / Claude Berry / Tom Downey 
 1914      4 Oscar Stanage / John Misse / Ed Gagnier / John Henry 
 1904      4 Monte Cross / Mike McCormick / Bill Bergen / Ossee Schreckengost 
 1906      3 Lee Tannehill / Bill Bergen / John Hummel 
 1905      3 Lou Criger / Gus Dundon / Rabbit Nill     
 1902      3 John Gochnauer / Pete Childs / Bill Bergen 
 2009      2 Chris Young / Jason Giambi                
 1911      2 Eddie Zimmerman / Bill Cunningham         
 1910      2 Tony Smith / Shano Collins                
 1903      2 John Gochnauer / Lou Criger               
 1901      2 Monte Cross / Bill Bergen                 
 1991      1 Rob Deer                                  
 1981      1 Ivan DeJesus                              
 1975      1 Jim Sundberg                              
 1968      1 Tom Tresh                                 
 1954      1 Gair Allie                                
 1945      1 Skeeter Webb                              
 1943      1 Eddie Joost                               
 1940      1 Frankie Crosetti                          
 1938      1 Bill Atwood                               
 1937      1 Del Young                                 
 1933      1 Jim Levey                                 
 1919      1 Dode Paskert                              
 1916      1 Zeb Terry                                 
 1907      1 Billy Sullivan   

It hasn't been done very often, most recently by Rob Deer in 1991. And while 2 guys are doing it right now in 2009, my money is on nobody completing the deal for the whole season.

There are 2 good reasons why it's not likely:

  • If you're so bad that you can't hit even .200, then it's really unlikely that any team is going to let you bat enough for the whole season to qualify for the batting title and
  • It doesn't take many hits to get that average over .200. Giambi has 50 hits in 260 ABs. If just 2 of those outs had fallen for hits, he'd be batting .200 and we wouldn't be having this discussion. Giambi is a lifetime .282 hitter and even with diminished skills, the odds say that those extra balls will fall in the second half and he'll finish up with a batting average between .220 and .230. Somebody needs to keep track of all these predictions I make here and call me on them when I'm wrong šŸ™‚

11 Responses to “Qualifying seasons batting under .200”

  1. statboy Says:

    "Somebody needs to keep track of all these predictions I make here and call me on them when Iā€™m wrong :)"

    I have been keeping track. Coincidentally, your prediction batting average has been under .200 for the last two seasons.

  2. Raphy Says:

    Giambi has 35 runs created in his teams first 86 games. At that rate he would created 65.9 runs in 162 team games which would be the most ever for anyone with a BA less than .200. The current leader is Rob Deer with 60 in 1991 (.175 BA). Chris Young is on pace for 56 which would currently be good for second place all time.

  3. Andy Says:

    Nice, statboy šŸ™‚

    Actualyl I think my playoff predictions from last year were pretty good, except for the AL West.

  4. JohnnyTwisto Says:

    Why is the suggestions page closed?

  5. Andy Says:

    The site is undergoing a lot of changes...Sean is doing a lot of things behind-the-scenes--eventually this entire blog will be overhauled, when he gets to it. I think we can all agree that keeping the main site running well, stats updating, etc, is more important. A number of readers have been pretty impatient about this, and I think you folks should take a moment to re-evaluate.

  6. leatherman Says:

    I never realized that Mario Mendoza never qualified for a batting title.

  7. kingturtle Says:

    great work andy. i like the simple lay out. and i like your reasoning about why it probably won't happen this year.

    i suppose also the instances are more frequent in early years because the qualification standards were much lower? in none of bill bergen's six times on this list did he reach more that 372 PA. i understand and respect why B-R does this, but it would be nice to also have a feature in which we could search 3.1 PA/G as the standard for all seasons.

    by the way, what's up with the name bill in this stat? 25% of the occurrences were by someone named bill or billy: six times by bill bergen!

  8. JohnnyTwisto Says:

    Andy, I wasn't trying to be an ass, I just didn't know if the page had been closed accidentally or if anyone was aware of it.

    Kingturtle, some of those early 20th century seasons were fewer than 154 games, but you're right, it appears that Bergen still would not qualify for the batting title by modern standards.

  9. The 2009 Mid-Season Mendoza Line Candidates Says:

    [...] up this bit from the Baseball Reference blog about hitters qualifying for the batting title yet are hitting under .200, the Mendoza Line. It [...]

  10. tcox82 Says:

    I was watching the 1981 All-Star Game the other day on MLB Network, and noticed that Reggie Jackson started for the AL, despite having batted .199 before the (extremely long that year) All-Star break. Is there a way to find other nonpitchers who were named to the All-Star team despite batting below .200 at the break?

  11. SlumpBot .200: Scott Kazmir? More like Scott Azmir (No Ks) Says:

    [...] some historic numbers. No one’s finished a full season with a batting average under .200 since the legendary Rob Deer in 1991, but Giles has a [...]