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No starter batting above .255

Posted by Andy on October 4, 2010

I noticed that in the second game of the Saturday double-header between the Red Sox and Yankees, nobody in the starting lineup for the Red Sox was batting higher than .255:

Batting BA OPS
Eric Patterson 2B .217 .686
Felipe Lopez 3B-SS .233 .656
J.D. Drew DH .255 .789
Lars Anderson 1B .212 .592
Ryan Kalish CF .252 .715
Daniel Nava LF .247 .720
Josh Reddick RF .197 .538
Yamaico Navarro SS .143 .317
Kevin Cash C .167 .483
Provided by View Original Table
Generated 10/4/2010.

Those are actually their stats from after that game, taken from the box score. It seems to me that in a season with an overall batting average of .257, this is probably fairly rare. There's no easy way to search for this with the Play Index, so I just thought I'd check the highest BA among the starting nine for each team after the games of that same day:

Yankees: Robinson Cano, .320
Tigers: Casper Wells, .326
Orioles: Nick Markakis, .295
Indians: Shin-Soo Choo, .300
White Sox: Dayan Viciedo and Paul Konerko, .310
Rays: Carl Crawford, .308
Royals: Billy Butler .320
Blue Jays: John Buck, .281
Twins: Danny Valencia, .314
Athletics: Mark Ellis, .290
Mariners: Ichiro, .314
Angels: Torii Hunter, .282
Rangers: Josh Hamilton, .360
Phillies: Placido Polanco, .299
Braves: Omar Infante, .320
Brewers: Lorenzo Cain, .306
Reds: Ryan Hanigan, .300
Pirates: Jose Tabata. .302
Marlins: Jose Sosa .500 (technically this counts...or take Osvaldo Fernandez at .308 if you prefer)
Cubs: Starlin Castro, .300
Astros: Chris Johnson, .309
Diamondbacks: Brandon Allen, .286
Dodgers: Andre Ethier, .289
Nationals: Mike Morse, .291
Mets: Raul Valdez, .400 or Angel Pagan, .291
Padres: Adrian Gonzalez, .298
Giants: Buster Posey, .306
Rockies: Jay Payton, .344
Cardinals: Matt Pagnozzi, .343

So, yeah, for at least this one day, the Rex Sox started a lineup with much lower batting averages.

Anybody have an idea of how common this is?

6 Responses to “No starter batting above .255”

  1. Brian O Says:

    I think it's pretty safe to say that after getting no-hit by Bob Feller on Opening Day, the 1940 White Sox started their second game with all .000 averages.

  2. John Autin Says:

    "Good eye, Andy, good eye!"

    Not sure if you're looking for (a) all starters' BA below the league average, or (b) all starters' BA at or below .255. If the latter, then I have 3 games for you:

    The 1968 Yankees batted .214 as a team. Roy White hit .267, making him the only player on the team to bat over .245 -- whether regular, backup or pitcher. White missed just 3 games; in each, all 9 Yankee starters finished the game with a BA of .244 or lower, with a low game mark of .236 on Aug. 15, 1968.

    -- On August 1, 1968, all 9 Yankees finished the game with a BA of .239 or lower. (
    -- On August 15, 1968, all 9 Yankee starters finished the game with a BA of .236 or lower; PH Charlie Smith had a .268 mark. (
    -- On August 25, 1968, all 9 Yankees finished the game with a BA of .244 or lower. (

    However, the AL average that year was .230, so none of these qualifies by condition (a) above.

    Incidentally, that .214-hitting Yankee squad finished 83-79. They were last in BA, 7th (out of 10) in OBP and 8th in slugging, yet somehow ranked 6th in scoring, with a RPG just a bit below the league average. Mantle led the team with 18 HRs; it was the only year in the live-ball era that the Yanks did not have a 20-HR man, except for 1981 (strike year) and 1945 ("sawdust ball").

  3. Kahuna Tuna Says:

    John, I came across your '68 Yankees just now in the results of a PI query about teams with most wins in a season when leaving three or fewer runners on base. That Yankees team had 13 such wins, one of the highest single-season totals since 1920. (The streak-busting 2005 White Sox had the highest total, with 18.) I'd guess that low-LOB wins correspond loosely with offensive "efficiency," and a team with a .214 batting average needs all the efficiency it can get.

  4. Mike Felber Says:

    Tell us about the sawdust ball. War scarcity led to that as a filling? Was it much different, just that one year? Like '43 "silver" penny?

    Mantle had a 142 OPS for his last year. he created value even in his declining years. A bit surprised to see him rated below average for his career in every position he played-thought he was good enough in the outfield during the '50's to be better than that. And I see no record of him in the playoffs, just world series. What am I missing on his B-R page?

  5. Mike Felber Says:

    Also, Mantle's category, Player Value--batters is messed up. The years are all out of order!

  6. Raker Says:

    When I was a kid in the late 60's-early 70's, every once in awhile we would inadvertently get a sawdust ball. They sucked. They would be oblong by the 2nd inning. by the 5th, sawdust would be leaking.

    I wonder how many players have hit over .100 points higher than the league average like Hamilton did this year?