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How to Judge a Player's Batting Average

MLB Betting: How to Judge a Player's Batting Average

By Loot, MLB Handicapper,

In baseball, a player's batting average is his calling card. And it starts off that way for all baseball players even at the little league level, where kids keep track of their averages. It's the most readily-identifiable stat that is kept on hitters. Want to know if a guy's a good hitter, look at his average. It's always been that way. There are, however, some different considerations to make when analyzing a batting average.

For example, a player could be hitting .230--which is considered to be well below-average. If he doesn't have much else to offer, that .230 average will have him on the precipice, hanging on for dear life to stay in the majors. But if a .230 hitter has some other standout assets, he might stick around in the bigs for a while. A .230 hitter who packs a lot of power can get away with it or perhaps even a great-fielding shortstop who makes up for his lack of bat with shutdown play at his position.

So not every average means the same for all players. At the same time, there are some standards as it pertains to this statistic. Here are some loose guidelines when considering batting average:

Under .100: A poor-hitting pitcher.

Between .100 and .150: Not bad for a pitcher and only a pitcher.

Between .150 and .200: A good-hitting pitcher or a position player who isn't going to make it for very long.

.200: The "Mendoza Line," as not many big leaguers can stick around at this mark.

.225: Not good at all, unless you're a pitcher. Permissible only in rare situations where the player is either struggling, hurt, or an enormous power hitter or standout middle-infielder.

.250: The universal watermark for being "average."

.275: Decent, but not great. Again, it depends on the player. .275 is good if you have power or bring a lot of speed to the base-paths. Otherwise, a .275 average is enough to keep you in the bigs for a while.

.300: The magical number used to illustrate that someone is a good hitter. A .300 hitter will always have a job in the bigs if he can sustain it.

.325: Considered a darned-good batting average for anyone. If hitting .325, there is a good chance you are the best hitter on your team or even in the top-ten of players in the league.

.350: Simply put, a player hitting .350 is considered to be an excellent hitter. When carrying this average, a player is in contention for batting titles and would be considered one of the best hitters in the sport.

.375: Not many can post an average of .375 for even a single season. Players who have done it more than once reads like a list of the greatest hitters of all-time. Anything around .375 is considered absolutely top-notch.

.400: The magic mark for hitters and virtually unattainable in the modern era. Being that no one has hit .400 since 1941, it's pretty much untouchable. The only players in modern times who have gotten close are some of the best pure-hitters of the past half-century--guys like George Brett, Rod Carew, and Tony Gwynn.

It's important to note that batting average is only one way to gauge how effective a position player truly is. A high batting average means you get a lot of hits, but the chief stat in this sport is runs. A lot of guys who hit for a good average are not necessarily great run producers. A .300 hitter might not create as much scoring as a player hitting .260 who has some pop, speed, or the ability to notch extra base hits in the clutch.


In different eras, the standards for what constitutes a good or bad batting average can change. In the early days, it wasn't uncommon for a player to bat .400. In the dead-ball era of the late-60's, some batting champions were crowned with averages not much higher than .300. In the Juice era, the averages jumped back up, with the best hitting in the .370-area. Nowadays, anything over .350 will leave a player with an outstanding chance to bag batting title honors.

The lowest average to win a batting title was Carl Yazstremski with .301 in 1968. In 1894, Hugh Duffy hit for an all-time high of .440. Tony Gwynn and George Brett are the only players to hit for an average of .390 or better since Ted Williams hit .400 in 1941. The highest career batting average belongs to Ty Cobb with .366. Among modern players, Gwynn is the only member of the top-20 with a career mark of .338. Wade Boggs and Rod Carew are both at .328.

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