15 July 2009

Batting under .200

Stat of the day (from baseball-reference.com) has a list of players who went an entire season, had enough at bats to qualify for the batting title (I forget the statistics for this, but this basically means they have to play regularly), and are batting under .200.

Most of them are from a long time ago. Why? Because .200 is well below average and always has been (which is why the list was worth compiling) and the variance in batting averages has gone down as the standard of play has improved. Stephen Jay Gould wrote about this in Full House: The Spread of Excellence from Plato to Darwin; the argument is roughly that as baseball scouting and training has gotten better, there are not as many bad pitchers in the major leagues as there were in the past, so players can't inflate their batting average that way. (I'm in Ithaca and my copy of the book is in Philadelphia, so I can't check if I'm stating this correctly.)

1 comment:

Sue VanHattum said...

Steven Jay Gould talks about the same phenomenon from the other side in a video I like to show in stat class. He's explaining why there aren't any players batters over 400 these days. (The video was put out by COMAP, probably in the 80's.)