Tuesday, July 23, 2024

Baseball Trivia: Big Ass Batter In Person


The year 2020 is sure to create issues for baseball writers for some time to come based almost solely on a truncated 60-game season. I’m certain that many statistical rankings and oddities can and will be dismissed (at times) due to the sample size issue. However, it is the 2020 season we are stuck with until we accidentally jump into an alternate universe or timeline of this one.

I got to noodling around in the Split Finder tool at StatHead, because it’s fun. Let’s start with a wide(r) shot and then zoom in. Due to a truncated season, the leader in plate appearances was Marcell Ozuna with 267 and Juan Soto outpaced the rest of the field in slugging by 55 points! Soto slugged .695 and Freddie Freeman came in second at .640. Michael Conforto had a ridiculous .412 BABIP to lead the league (career .294 before 2020). That, at least, gives us some context as to where we’re heading.

As the elder staffer here at Max Sporting Studio, I thought it would be fun to see how the “old guys” did. So, my search parameters were a minimum of 70 PAs and .500 slugging percentage with one out between the ages of 30 and 40 years. That produced 10 player names for 2020.

With one out, Adam Duvall – again with those Braves!! – had an absurd .773 one-out slugging percentage, which included eight homers and five doubles in a 74 PA set. Duvall also had a very respectable .318 BABIP for the split. Contrasted to Duvall is Kyle Seager’s 2020. Corey’s Brother had half as many homers in three more plate appearances and one less double for a .532 SLG%, which is still something to be proud of in one-out situations, but a potentially unlucky .255 BABIP. So, you have the bookends for the most part (Tommy La Stella was last in SLG% at .507 and Didi Gregorius had Seager’s back with a .254 BABIP amongst these ten hitters).

The hidden treasure on the map happens to be the oldest of the 10 – by about 3 years – and this split kind of makes him look like he’s not yet finished. Yes, small sample size be damned. This 6-foot-4, 249lb slugger had a .341 one-out BABIP in 2020 to lead this crusty crew. He also led this split with a .419 OBP, but was fourth-to-last with a .525 SLG, matching Seager with four dongers, but only one lonely double. Now, once again, this split makes this newly-minted full-time DH look like he’s got some gas left in the tank. Sadly, he has slashed .267/.342/.406 since the beginning of 2017, which is a far cry from his career line of .313/.391/.540. (That .313 average currently leads all active players.) Interestingly, he has still outpaced league averages in AVG and OBP by 13 and 18 points respectively in the lean years since in ’17. I’m willing to bet this one won’t be so difficult, so I’ll add a bonus. Once you’ve named our big slugger, can you tell me, of the 10 guys on this list, who are the only two to hit a one-out triple in 2020?

Just because I know you wanna check your notes, here’s the first ANSWERAlso, the pitcher in the featured image gave up this hitter’s first career hit, a home run.

Now for the one-out triples. Here’s one. Here’s the other.

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