Something grabbed my attention today on Twitter. Beat writer, Henry Schulman, tweeted the following:
Here’s the beauty of baseball: there are rarely, if any, absolutes in the game.
Getting 200 hits in a season is generally an indicator of certain things such as health (and conversely playing time), batting order position, and skill. However, even if it’s rare, there are players that have collected 200 or more hits in a season and have been below average hitters.
Baseball-Reference says (with the search criteria of 200 hits in a season, less than a 95 OPS+):
Rk Player OPS+ H Year Age Tm Lg 1 Juan Pierre 82 204 2006 28 CHC NL 2 Doc Cramer 84 200 1940 34 BOS AL 3 Matty Alou 87 201 1970 31 PIT NL 4 Taylor Douthit 87 201 1930 29 STL NL 5 Juan Pierre 89 202 2001 23 COL NL 6 Mark Grudzielanek 93 201 1996 26 MON NL 7 Juan Pierre 94 204 2003 25 FLA NL
That’s a lot of Juan Pierre; he might be the poster child for collecting useless hits. Since most of Pierre’s hits are singles, and he rarely walked, it has made him (for the most part) a below average hitter. I feel like I’ve written about Pierre’s 2006 season before, but it’s very impressive. He’s nearly 20% below the league average as a batter, and that’s with the magical baseball counting number of 200 hits.
For example, Geoff Blum’s career OPS + is 82. That’s not good.
So, the beauty of baseball is definitely composed of a huge part of “no absolutes allowed.” There have been quite a few hitters with 100-plus RBI seasons that were, in fact, not good batters; there have been quite a few hitters with 30-plus HR seasons that were, in fact, not good batters; and, there have been quite a few hitters with 200-plus hit seasons that were, in fact, not good batters.
Take that, absolutes!