Even baseball fans who don’t care about statistics know the average. If it starts at 4, that’s historically good. Starting at 3 is good, 2 is good, and when it starts at 1… well, even a casual fanatic knows it’s time to send that player to the miners.
But this season, baseball’s collective average has dropped to 0.243 with an impressive “1” popping up. Batsmen backed by a tenacity-first team quickly swing behind the fence and lower their averages. Many dipped below 0.200, an area known as the Mendoza Line named after Mario Mendoza, the ruler of the light in the 1970s.
During Thursday’s game, the 20 players with at least 200 record appearances – enough to be considered normal – came under 0.200. By the end of the season there may be more people approaching this threshold in the mid-range or record-breaking range.
In the last full season of 2019, there were only 15 such players. It’s also hard to have a place with a low average. Twenty years ago, in 2001, there were only five attackers out of 200, and 50 years ago, in 1971, there were six.
A player who scores under 200 can continue to work for various reasons. Maybe the manager expects the players to improve. Maybe this is a young player who needs a racket. Or maybe the choices behind it are worse.
But some of these Mendoza strikers add real value to their team. This is because intermediate levels, of course, don’t tell the full story.
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Take, for example, Paul Jong of Cardinal St. Louis, who scored 0.196 in 370 records. He played very well in short stops, had an excellent defensive position and had 17 home runs. Baseball references credit him with 1.3 bouts, the best overall among our strikers under 200.
Ryan Jeffers of Minnesota Gemini also offers. Despite winning .199, he had 13 homers in a record 277 appearances and played a decisive position as a hunter. The percentage based on plus 0.673 is by no means stellar caliber, but beats the under 200 group.
The Reds’ Eugenio Suarez scored 0.183 but has posted 535 times, more than any other player in the group. He was placed in the squad and scored 27 goals, 31.4 per cent of his 86 goals.
Unfortunately, some of the under 200 strikers have nothing left to show for their season. You can’t beat him. At the bottom of the table is Michael Perez of the Pirates, who is 0.141, the lowest single player age with 200 appearances or more. Perez must be an excellent hunter to deal with this inefficiency like a bat.
Outer brewer Jackie Bradley Jr. reached 0.163 without much effort and with just a few songs. This gives him only 0.501 ops. It would be worse if he didn’t show the ability to hit the pitch – 10 times this season. He is very good defensively and can play in any position on the pitch, which is why he plays consistently.
According to WAR, the weakest players are Suarez and Jared Kelenik, a 21-year-old sailor outfielder. Among the best prospects for the game of the season, Kelenic has 13 home runs but his 0.602 operation is not great and his defensive numbers are very poor.
On the outskirts of Mendoza, but growing
While none of the less than 200 players this season are A-Asset, some of the players who teased Mendoza’s line are actually quite valuable.
Joey Gallo, traded by the Yankee Rangers this year, hit .204, but that would be welcome on any baseball team. Despite leading the strikeouts, at the age of 109 he was also in charge of the American League. Add 38 home runs and Gallo has 0.837 OPS to add to his best defense, which adds up to 4.8 battles. The Yankees would have been happy if Gallo could hit .300 – or even .250 – but his skill set makes him a real asset regardless of his average.
Ha-seong Kim of the Padres hit .206 but played so steadily in midfield that his bout with 2.0 was honored.
And what about Mario Mendoza, a player whose name has been associated with mediocrity for decades. Was he wrongly tainted because of his nearsightedness? Do you have any hidden skills that will help your team?
Well, not on the plate. Mendoza played nine seasons with the Pirates, Sailors and Rangers 1974-82. While his career average is .255, he has had five seasons in which his average has fallen below a dangerous line for his name.
He aggressively added a bit more to the record: his best base percentage for the season was 0.286 and his drop percentage was just over 0.300. He played only two seasons, 1979 and 1980, on a semi-regular basis with the hapless Mariners; His best crawl during those years was 16 and his best homer was two overall.
But he played short stints, a difficult position to fill, and enjoyed a solid defensive reputation, including the nickname The Man with the Silk Hands. And after the end of his career in the premier league, he returned to Mexico, where he was manager of the Mexican league for a long time.
In 2000 he was inducted into the Mexican League Hall of Fame. There the average life expectancy is 0.239.