Low BA, high OPS seasons

redsox11507

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Makes me wonder about historic low BA, high OPS seasons.
The greatest difference between OPS and AVG among qualified batters with an "high OPS" defined by an OPS greater than or equal to the historical average OPS+1 standard deviation (min .878):

Carlos Pena 2009 with an AVG of .227 and an OPS of .893 on the back of 39 HR with in ISO of .310.

I was accidentally playing with career data at first which showed Joey Gallo posted a career .203 batting average and an OPS of .815 over 347 games.

That probably took longer than it should have, but there you go. I have a table of 2200 seasons (14ish percent of all player seasons of qualified batters) but no energy to figure out how to upload it at this point. It's probably searchable on Fangraphs but I have no idea how or if it's possible to sort by multiple stats.
 

Ale Xander

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In 1986, Rob Deer went .232/.830

Ten years later, in SSS of 50 at bats, went .180/.839
 

Mooch

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First guy I thought of was good ole Billy Ashley, who put up .200/.813 with the Dodgers in 1996.
 

Mooch

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Looking through BRef, this phenomenon should really be called “The Russell Branyan.” Over nearly 3000 career at-bats, he posted .232/.814.
 

Cesar Crespo

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Got me curious about some of the low avg/high obp seasons.

Using seasons after 1900, it looks like Gene Tenace, who went .233/.415/.410 in 581 PA in 1977. Interesting career.
 

mfried

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Was this discussion inspired by Moreland or the future of Chavis?
 

The Racoon

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Makes me wonder about historic low BA, high OPS seasons.
was posted minutes after Mitchs HR in yesterdays game thread and started this discussion.

Was this discussion inspired by Moreland or the future of Chavis?
SSS and all, but I think / hope that Chavis will have a higher BA in his future than Mitchs current .215 (I also don't expect Mitch to continue to overperform his career numbers in OPS and HR while staying .035 under his career BA.)
 

bob burda

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This thread is a celebration of 3 true outcomes guys and Oscar Gamble is an unheralded favorite. Late in his career, 1984 with NYY - he gets 125 ABs, slash line .184/.318/.440 for a 112 OPS+

The guys who are below (or flirt with) the Mendoza line and can generate 100 or better OPS+ are really impressive.
 

charlieoscar

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Anyone remember Bob "Hurricane" Hazle?

He had a record in the majors of .310/.390/.467/.857, yet he only had 297 plate appearances in the majors in a career that spanned from 1950 through 1960, minors and majors.

He began as a 19-year-old in the Reds system in 1950, started off well, but then lost almost two years out of the next three to the Army.

His MLB career consisted of:
1955 CIN (13 PA -- .231/.231/.231/.462) September
1957 MLN (155 PA -- .403/.477/.649/1.126) Jul 29 *
1958 MLN (66 PA -- .149/.303/.179/.482) <- May 20**
1958 DET (63 PA -- .241/.302/.378/.681) -> May 27

*After his first 22 games with the Braves, he was batting .507/.571/.836/1.407 (79 PA)

**He suffered bad luck: being beaned in spring training, injuring an ankle sliding, and then another beaning before being sold to the Tigers.

An interesting sidebar to Hazle's career was in his rookie season, he had such a tendency to bailout on pitches that his manager, Gee Walker, would lay on the ground to hold his foot in place during batting practice. He eventually made a clamp that would do the same.
 

Kliq

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Looking through BRef, this phenomenon should really be called “The Russell Branyan.” Over nearly 3000 career at-bats, he posted .232/.814.
I'm surprised nobody has mentioned Adam Dunn. Nearly 7,000 career at-bats and he posted a .237/.854. Finished in the Top 5 in strikeouts 12 times and Top 5 in walks 7 times.
 

Bergs

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The 2 guys I guessed in the game thread were Dave Kingman and Jay Buhner. Their b-ref pages are fun to look at, but neither makes the cut compared to what a lot of you have posted.
 
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oumbi

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We may be posting here about Bobby Dalbec someday, though he is only at AA Portland right now.

Salem BA .256, OPS .945
SALL/GULF BA .257, OPS .919
AZFL BA .217, OPS .791
Portland BA .205 , OPS .705
 

shaggydog2000

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The 2 guys I guessed in the game thread were Dave Kingman and Jay Buhner. Their b-ref pages are fun to look at, but neither makes the cut compared to what a lot of you have posted.
But Buhner did lead to a brilliant moment on Seinfeld, which nobody else mentioned can claim.
 

SirPsychoSquints

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I'm surprised nobody has mentioned Adam Dunn. Nearly 7,000 career at-bats and he posted a .237/.854. Finished in the Top 5 in strikeouts 12 times and Top 5 in walks 7 times.
Yes - the only career even close is Ken Phelps, .239/.854 in 2,287 PA (compared to Dunn's 8,328). Gallo's gap is bigger but in only 1,393 PA. Of course, you're really talking about ISO + ISOd.

Bigger gaps than Gallo's .629 with higher BAs include:
  • Bonds .298/1.051
  • McGwire .263/.982
  • Hoskins .256/.916
You also have Judge, Thome, Mantle, Kiner, Bagwell, Berkman, Delgado, Ortiz, Charlie Keller, Schmidt, Giambi, Belle, Stanton, Bellinger, ARod and Frank Robinson.

Bigger gaps than Dunn's in large sample sizes include those mentioned above, plus:
  • Killebrew .256/.884 (9,833 PA)
  • Snider, Griffey, Dick Allen, McCovey
So for careers, you've got Gallo with a low PA threshold, Adam Dunn if you prize the low BA, and Killebrew or McGwire if you're willing to fudge the definition of low BA.
 

DannyDarwinism

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I'm surprised nobody has mentioned Adam Dunn. Nearly 7,000 career at-bats and he posted a .237/.854. Finished in the Top 5 in strikeouts 12 times and Top 5 in walks 7 times.
He’s the first guy that came to my mind, with a 233/901 and a 204/800 in there.
 

redsox11507

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Gallo's .209 BA & .869 OPS from 2017 is the benchmark, I think
2017 OPS Gallo's OPS was 4.2x his AVG and a .660 point difference between the stats, but 2009 Pena had .666 point difference (only 3.9x OPS over average).

Which is more "impressive", a larger OPS/AVG or OPS-AVG. Perhaps it is the OPS/AVG that takes the cake in this discussion because as it is demonstrated upthread, high average sluggers have even greater spreads between OPS and AVG. Good stuff.
 

tims4wins

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I am trying to use the Baseball Reference season finder to search for guys with career OPS > 800 and career BA < 250 but it's not working for me, any tips?
 

Sam Ray Not

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I am trying to use the Baseball Reference season finder to search for guys with career OPS > 800 and career BA < 250 but it's not working for me, any tips?
Here's the filter (I also added ≥ 400 PA requirement) but for some reason Baseball Reference, unlike Basketball Reference, wants me to sign up to show the full list.

Ranked by OPS, the first one I can see (#10 out of 158 matching seasons) is Norm Cash 1962: .242 BA, .894 OPS.

Bryce Harper last season clocks in at #13: .249 BA, .890 OPS.
 
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shaggydog2000

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Nothing really to add to the thread but I felt the juxtaposition of these two posts was just about perfect and needed to be recognized.
It is practically cosmic.

But should .249 be called a low batting average when the league only hit .252 (non-pitchers) last year, and is hitting .248 so far this year? Shouldn't our low batting average bar be a bit lower? This is all relative to the league average for a given time period of course. BA were averaging above .270 just over a decade ago. It looks like the last time averages were this low were the late 60's/early 70's.
 

tims4wins

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Here's the filter (I also added ≥ 400 PA requirement) but for some reason Baseball Reference, unlike Basketball Reference, wants me sign up to show the full list.

Ranked by OPS, the first one I can see (#10 out of 158 matching seasons) is Norm Cash 1962: .242 BA, .894 OPS.

Bryce Harper last season clocks in at #13: .249 BA, .890 OPS.
Thanks - I realized I just typed in 800 for OPS without the decimal.
 

redsox11507

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So I have some top ten lists:

Low average hitters as defined by all time MLB AVG-1SD (max .245 which limits to 14% of all qualified batter seasons).

sorted by OPS/AVG (forgive me for this poorly formatted table...)

No Red Sox appears until 2009 David Ortiz at #112

sorted by OPS-AVG - I think this table answers the original question best, if only because it coincidentally only has players with above average OPS

The same 2009 Ortiz season appears first for the Red Sox on this list, this time at #82

High OPS batters (all time MLB average OPS+1SD with a minimum of .878 which limits to 14.4% of all qualified batter seasons)

sorted by OPS/AVG

First Red Sox to appear is Mr. Ortiz in 2006 at #31

Sorted by OPS-AVG (basically a list of Barry Bond's career)

1941 Ted Williams shows up here at #12

The original post was sorted first by lowest average and then secondarily sorted by highest OPS-AVG, but if I did secondary sorting for all of these charts this post would be obnoxiously long to the point of not being interesting so I left it single sorted.

A hypothetical season by a player "Tre Outcomes" AKA Captain Launch Angle:

Mr. Outcomes just barely qualifies with 502 PA and he only hits home runs. Because of his home run hitting prowess, he gets walked a record 233 times (one more than Barry Bonds' record). Captain Launch Angle swings with the intent of blasting 500 foot dingers every at bat, so he's sitting at the Mendoza line. He finishes the year with 54 HR, 233 BB an average of .200 and an OPS of 1.375. Not bad.
 
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Old Fart Tree

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First guy I thought of was Rob Deer on the I think 1991 tigers. Struck out I think 190 times or some absurd number.
 

Savin Hillbilly

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The wrong side of the bridge....
I'm surprised nobody has mentioned Adam Dunn. Nearly 7,000 career at-bats and he posted a .237/.854. Finished in the Top 5 in strikeouts 12 times and Top 5 in walks 7 times.
Dunn is, in fact, the only player in baseball history (3000+ PA) with a career average under .250 and a career OPS over .850. He is Mr. Three True Outcomes.
 

The Racoon

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Dunn is, in fact, the only player in baseball history (3000+ PA) with a career average under .250 and a career OPS over .850. He is Mr. Three True Outcomes.
I will use every excuse I can find to link to videos made by Jon Bois, so here is their take on Adam Dunns truely weird career: