MVP voting results have been announced this week, but it’s too easy to figure out the best players of a given season. The more interesting question is who were the most AVERAGE players.
For one, Mark Ellis of the A’s. Ellis compiled a batting average of .262599 in 2009, which is just .000159 away from the Major League batting average of .262440. That’s pretty average. Randy Winn came the next closest to being perfectly average on a league-wide level, batting .262081.
Splitting by American League vs National League, we can see that Jeremy Hermida had the most average batting average in the NL, with a .258741 compared to the NL average of .258789. That’s almost ridiculously average – off by just .000048. In the American League, rookie shortstop Elvis Andrus batted .266666 to nearly match the AL average of .266555. Kosuke Fukudome was the 2nd most average batter in the NL with a .258517, and Jason Bay was 2nd most average in the AL at .267419.
But, some might argue that if we’re going to give out a most average player award, it should be to the player who is most average within their own team – much like the MVP should be the most valuable player on his own team. By those standards you’d have to go for Nelson Cruz, who batted .259740 for the Rangers, while the Rangers batted .259862 as a team. In the National League, Chipper Jones took his role as the franchise player a step too far by exemplifying the teams batting average to nearly 3 decimal places. He batted .264344 compared to the Braves overall average of .263404. Surely the mark of a true team player, playing exactly at the level of the team.
Also, I know that many people aren’t big fans of batting averages anymore and somehow think something like OPS is a better indicator of overall offense, or something, so just in case you need to know who the most average players by OPS are, I can do that. The Major League average OPS was .750683, and the closest player to matching that exactly was Mark DeRosa with .751824. The NL average OPS was .739322, and Jeremy Hermida once again came closest to that one with .739876. Michael Bourn was third closest to matching the NL average OPS with a .738138. In the AL, Franklin Gutierrez had an OPS of 0.739876, coming the closest to the average AL OPS of .763497. Juan Pierre was the best in the majors at matching his team’s OPS, with a .757489 compared to the Dodgers’ .757465. He was off by just .000024! Among AL teams, Maicer Izturis was the best at matching his team’s OPS, with a .793555 compared to the team’s .791526.
More importantly than any of those things, Ryan Howard was the most average, league wide, at getting hit by pitches. He took a plunk once every 117.17 plate appearance, while the league average was one plunk every 117.66 PAs. Kelly Johnson got hit the most avergely in the NL with a plunk every 115.33 PAs compared to the NL average of 115.077, while Aubrey Huff took 5 plunks in the AL at a rate of one every 119.4 PAs, compared to the American League plunk rate of one per 120.742 plate appearances. Andruw Jones got really close to the Rangers plunk rate, getting hit once every 165.5 plate appearances, which is right on pace with the one per 165.595
plunk rate of the rest of the team, but his teammate Hank Blalock also got hit once per 165 plate appearances and played in 41 more games than Jones. In the NL, Joe Thurston got hit once every 102.667 plate appearances, which is very close to the Cardinals average rate of one hbp per 101.115 plate appearances.