Sunday statistics smorgasbord: Josh Hamilton is on pace for the best season ever
There has been so much hullabaloo about Josh Hamilton‘s torrid start to the season—in 31 games, he is batting .402 with 18 home runs and 41 RBI—that I hesitate to add to it with a blog post. But it’s Sunday, which means I use baseball-reference’s Play Index tool to hopefully teach you something new.
Hamilton has gone yard in 13.04 percent of his plate appearances (18 of 138). I checked Play Index for player-seasons since 1901 with a HR/PA greater than or equal to .13, minimum 100 PA. This is what it returned.
Oh. Just him? Well, that’s to be expected. No one can maintain such a ridiculous pace. Let’s lower our standard down to 12 percent. *Typing noises as Marciano enters in new search parameters*
I see. Eleven percent?
Hooray, someone else! And not just any someone else, a someone else who was good enough to be considered by some the best hitter ever. Still, those numbers came in an abbreviated season for Williams. He didn’t play until August of that year because he was across the sea fighting the communist scourge. (Williams was recalled to military duty early in 1952, and he spent the next year or so flying in 39 combat missions, participating in some of them as future-astronaut John Glenn’s wingman.)
If we lower the standard to 10 percent, perhaps we could find someone who played a full season.
Two someones! Wait…two someones on steroids. Damn it. I can only conclude that hitting one home run every 10 plate appearances over a full season is impossible without some chemical help. (Some conclusion, I know.) Even though single-digit numbers aren’t as sexy, I’m going to try nine percent before giving up.
Humbug. In order: abbreviated season (so far), abbr. season, ‘roids, ‘roids, ‘roids, ‘roids, abbr. season, abbr. season, ‘roids, ‘roids, ‘roids, ‘roids.
Now is the time for the conclusion. Conclusion: Josh Hamilton (he with the career HR/PA of 5.13 percent) will stop hitting so many goddamn home runs, and soon, because no one has ever done what he is doing, even with performance-enhancing drugs. While that makes his current streak breathtaking to behold (UPDATE: I’ve been told that you have to click search yourself for this to work. Damn Selig.), it also foreshadows a sharp decline. Let’s suppose that he gets to 700 PAs this year, which would be noteworthy in itself because he gets injured frequently. At his current home run rate, that’s 91 home runs, also known as absurd. Let’s suppose a conservative home run rate of seven percent the rest of the way: 39 more home runs, or 57 total. It will be a great season, and Hamilton would finally deliver on the oodles of promise he held as a youngster, when some likened him to Mickey Mantle.
This has been a meandering, scattered look at Josh Hamilton’s season so far. I feel like I’m slipping on these pieces. Maybe you can suggest which player you’d like me to examine next in the comment section.
Tl;dr: Ain’t no hitter like Josh Hamilton.