It is a statistic that has become almost quaint in the modern world of OPS and WAR and BAbip and wOBA, but Batting Average is a stat that still means something to many fans. A .200 BA was that Mendoza line between hopeless and hapless. A .250 BA was the line between passable and good. And .300 BA? Well those players below .300 were good, solid players while those above it were the very best hitters around.
And here comes Alex Bregman….. Watching him every day he is a terrific, solid, clutch cold eye killer of a hitter. He carried the team on his back for most of 2018. He is out there trying to carry them again in 2019 with the Three Amigos (George Springer, Jose Altuve and Carlos Correa) on the sideline. But one thing he is not is an over .300 hitter in his admittedly short career.
As a rookie after his call-up in 2016, he started off 0 for 18 and then 2 for 36 before turning things around and slowly rising to a solid .264 BA for the season. In 2017 he was over .300….. after a 1 for 3 on opening day and then got no closer than .288 in late August. In 2018, he was everything to the Astros, leading them in runs (105), hits (170), doubles (51), HRs (31), OBP (.394) and OPS (.926), but falling short (.288) of the .300 mark in BA.
Here in 2019, he was actually over .300 for a fairly good chunk of April, but May has been his huge month for production. Heading into the last game of the month his May has included huge numbers…. 23 runs, 12 HRs, 24 RBIs, .375 OBP, 1.035 OPS and….. a pedestrian .270 BA.
And the question that goes with this is …..Does it really matter? Here we are in 2019 and Bregman is among the top two (with Springer) in all those same categories (runs, HRs, RBIs, OBP, OPS) for the Astros, while sporting the 6th highest batting average.
On top of everything else, Bregman could be having that .300 season already if he had a little bit of luck. His BAbip (Batting Average on Balls in Play) is an unlucky .243. Considering his career BAbip is .293, that is an unexpectedly low number. That number is normally around .300 for the MLB and this season the Astros as a team are hitting .298.
The bottom line here is that Bregman may or may not push across that archaic .300 barrier this season, but it is unlikely to change the fact that he is one of the most productive players in the game.