Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Batting Average at the End of the Season

Thanks to Dan for forwarding this piece that combines two of my favorite things, numbers and being depressed about the Royals.

“Two economists at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, while investigating how round numbers influence goals, examined the behavior of major league hitters from 1975 to 2008 who entered what became their final plate appearance of the season with a batting average of .299 or .300 (in at least 200 at-bats).

They found that the 127 hitters at .299 or .300 batted a whopping .463 in that final at-bat, demonstrating a motivation to succeed well beyond normal (and in what was usually an otherwise meaningless game).

Most deliciously, not one of the 61 hitters who entered at .299 drew a walk — which would have fired those ugly 9s into permanence because batting average considers bases on balls neither hit nor at-bat.”

The Royals part of this is a reminder that this statistic doesn't mean much because the Royals finished second in all of baseball in batting average (.274) yet scored less runs than 19 other teams. Let's go minor leaguers!

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