In his first year in pro ball, Robbie Widlansky batted .181 for Aberdeen in 48 games in 2007. Now, the 24-year-old lefty hitter is just a few days away from likely claiming the batting title this year in the Carolina League.
That's quite an accomplishment for a player that didn't play his first game for the Keys until May 22nd and who right now is not listed among the Carolina League batting leaders because he doesn't have enough plate appearances to qualify.
Widlansky enters Friday's games hitting .346. Kris Watts of Lynchburg is the official league leader, batting .300.
A player needs 2.7 plate appearances per team game to qualify for the title. Widlansky will probably finish the season, which has four games to go, with about 360 plate appearances.
The number to qualify for a batting title for him is 375 - that is 2.7 times the 139 games the Keys will play this season.
So how can Widlansky win the batting title?
According to baseball rule 10-22A, you can add plate appearances up to the number needed, 375 in this case and give the batter no hits for those appearances. If his average, with the added at bats, is still better than the next highest in the league, he can win the batting title.
So the league could give Widlansky an 0 for 15 to take him from 360 to 375 plate appearances and his average will still likely top Watts for the league batting title.
The first baseman-outfielder hit .279 for Aberdeen last season, but has taken his game to another level this year. After his first 40 games with Frederick, on July 16th, he was batting .404.
This week Widlansky was named Carolina League player of the month for August after batting .356 in the month.
Widlansky was the O's 11th-round pick in 2007 out of Florida Atlantic University.
Should he finish first in the league in batting, he will be the first Frederick Key to win the Carolina League batting title since Rick Short hit .319 in 1997.
Here is baseball rule 10-22A:
The individual batting, slugging or on-base percentage champion shall be the player with the highest batting average, slugging percentage or on-base percentage, as the case may be, provided the player is credited with as many or more total appearances at the plate in league championship games as the number of games scheduled for each club in his club's league that season, multiplied by 3.1 in the case of a Major League player and by 2.7 in the case of a National Association player. Total appearances at the plate shall include official times at bat, plus bases on balls, times hit by pitcher, sacrifice hits, sacrifice flies and times awarded first base because of interference or obstruction. Notwithstanding the foregoing requirement of minimum appearances at the plate, any player with fewer than the required number of plate appearances whose average would be the highest, if he were charged with the required number of plate appearances shall be awarded the batting, slugging or on-base percentage championship, as the case may be.