Even though he was not listed once this year among the Carolina League leaders, Frederick Keys first baseman-outfielder Robbie Widlansky ends the season as the league’s leading hitter, winning the batting title.
Widlansky went 0-4 in the Keys final game Monday at Wilmington. But he will end the year with a batting average of .340, far above anyone else.
The O’s 11th-round draft pick out of Florida Atlantic in 2007, will end the year about 15 plate appearances short of qualifying for the league leaders. But according to baseball rule 10-22A, if you added the needed plate appearances to his stats and he still leads the league, he can finish on top.
Widlansky is about 15 at bats short and, even with an 0 for 15 added, would be at .326 and still easily be atop the Carolina League leaders.
Widlansky becomes the fourth Key, and first since 1997, to win the batting title. Luis Mercedes did it, hitting .309 in 1989. Harry Berrios batted .348 in 1994 and Rick Short hit .319 in 1997.
Widlansky finishes with the second highest batting average in Keys history.
Now here’s the rest of this story.
About three weeks ago, O’s minor league instructor Brian Graham pointed out to Keys manager Richie Hebner the baseball rule that could benefit Widlansky.
Graham was with the Pirates organization in 2004 when a player in his system with Lynchburg, Rajai Davis, now with the Oakland A’s, lost the batting title due to this rule.
Keys broadcaster Adam Pohl checked with Carolina League and Minor League baseball officials and both agreed - Widlansky could in fact win the batting title.
The reason Widlansky came up short on plate appearances was that he did not play his first game this year with Frederick until May 22nd.
When full season clubs began play in early April, he remained in Florida, at extended spring training.
“Robbie has had a long uppercut swing and has worked hard to get better balance and shorten his swing,” O’s Director of Player Development, David Stockstill said. “This spring he didn’t show he was ready yet to be ahead of some other guys. Then he made great progress in April there and we decided to send him to Frederick. When he got there, he just took off.
“He just made incredible progress this year with his bat angle and the way he approaches the ball.”
Widlansky got off to an amazing start with the Keys. Even after he had played 40 games, his average was .404.
He finished this season batting .340-7-59 with 31 doubles and one triple.
Other Widlansky numbers:
vs LHP: .366 vs. RHP: .330
Home: .363 Road: .320
With runners in scoring position: .396
Widlansky by month:
He led the league in hitting in June and August.
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