Batting average no longer isn’t valued in the same manner as baseball moves into the analytics-driven era, as anyone under 30 will tell you. So what do we make of Hanser Alberto hitting .305 this season?
Average doesn’t matter, but I certainly read plenty about his positioning in the race for the American League batting title. So it isn’t important until it is.
Anyway, it was the 44th time in Orioles history that a player finished the season with a .300 average or better among qualifiers and first since 2008 with Nick Markakis (.306) and Aubrey Huff (.304).
Manny Machado posted a .315 average in 2018, but he played in only 96 games because the Orioles traded him to the Dodgers. Perhaps you heard.
Hyun-Soo Kim hit .302 in 95 games in 2016. Again, too small of a sample size to count.
Prior to the 2008 season, the Orioles didn’t have two players hit .300 or better with the necessary number of at-bats since Brian Roberts (.314) and Miguel Tejada (.304) in 2005. They almost had three in 2008 with Roberts batting .296.
Melvin Mora batted .340 in 2004, followed by Javy Lopez (.316) and Miguel Tejada (.311). You can add David Newhan (.311) in 95 games and B.J. Surhoff (.309) in 100, if you want to ignore the minimum requirement.
Alberto became the first Oriole since Deivi Cruz in 2003, and only second since 1992, with at least 500 at-bats and 50 or fewer strikeouts. It’s happened 18 times in club history by eight different players.
Cruz slashed .250/.269/.378 and struck out 49 times in 548 at-bats. He also had the same range at shortstop as a fire hydrant.
* Richie Martin made 89 starts at shortstop for the third-highest total by a rookie in club history.
Cal Ripken Jr. received 91 starts in 1982 and Ron Hansen made 149 in 1960.
Martin was pretty much paired with Jonathan Villar, who started 73 games at shortstop. There’s a chance that they’re both gone on opening day, with Martin perhaps optioned to Triple-A Norfolk and Villar non-tendered or traded.
Just some early speculating.
* Anthony Santander posted a .307 (43-for-140) average with eight home runs and 31 RBIs with two outs.
Santander had a .361 (44-for-122) average in 30 wins and a .213 (55-for-258) average in 63 losses. Renato Núñez hit .311 (59-for-190) in 49 wins and .208 (73-for-351) in 102 losses
So now we know who’s at fault.
OK I’m kidding.
Sisco has been hit 20 times over the past two seasons, the highest total on the team. It’s an interesting accomplishment, for lack of a better word, considering how he hasn’t logged a full season in the majors.
The 11 pitches that nailed Sisco in 2018 were the most on the Orioles since Adam Jones was hit 12 times in 2014. Jones was hit 13 times in 2012 and 2010.
Melvin Mora was hit 14 times in 2006 and 2001 and a whopping 20 times in 2002. Brady Anderson was hit a club-record 24 times in 1999, two more than during the 1996 season.
The highest total on the 1983 championship team belonged to Gary Roenicke with only four.
Now you know.