One of the fun things about baseball is the myriad of statistics that can be used to analyze player performance. One of the more interesting is the concept of batter qualification. MLB has set a minimum number of at bats a player must have in order to qualify for year-end batting awards and in the season leaders board. By rule a batter has to average 3.1 at bats per game to qualify, which amounts to 502 over a 162 game schedule. Obviously the counting stats like home runs still count, but the % stats like batting average or slugging do not.
Does this really matter? Yasiel Puig might lead the National League in batting, but he will not win the batting title because he does not have enough at bats to qualify. The difference is baseball immortality as batting champion or foot note to history.
This year Bryce Harper is very close to qualifying. After missing 43 games this year he might just get in there. With 9 games left he has 465 at bats or needs 37 to qualify. That amounts to needing an average of 4.1 per game. Batting in the top 4 of the order he generally gets 4 per game, but the fifth one is hit or miss especially when the team wins at home and the Nats only get 8 innings at the plate. He needs to play every game and get 5 at bats in one game and he just makes it. I might be the only one counting this, and it doesn’t have any real world implication about the quality season Harper put up as a sophomore. If he can get it, I would not want him to fall one at bat short.
If he qualifies here is where he stacks up:
6th best hitter in the NL per wRC+ ahead of guys like Feeman, Holliday, Tulowitzki, Stanton, Pence and Possey
5th best outfielder in baseball wRC+ behind Trout, Werth, McCutchen, and Choo. That is the list!
16th in OF bating average
8th in the NL in Slugging %
- Jayson Werth might win the batting title! (or at least come close) (halfstreetheartattack.com)