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AL home run leader Jose Bautista could pull off a first

Aug 26, 2010, 7:30 PM EDT

In major league baseball’s long history, no player with at least 100 plate appearances has ever managed to hit under .260 and slug at least .600. Jose Bautista, though, has a chance to do it this year.
With 125 games under his belt, Bautista is batting .258/.374/.597 with 40 homers and 95 RBI. Except for a brief stretch at the beginning of this month, his average has been under .260 all season. His slugging percentage, though, has most frequently been in the mid- to high-.500s. Only these last few weeks has it really seemed likely that he could come in at .600.
Again, no player has ever managed such a feat. Barry Bonds came closest, hitting .262 and slugging .617 over the course of 102 games in 1999. Roger Maris hit .269 and slugged .620 during his 61-homer campaign in 1961. Matt Williams, who appeared to be making a run at Maris in 1994, hit .267 and slugged .607 in 112 games in that strike-shortened season.
Those are the only three players to hit less than .270 and slug over .600 in a season, and Bonds didn’t even quality for the batting title when he did it. It’s just really tough to slug .600. Adam Dunn would seem to be a candidate, but his career-high for slugging percentage was .569. Ryan Howard hit .313 the lone year of his career in which he slugged .600. Mark Reynolds hit .260 with 44 homers last year, yet he was still far short of .600, coming in at .543.
So, Bautista is still a long shot. But that he’s this close after 125 games is already pretty remarkable.

  1. Jess_Ball - Aug 26, 2010 at 8:54 PM

    I’ve been looking at Roger Maris’s 1961 line for 15 minutes on Baseball-Reference, and have opened a separate tab for Jose. And I don’t know what to say! I’m a below-average statistician : ) Irony. Though I keep looking at this like the Rubick’s cube I got New Years’ Eve when I was drunk on champagne. So here is an example of the inner dialog from a few minutes ago. It was kind of like this;
    “well, if Bautista walks, but doesn’t walk too many times, but strikes out just enough to put a strain on the walks if there are too many, and maybe 30 more hits, but limit the doubles a bit and throw in 2 or 3 triples… and whatever else he can do to off-set 15 + home runs by maybe lining out sharply, or sprinkling in a few more walks and running some things out slowly… and then a few more strikeouts if the home-runs are pushing the BA up past the .260” – et cetera, et cetera, etc…
    Where is Jack Moore?!

  2. Jess_Ball - Aug 26, 2010 at 8:56 PM

    Matthew Pouliot – I do not know who you are, but do you have any ideas on how Bautista can sneak this by? I’m fascinated.
    Thank you.

  3. BC - Aug 27, 2010 at 9:11 AM

    Can’t believe McGwire never did it.

  4. spytdi - Aug 27, 2010 at 2:21 PM

    This guy is pounding horse semen.

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