Saturday, August 16, 2008

The "Worst" Hitting Streaks

Have you ever heard a player has a relatively long hitting streak and thought, "Really? He doesn't seem to be hitting that well." Since most regular players will get to the plate about four times in any given game, the lowest batting average a player with a lengthy hitting streak could possibly have would be somewhere around .250. That's assuming the guy never walks and only gets one hit every night.

In reality, it's rare to see a batter take a hitting streak past fifteen games while hitting below .300. Since 1956, only fifteen players have gone to fifteen or more games with such a low batting average, and only one of those guys got to twenty games. It's important to remember that even though they hit below .300, getting a hit in every game is still a positive thing.

Lowest Batting Average in a 15+ Game Hitting Streak, 1956-2008

1Juan PierreSept. 6-22, 200015.27318-66
2Jody DavisMay 16-June 1, 198415.28116-57

Brian RobertsJune 22-July 12, 200115.28118-64
4Don LockSept. 6-22, 196315.28616-56

Richie SexsonJuly 1-18, 200315.28616-56
6Tommie AgeeApr. 16-May 9, 197020.28823-80

Joe CarterApr. 6-23, 199216.28819-66

Lee TinsleyJune 10-25, 199515.28819-66
9Ted SizemoreJune 1-19, 197517.29018-62
10Eric KarrosMay 16-June 2, 199517.29219-65
11Dave McKayMay 19-June 2, 197816.29518-61
12Tony KubekAug. 29-Sept. 13, 196315.29719-64

Brian DowningJuly 28-Aug. 17, 198717.29719-64

Adam KennedyJuly 8-Aug. 3, 200617.29719-64
15Bill BucknerAug. 15-30, 198116.29920-67

The links go to the gamelogs of each streak. Pierre, Davis, Tinsley, and Karros all had their season batting averages go down during their streaks. Karros and Davis have the excuse that their streaks were relatively early in the season, though. Bill Buckner's streak raised his 1981 average by .00017 from .29778 to .29795.

For fun, I found the lowest batting average for streaks of 20, 21, 22, etc., games since 1956. I've made each player's name the link to his streak. I've also put the year each guy had his streak next to his name. Any gaps in counting (33 games, etc.) means there hasn't been a streak of that length since 1956.
EDIT: It was before 1956, but Joe DiMaggio went 91-223 (.408) during his record 56-game hitting streak.


Bopperland said...

Good study. Funny not seeing Joe D not being included in a consecutive hits streak commentary, but he was before your 1956 cut-off. It might be interesting to see what happened to his average, as media scrutiny was not as much a factor back then. I recall seeing the toll that the media took on J-Roll and Molitar during their streaks.

I had actually expected to see mostly leadoff hitters populating the list, but there was a wide scattering of batting order positions. You don't see recently-released Richie Sexson as a leadoff hitter, but then again I don't think of him as a consecutive hits player either. Joe Carter was a cleanup hitter (and on OTL this morning was identified as the first player to use a maple bat!).

Theron Schultz said...

Yeah, I was too lazy to look up DiMaggio's numbers for the post even though I should've. I've added them now, but he was 91-223 (.408) during his 56 game streak. He hit .357 for the 1951 season, so I suspect his average went up during his streak.

Anonymous said...

Ted Williams hit .412 during DiMaggio's streak - that's right, DiMaggio had the alltime greatest hitting streak ever, and Williams still outhit him.

Somebody posted a study of all 30 30-game hitting streaks since 1910 to five years ago, and found that Benito Santiago's .338 during his 34-game streak in 1987 was the worst of the lot.