In an era that places emphasis on slugging percentage, exit velocity and several other metrics meant to enhance run production, there are many who question the importance of a high batting average.
Despite these recent naysayers, MLBbros like Houston Astros outfielder Michael Brantley and Chicago White Sox shortstop Tim Anderson continue to show the value of having a batting champion in the lineup.
On Friday, both Brantley and Anderson, along with fellow MLBbro Cedric Mullins, held three of the top five spots for batting average in the American League.
By Saturday it was a completely different story.
With less than 20 games to go, will any of the bros be able to catch Starling Marte for the batting crown?
Cedric Mullins has been killing all season in a Baltimore Orioles lineup that doesn’t afford him much protection. He’s on his way to a 30-30 season despite playing on a team void of superstar talent.
While winning the crown would be dope, this late season stretch represents more than a batting title for Anderson and Brantley.
Both of their teams are in first place and with each team’s magic number under 20, the only scoreboard watching necessary will involve each other.
The Tampa Bay Rays currently hold a 5-game lead in the American League, which means at this point the Astros and White Sox are battling for second.
The Astros are 5-2 against the White Sox this season, so in order to secure that second spot, the White Sox will need to make up some ground on Houston.
Unfortunately for Chicago, Anderson has been mostly unavailable in September. After racking up 10 hits, 5 RBI and hitting an impressive .323 over his last 7 games played, Anderson was placed on the IL with what has been described as hamstring soreness.
Anderson’s presence has been missed at the top of the lineup, as the team has struggled to score runs against quality opponents at times.
Over their last five games as of Saturday, the White Sox have hit just .250 (9-for-36) with runners in scoring position.
Even with his team struggling to score and his average sliding in the ranks, Anderson remains focused on the main goal; a deep run in October.
“We know what the ultimate goal is,”Anderson said when asked about his impending return.
“We’re trying to get healthy and come back as quickly as I can, but also be 100 percent and be smart about it and know when to go.”
Anderson’s batting average has stalled at .302 and his return to action is still up in the air.
Astros outfielder Michael Brantley has continued to age like fine wine. And while his power numbers have dropped, the hits have kept on coming.
As of Saturday, Brantley held the 5th highest batting average in the American League at .316.
Over his last 7 games, the five-time All Star has hit .323 while racking up 10 hits and only striking out once in 31 plate appearances for the Stros.
If Brantley keeps his current pace, this will be the first time since 2017 that he racked up 150 hits in a season and did not pass the 15 homerun mark.
Despite his lack of power, Brantley’s ability to get on base will be a major boost for the Astros as they look to exercise the demons of their trash can banging past.