Rajai Davis - Fun with Projecting Year-End Batting Avg

I was reading the Sweeney post which started talking about Rajai Davis and A's .300 hitters.  This got me looking at the numbers and wondering what Rajai could possibly hit by the end of the year.

At this moment, he has played in 106 games with 95 hits and has a .308 batting average in 308 at bats and 344 plate appearances.  If you go back to July 22nd (when Rajai started playing almost every day) he's hitting .340 in 191 AB and 213 PA over 50 games.  If he keeps up this pace, what will he hit at the end of the year?

In those last 50 A's games Rajai's started 45 of them and hit .340 in 213PA and 191AB.  He's had 4.26 PA/G and 3.82 AB/G. 

Let's say he sustains a .340 AVG, 4.26 PA/G and 3.82 AB/G over the next 19 games.  I don't think that's unreasonable (and it's my playground so I say it's ok).  That would be about 73 more ABs and 81 more PAs, giving him a total of 381 AB and 425 PA.  This would also give him about 25 more hits for 120 H on the year.  He would then hit about .315 AVG (120 H/381AB) for the year.  Pretty nice. 

Let's take this further. 

In order to be considered eligible for year end stat awards (and a legitimate .300 batting season) the player needs 502 PAs for an average of 3.1 PA/G. MLB rule 10.22(a) (PDF warning):

The individual batting, slugging or on-base percentage champion shall be the player with the highest batting average, slugging percentage or on-base percentage, as the case may be, provided the player is credited with as many or more total appearances at the plate in league championship games as the number of games scheduled for each club in his club’s league that season, multiplied by 3.1 in the case of a Major League player and by 2.7 in the case of a National Association player. Total appearances at the plate shall include official times at bat, plus bases on balls, times hit by pitcher, sacrifice hits, sacrifice flies and times awarded first base because of interference or obstruction. Notwithstanding the foregoing requirement of minimum appearances at the plate, any player with fewer than the required number of plate appearances whose average would be the highest, if he were charged with the required number of plate appearances shall be awarded the batting, slugging or on-base percentage championship, as the case may be.

In order to give a shot to those who fall short of the required minimum,  MLB has in the rule a provision (the bolded text) where any missing PA can be made up as 0-fer ABs.  This has helped players get the title despite not having 502 PAs.  In 1996 Tony Gynn hit .353 in 451 ABs and 498 PAs. Those four missing PAs ended up as hitless ABs and he still had the highest average at .349 to take the title.

Rajai's case is more drastic, but let's play just for fun.  He would have 425 PAs in my projection so there would be 77 missing PAs considered as 0-fer ABs.

381 AB plus 77 AB = 458 AB.  This would give him a .262 AVG (120 H / 458 AB) when it comes to being eligible for awards.  Not so nice anymore. 

Why stop here though?  What would it take for Rajai to finish the year at .300 with the number of BA I think he'll get?  Let's go back to what he's hitting right now: 95 H in 308 AB for .308 AVG.  I'm projecting 73 more AB this year.

(95 H + ? H) / (308 AB + 73 AB) = .300

Solve for ? and we get 19.3 more hits to stay above .300 AVG.  That means he has to average just over one hit over the next 19 games.  I think that's totally doable. We're still under the minimum number of PAs for a legitimate award-eligible season AVG though.  What would he have to do to get that?

Rajai is still going to be missing 77 AB that we'll have to consider 0-fers. 

(95 H + ? H) / (308 AB + 73 AB + 77 AB) = .300

Solve for ? again and we get 42.4 more hits needed, or an average of 2.23 H/G over the rest of the season.  That would be a blistering .581 AVG.  Wow. 

I'm certainly looking forward to watching Rajai next year, especially if he is the starter from day one.  It'll be neat to see what he can do not only in the BA area, but in stolen bases.

I hope you had fun reading this.  It certainly was fun crunching numbers doing basic algebra and playing the 'what if?' game.

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