A’s could make playoffs with all-time weak bats
A’s fans are purchasing full playoff ticket packages without the expectation of getting a full refund. They might actually use some of those tickets. Whodathunkit before the season?
While the exciting A’s have a two-game lead in the AL Wild Card race, they are doing it while teetering close to setting modern records for lowest team batting average for a team that makes the playoffs.
Jayson Stark and the boys at ESPN did some research and found out the A’s cumulative .236 batting average would shatter the divisional-era record (beginning in 1969) of .242 set by the 1969 New York Mets.
For the A’s to get to .243 and avoid setting a new record, they would have to bat .290 the rest of the way. So far in September, they are hitting just .232. So the chances of them picking up the pace to that level seems unlikely.
If that wasn’t bad enough, the A’s are hot on the heels of the live ball era (1920 until 1968) record of .235 set by the 1968 World Series champion Detroit Tigers.
If the A’s are really up for a challenge, the all-time record-low batting average for a postseason team is .230 by the 1906 Chicago White Sox.
Though modern sabermetricians don’t view batting average as a true metric of how good a team is, it remains a stat every fans looks at and uses. When any team is this close to breaking a decades-old record, it’s also newsworthy.
The A’s don’t have an player on their roster hitting over .286 (Yoenis Cespedes) and their leading home run hitter (Josh Reddick with 28) is hitting .250 with 135 strikeouts. Their offense has been a carousel of retreads and one-time prospects.
Of course, it’s the pitching that is carrying the A’s towards the playoffs. Their 3.40 team ERA is third-best in the majors behind only Washington (3.32) and Tampa Bay (3.22). The return of Brett Anderson has made their already-excellent starting rotation even better.