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Saturday, January 10, 2015

What happened to great hitting outfielders?

Top ten big boppers since World War II (since 1946) minimum 7,000 plate appearances (PA) all positions sorted by OPS+:


Rk Player OPS+ PA From To Age G AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB IBB SO HBP SH SF GDP SB CS BA OBP SLG OPS Pos Tm
1 Ted Williams 190 7175 1946 1960 27-41 1706 5602 1257 1905 371 38 394 1324 1526 86 513 27 1 20 152 13 6 .340 .482 .631 1.113 *7H BOS
2 Barry Bonds 182 12606 1986 2007 21-42 2986 9847 2227 2935 601 77 762 1996 2558 688 1539 106 4 91 165 514 141 .298 .444 .607 1.051 *78H/D9 PIT-SFG
3 Mickey Mantle 172 9907 1951 1968 19-36 2401 8102 1676 2415 344 72 536 1509 1733 126 1710 13 14 47 113 153 38 .298 .421 .557 .977 *8397H/645 NYY
4 Mark McGwire 163 7660 1986 2001 22-37 1874 6187 1167 1626 252 6 583 1414 1317 150 1596 75 3 78 147 12 8 .263 .394 .588 .982 *3/HD59 OAK-STL
5 Albert Pujols 162 9241 2001 2014 21-34 2117 7943 1514 2519 561 16 520 1603 1115 286 906 92 1 90 297 98 38 .317 .403 .588 .991 *37D5/9H64 STL-LAA
6 Stan Musial 157 10764 1946 1963 25-42 2571 9273 1634 3046 590 133 439 1697 1373 127 624 44 16 53 216 55 31 .328 .415 .563 .978 3798H/1 STL
7 Frank Thomas 156 10075 1990 2008 22-40 2322 8199 1494 2468 495 12 521 1704 1667 168 1397 87 0 121 226 32 23 .301 .419 .555 .974 *D3/H CHW-OAK-TOR
8 Dick Allen 156 7315 1963 1977 21-35 1749 6332 1099 1848 320 79 351 1119 894 138 1556 16 19 53 164 133 52 .292 .378 .534 .912 357/H64D8 PHI-STL-LAD-CHW-OAK
9 Willie Mays 156 12496 1951 1973 20-42 2992 10881 2062 3283 523 140 660 1903 1464 192 1526 44 13 91 251 338 103 .302 .384 .557 .941 *8H/39675 NYG-SFG-NYM
10 Hank Aaron 155 13941 1954 1976 20-42 3298 12364 2174 3771 624 98 755 2297 1402 293 1383 32 21 121 328 240 73 .305 .374 .555 .928 *9783DH/45 MLN-ATL-MIL
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 1/10/2015.

Barry Bonds August 25, 2006 by Kevin Rushforth via Wikimedia Commons
Six outfielders and four first basemen.  Bonds is the only outfielder who played after 1976 and Bonds didn't start until 1986.  Number one is Ted Williams even without his seasons before 1946.  All that may be part of the problem for Tim Raines reaching the Hall of Fame.  After the 1950s-1960s triumvirate of Mantle, Mays, Aaron the only outfielder to exceed them is Bonds.

To some extent the outfielders moved to the infield, which may explain part of the problem for Alan Trammell.  Top hitting SS since 1946 minimum 7,000 PA:

Trammell is number six but that's excluding position switchers and multiple time MVP Alex Rodriguez (143) and Ernie Banks (122) and MVP Jimmy Rollins (97), plus Troy Tulowitzki (125 in 4,024 PA) and Nomar Garciaparra (124 in 6,116 PA).  OK, back to outfielders.

Outfielders may have switched to the infield to some extent but except for Rodriguez they are not among the big boppers.

Other than Mike Trout (166 in 2,195 PA), Giancarlo Stanton (143 in 2,640 PA) and maybe Andrew McCutchen  there does not seem to be many current outfielders likely to move anywhere near the top ten since 1946.

Here are the top hitting outfielders since 1946:


1950s-1960s: Williams, Mantle, Musial, Mays, Aaron, Robinson

1960s-1970s: Stargell

1990s-2000s: Bonds, Ramirez, Berkman

Top ten hitting OF 2014 (30 teams):

Top ten hitting OF 1914 (16 teams):

AL:
NL:
In both 2014 and 1914 an outfielder led his league in OPS+

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