Why did Mickey Mantle hit so few doubles? Tuesday, December 20, 2011
Doubles as a percent of hits. For batters with at least 4,000 AB:
David Ortiz is #1: 26%.
Mickey Mantle #932 out of 1,101: 14.24%...
Among 81 batters with 350 home runs through 2010 (Ortiz has 378 through 2011 but I don't have that data yet for all players):
Carlos Delgado is #1: 23.7%.
The Mick is #78. Only Killbrew, Howard and Cash are lower, none of them with any speed.
Supposedly Bill James used this method: doubles divided by balls in play (BIP): (AB - SO - HR + SF). We don't know of any data that James used, just his conclusion that Mantle was more average as a doubles hitter than may generally be assumed.
I tried the Bill James method on batters with at least 350 home runs. When I used that group in 2010 there were 81, now there are 93.
Mantle's rank with the James method is 77, now out of 93. Mick's rank is not high enough for James to conclude that Mantle was in the middle of some reasonable pack of peers.
In fact the top two using the James method conform to what I got using doubles as a percent of hits: Ortiz and Delgado.
Click this link to view the data. There are three tabs:
- one has the data in the right most columns sorted by career home runs.
- two has the data sorted by 2B/BIP percent (James method); Mantle 5.83%
- three has the data sorted by 2B/Hits percent (my method); Mantle 14.24%
Bottom line: which method makes more sense:
Jan. 2, 2016 Note: The next few posts also deal with this topic.