By its nature, baseball is a game of failure. Players are considered good if they can get three hits in every ten at bats. The hitting holy grail is being successful 40% of the time. That’s why hitting a baseball well is one of the hardest things to do in any sport. Of course, sometimes even when a player crushes the ball those pesky fielders make insane plays or the ball is right at someone. Today we honor the man who has lost the most hits, the unluckiest batter of 2017
(If you don’t care how the player was chosen skip the next paragraph, we won’t judge you.)
To determine who was worthy of the mantle “unluckiest” all we are looking for is the player who made the most outs on balls that are normally hits. In order to do so, we need to use a stat known as expected Batting Average (xBA, courtesy of baseballsavant.com). We only care about the players that were making solid contact and still becoming outs. The xBA on any ball hit with solid, or better contact was .693. Using all that criteria we just need to look for the player who had the most outs. Without further ado, the results…..
|Player||Lost Hits||% of pitches seen||Average exit velo|
That’s right, the unluckiest player was a third baseman that you probably forgot existed. Shame on you…..but not really. Castellanos was part of an extremely forgettable, and awful, Tigers team. While the rest of his teammates were breaking down due to age, injury, or inexperience, he had a career year. He led the American League in triples (10), a career high in homers, doubles, walks, and even stolen bases. He lead the Tigers in most hitting categories and was the best hitter on the team at season’s end. This was Castellanos’ best season in his four full years of baseball and it could’ve been better.
Nicholas doesn’t seem so unlucky based on the above stats. While he lead the Tigers in many categories, he also led the league in what we will call “lost hits”. Twenty times last season Castellanos hit the snot out of the ball and was denied a hit. It happened all across the field.
Castellanos lost hits in about every conceivable way. He hit laser shots right at infielders.
Got robbed by athletic and unathletic outfielders.
He even hit absolute bombs that would’ve been home runs in other parks but had the misfortune of hitting at Comerica Park.
Castellanos had a very good year, and looks poised to continue that trend as he gets more experience and strength. So don’t feel too bad for him, he is a professional baseball player after all.