Friday, June 26, 2015

Will Any Batter Ever Hit .400 Again?

Only 35 batters have ever hit .400, and 10 of those occurred in 1887, and "In 1887, when a player received a bases on balls (walk) he was also awarded a hit in his official statistics. The rules of the day and Major League Baseball recognize the statistics as they were recorded." 12 others all achieved this mark in the late 1800's, so only 13 did it in the 20th century. Ted Williams was the last to do so (in 1941), so the .400 club hasn't gained a new member in the past 74 years. However, streaks do end: there were 37 years between Triple Crown winners in horse racing, and 45 years between Triple Crown winners in baseball. But is it likely any hitter will ever hit .400 again?

The short answer is no. Not if the current trend of league-wide worsening hitting continues:

Data from Baseball-Reference

The steroid era accounts for the major increase throughout the 1990's, but since 2006 the league-wide batting average has been in a virtual free-fall. 

But what about the leaders, the hitters at the top, since we're concerned with anyone capable of breaking .400? For the most part, the trend of decreased average in recent years holds there too:

Data from Baseball-Reference

Using these leaders since 2006, I've attempted to quantify the respective probability each batter could've hit .400, given their batting average at the end of the year:

2014Jose Altuve0.341-3.200.07%
2013Miguel Cabrera0.348-2.570.51%
2012Buster Posey0.336-3.120.09%
2011Miguel Cabrera0.344-2.820.24%
2010Josh Hamilton0.359-1.942.60%
2009Joe Mauer0.365-1.664.84%
2008Chipper Jones0.364-1.575.87%
2007Magglio Ordonez0.363-1.883.04%
2006Joe Mauer0.347-2.540.56%

In this case, the p-value represents the probability each player could've hit .400, given that they actually hit what's shown above. Therefore the fewer at bats, the more uncertain we are they couldn't actually have hit .400. Thus Chipper Jones's 5.87% is the highest, since he had the fewest at bats of these 9 players. 

Just as the league-wide batting average has declined, so have these z-scores and their respective p-values. Over the course of a full season with 500+ ABs, it's virtually impossible (now) to get a hit in 2 of every 5 trips to the plate. That being said, through 257 ABs...

2015Paul Goldschmidt0.354-1.546.19%

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Players with Both D-League and NBA Championships

Another topic from that one "8" guy: on Tuesday, James Michael McAdoo became an NBA champion with the Golden State Warriors. Additionally, he also became a D-League champion earlier in the year with the Santa Cruz Warriors. So the question was: how many players have won both NBA and D-League titles, and has anyone else ever done it in the same year besides McAdoo? That answer is actually pretty straightforward, and it's yes, because one of his teammates (Ognjen Kuzmic) was on both sets of Warriors this year as well. But who else?

PlayerDLeague TeamChamp YearNBA TeamChamp Year
Jason WilliamsGreenville Groove2002Miami Heat2006
Rusty LaRueAsheville Altitude2004Chicago Bulls1998
Mickell GladnessRio Grande Valley Vipers2010Miami Heat2012
Terrel HarrisRio Grande Valley Vipers2010Miami Heat2012
Cory JosephAustin Toros2012San Antonio Spurs2014
Ognjen KuzmicSanta Cruz Warriors2015Golden State Warriors2015
James Michael McAdooSanta Cruz Warriors2015Golden State Warriors2015

As before, all data was gathered from Basketball-Reference.

Turns out McAdoo and Kuzmic are the only two players to win both titles in the same year (granted, the D-League has only existed for 15 years). Another interesting fact that stands out from the above list is that only one player won these titles in reverse order: Rusty LaRue, who won it all in the NBA with Jordan and the Bulls in 1998, and then added a D-League championship later in his career in 2004.

Number of NBA Champions by College

A friend of mine from college (forever immortalized in this post) proposed a solid question: which colleges have turned out the most NBA champions? It's easy to find lists of how many draft picks schools have turned out, but what about titles?

There have been 919 players to win the title (this includes duplicates; in other words, Michael Jordan counts 6 times, for example). Of those 919, 49 have been internationals or were drafted straight from high school, which leaves 870 players across 193 distinct colleges/universities. For starters, here are the top 10:

1University of North Carolina33
2University of California, Los Angeles30
3University of San Francisco27
4Ohio State University26
5University of Kentucky23
6University of Kansas18
7College of the Holy Cross17
8University of Florida14
8University of Arizona14
8University of Minnesota14

UNC tops the list, and its dominance is relatively recent: since 1975, 23 of the last 40 NBA championship teams have had at least 1 Tar Heel on them.

All data was gathered from Basketball-Reference. The full list follows: