Infielder Hitting Standards
Who is Scoresheetwiz?
Archived Commentary
Most Useful Sites
Archived Analysis
Quick Links (revised)

which positions are hitting the best these days


It seems as though the middle infielders in the American League are nearly hitting as well as the corner infielders. Let’s take look. (The teams are in alphabetical order.):


1B/2B/SS/3B   O+S

Erstad       .730

Kennedy      .716

Eckstein     .715

Glaus       1.081 


Palmeiro     .771

Roberts      .671 (Hairston is .812)

Tejada       .864

Mora         .903


Millar       .762 (when all are healthy Ortiz-.954 is DH)

Bellhorn     .831

Garciaparra  .888

Mueller      .801


Konerko      .931

Uribe        .823

Valentin     .873

Crede        .729


Broussard    .724

Belliard     .801

Vizquel      .757

Blake        .821


Peņa         .752

Infante      .818 (surely he’s won the job from Vina - .578?)

Guillen      .949

Munson       .783 (Inge - .865 - might take his job)


Harvey       .805 (Sweeny - .825 - DHs slightly more often)

Graffanino   .651 (still playing over Relaford-.534)

Berroa       .643

Randa        .735


Mientkiewicz .698 (should be Morneau - .992 in Rochester)

Rivas        .712

Guzman       .703

Koskie       .799


J.Giambi     .826

Cairo        .810

Jeter        .787

A.Rodriguez  .871


Hatteberg    .827

Scutaro      .683

Crosby       .778

Chavez       .880


Olerud       .704

Boone        .683

Bloomquist   .604

Spiezio      .671


T.Martinez   .847

Sanchez      .675 (over-do to be replaced by Upton: 1.003 in Durham)

Lugo         .778 (presumably will switch to 2B)

Huff         .765


Teixeira     .923

R.Soriano    .796

M.Young      .882

Blalock      .939


Delgado      .746

Hudson       .786

Woodward     .715

Hinske       .749


Below are O+S averages for regulars at these positions we would expect. (If anybody has actual figures – especially since the steroids era began – please, pass them on):


firstbase    .840

secondbase   .725

shortstop    .700

thirdbase    .775


The players and O+S averages listed are a snap shot of the regulars taken at the 2004 All-Star break. With Aurilia just recently dispatched back to the NL replaced by the weaker hitting Bloomquist, and Upton not yet in the majors to replace the weak hitting Sanchez, if anything, the data might be skewed slightly in favor of the corner infielders. On the other hand, down seasons by Delgado, Giambi, Huff, and Olerud coupled with career bests by Guillen, Cairo, Uribe, and Infante probably does not compensate for the down year by Boone and the shift to thirdbase from ARod. However, that’s all subjective stuff. The factual actual American League starter infielder O+S Averages are:


firstbase    .789

secondbase   .747

shortstop    .781

thirdbase    .823


So, there are actually more solid hitting thirdbasemen than I sensed. Perhaps, my image of middle infielders having caught up to corner infielders is colored by my still thinking of Alex Rodriguez as a shortstop. However, A.L. middle infielders, indeed, are hitting better than expected, while firstbasemen are hitting poorly – about the same as shortstops! Is this a trend or an anomaly? Let’s look at the actual National League averages to see if the results are similar:


firstbase    .880

secondbase   .714

shortstop    .725

thirdbase    .804


Now, that’s much closer to expectations. If you average the two leagues together and flip the shortstops with the secondbasemen, then add about 10 to 25 points to each position, then the expectations pretty closely match the results from the first half of this year. Much more data is required to determine if my expectations were realistic. The National League, this year, just happens to have better hitting firstbasemen (and outfielders, no doubt), while the American League has the better hitting middle infielders (and catchers, probably).


What I think is an anomaly is that the shortstops are hitting better than secondbasemen. Shortstops and pitchers typically are their team’s best hitters in American high schools and universities, but the talent pool in the majors is not comparable. My guess would be that there would be extremely few seasons that shortstops have out hit secondbasemen the 80 years of Major League baseball between the Honus Wagner era and the ARod-Derek-Nomar era.


Below are the National Leaguers and their stats used for this study (also, in alphabetical order). (Note that one team – Atlanta – has middle infielders hitting far better than their corner infielders.)


Hillenbrand  .823

S.Hairston   .756

Cintron      .638

Tracy        .761


LaRoche      .680

M.Giles      .856

Furcal       .800

C.Jones      .741


D.Lee        .891

Grudzielanek .699

A.S.Gonzalez .672

A.Ramirez    .924


Casey       1.008

D.Jimenez    .753

Larkin       .747

Freel        .748


Helton      1.078

Miles        .754

Clayton      .808

Castilla     .871


Choi         .906

L.Castillo   .704

A.Gonzalez   .725

Lowell       .955


Bagwell      .818

Kent         .832

A.Everett    .639

Ensberg      .680


S.Green      .734

Cora         .817

Izturis      .699

Beltre       .935


Overbay      .962

Spivey       .780

Counsell     .710

Ginter       .766 (would return here, if Spivey was healthy, right?)


N.Johnson    .766

Vidro        .805

Cabrera      .612 !!!!

T.Batista    .633


Piazza       .894

J.Reyes      .572

K.Matsui     .747

Wigginton    .817


Thome       1.059

Polanco      .699

Rollins      .710

D.Bell       .837


Ward         .830

J.Castillo   .633

J.Wilson     .855

Mackowiak    .782


Pujols       .998

Womack       .791

Renteria     .736

Rolen       1.014


Nevin        .875

Loretta      .844

K.Greene     .729

Burroughs    .679


Snow         .751

Durham       .831

D.Cruz       .773

Alfonzo      .730


By the way: I thought of listing these infielders by position, ranked by O+S. However, that would be very misleading in terms of how I would want them ranked. These 2004 first half O+S figures do not take into consideration the important rating elements of fielding ability, injury avoidance, and career tendencies.


The list by team is just more interesting, anyway. My vote goes to Texas and St. Louis for having the best infields in their leagues. In fact, the Rangers look link they have the start of one of the greatest infields of all time. Imagine, if they still had ARod!

John Carter