Major League Baseball offense is in historically deep slump

Published Add your comment

Football News

As further illustration that nobody seems to be able to hit in the majors this season, on-base percentages have dipped to historically low levels. If the season ended Thursday, the National League leader in on-base percentage would be the Pittsburgh Pirates’ Andrew McCutchen with a .399 percentage.

Historically bad

The last time anyone in either the NL or the American League produced a league-leading mark that low was 1988 when Kal Daniels topped the National League with a .397 on-base percentage for the Reds.

Dating back to the beginning of the 20th century, there have only been a handful of occasions when the league leader in on-base percentage dropped under .400. It practically never occurs. The last time anyone led the AL with a mark under .400 was Boston’s Carl Yastrzemski with a .395 in 1965.

No consistency

This season’s American League leader is Detroit’s Victor Martinez and he is at .403. If he goes into a slump Martinez could fall below the .400 mark, too. The only time in baseball’s modern era when the on-base percentage leader in both leagues came in below .400 was 1965. The same year Yaz led the American League with his .395, Willie Mays led the National League at .398. Outside of that season you have to go back to 1883 when the American Association was the other major league besides the National League for on-base percentage league leaders to both have sub-.400 totals.

To some degree this is rather an abrupt change. Before this season Cincinnati Reds first-baseman Joey Votto led the NL in on-base percentage for four straight years with a magnificent high of .474 in 2012. However, Votto has been injured most of this season.

Likewise, in the American League, for three of the past four years Detroit’s Miguel Cabrera has led the league, with a high of .448 in 2011. While still producing an excellent all-around year Cabrera has been a tad off this year and his on-base percentage is .379 – good, but not great.

Related Articles

Atlanta Braves have hit the self-destruct button at worst possible time
Cubs strike gold again with star pitcher
Time has come for Boston Red Sox to make wholesale changes

Leadoff men are supposed to be the ones who reach base most often. It’s part of the job description. But nobody in the job in either league is leading either league. Colorado’s Charlie Blackmon has been hailed for knocking in a large amount of runs from the leadoff spot (70, while clubbing 18 home runs and batting .285), but his on-base percentage is .331.

Year of the pitcher

This is all additional evidence that 2014 has been the year of the pitcher. Lower on-base percentages are a byproduct of more strikeouts. We are on a path where no single batter is likely to hit 40 home runs. The absolute best power hitters have accumulated runs batted in totals in the low 100s. (Just last year Baltimore’s Chris Davis drove in 138 runs.

With a couple of weeks left in the regular season there are only nine .300 hitters in the American League and only seven in the National League.

Throughout the history of the sport, Major League administrators have tweaked rules to keep the offense and defense in balance. Right now pitchers are dominant. Those in charge must keep a close eye on the trend to ensure that not every future game ends 1-0.

Do YOU want to write for GiveMeSport? Get started today by signing-up and submitting an article HERE:

MLB National League
Pittsburgh Pirates
Detroit Tigers
MLB American League

Article Comments

Read more

Report author of article

Please let us know if you believe this article is in violation of our editorial policy, please only report articles for one of the following reasons.

Report author


This article has been written by a member of the GiveMeSport Writing Academy and does not represent the views of or SportsNewMedia. The views and opinions expressed are solely that of the author credited at the top of this article. and SportsNewMedia do not take any responsibility for the content of its contributors.

Want more content like this?

Like our GiveMeSport Facebook Page and you will get this directly to you.

Already Subscribed to Facebook, don't ask me again

Follow GiveMeSport on Twitter and you will get this directly to you.

Already Following, don't ask me again

Like our GiveMeSport Page and you will get this directly to you.

Already Subscribed to G+, don't ask me again