Pop quiz: Ichiro’s batting average

Ichiro Suzuki‘s career Major League Baseball batting average heading into the 2011 season was .331. His best single-season mark was .372 in 2004, and his worst was .303 just a year later.

Ichiro has been baseball’s best hitter for average since Tony Gwynn. However, so far in 2011, Ichiro is batting .258. Through May 18, he was at .303, but an awful three-week, 13-for-87 slump lopped 51 points off his average. (A couple of two-hit games this weekend pumped him back up six points.)

Is this a sign of the end for the 37-year-old slap hitter, or is it just a bump in the road for the 200-hits-per-year machine? Will Ichiro finally finish with a sub-.300 average, or will he poke enough balls through the “five-and-a-half” hole between short and third to lift himself back up to his usual perch?

With the sabermetric disclaimer than batting average is far from the best tool to use when evaluating a hitter, it’s time to ask you, the readers:

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What will Ichiro’s final 2011 batting average be?

Under .280: Stick a fork in him, he’s done.
.280-.300: His age finally is catching up with him.
.301-.320: You can’t stop Ichiro.
.321-.340: You can’t even hope to contain him!
Above .340: Give back the crown, King Felix. Ichiro still rules!

*And remember, this could be the final Pop Quiz if the number of voters doesn’t pick up. Make you voice heard if you want these quizzes to stick around.

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  1. Anon said...

    Ichiro is not even the best hitter for average of his era – he trails Albert Pujols whose career overlaps his almost perfectly.

  2. Greg Simons said...

    @Anon – that’s a reasonable point about Pujols.  While he is a do-it-all hitter, I was focusing on Ichiro’s singles-hitting approach that yields 200 hits a year, relatively few walks and a consistent .300-plus BA.

    People know Pujols for his all-around excellence, while I think when people think of Ichiro, they envision him slapping the ball on the ground and dashing for first – over and over and over again.

  3. sean said...

    FYI – if you pick ‘above .340’ you are implying he will hit ~.400 the rest of the season (assuming he gets ~375 ABs the rest of the way).

    The ranges for this poll are way too large given the fact we are almost halfway through the season. He’ll finish with a .274 AVG.

  4. Duane Wallin said...

    I’m afraid that he is winding down.  I think that he will bring his stats up a bit because it is easier for a singles hitter to do that.  When an older player goes through a slump we say he is done.  When a younger player does that we are much more forgiving.  He could hit .280.

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