Sometimes in the FromThe108 podcast we talk about things that ideally would make sense as a separate blog post, in particular, Episode 24 of season 2 fits the bill. We were discussing the great and powerful Tim Anderson and his desire to lead off. I think some of the collective White Sox fans concern about him leading off has to do with the fact that he’s a type of see ball, hit ball batter and isn’t as selective as you’d envision your prototypical lead off hitter. I decided to take a quick look at what the average lead off hitter does AND how easy would it be for Tim to do that.
In 2019, the AVERAGE lead-off hitter (per Baseball Reference), sported a .335 On-Base Percentage (OBP). I didn’t use 2020 at the time of the podcast because the sample seemed too small and it was a much lower number like .323 or something. Now 2020 has a little larger sample and it has snapped back to .333 OBP, so basically on par with 2019. Below is a quick table that shows the prospective walk rate (TA BB Rate) and batting average (AVG), Tim Anderson would need to pull together to be equivalent to the average lead-off hitter in OBP (never mind that he is a better base runner and seems to be hitting for more power in 2020 than the typical lead off hitter).
As of this morning, after a most triumphant victory over those no-good, dirty Tigers….Tim Anderson has a walk rate of 5.8%, basically towards the top of the range of the table above. I have a very easy time envisioning ~6% walk rate Tim Anderson hitting better than .293 and that would be an above average lead-off hitter…..how about you?