Brisbee: Searching for the Mendoza Line of on-base percentage

From SABR member Grant Brisbee at SB Nation on November 26, 2018:

Mario Mendoza hit .215 for his career. That’s the cruel twist. He didn’t just surpass the Mendoza Line in his nine seasons; he blew past it. While other suckers were hovering around the Mendoza Line, the actual Mendoza was collecting an average of 15 extra hits for every thousand at-bats. He showed the world, dang it.

Except he’s still known as the guy who inspired the Mendoza Line, which is the official unofficial term for someone hitting around .200. The term has such staying power because it filled a void. Even with the rise of advanced statistics, we will never get the idea of the .300 hitter out of our heads. And if that’s going to exist, we need something more evocative than a .200 hitter. We need the Mendoza Line.

It’s 2018, though, and batting average is something of a relic. We can still use and appreciate it, of course, but it’s definitely not the hippest stat these days. On-base percentage is the coin of the realm now, and while it’s not the best single stat available, it’s certainly a much better quick-’n’-dirty stat to show on the scoreboard than batting average. And OBP certainly is being shown on scoreboards, which means the casual fan knows just how good a .400 OBP is.

Which means we need a way to describe a .300 OBP.

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This page was last updated November 26, 2018 at 3:31 pm MST.