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Matt Kemp's 2008 Was Pretty Special

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Using my new SQL skills (thanks Colin!) I ran a few queries. The one I'm publishing today was simple: since 1900, I wanted the highest BABIPs for players with 450+ at-bats as well as 150+ strikeouts. The at-bats weren't really necessary, unless someone struck out more than 50% of the time, but whatever. I assumed players with high strikeout totals would have more extreme BABIPs because they're obviously putting less balls into play. Little did I know how extreme they would turn out.

Here's everyone with a BABIP over .350.

Player Team Year AB H HR BB SO BABIP
Jose Hernandez MIL 2002 525 151 24 52 188 0.405
B.J. Upton TBA 2007 474 142 24 65 154 0.393
Bobby Bonds SFN 1970 663 200 26 77 189 0.387
Mo Vaughn BOS 1997 527 166 35 86 154 0.384
Dick Allen PHI 1965 619 187 20 74 150 0.367
Mo Vaughn BOS 1996 635 207 44 95 154 0.366
Mark Bellhorn BOS 2004 523 138 17 88 177 0.365
Sammy Sosa CHN 2000 604 193 50 91 168 0.363
Matt Kemp LAN 2008 606 176 18 46 153 0.361
Andres Galarr. MON 1988 609 184 29 39 153 0.361
Ryan Howard PHI 2006 581 182 58 108 181 0.356
Preston Wilson FLO 1999 482 135 26 46 156 0.356
Jorge Posada NYA 2000 505 145 28 107 151 0.355
Jim Thome CLE 1999 494 137 33 127 171 0.354
Ben Grieve TBA 2001 542 143 11 87 159 0.353
Jim Thome CLE 2001 526 153 49 111 185 0.353
Ray Lankford SLN 1998 533 156 31 86 151 0.352

See, Jose Hernandez knew he was being highly successful when he put balls in play, so he figured he'd just swing at anything and watch it turn into a hit. Bobby Bonds proves that his family's name is on top of any stat report, ever. Mo Vaughn and Mark Bellhorn represent Boston well (I guess?) and then there's Matt Kemp. The 24 year old who-probably-should-not-play-center-but-had to-because-his-team-cannot-judge-defensive-talent Dodger who hit well enough for an OPS just a tick below .800. Not bad for only his second season with more than 300 plate appearances, even if he did go down on strikes 153 times this season.

For those wondering, Dave Kingman's 1981 season was the lowest with an average of .206. Jose Canseco appears to be the only other player on record with these restrictions and a BABIP below .250, although over the years Rob Deer and Jeff Burroughs gave it a legitimate run.