Tuesday, August 19, 2008

The AL Batting Title and the Jewish People

Well, the news isn't good for the injured Ian Kinsler. What was initially diagnosed as a sore left groin now appears to be a sports hernia that will likely sideline Kinsler for the rest of the season.
While this is bad news for Kinsler, it may not be the worst news for him from the AL batting title standpoint. Here is how the race currently shapes up, through games of August 18:

Mauer .325
Pedroia .320
Kinsler .319
Youkilis .317
Bradley .316
Italics indicates Jewish player

But with more than the required 502 plate appearances, Kinsler is now locked in at .319. Mauer, the 2006 champion, is having a tremendous August, hitting .360 so far. But he has historically slowed down as the season progresses, unsurprising for a catcher. His .290 September average is the lowest of any of his career months.
Pedroia, meanwhile, has been hot for three months, hitting above .350 in June, July and August. But he hit just .276 last September.
Kinsler, by dint of injury, has also protected his batting average against a September slump. He is a career .276 September hitter- a month he will not have to factor into his batting average.
As for Kevin Youkilis, the active hope for Jewish batting title supremacy, he could hardly be having a better August, checking in at .368. But for Youkilis, it's a long, long way from great to September, with a career .221 mark. Just as his entire 2008 season has revised upwards what can reasonably be expected, Youkilis will have to greatly improve on his previous Septembers to win the batting title.
After all, we already know what Ian Kinsler will be batting at the end of September: .319.