The 10 Best Hitters in Baseball
So, I’ve been asking around — asking people in baseball, asking statistically-minded analysts, asking friends — a simple question: Who is the best hitter in baseball?
Before we can answer that, I suppose we have to define terms: What do we mean by “best hitter in baseball?” That used to be an easier question: The batter with the highest average was called the batting champion (and still is). Rod Carew, George Brett, Tony Gwynn, Wade Boggs, these players had the best batting averages and, as such, were often called the best hitters in baseball.
But even when batting average was king, the batting champ was not always considered the best hitter. Bill Madlock won FOUR batting titles, and I’d wager to say that nobody thought he was the best hitter in baseball even in those seasons. He never finished Top 5 in the MVP voting.
Instead, I’d say the best hitter in baseball is a more ambiguous title. The way I have described it is like so: It’s the bottom of the ninth inning. Two outs. You’re down a run and there’s a runner on first base. Or maybe the score is tied and there’s a runner on second base. Or maybe you’re down three runs and there are two runners on. Or maybe you’re down two runs and there’s nobody on base.
And the question being asked is: Who do you want to come up in not just one of those situations but in ALL of them? In other words, who would you most bet on to give you the great at-bat, the one who is best-suited to give you a single if you need a single, a double if you need a double, a home run if you need a home run and draw a walk if you need a rally started?
Oh, also, we’re not just talking about one season. Aaron Judge was the best hitter in 2022. But is he the best hitter in baseball or did he just have one season for the ages? The one player who is not on this list, even though everybody talked about him with awe, is Fernando Tatis Jr. I just don’t think you can put him on the list after he missed the entire 2022 season.
OK, enough preamble. Who are the 10 best hitters in baseball?
Here are the results based on a few conversations.
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