Who Is the Best Hitter in Baseball? A Statistical and Rational Analysis

Jesse RobichaudContributor IJuly 23, 2009

ST. LOUIS, MO - JULY 14:  National League All-Star Albert Pujols of the St. Louis Cardinals tips his hat during introductions before the 2009 MLB All-Star Game at Busch Stadium on July 14, 2009 in St. Louis, Missouri. (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)

I narrowed the list down to eight players who have consistently performed over the past years, broke down how they did from 2005-current (today July 23rd). I also wanted to go by the players' performance with no bias on the team the player had around them. For instance Ryan Howard may have more RBI because he has Jimmy Rollins, Shane Victorino and Chase Utley getting on base before he bats, as apposed to Albert Pujols who has had a revolving door of poor to mediocre of one- and two-hole hitters batting ahead of him his whole career.

The three statistical categories I used were:

1) Home Runs: a true definition of a players ability to drive in and score runs single handedly.
2) Batting Average: a players ability to get hits and drive in runs or get on base to score runs.
3) OPS: on base average plus slugging average. Getting on base allows your team to drive you in. Slugging percentage not only takes into account your ability to get base hits but your ability to get extra base hits.

Categories I chose not to use were:

1) Runs and RBI: explained above, can be an unfair indicator.
2) Stolen Bases: have nothing to do with how good a hitter is.
3) Total hits or bases: I decided to go with averages as to give players that are routinely pitched around a fair shot, also slugging percentage was used which takes into account total bases.
The statistical breakdown from the past five seasons by rank broken down to a per year average. In parentheses is the players rank in that category.

1. Albert Pujols: 39 home runs (2) .335 batting average (1) 1.083 OPS (1) total points in rank: 4.
2. Manny Ramirez:  30 HR (5) .318 BA (3) 1.021 OPS (2) total: 10.
3. Alex Rodriguez: 38 (3) .297 (6) .985 (3) total: 12.
4. Ryan Howard: 40 (1) .276 (8) .949 (4) total: 13.
5. David Ortiz: 34 (4) .282 (7) .945 (5) total: 16.
6. Derek Jeter: 13 (7) .318 (3) .839 (7) total: 17.
7. Chase Utley: 27 (6) .305 (5) .937 (6) total: 17.
8. Ichiro Suzuki: 8 (8) .329 (2) .802 (8) total: 18.

I wasn't surprised to see Pujols won. I was surprised by how much he dominated these three categories. If I would have done this breakdown a year ago I think Ortiz would have done better because of his recent struggles. Ichiro suffered because of his lack of slugging and Utley was low because of his lack of shining in any one category.