Chicago Cubs third baseman Mike Olt does not have enough plate appearances for his batting average to qualify, but Olt has a distinction of his own: with a .152 batting average and 10 home runs, he’s on pace for the lowest batting average ever by a player in a season with double-digit longballs. The mark belongs to another resident of Chicago, the White Sox’ Adam Dunn, who hit a paltry .159 with 11 home runs three seasons ago. Olt has collected only 23 hits in 2014, with 10 of them leaving the yard.
Olt’s teammate Junior Lake tops all qualifiers in the percentage of his swings that draw air. Lake has missed on 40.9 percent of his cuts, a big reason he has the highest strikeout rate in the majors at one whiff per 2.99 plate appearances. Two other qualifiers also have swing-and-miss rates of at least 40 percent: the Houston Astros’ George Springer (40.7 percent) and the aforementioned Brandon Hicks (40.0 percent).
The Pittsburgh Pirates’ Andrew McCutchen obviously had a pretty good year in 2013, with 64 extra-base hits, 296 total bases and the NL MVP Award. And for an encore? Well, McCutchen sports a 2014 OPS that is 67 points higher than last year’s, .978 to .911. In National League history, only three reigning MVPs, with a minimum of 250 plate appearances, have seen such an increase in their OPS from their award-winning season: Barry Bonds in 2004 (144 points), Barry Larkin in 1996 (91 points) and Mike Schmidt in 1981 (76 points). Bonds and Schmidt both repeated as MVP winners in the ensuing season.