Snyder’s Soapbox: No, you aren’t good enough to hit .100 against MLB pitching

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Welcome to Snyder’s Soapbox! Here I pontificate about a matter related to Major League Baseball on a weekly basis. Some of the topics will be pressing matters, some might seem insignificant in the grand scheme of things and most will be somewhere in between. The good thing about this website is it’s free and you are allowed to click away. If you stay, you’ll get smarter, though, that’s a money-back guarantee. Let’s get to it.
The 2024 Major League Baseball season begins for 28 teams this week, with the Dodgers and Padres already having gotten things started last week. In addition to millions of fans being excited to watch their favorite teams in action again, apparently there will be thousands upon thousands of fans sitting around beating themselves up for not making a better career choice.
A recent poll of more than 2,000 sports fans conducted by SportsHandle found the following:
23% of fans think if they had gone pro they could reach Triple-A or the majors
On average, fans think they could hit .233 if given 100 MLB at bats
Over 1 in 4 fans (28%) believe they could hit for an average of .300 or better
Before I move on, allow me to pause for laughter. Holy freaking LOL, man.
Let me help you here for a second. The overwhelming majority of fans in 100 at-bats would hit … are you ready? Are you sure? It would be similar to Mr. Blutarsky’s GPA. The answer is:
.000
Oh, and 100 strikeouts in 100 at-bats would likely be the final line. Maybe a few of you could foul a pitch or two off, somewhere buried in the 300 strikes you’d be seeing.
Of course, “seeing” is a stretch. Most people wouldn’t even really see the ball.
And I think that’s part of the problem. It’s just a fundamental ignorance to exactly what major-league pitching actually looks like. Yes, a select group of dads out there would like to enter the conversation now and say that they rake in the batting cages. They really do, on the “fast” setting, too!
The “fast” setting most places is probably 75 mph, maybe up to 80. It’s also a machine, which means it’s grooving it in the essentially the same spot every time.
In The Show, if a hitter ever saw pitches that speed, they would have an ungodly break and location. Most pitches, of course, would be the variety that you can hear (it’s kind of a hissing sound) better than you can see. Those are the 90-95 mph heaters. And many are triple digits (I have no earthly idea what those are like, nor do I care to find out).
I often tell people the first time I saw a slider I almost cried. That’s not hyperbole. Have any of these barstool .300 hitters seen a big-league slider? Again, I haven’t (for the record, I was an accomplished high school player, wasn’t good enough to see the field in college and never made the pros — and that means I was better than about 99% of baseball fandom), but the college-level one was enough for me. Good grief, man. I don’t recommend checking it out from the box.
Remember, MLB pitchers don’t tell you what pitch is coming, either. The sliders would look like fastballs at first. Well, most pitches would. And before you realized anything, you’d already be dead to rights in that box.
We haven’t even mentioned the possibility of standing in the box against someone like Aroldis Chapman who is throwing 100 and doesn’t seem to have any idea sometimes where the ball is going. You’re gonna hit .300 while being scared that a ball you can barely see is going to hit you in the face?
Again, I’ll pause for laughter.
Here’s another gem I could see coming from the keyboard hero who proclaimed that he could’ve hit .300 in the bigs but decided to go another route with his career: “I’d just bunt.”
Yes, in lieu of swinging the bat, you’d just hold it out with your fingers on the barrel, over the plate waiting for the pitch and then bunt the ball with precision into a spot, in fair territory, on the infield where an MLB defender wouldn’t be able to field it and throw you out running to first! (Yes, you’d have to run, too, though I have no doubt you can fly).
That would actually be much more difficult than just hitting a grounder with eyes, but make no mistake, again: Over 99% of baseball fandom would go 0 for 100.
There are certainly a select few people out there who could collect a few hits in 100 at-bats against major-league pitching. I’ll allow for that. You know who these people are? Big-time athletes. The thing is, we’ve seen some big-time athletes who couldn’t get to the majors. You remember Tim Tebow, right? He was such an exceptional athlete that he won a Heisman Trophy at the University of Florida. He hit .163 in Triple-A.
Or I suppose we could bring up Michael Jordan, arguably the greatest basketball player in history. He hit .202! … in Double-A … in 1994 and the level of pitching has ramped up significantly since then.
I think the funniest thing of all is this suggestion that so many people just decided to not pursue baseball as a career, with 28% believing they could hit .300. There were just nine players who qualified for the batting title to top .300 last season. Man, baseball scouting must be in shambles. I should also point out that the league minimum salary this season is $740,000. The median salary in the United States is far less than 10% of that. Why are so many of these people so bad at choosing the proper career path?
I’ll just stop now. There’s no reason to keep piling on. It’s just ignorance and nothing more. There’s nothing wrong with the average casual sports fan not knowing what MLB pitching actually looks like. For those of us who also don’t know what it would look like from the batter’s box but also have enough awareness to know what our average would look like, we can just laugh at the ones earnestly flexing and proclaiming they actually could hit this pitching. Buffoons.

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