Saturday, October 29, 2011
Kala Ka'aihue and the stupidity of batting average.
Kala Ka'aihue is living proof that batting average needs to die. If the name sounds familiar, his brother is Kila Ka'aihue, the former Royal that is now in the Athletics organization. As a catcher, outfielder, and infielder, he had a career .366 OBP and .817 OPS with three different organizations. Despite a 1.19 PPG, and 2.55 PAPP, he never reached AAA. Why? Not because of his fielding with a Range Factor of over 8 at both Catcher (only threw out 12% of runners though) and 1st Base. The only reason one can see why Ka'aihue would not be attractive is batting average. His batting average in his minor league career was only .244. Never-mind that he walks 14.7% of the time and homers about 4% of the time. Even the "moneyball" Oakland A's had Ka'aihue and watched him put up a .371 OBP in 23 games at A+ and let him go (he had a BA of .167 and actually had more walks than hits). Ka'aihue spent 2011 playing for the Independent Kansas City T-Bones. There he let the whole league in Secondary Average, was second in Walks per PA, had an OPS of over 1.000, with an OBP of .426. He had a 1.96 PPG, and 1.53 ABPP. These are insane numbers. However, for those in love with batting average, he had just a .286. The power of batting average still dominates baseball, and it is mindblowing.