Over at ESPN, David Schoenfield writes that Jose Altuve can win the batting title this year, with a nice array of stats (Only Ichiro has a higher contact rate than Altuve).
But what will it take? Schoenfield says something in the .330-.345 range. Let's see. The average Batting Average in the NL for the last ten years of batting titles is .349, propped up by Chipper Jones' .364 in 2008, Barry Bonds' .362 in 2004 and .370 in 2002. The last three batting titles have been won with an average .338 Avg (this is getting confusing).
What about BABIP (Batting Average on Balls In Play)? Obviously it plays a big role, so let's get the average BABIP of batting title winners for the last ten years, shall we? Glad you asked, because it's .357, brought down by Barry Bonds, who in 2004 won the NL batting title with a .362 average - and a .310 BABIP (which is insane).
Some other stats, averaging the last three years - because figuring in Barry Bonds to this little exercise is just ridiculous. The average groundball% was 41.1%, flyball% was 38.3%, contact% was 82.8%. Contact% outside the strike zone was 68.6%, and swing% outside the strike zone was 31.8%
How does this work for Jose Altuve? Right now he's hitting .358 with a .407 BABIP. His GB% is 45.7%, FB% is 29.6%, with a 93.5% contact rate, O-Contact% is 86.8%, and O-Swing% is 27.6%.
The number to be concerned about is the BABIP, when that comes down, it's likely the average comes down as well (of course), but he's making more contact than the average batting title winner. Of course, if Matt Kemp keeps up his ridiculous pace, then it's all academic, anyway.