Labor Day Doubleheader, Asencio’s Pursuit of the Crown

Here was the scene at Bowling Green Ballpark on Sunday afternoon:

See that tarp on the left side of the picture? Rain, rain and more rain was what halted any action on the penultimate day of the regular season. The TinCaps and Hot Rods are now scheduled to play two seven-inning games as part of a season-ending doubleheader tomorrow. The first game is scheduled to begin at 12:05 ET.

The big thing left for the TinCaps to keep their eyes on right now is Yeison Asencio’s pursuit of the Midwest League batting average title. He’ll enter Monday tied for the league batting title with Kevin Pillar, formerly of the Lansing Lugnuts.  There’s a little bit of math to be done here, but hang with me because it’s not all too difficult (especially for a guy like me who doesn’t like math).

Here are the numbers for both players:

Yeison Asencio: .322 average , 91 games, 348 at-bats, 376 plate appearances, 112 hits

Kevin Pillar: .322 average, 86 games, 335 at-bats, 375 plate appearances, 108 hits

The rules of the Midwest League state that you need at least 2.7 plate appearances per scheduled game to qualify for the batting title. There are 140 games, which multiplied by 2.7 gets you to the magic number of 378 plate  appearances. Pillar is three short of that number, and since he’s with Advanced-A Dunedin, he won’t reach it. With two plate appearances tomorrow, Asencio will reach that number. That doesn’t mean that Pillar is out of the running though. Meet Baseball Rule 10.22 (a):

Notwithstanding the foregoing requirement of minimum appearances at the plate, any player with fewer than the required number of plate appearances whose average would be the highest, if he were charged with the required number of plate appearances shall be awarded the batting, slugging or on-base percentage championship, as the case may be.

If, for example, Abel has the highest batting average among those with 502 plate appearance in a Major League with a .362 batting average (181 hits in 500 at-bats), and Baker has 490 plate appearances, 440 at-bats and 165 hits for a .375 batting average, Baker shall be the batting champion, because adding 12 more at-bats to Baker’s record would still give Baker a higher batting average than Abel: .365 (165 hits in 452 at-bats) to Abel’s .362.

Make sense? Basically, since Pillar is three plate appearances short of the required number, if we added three appearances (0-3) to his tally, he would then qualify, but it would also drop his average down to .319. That’s the number that Asencio is competing against tomorrow. Yeison needs two plate appearances to reach the threshold.

UPDATE: After a Twitter conversation with Padres Director of Player Development Randy Smith, here’s how it shakes out:

Fort Wayne, in the 19 seasons prior to this one, has never had a batting champion. In 1999, Sean Burroughs hit a remarkable .359 with the Wizards, but South Bend’s Carlos Urquiola hit .362 to take the crown.

And to think that Asencio didn’t even begin the season in spring training with the Padres.  Since he was formerly known as Yoan Alcantara, Asencio had to get a new visa, which took him until May 4th. (Here’s the full story from Baseball America.) He didn’t join the TinCaps for another two weeks, making his first appearance on May 19th. He is third on the team with 26 multi-hit games and has one of just three five-hit games this season for the TinCaps.

In today’s TinCaps Report Podcast, I chat with Manager Jose Valentin about the regular season in review, Asencio’s chase for the crown and the team’s first-round matchup with the Lansing Lugnuts.

MUSICAL GUEST

Matchbox Twenty…take it away!

If you’d like to get in touch, you can reach me at Couzens@TinCaps.com or on Twitter @MikeCouzens.

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