- Wednesday, August 15, 2012 12:47 PM
- Written By: Dodgers Diaries
Melky Cabrera's 50-game suspension for performance-enhancing drugs raises an interesting question: Could he still win the NL batting title?
Cabrera's suspension ends his season today, as the Gians only have 45 games left in their regular season. Theoretically, he could return to the team if they make the playoffs, but would have to sit out the first five games.
He’s currently second in the NL, with a no-longer-surprising .346 average, or 62 points above his career average. Andrew McCutcheon, the likely NL MVP, is leading the league at .359, but averages tend to come down at the end of the long season. It's possible that McCutcheon fades down the stretch, leaving Cabrera with the best average in the league.
To qualify for a batting title, a player must have 3.1 plate appearances per game. Assuming the Giants play all 162, that's 502 appearances. Cabrera has 501, or 1 short of the minimum. To qualify for the batting title, his average would need to be recalculated. But one additional plate appearance wouldn’t lower his average; it would be .3456, or statistically, still .346.
Will baseball allow this to happen? It would be a terrible black eye. But attaching asterisks to records compiled by suspended players opens a whole can of worms. Baseball had better pray McCutcheon or Joey Votto (currently third) continue to hit. Or find ways to help them.
-- JOHN ROSENTHAL