Ok, well maybe not the King, that title obviously belongs to Pat Tabler and his ridiculous .489 (43 for 88) career average with the bases loaded. But with a few more seasons like he’s had this year, Ryan Goins could very well do the impossible and usurp Tabler as the bases loaded King.
Every season in baseball there seems to be some stat that boggles the mind, and in 2017, one of those statistical oddities belongs to Goins. With a career .228 AVG, Goins has never been renowned for his bat, but for some odd reason, when hitting with the bases loaded in 2017, he has the sort of AVG (.714!!) that’s more in line with something you’d find in a men’s beer league.
Goins is hitting so well with the bases loaded this season that he’s tied the mark of 10 with Carlos Delgado for most hits by a Blue Jay in a single season when batting with the bases juiced. To say this is an impressive feat for a player like Goins would be the understatement of the century. In 2003, when Delgado had his then record 10 hits, he also registered a .302 AVG on the season and finished 2nd in the MVP race. Delgado is one of the best offensive players to ever play for the Blue Jays, on top of being arguably the greatest clean-up hitter in the teams history. Delgado was exactly the sort of player you’d expect to be at the plate with the bases loaded, whereas Goins, a constant at the bottom of the order is one of the last players you’d think would own such a record.
So how do you explain a player with a .237 AVG this season can be 10 for 16 and hitting .714 with the bases loaded? Is there some deep explanation for such a phenomenon, or can it simply be attributed to dumb luck?
Well, there’s probably been a little luck involved, but the biggest factor has to do with Goins’ knack to zero-in on the task at hand (that enters a realm of almost super-human ability) when he happens to be hitting with the bases loaded. Much like Tabler, Goins obviously has a different approach at the plate when the based are loaded compared to when nobody’s on…what he needs to figure out now is how to translate the success he has in those high-leverage situations to the far more common low-leverage situations.