FanPost

How does Jose Tabata's .299 at age 21 rank historically, and what can we expect going forward?

Jose Tabata is one of the most exciting players in the league today.  Tabata burst onto the scene in 2010, and surprised a lot of people.  I thought they were bringing him up too early, at just the age of 21, and didn't expect this much offense.

Nonetheless, Tabata displayed a very advanced bat right from the start, and hit .299 with a .746 OPS.  How many players have come into the league at age 21, and hit so well right out of the gate?

I researched all the players who hit .295 or better in 400 plate appearances at the age of 21, and the results will be in the table below.  After that, I'll look at Tabata's future, and just for fun, if he can possibly get to the Hall of Fame like most of the people in this table:

***

 

Rank Player BA PA Year Tm Lg
1 Shoeless Joe Jackson .408 641 1911 CLE AL
2 Denny Lyons .367 623 1887 PHA AA
3 ^^^Lloyd Waner .355 683 1927 PIT NL
4 ^^^Jimmie Foxx .354 638 1929 PHA AL
5 Tom McCreery .351 493 1896 LOU NL
6 ^^^Mel Ott .349 646 1930 NYG NL
7 ^^^Ted Williams .344 661 1940 BOS AL
8 ^^^John McGraw .340 630 1894 BLN NL
9 ^^^Richie Ashburn .333 530 1948 PHI NL
10 Hal Trosky .330 685 1934 CLE AL
11 ^^^Sam Crawford .330 559 1901 CIN NL
12 Albert Pujols .329 676 2001 STL NL
13 Ken Griffey Jr. .327 633 1991 SEA AL
14 ^^^Rogers Hornsby .327 589 1917 STL NL
15 Stuffy McInnis .327 649 1912 PHA AL
16 ^^^Ty Cobb .324 635 1908 DET AL
17 ^^^Joe DiMaggio .323 668 1936 NYY AL
18 Garry Templeton .322 644 1977 STL NL
19 ^^^Frank Robinson .322 677 1957 CIN NL
20 Cesar Cedeno .320 625 1972 HOU NL
21 Joe Vosmik .320 640 1931 CLE AL
22 ^^^Bobby Doerr .318 574 1939 BOS AL
23 Cecil Travis .318 590 1935 WSH AL
24 ^^^Orlando Cepeda .317 647 1959 SFG NL
25 Ben Chapman .316 564 1930 NYY AL
26 ^^^Stan Musial .315 536 1942 STL NL
27 Bob Horner .314 515 1979 ATL NL
28 Greg Gross .314 676 1974 HOU NL
29 ^^^Al Kaline .314 693 1956 DET AL
30 ^^^Hank Aaron .314 665 1955 MLN NL
31 ^^^Arky Vaughan .314 655 1933 PIT NL
32 Del Ennis .313 583 1946 PHI NL
33 ^^^Roberto Clemente .311 572 1956 PIT NL
34 ^^^Al Lopez .309 466 1930 BRO NL
35 ^^^Tris Speaker .309 606 1909 BOS AL
36 ^^^Jesse Burkett .309 437 1890 NYG NL
37 Larry Doyle .308 429 1908 NYG NL
38 Reddy Mack .308 566 1887 LOU AA
39 Mike Caruso .306 555 1998 CHW AL
40 ^^^Joe Medwick .306 626 1933 STL NL
41 ^^^Freddie Lindstrom .306 619 1927 NYG NL
42 ^^^Joe Kelley .305 583 1893 BLN NL
43 Ted Simmons .304 563 1971 STL NL
44 ^^^Rickey Henderson .303 722 1980 OAK AL
45 ^^^Eddie Mathews .302 681 1953 MLN NL
46 Dick Bartell .302 674 1929 PIT NL
47 ^^^Ross Youngs .302 532 1918 NYG NL
48 Richie Hebner .301 532 1969 PIT NL
49 ^^^Jake Beckley .301 557 1889 PIT NL
50 Justin Upton .300 588 2009 ARI NL
51 Alex Rodriguez .300 638 1997 SEA AL
52 ***Jose Tabata*** .299 441 2010 PIT NL
53 Frank Snyder .298 522 1915 STL NL
54 Tony Kubek .297 475 1957 NYY AL
55 Buddy Lewis .296 724 1938 WSH AL
56 Steve Brodie .296 591 1890 BSN NL
57 ^^^Roberto Alomar .295 702 1989 SDP NL
58 Dion James .295 431 1984 MIL AL
59 ^^^Mickey Mantle .295 540 1953 NYY AL
60 Eddie Murphy .295 597 1913 PHA AL







^^^ = Hall of Famer





***

Many of the names that came up in this research were Hall of Famers.  60 players hit more than .295 at this age, and 30 are already Hall of Famers.  That doesn't include Shoeless Joe Jackson, who easily had the numbers but isn't eligible for induction.

Albert Pujols, Alex Rodriguez, and Ken Griffey Jr. will probably be Hall of Famers on the first ballot.  Two others, Justin Upton and Tabata, are very, very early in the process of building a case on the field.

***

So, just for fun,  what would Tabata have to do to be one of these elite players that potentially gets into Cooperstown?  Tabata doesn't have much power now, and even if he adds some, I don't think he'll be getting in on home runs, RBIs, or even OPS.  I think the only way he can get in is longevity, and getting either 3000 hits, or multiple batting titles and a lot of hits

30 of the 60 players with a .295 average at age 21 made the HOF, but Tabata has a whole lot of career left.  A lot of things can go wrong from now to then.  A career nosedive and/or injury could happen.  At this point, he could follow the Francoeur/Milledge or Mike Caruso path and be a fringe bench player by 25.  Tabata could end up a solid player, which would still be fantastic (since we only gave Nady and Marte).

Personally, I would give Tabata around a 10% chance of being a HOF when it's all said and done.  He's got the tools, and as this table shows, guys who started this well ended up in the Hall more often than not.  That said, he has some things working against that.  There are a lot of years to play, and Tabata obviously would have to get in through huge quantities of hits.  You could argue up to 20% and I wouldn't argue, but I feel better around 10 for this.

Andrew McCutchen is getting most of the accolades, but Tabata could be very good as well, and my research indicates his advanced bat is not something that comes around too often.

This is a FanPost and does not necessarily reflect the views of the managing editor (Charlie) or SB Nation. FanPosts are written by Bucs Dugout readers.

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