This article is part of our Stathead Sagas series.
Good luck drafting for batting average.
Seriously, you'll need some good luck. If you subscribe to even a piece of DIPS theory – defensive independent pitching statistics – then you believe that pitchers have little control over whether balls in play fall in for hits. At some point – albeit to a lesser extent – the same theory applies to hitters. Some of the hardest hit balls drop in. Some of the weakest hit pop-ups drop just over an infielder's head and trickle away for a double.
So even those who hit the ball the hardest are subject to the brutality of luck, even throughout the course of a 162-game major league season. But talking about this luck – or perhaps uncertainty is a better word – doesn't do us much good. We need to put a number on it. Luckily, we can.
If you're interested in the gory mathematical details, they're available at the bottom of the post. If not, just enjoy the following chart:
Each tab shows a different level of certainty, one with 68% (or just under 2-in-3 odds the player's average falls within this bar) and one with 95% (or 19-in-20 odds). The chart includes anybody with at least 450 projected at-bats – almost every starting player. You can find any player you're interested in there, but I will highlight a few different types of players here.