An Omar Infante batting title might come about after all. Omar Infante’s batting title relies upon his batting average leading the National League, and it’s entirely possible that it will just come down to whether or not he gets enough plate appearances in the 2010 season. Infante has been leading the National League in batting average for weeks, but hasn’t qualified to actually lay claim to that title due to his role-playing in the first half. When Martin Prado went down with an injury for the Atlanta Braves, Infante became a full-time player, and has been seeing action ever since, even with Prado back in the lineup.
The reason Infante stayed in the lineup, and also the reason he is hitting leadoff for the Braves is that he has a .343 batting average coming into Tuesday’s games. With all the talk about a possible Triple Crown hitter amongst Albert Pujols, Carlos Gonzalez, and Joey Votto, Infante could arrive in the picture late and steal away any chance of that happening. While the other three hitters are much better power hitters, Infante has been so consistent that his average has hovered around the .340 mark for what seems like months. Now, if he gets enough plate appearances, the batting title could soon be his.
Leading the league in batting average is just the first step in winning a batting title, because a player must also average 3.1 plate appearances per game that his team plays. That means, in a 162-game schedule, Infante needs to total 502 plate appearances when the season comes to a close. Plate appearances are classified as any time the batter came to the plate, including registered at-bats, walks, and sacrifice hits. Through Monday night, Infante has 402 at bats, four sacrifice hits, and 24 walks on the season. That places him at 430 attempts, meaning he needs 72 more before the season comes to an end.
The Atlanta Braves are now 83-62 on the season, with 17 games left to play. If Infante can average just over four plate appearances per game and keep his batting average just above the second-place Carlos Gonzalez, he will sweep in and take the 2010 batting title. For a player who ended up getting traded because nobody could find enough playing time for him, Infante is really proving a lot of baseball experts wrong. Getting a plaque to commemorate this achievement would just be icing on the cake, and Infante will stay in the lineup because of how close the Braves are to making the 2010 National League Playoffs.