All Justin Morneau does is hit. He had the only hit of the ballgame for the Colorado Rockies on Tuesday, and in Wednesday night's game he came through again with a game-tying double in the top of the ninth. Morneau sits atop the National League in batting average, but can he take the batting crown home?
Morneau leads all qualified batters in the NL with a batting average of .317. And a quick look at the numbers say that he may very well win the batting title this year. He's hitting .325 away from home, higher than the .310 he's put up at vaunted Coors Field. He's hitting .343 against righties this year, and with a steady diet of right-handed starters, that will benefit his average. Justin has also been riding a hot streak since the All-Star break, hitting .337 even with a trip to the DL.
It seems as though Morneau will be able to keep his end of the bargain up, so what about the competition ha faces for the crown? Currently in second place is Philadelphia Phillies center fielder Ben Revere with an average of .311. Revere has improved his average every season and this year will most likely follow suit. Hitting leadoff will give Revere many more at bats than Morneau this season, which could be what keeps him from the title.
In third place is Andrew McCutchen. The Pittsburgh Pirates center fielder is an absolute stud and reigning NL MVP who is currently hitting .307. That number is 10 points lower than it was last year and 20 below his 2012 total, so Cutch is certainly a threat to Morneau.
Whether he gets the recognition or not, Aramis Ramirez has been one of the best hitters in baseball the last ten years. He's a borderline Hall of Famer as his career stands now, so a batting title wouldn't hurt his case. He's hitting .304 this year and is capable of adding a few more points to that tally.
Two All-Stars and a slap-hitting leadoff man are the expected challengers, but Morneau's biggest competition could come from within his own clubhouse. Corey Dickerson is currently hitting .318 this season, actually ahead of Morneau. The only thing keeping him off the leaderboards is that he doesn't qualify yet. To qualify for the batting title, Dickerson will need 502 plate appearances on the season, so he'll need 124 more in the last month of the season to challenge for the crown. If he gets the appropriate number of appearances, though, we could be looking at the next batting champ in Corey Dickerson.
Bottom line, Justin Morneau has seen his career resurrected in Colorado and is too good a hitter to slack off. If injuries slow him down, Revere or McCutchen may catch him, but that's it. If Corey qualifies, it'll be razor thin, but experience wins out in baseball, so Justin Morneau will indeed be the next batting champ.
Two batting titles in a row and the Rockies have nothing but two last place finishes to show for it. Proof that good pitching always beats good hitting.
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