Although batting average might have given way to on-base percentage and slugging percentage and a whole host of advanced statistics, there's still something a little disconcerting about seeing a 1 as the first digit in a player's batting average more than a month into the season. There are quite a few former All-Stars below the Mendoza Line one-fifth of the way through 2018, but for many, bad luck has been the deciding factor, not eroding skills.
Here are some of the unluckiest hitters in the majors so far this season and what they should do, if anything, to help turn around their fortunes and regain their status as star players.
Anthony Rizzo: The Cubs' first baseman has gotten off to an awful start with a .190 average, a .268 on-base percentage and a meager .310 slugging percentage. That slugging percentage is a nearly 200-point drop from a season ago. For his career, Rizzo has gone for extra bases one out of every 10 plate appearances. This season, he has just four extra-base hits in 112 plate appearances. A trip to the disabled list for a bad back likely has negatively affected Rizzo's ability to hit the ball, but bad luck has played a part, as well.
For his career, when Rizzo has hit a line drive, the ball has dropped for a hit 69 percent of the time, and 29 percent of those hits have gone for extra bases. This season, only half of his line drives have dropped for hits, and none of those batted balls has gotten Rizzo past first base. Those hard-hit balls should be doing more damage. One aspect of Rizzo's game that isn't luck is his minuscule 4 percent walk rate. Rizzo has earned a walk 11 percent of the time throughout his career, so for him to truly rebound from this start, he's going to need to get on base via the walk at a much higher clip.