What Is the Mendoza Line in Baseball? The Ultimate Guide | Coaching Kidz (2024)

What Is the Mendoza Line in Baseball? The Ultimate Guide | Coaching Kidz (1)

If you follow baseball, you know that some players are better at batting than others. Then, there are batters who struggle mightily at the plate. Struggle too much, and you might find yourself below the “Mendoza line.”

So, what is the Mendoza line in baseball?

The Mendoza line is a batting average of .200 or less which indicates that a batter is struggling at the plate. The Mendoza line is named Mario Mendoza, who teammates would tease about his performance at the plate. Mendoza hit less than .200 in five of the nine seasons he played in the majors.

What started off as a joke by other players, can still be heard in conversations by baseball fanatics and commentators alike. With that said, there’s a lot more to Mario Mendoza and the Mendoza line that we cover in this article.

Origin of the Mendoza Line

The Mendoza line gets its name from shortstop Mario Mendoza who played in Major League Baseball for nine seasons. During his career, Mendoza failed to eclipse a .200 batting average in five of the nine seasons he played. Because of his poor hitting, other players began to refer to him when describing any kind of struggle at the plate.

In an interview in 2010, Mario Mendoza credits the “term” to a comment that a couple of his fellow Seattle Mariner teammates made in teasing him about how bad he was at hitting.

One of them, Tom Paciorek, mentioned the term to George Brett, a hard-hitting third baseman for the Kansas City Royals, who in turn used the phrase with ESPN reporter, Chris Berman; soon afterward, the term began to become a popular way of describing poor hitters.

The term became so popular that it was used as a benchmark for lots of other sports and for all types of business to describe the lowest level of expectation for performance.

Is the Mendoza Line Still Referenced Today?

The term is still used today, although there has been a tremendous amount of discussion to find another term to describe poor performance at the plate. One example of an article advocating against the use of the “Mendoza Line” was written in 2021, by Paul Sullivan of the Chicago Tribune. In the article, Sullivan makes the case for not disparaging MLB players.

Who Is Mario Mendoza?

Mario Mendoza played shortstop for three different teams during his nine-year career. He tended to excel at defense but was not a very good hitter. He failed to top .200 in five years of the nine he played and finished his major league career with a .215 batting average.

Mario Mendoza’s Career at a Glance

What Is the Mendoza Line in Baseball? The Ultimate Guide | Coaching Kidz (2)

Mendoza was drafted from Mexico by the Pittsburgh Pirates in 1970 while playing for the Mexico City Red Devils. He spent the next four years playing in the minor leagues, where he showed great promise as an infielder with strong defensive capabilities.

Although he never won a Golden Glove, most of his teammates acknowledge that he could field with the best of them. He made his first appearance in an MLB game on Apr. 26, 1974, as a pinch-runner for Willie Stargell; He was responsible for scoring the winning run in his first major league game.

Mendoza played for five seasons with the Pirates as a utility player. In his five years with the Pirates, he managed only one home run and 36 RBIs. Despite his ability to field almost anything hit his way, his lack of production eventually caught up with him. He was traded to Seattle in 1979.

Unfortunately, the change of scenery did not improve his ability to hit a baseball. While he appeared in almost twice as many games, Mendoza still managed only a .198 batting average in 1979, while hitting .245 in 1980. He still managed only three home runs despite recording 650 at-bats.

Even though Mendoza was the “butt” of jokes during his career, he was able to get some revenge on George Brett. During the end of the 1980 season, as Brett was hitting nearly .400, the Mariners hosted a series against the Royals during which Brett went 2-for-11 with Mendoza robbing him of several base hits.

After two years in Seattle, Mendoza was traded to the Texas Rangers where he was eventually released in June of 1982 after posting a .118 average in 16 games.

Following his career as a player, Mendoza managed in the farm systems of several major league clubs until 2003 when he returned to Mexico to play and manage for a variety of Mexican teams, before retiring in 2013.

Although he is known for having a poor average in the MLB, he does not have the distinction of being the worst batter in MLB history. The worst player at the plate was arguably Bill Bergen, who from 1901-1911, posting a career average of .170 in over 3,028 at-bats.

Is Mario Mendoza in the Hall of Fame?

Mario Mendoza is a member of the Mexican Professional Baseball Hall of Fame. He was inducted into the hall in 2000. He is known as “silk hands” or “Manos de Seda” for his fielding abilities.

What Is an Acceptable Batting Average?

The average batting average for the last several years has been in the mid-200’s, with the Houston Astros leading the way with a .267 avg during the 2021 season. The Seattle Mariners produced the lowest average in 2021, batting only .226 as a team.

On an individual basis, the winner of the National League batting champion (the player with the best average) for 2021 was Trea Turner of the Los Angeles Dodgers, who had a .328 batting average. The winner of the American League batting crown went to Yuli Gurriel of the Houston Astros who registered a .319 average.

The player with the highest batting average in MLB history is Ty Cobb, who has a .366 career batting average. As of the end of the 2021 season, here are the active players with the best batting averages:

PlayerBatting AveragePABats
Miguel Cabrera.310310,993R
Jose Altuve.30756,346R
Mike Trout.30485,660R
Trea Turner.30273,029R
Robinson Cano.30259,446L
Joey Votto.30158,128L
DJ LeMahieu.30055,349R
Charlie Blackmon.30045,336L
Michael Brantley.29825,815L
Albert Pujols.297012,690R

What Is the Dalton Line?

The Dalton Line/Scale is a phrase coined by NFL analyst, Chris Wesseling, who proposed a way of grading the performance of quarterbacks. Basically, he postulated that the average quarterback in the NFL according to statistical analysis was Andy Dalton.

Because Dalton was the average signal-caller in the NFL, if your quarterback performed at a better rank than he did, you should probably keep your quarterback for another season. If the quarterback ranked lower, then management might need to look for other options.

The Dalton Scale has developed into an evaluation line for quarterbacks and many analysts use it to determine whether they’re performing at an adequate level, such as the article printed in 2017 by USA Today.

What Are Some Reasons Why Batters Struggle at the Plate?

Young players who are just learning the game have to overcome their fear of being hit and learn the fundamentals of hitting in order to be successful. While there are a variety of reasons why a hitter might struggle at the plate. There are some common reasons that can be overcome with practice and effort.

  • Fear – Not every pitch will be a strike, and it can be disconcerting to try to not get hit while standing in a batter’s box.
  • Good Pitch vs. Bad – learning the strike zone can help a young hitter swing at good pitches. Swinging at pitches that are outside the strike zone can drive up the number of misses.
  • Timing – The average hitter has very little time to decide whether to swing at a pitch. By watching a pitcher’s delivery, learning their mechanics and the timing of their pitches, hitters can get their timing down.
  • Stance – The area a batter stands in the batter’s box can affect their ability to make contact with the baseball. Too far back in the box and you might have a tendency of being late. Too far forward in the box and you might have a tendency to be early.
  • Mental Attitude – The game of baseball is often as much a mental exercise as it is a physical contest. Young players should be encouraged at the plate as an unconfident batter is more likely to struggle.

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What Is the Mendoza Line in Baseball? The Ultimate Guide | Coaching Kidz (2024)


What is the Mendoza Line in baseball? ›

The Mendoza Line is a baseball phrase named after former Major Leaguer Mario Mendoza for a player who finishes with a batting average below . 200. When reached by phone recently, Mendoza, 72, was aware he was going to be asked about the stat infamously named after him.

What is the new Mendoza Line? ›

For those unfamiliar the mendoza line is a batting average of . 200.

Why the Mendoza Line? ›

Origin. The Mendoza Line was a term coined by a teammate of Mario Mendoza on the 1979 Mariners -- usually credited to Tom Paciorek or Bruce Bochte -- as a joke on the light-hitting shortstop, who typically carried an average around . 200 (though he actually finished with a career mark of . 215).

What does hitting below the Mendoza Line mean? ›

The Mendoza Line is baseball jargon for a . 200 batting average, the supposed threshold for offensive futility at the Major League level. It derives from light-hitting shortstop Mario Mendoza, who failed to reach . 200 five times in his nine big league seasons. When a position player's batting average falls below .

What is the +1.5 in baseball? ›

Betting on the favorite requires your team to win its game by two or more runs. Conversely, betting on the underdog at +1.5 means that your team can either win the game or lose by one run, and your ticket will still cash.

What is the line called in baseball? ›

Baselines are straight lines between two adjacent bases. Physical baselines are not drawn between first and second or second and third bases; the foul lines serve to mark the baseline between home plate and first base, and between third base and home.

What is a 200 hitter? ›

Batting average is expressed as a percentage on a 1.000 point scale. A player who gets 2 hits in 10 at bats would have a . 200 batting average, a player who get 5 hits in 10 at bats would have a . 500 batting average and so forth. Over time, a batting average above .

What is the average batting average in the MLB? ›

Batting Average (AVG)

000) and one (1.000). In recent years, the league-wide batting average has typically hovered around . 250. While batting average is a useful tool for measuring a player's ability at the plate, it isn't all-encompassing.

Is Mario Mendoza in the Hall of Fame? ›

He remained with the Storm until they became a San Diego Padres affiliate in 2001, managing his son, Mario Jr., in 2000. Mendoza was inducted into the Mexican Professional Baseball Hall of Fame in 2000.

What is the slugging percentage? ›

Slugging percentage represents the total number of bases a player records per at-bat. Unlike on-base percentage, slugging percentage deals only with hits and does not include walks and hit-by-pitches in its equation. Slugging percentage differs from batting average in that all hits are not valued equally.

Where did Carlos Mendoza come from? ›

Mendoza was born, raised and attended college in Venezuela. He signed as a free agent with the San Francisco Giants and also played for the New York Yankees organization as a utility infielder. Mendoza played in Minor League Baseball for 13 seasons.

Can of corn in baseball? ›

noun. , Baseball Slang. a fly ball that is so easy to catch that the fielder need only stand under the falling ball and let it drop into their glove: That's the third straight can of corn off a Yankee bat tonight, and the Toronto outfield is not complaining.

What is the 5th spot in the batting order? ›

The fifth batter is usually a team's second-best power hitter, and his purpose is often to "protect" the clean-up hitter in the batting order. He is expected to pose enough of a threat that the opposing team refrains from intentionally walking the clean-up hitter in potential scoring situations.

Who is Vicky Mendoza? ›

Vickie Mendoza(I)

Vickie is known for Annie Minerals, Teen Therapist (2020), An Uncandid Portrait (2019), South Park (2001-2010), and The Last Martini (2009). A Los Angeles native, she is a producer, director, animator, and choreographer now based in Paris, France.

What is the 45 foot line in baseball? ›

There is a three-foot-wide running lane (54 to 60 inches wide in OBR starting in 2024) the last half (the last 45 feet) between home plate and first base. If you run outside this running lane while a play is being made from the vicinity of home plate (on a bunt, for example), you can be called out for interference.

What is the 5 inning line? ›

Betting an MLB first five inning is the same concept as betting the first half of a football or basketball game in the sense that you are only betting on the result after 5 innings. Any scoring after the first five innings will have no impact on your bet.

What is the lowest batting average? ›

The record for lowest career batting average for a player with more than 2,500 at-bats belongs to Bill Bergen, a catcher who played from 1901 to 1911 and recorded a . 170 average in 3,028 career at-bats. Hugh Duffy, who played from 1888 to 1906, is credited with the highest single-season batting average, having hit .

What is the largest margin of victory in baseball? ›

Baseball (MLB)

In 1897, the Chicago Colts of the National League defeated the Louisville Colonels, 36–7. The modern record (i.e., post-1900) for margin of victory was set in 2007, when the Texas Rangers defeated the Baltimore Orioles, 30–3.

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