KANSAS CITY -- Tigers designated hitter Victor Martinez is finally digging out his batting average from the early-season rut he found in his return from a season off. Realistically, though, he has been hitting the ball better than his average would suggest.
Manager Jim Leyland, has said repeatedly that Martinez hasn't had a whole lot of luck. The skipper won't find a stat for luck, but the statistics on hard-hit drives might be enough to back him up.
ESPN Stats and Information tracks the category with a category called hard-hit average, the percent of at-bats ending in a hard-hit ball, regardless of outcome. Entering Monday, three of the top four percentages among Major League players this season belong to Tigers.
Not surprisingly, Miguel Cabrera leads the pack at .276, while Prince Fielder is fourth. The shocking part is Martinez, who sits third at .250 behind only Cabrera and Toronto's Edwin Encarnacion.
Martinez is the only player in the top 14 whose batting average sits under .250. The way Martinez is hitting so far in June, that might not hold for long. His 10-for-30 performance through his first eight June games raised his average from .228 at the end of May to a season-high .242 on Monday.
Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. Read Beck's Blog and follow him on Twitter @beckjason. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.