MLB Batting Leaders By Year—2000s
For the most part, steroids should not play a part in how well a hitter bats for average, except when home runs add points to one's batting average. Either way, there have been some great hitting seasons in the current decade, even some players who have flirted with .400 for part of the season. Here is a complete list of batting average leaders in Major League Baseball in the decade:
2007-Magglio Ordonez, Detroit Tigers (.363)
Magglio Ordonez came into the league with the White Sox in 1997, and has always been a great hitter, one with a .312 career batting average. But in 2007 while with Detroit, Ordonez had a career season, batting .363 to lead the majors. He also had 28 homers, 139 runs batted in, 117 runs, .434 on base average and .595 slugging percentage. Also, Ordonez' 216 base hits and 54 doubles were career highs.
2006-Joe Mauer, Minnesota Twins (.347)
In just his second full season in the big leagues, Minnesota catcher Joe Mauer led the league in batting with a .347 average in 2006. Mauer had 13 home runs, 84 RBI, 36 doubles and a .507 slugging percentage. Still, he was overshadowed somewhat by teammate Justin Morneau, who took home the AL MVP Award that season.
2005-Derrek Lee, Chicago Cubs (.335)
His previous high for batting average before 2005 was .282 in 2001 while with Florida, but Derrek Lee found the friendly confines of Wrigley Field to be to his liking in his second season with Chicago in 2005. Lee batted .335 that year to lead the majors, with 199 hits, 46 homers, 107 RBI, 50 doubles, 120 runs, 15 stolen bases and .662 slugging percentage.
2004-Ichiro Suzuki, Seattle Mariners (.372)
Everyone knew Ichiro could hit and steal bases, but in 2004 he exceeded everyone's expectations by hitting .372 with a major league record 262 hits, breaking George Sisler's 84-year-old record. Ichiro had 24 doubles, 5 triples, 8 homers, 60 runs batted in, 36 steals and a .414 on base percentage.
2003-Albert Pujols, St. Louis Cardinals (.359)
In 2003 at the age of 23, Cardinals' first baseman Albert Pujols had what was probably his best overall season. Pujols batted .359, a career best which also led the majors, with 43 home runs, 124 RBI, 137 runs, 51 doubles, .439 on base average and .667 slugging percentage.
2002-Barry Bonds, San Francisco Giants (.370)
Everyone bristled when Barry Bonds hit 73 home runs in 2001, accusing him of being juiced. Then, in 2002, he shows the world that he can also hit for average. Bonds hit .370, a career high and MLB best that year, with 46 homers, 110 RBI, 31 doubles, 117 runs, .582 on base average and .799 slugging percentage on his way to winning the second of four straight NL MVP Awards.
2001-Larry Walker, Colorado Rockies (.350) and Ichiro Suzuki, Seattle Mariners (.350)
For a career .313 hitter, Larry Walker's .350 batting average in 2001 was just a few notches above average, though Walker had a great overall season. He hit 38 homers, with 123 runs batted in, 35 doubles, 14 stolen bases, 107 runs, .449 on base average and .662 slugging percentage. Walker's .350 mark led the National League, but Seattle's Ichiro Suzuki tied him for the major league lead by matching that batting average. Ichiro, in just his first season after coming over from Japan, batted .350 with 8 homers, 69 RBI, 242 hits, 34 doubles, 8 triples, and 56 steals, winning both the MVP and Rookie of the Year honors in the American League.
2000-Todd Helton, Colorado Rockies (.372) and Nomar Garciaparra, Boston Red Sox (.372)
Todd Helton has had a long, steady career in Colorado, the only team he's played with since 1997. In 2000, Helton had a career season, with a personal best .372 batting average that tied Boston's Nomar Garciaparra for the major league lead. Helton also hit 42 home runs with 147 RBI, 59 doubles, 138 runs, .463 on base average and .698 slugging percentage. The .372 average was also a career high for Garciaparra, who had 21 homers, 96 RBI, 51 doubles, 104 runs, .434 on base average and .599 slugging percentage.