Matt Hague is the International League's most valuable to the surprise of ... no one.
The 30-year old infielder, who this season has split time between first and third base, had commanding leads all season in long in a number of offensive categories and he's en route to breaking a number of club records.
In some regards we shouldn’t be surprised by this. Hague led the International League in hits twice before – with 153 in 2013 and 165 in 2011 while he was playing with the Indianapolis Indians.
But his numbers have been off-the-hook good this year. And the key to great numbers lies in his consistency.
His average has not dipped below the .330 mark since May 7. He spent just eight days all season under .300 – and all eight of those days were in April.
He had only one hitless drought – that lasted all of three games. He went back-to-back games without a hit only four other times.
Hague by the numbers:
In 129 games, Hague has hit .347 (172-495) with 32 doubles, 11 home runs, 88 RBI, a .425 on-base percentage and a .483 slugging percentage.
Batting average: His batting average leads the IL and is 33 points better than any other hitter in the league. Hague is set to become the third Bisons player to win a league batting title in the modern era and first since Ben Francisco hit .318 in 2007.
His .347 batting average would also rank as the team’s best in the modern era, beating Dave Clarke’s .340 mark from 1987.
Hits: With 172 hits he leads the league and is second in Bisons modern era history trailing Jhonny Peralta who had 181 hits in 2004. Hague has 54 multi-hit games this season.
On-base percentage: Hague’s .425 on-base percentage would smash the Bisons previous single-season on-base percentage record of .413 set by Clark in 1987 and matched by Torey Lovullo in 1998. Hague is set to become just the seventh player in the Bisons modern era to finish a season with a qualifying on-base percentage over the .400 mark.
He ranks third in the IL with 59 walks and failed to get on base in consecutive games just once this season, May 26-27.
Hague is the ninth Buffalo Bison to be named the IL’s MVP and second in the modern era after Peralta won the honor in 2004. Of the nine Bisons’ Most Valuable Players, only centerfield Frank McGowan in 1936 had a higher batting average (.356) than Hague’s current average of .347.