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What does 5.5 mean to you? To me, and a generation of baseball fans, 5.5 is synonymous with the Padres’ Tony Gwynn. A man who not only defined a team, but also the city of San Diego, the world lost one of the best baseball players to play the game this last week, and one of baseballs best human beings. The stories that have been surfacing about Gwynn all speak to his personality, his generosity, and his gregarious and opinionated nature. It is a sad week in baseball and we all mourn his passing.
In honor of Tony, we are going to break down what made him so special and unique and look at a few players who can take up the 5.5 mantle for this generation. The 5.5 hole refers to the infield hole between shortstop and third base. In keeping book, the position numbers indicate that the third base is 5 and the shortstop is 6. The hole between them would be the 5.5 hole. This is where Tony Gwynn made his living.
Who has the best chance to pick up Gwynn’s approach and hit for the highest average these days? Short answer- nobody will be able to do what that man did, but these five guys come closest. We are looking for players with high ground ball rates, high BABIPs, and high line drive rates that could sustain a high average for a whole season. Read on to see who looks like they could hit like Tony, or at least come close.