Scorching? Too hot to touch? Hot as blue blazes? Really, really hot?
The local newspapers have been repeating various short interval stats (e.g., number of hits over 30 at bats, etc.) to prove that Berkman's bat is hot.
Here is a new way of quantifying it. Bill James, the statistical expert/author, has a "Who is hot?" statistic, which is expressed in degrees temperature. 72 degrees, or "room temperature," is normal. Each hitter starts the season at 72 degrees and degrees are added/subtracted based on each plate appearance. All major batting outcomes are assigned a certain number of positive and negative points.
Here is Bill James' current listing of hitters:
James on his web site, billjamesonline.net (subscription), said he tested his formula on David Ortiz's career before using it:
I took the events which comprise the seasons of Edgar Renteria, David Ortiz and three other hitters, and sorted them in random orders multiple times to see how hot and how cold the hitter would get. The season is set up so that a kind of average hitter, having a kind of average season, will peak around 100 degrees or perhaps for a moment over 100 degrees, and will bottom out about 50 degrees or a little under.
Sorting David Ortiz repeatedly, he would occasionally peak out over 120 degrees, and once reached the temperature of 142 degrees, but that was a very unusual thing when, at a time when he was already fairly hot, he had 12 straight hits, including 5 homers and 2 doubles. I don't think we'll often see 142-degree temperatures in real life. Ortiz, in 50 or so "seasons", also had one time when his temperature dropped to 26 degrees after he went 0-for-32.
According to James' data base, the hottest Berkman ever got last year was 101 degrees. In 2006, Berkman's hottest day was 106 degrees. Since 2006 was Berkman's best overall offensive season, the fact that he has far surpassed his hottest day for that year is impressive. Since David Ortiz is mentioned above, the hottest he has ever been, based on the 2006-2008 data on James' web site, is 126 degrees on Sept. 28, 2007.