Some people mentioned Tony Gwynn in comparison to Ichiro. I decided to take a look.
Walk rates are similar
Strike out rates. Wow! It's amazing just how good Gwynn was at getting the bat on the ball.
BABIP rates to be fluctuate, but both Gwynn and Ichiro have .350ish BABIPS. Well above league average
According to Baseball-Reference Tony Gwynn:
hit ground balls 49.6% of the time with a.260 BABIP
hit line drives 23.5% of the time with a .735 BABIP
hit fly balls 26.5% of the time with a .183 BABIP
The same numbers for Ichiro
ground balls: 55.4% .305 BABIP
line drives: 21.3% .708 BABIP
fly balls: 21.7% .162 BABIP
Career batting average/BABIP
Gwynn and Ichiro went about posting their high batting averages and high number of hits in similar, but not exactly the same way.
Both hitters limited strikeouts. You can't have a high batting average with a lot of strike outs. If you never strike out your potential batting average is 1.000. If you always strike out your potential batting average is .000. Easy enough to understand.
I've tried a few different ways to explain this, but I think an example will work best. Let's consider 600 at bats for each player.
First, deduct the amount of outs made on strike outs.
Ichiro K%=10.1 10.1% * 600 = 60.6 outs made by striking out. 539.4 at bats remain
Gwynn K%=4.7 4.7 * 600 = 28.2 outs made by striking out. 571.8 at bats remain
Hits on ground balls
Ichiro GB%=55.4 55.4 * 539.4 = 298.6 * .305 BABIP = 91.1 hits
Gwynn GB%=49.6 49.6 * 571.8 = 283.8 * .260 BABIP = 73.8 hits
Hits on fly balls
Ichiro FB%=21.7 21.7 * 539.4 = 117 * .162 BABIP = 18.9 hits
Gwynn FB%=26.4 26.4 * 571.8 = 151.2 * .183 BABIP = 27.7 hits
Hits on line drives
Ichiro LD%=21.3. 21.3 * 539.4=114.9 * .708 BABIP = 81.3 hits
Gwynn LD%=23.5 23.5 * 571.8=134.5 * .735 BABIP = 98.9 hits
Hits on bunts
Ichiro Bunt%=1.6% 1.6 * 539.4=8.9 * .660 BABIP = 5.9 hits
Gwynn Bunt%=.4% .4*571.8=2.4 * .560 BABIP = 1.3 hits
Ichiro = 91.1+18.9+81.3+5.9 = 197.3 hits
Gwynn = 73.8+27.7+98.9+1.3 = 201.6 hits
Ichiro = 197.3/600 = .328
Gwynn = 201.6/600 = .336
Gwynn got hits by never striking out
Ichiro gets hits by rarely striking out, hitting a lot of ground balls, and being very fast
Both players avoided hitting fly balls which almost always find gloves waiting for them at the end of their flight.