November 28, 2014

2012 Milestones (And Beyond): Hits

December 27, 2011 by · 1 Comment 

Last time around I looked at potential milestones in runs scored and Alex Rodriguez’s quest to join the top 10 in 2012, which looks likely based on his career average and last three seasons.  If you’re hoping for another new member of the 3,000-hit club, however, don’t hold your breath (unless you’re a Yankee fan, in which case you can hold it as long as you want; go ahead, nothing bad will happen, I promise).  The closest active player is Ivan Rodriguez, a 40-year-old free agent catcher who needs 156 hits to reach the magic number.  Rodriguez hasn’t had 156 hits in a season since 2006, when he rapped out 164.  In fact, you have to go back to August 19, 2009 to find the last 156 hits of his 21-year career.  Needless to say, chances are slim.

Only three hits behind, is soon-to-be 45-year-old free agent Omar Vizquel, who needs 159 hits to reach the coveted mark.  How likely is he to get those needed safeties?  Consider that he’s averaged only 74 hits a season since 2007 and that no player 45 or older has ever rapped out more than 121 hits in a single campaign since Cap Anson achieved that figure in 1897 (no that’s not a typo) and we’re looking at a definite long shot.  That leaves the aforementioned Alex Rodriguez, who needs 225 hits to reach 3,000.  Not only has A-Rod never amassed 225 hits in a season, but Paul Molitor is the only player age 36 or older to collect that many in a season.  So, as you can see, we’re probably going to have to wait another year or two before we celebrate another 3,000-hit swatsmith.

Let’s take a look at their chances anyway:

Player
Age
3-Yr Avg
To Date
Proj. Car. 3000 3315 3500 4000 4256 MAX (1%)
Ivan Rodriguez 39 92.8 2,844 2,941 12% 0% 0% 0% 0% 3,037

Despite his age, position, free agent status and recent production, The Favorite Toy still gives I-Rod a 12% chance of amassing 3,000 hits in his career with no chance of catching Eddie Collins (3,315), who currently ranks 10th all-time.  Even if he fails to make it to 3k, the 2,749 hits he’s recorded as a catcher (the rest came as a first baseman, DH and pinch hitter) are impressive.  In fact, no one is even close; as far as I can tell, Carlton Fisk (the original “Pudge”) is second with 2,145.  Ted Simmons finished his career with 2,472 hits, but “only” 1,908 came as a catcher.

Player
Age
3-Yr Avg
To Date
Proj. Car. 3000 3315 3500 4000 4256 MAX (1%)
Omar Vizquel 44 62.2 2,841 2,934 9% 0% 0% 0% 0% 3,025

“Little O” has a 9% chance at 3,000, but I think that’s only because The Favorite Toy gives players a minimum of a year and half remaining in their careers regardless of their age.  Realistically, Vizquel has about as much chance of reaching 3,000 hits as I do, and he has a 2,841-hit head start.

Player
Age
3-Yr Avg
To Date
Proj. Car. 3000 3315 3500 4000 4256 MAX (1%)
Alex Rodriguez 35 127.7 2,775 3,221 97% 33% 12% 0% 0% 3,659

Not surprisingly, The Favorite Toy has A-Rod as a lock for 3,000 hits and, barring a career-ending injury, there’s no reason to believe he won’t join his buddy Jeter sometime soon.  If all he does is reach the total projected for him, he’ll retire in 14th place on the all-time list, just ahead of Cal Ripken and behind Nap Lajoie (of course, his placement depends on how many more hits Jeter gets).  He has a one-in-three shot at catching Collins, a 12% shot at becoming only the sixth man to reach 3,500 and a 1% chance at fourth place, just ahead of Stan Musial.  And what a contrast that’ll be if he does, in fact, pass the Cardinal great—Musial was known as “The Man”; Rodriguez is known to Red Sox Nation as “Slappy McBluelips.”  Doesn’t quite have the same ring to it, does it?

Speaking of Jeter, who currently ranks 20th on the all-time hit list with 3,088, his contract calls for three more years in pinstripes, assuming he picks up his option in 2014, and he should move steadily up the ranks.  Even if his skills continue to decline it’s reasonable to believe he can rap out 150 hits next year, which would put him at 3,238, only four behind Lajoie for 13th place.  If he maintains his three-year average, he’ll be knocking on Willie Mays’ door at #11.

Player
Age
3-Yr Avg
To Date
Proj. Car. 3000 3315 3500 4000 4256 MAX (1%)
Derek Jeter 37 192.7 3,088 3,569 X 97% 67% 3% 0% 4,041

At the end of June, 2011 I don’t think any of us thought Jeter had a legitimate shot at Collins and the rest of the top 10, but he rebounded to hit .327 after the All-Star break and looks to be well on his way to a top 10 berth.  He has a 67% chance at 3,500, a 63% chance of catching Tris Speaker at #5, a 39% chance of catching Musial, a 21% chance of catching Hank Aaron and a 3% shot at 4,000 with a max of 4,041.  That would rank third all-time and probably make the media’s head explode.

Others of Note: Johnny Damon needs 277 more hits to join the 3,000-hit club and, based on his last three seasons, should get there in 2013.  He has an 87% chance at 3,000 and a 14% shot at catching Collins, but no shot at 3,500.  His expected total is 3,101 with a max of 3474.  Chipper Jones is next on the list with 2,615, but it looks like he’s going to fall short; The Favorite Toy has him finishing with 2,785 hits with a 1% chance at 2,951.  The former total would put him just ahead of Ken Griffey Jr. in 48th place; the latter would put him in 31st place, neatly between Sam Crawford and Frank Robinson.

At 2,590, Vlad Guerrero is closing in on some impressive company and has a 55% chance at joining the 3,000-hit club in the near future.  He’s projected to finish his career with 3,019, only one behind Rafael Palmeiro, but has a 9% chance of catching Collins and a 1% chance at 3,439, a total only five others have ever reached.  With only 11 major league seasons under his belt it seems impossible that Ichiro Suzuki is in this discussion, but thanks to an average of 221 hits a year, he is.  With 2,428 hits going into the 2012 season, Ichiro has a 44% chance at 3,000, a 10% chance at catching Collins and a 1% chance at reaching 3,489.  Despite those odds, he’s projected to finish with 2,964, just ahead of Crawford in 30th place.  I have to assume if he gets that close, he’ll stick around long enough to take a crack at 3,000.

Comments

One Response to “2012 Milestones (And Beyond): Hits”
  1. I love projection data like this! Awesome piece.

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