September 26, 2018

Where Have All the Hitters Gone?

July 6, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

With major league teams reaching the season’s mid-point by playing their 81st game of the season, it’s a good time to take a look at hitters that are on target for the triple milestones of a .300 batting average, 30 home runs and 100 RBIs and pitchers on target for 20 wins, 200 strikeouts and an ERA below 3.00.

Times have changed.  In 2000, 26 hitters achieved all three triple milestones but no pitchers achieved all three of their milestones.  Last year only three hitters and one pitcher (Max Scherzer) reached all three.  Similar numbers are being recorded at mid-season in 2014 with 3 hitters and 2 pitchers on target.

Hitters BAVG-HR-RBI Comments
Victor Martinez .328-20-52 Has never done it before
Mike Trout .313-18-59 Another potential first timer
Giancarlo Stanton  .312-21-59 And another newcomer

Several others are close:

Troy Tulozwitzski .351-18-55 Short on RBIs
Miguel Cabrera .321-13-64 Going for no. 8. Needs home runs
Jose Batista .305-15-49 Should make it if healthy
Adam Jones .302-14-47 Needs strong second half
Paul Goldschmidt .299-15-53 Made it last year
Nelson Cruz .289-25-66 Batting average an issue

And then there are the pitchers:

Pitcher Wins-K’s-ERA Comments
Masihiro Tanaka 11-119-2.11 Rookie sensation from Japan
Adam Wainwright 10-105-2.01 Came close in 2013

Others who could make it with more wins:

Felix Hernandez 9-128-2.24 Has never won 20 games
Zach Greinke 9-101-2.29 Would be his first time
Madison Bumgardner 9-114-2.90 Another first timer
Clayton Kershaw 8-94-=2.24 Did it in 2012
Johnny Cueto 8-122-1.82 A career year
Yu Darvish 7-118-2.62 20 wins is a reach
Julio Teheran 7-103-2.34 The ace of the Braves staff

The most difficult targets to hit are the .300 batting average for hitters and wins for pitchers. There are reasons for both.  Hitters are now generally more inclined to go for power rather than average which results in more strikeouts and lower batting averages.  Most analysts would agree that we are in a strong pitching era.  However, pitcher’s wins are frequently not necessarily controllable by the starting pitcher, especially if he pitches only 6 or 7 innings which is now frequently the case.

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