Offensive production in the major leagues continued to decline in 2014. The number of home runs per game decreased in 2014 and batting average, on-base percentage and slugging average dropped to the lowest levels in over 20 years.
|Year||Runs/Game||HR/Game||BAvg||OBA||SLG||OPS||Triple Milestone Hittters|
Runs and home runs were down in 2014 to the lowest level in over 20 years. Only one player (Nelson Cruz) hit 40 or more home runs in 2014 compared to two in 2013 and six in 2012. The 30 home run level was reached by only 11 players in 2014 compared to 14 in 2013 and 27 in 2012.
A useful indicator for tracking offense is the number of players who hit for both power and average by achieving a .300 batting average, 30 home runs and 100 runs batted in. A record 26 players reached all three milestones in 2000, but that figure has dropped significantly in recent years. Only two players reached all three milestones in 2014, the lowest since 1992, Of the 14 players with 30+ home runs, only two batted over .300 and seven had 100+ RBIs.
The two players who made the .300-30-100 club were Victor Martinez, for the first time, and Rookie Jose Abreu. They became the 173rd and 174th players to register at least one .300-30-100 season starting with Babe Ruth in 1920.
Following is a listing of players who achieved triple milestones in 2014.
|Victor Martinez||1||.335-32-103||First time at age 36|
|Joes Abreu||1||.317-36-107||Eighth rookie with triple milestones|
Three players achieved triple milestones in 2013 but fell short in 2014:
|Player Name||Times||2013 BAG-HR-RBI||2014 BAVG-HR-RBI||Comments|
|Miguel Cabrera||7||.348-44-137||.313-25-113||Power Shortage|
|David Ortiz||4||.309-30-103||.263-35-104||Big drop in average|
|Paul Goldschmidt||1||.302-36-125||.319-19-69||On pace until injury|
Since baseball is now in a low scoring era, it has become more difficult for players to achieve triple milestones. No others came close. I have been tracking and analyzing triple milestones for over 20 years but this might be the last one. If current trends continue, there may not be any triple milestone hitters next year. Even Mike Trout, considered by many to be the best player in the game, can’t make it (.287-36-111 in 2014) in his first year with 100+ RBIs. Martinez, at age 37 is unlikely to match his 2013 success in 2014 and Abreu faces a challenge in repeating his rookie success. Of the other seven previous rookies to reach triple milestones, only Albert Pujols repeated in his second year. Others like Ted Williams and Mike Piazza fell short before racking up multiple triple milestone seasons. Hal Trosky and Rudy York each later recorded another such season but Wally Berger and Walt Dropo never had another one.
The following list contains the names of players, active in 2014, who have had multiple .300-30-100 seasons in the past but have not done it in the last three years. Many have been limited by injuries. Some are still productive players like Albert Pujols, Matt Holliday and Aramis Ramirez, but not at the same level as in their peak years. Since this list was started in 2004, Ortiz is the only player that has come back with another triple milestone season.
|Player Name||.300-30-100 Seasons||Last .300-30-100 Season||2014 BAVG-HR-RBI||Comments|
|Albert Pujols||10||2010||.278-28-105||Four straight years under .300|
|Jason Giambi||4||2002||.133-2-5||End of the line at 43|
|Mark Teixeira||3||2008||.216-22-62||Injuries have taken a toll|
|Paul Konerko||3||2011||.207-5-22||Retiring at 39|
|Aramis Ramirez||2||2004||.285-15-66||Still productive|
|Matt Holliday||2||2007||.272-20-90||Lowest batting average of career|
|David Wright||2||2008||.269-8-63||Worst year of career|
|Josh Hamilton||2||2010||.263-10-41||A shell of his former self|
Twenty nine of the thirty major league teams have now had at least one triple milestone hitter since the year 2000. Kansas City has not had a triple milestone hitter since Danny Tartabull in 1991.
Three minor league players also recorded triple milestone seasons. Only one is under the age of 29.
|Kris Bryant||Chicago Cubs||Tennesse (AA)Iowa (AAA)||22||.355-22-58.296-21-52
|Jake Fox||NonePhiladelphia||Laguna (AAA)Reading (AA)||31|| .307-16-46.308-22-70
|Marquez Smith||Cincinnati||Pensacola (AA)Bakersfield (A+)||29||.156-1-5.323-29-126
Another player who split time between the minors and majors just missed:
|J.D. Martinez||Detroit||Detroit (Majors)Toledo (AAA)||.315-23-76.308-10-22
No college players achieved triple milestones in 2014.
Pitchers also strive for triple milestones – 20 wins, 200 strikeouts and an ERA under 3.00. Only two pitchers made all three in 2014:
|Clayton Kershaw||21-239-1.77||Also did it in 2011|
|Johnny Cueto||20-242-2.18||First 20 win and 200 strikeout season|
Another pitcher won 20 games but fell short on strikeouts:
|Adam Wainwright||20-179-2.38||Made it in 2010|
Twenty two pitchers with enough innings to qualify for the ERA title had an ERA under 3.00 but only three won 20 games and nine had 200 strikeouts.