December 13, 2017

Triple Milestones 2016

December 12, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

Offensive production in the major leagues increased significantly in 2016 due to a spike in the home run rate.  Other offensive measures were also at the highest level in several years.

Year Runs/Game HR/Game Bavg OBP SLG OPS Triple Milestone Hitters
1997 9.53 2.05 .267 .337  .419  .756 7
1998 9.58 2.08 .266 .335  .420 .755 14
1999 9.69 2.28 .271 .345  .434  .779 19
2000 10.28 2.32 .271 .345  .437 .782 26
2001 9.55 2.25 .264 .332  .427  .759 21
2002 9.24 2.09 .261 .331  .417 .748 12
2003 9.46 2.14 .264  .332  .422  .754 8
2004 9.63 2.25 .266 .335  .428 .763 12
2005 9.18 2.06 .265 .330  .419 .749 10
2006 9.72 2.22 .269 .336 .432  .768 13
2007 9.59 2.04 .268 .336 .423  .759 8
2008 9.30 2.01 .264 .333  .417  .750 7
2009 9.23 2.02 .262 .333  .418  .751 6
2010 8.77 1.90 .257 .325  .403  .728 6
2011 8,57 1.87 .255 .321  .399  .720 7
2012 8.64 2.02 .255 .319  .405  .724 4
2013 8.33 1.92 .253 .318  .396  .714 3
2014 8.13 1.73 .251 .314  .386  .700 2
2015 8.50 2.02 .254 .317  .405  .721 1
2016 8.96 2.23 .255 .322  .417  .739 4

Eight players hit 40 or more home runs in 2016 compared to nine in 2015 and one in 2014. The big increase came in players that hit 30 or more home runs. This level was reached by 38 players in 2015 compared to 20 in 2015 and 11 in 2014.

A useful indicator for tracking offense is the number of players who hit for both power and average by achieving the old-school milestones of a .300 batting average, 30 home runs and 100 runs batted in.  A record 26 players reached all three Triple Crown category milestones in 2000, but that figure has dropped significantly in recent years. Only four players achieved all three in 2016, even with the big increase in offense. Of the 38 players with 30+ home runs, only six batted over .300.  Maintaining a .300 batting average is clearly the major problem in achieving triple milestones.

The only player that made the .300-30-100 club in 2015, Paul Goldschmidt of Arizona, fell short in 2016.  Four players made it in 2016, all in the American League. Ten others came very close.

Player Times BAVG-HR-RBI Comments
Miguel Cabrera 8 .316-38-108 Returns to list after two year absence
David Ortiz 5 .315-38-127 Finishes career with a flourish
Adrian Beltre 3 .300-32-104 Made it is 2004 and 2012
Mookie Betts 1 .318-31-113 Reached superstar level in a hurry

Close (,290-28-90)

Player Times BAVG-HR-RBI Comments
Joey Votto  1  .326-29-97  Walks too much to get 100 RBI
Mike Trout 0  .315-29-100  Cannot get any closer
Ryan Braun 3  .301-30-91  Best season since 2012
Freddie Freeman 0  .302-34-91  First 30+ HR season
Robinson Cano 0  .298-39-103  Still looking for first one
Carlos Beltran 0  .295-29-93  Best season since 2011
Nolan Arenado 0  .294-41-133  Led NL in HR and RBI
Manny Machado 0  .294-37-96  Has never hit .300
Kris Bryant 0  .292-39-102  NL MVP
Anthony Rizzo 0  .292-32-108  Similar to teammate Bryant

The last four players on this list have never hit .300.

There are numerous players still active in 2016, 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, but not at the same level as in their peak years.  They are nearing the ends of their careers for the most part. like Matt Holiday, Mark Teixeira, and Alex Rodriguez.  Twenty nine of the thirty major league teams have 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.

Only one minor league player reached Triple Milestone status in 2016.

Player Team Organization Age BAVG-HR-RBI
Hunter Renfroe El Paso (AA)  San Diego 24 .306-30-105

No college players achieved Triple Milestone status.

Pitchers also strive for triple milestones – 20 wins, 200 strikeouts and an ERA under 3.00. Only one pitcher made all three in 2016 and he was the Cy Young Award winner in the National League.

Player Wins-SO-ERA Comment
Max Scherzer 20-284-2.96 NL Cy Young who also made it in 2013 when he won AL Cy Young

Three other pitchers came close (18-190-3.10)

Player Wins-SO-ERA Comment
Jon Lester 19-197-2.44
Johnny Cueto 19-198-2.79 Made it in 2014
Jake Arrieta 18-190-3.10 Made it in 2015

Scherzer was one of only 3 pitches that won 20 games in 2016 but there were 8 pitchers with an ERA under 3.00 and 12 pitchers with 200 strikeouts. Winning 20 games is clearly the biggest obstacle in achieving a triple milestone season.

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