Triple Milestones – 2010

 

Triple Milestones – 2010
 
By Bill Gilbert
 
      Offensive production in the major leagues in 2010 was down significantly from 2009. The number of runs per game has declined each year from 9.72 in 2006 to 8.77 in 2010. The home run rate of 1.90 per game was down from the 2.02 rate in 2009. The major league batting average, on-base percentage and slugging average were all the lowest since 1992. All offensive categories are significantly below the peak year of 2000 as illustrated in the following table:
 
Year Runs/Game HR/Game   BAVG  OBA    SLG   OPS     Triple Milestone Hitters
—- ——— ——-   —-  —-   —-  —     ————————
1990     8.51     1.58   .258 .324   .386   .710                 2
1991     8.62     1.61   .255 .323   .384   .707                 3
1992     8.23     1.44   .256 .322   .377   .699                 2
1993     9.20     1.78   .266 .332   .404   .736                 5
1994     9.85     2.07   .270 .339   .424   .763                 3
1995     9.69     2.02   .267 .338   .417   .755                 8
1996    10.07     2.19   .270 .340   .427   .767                21
1997     9.53     2.05   .267 .337   .419   .756                 7
1998     9.58     2.08   .266 .335   .420   .755                14
1999    10.17     2.28   .271 .345   .434   .779                19
2000    10.28     2.34   .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
 
      Jose Bautista of Toronto hit 54 home runs, the first player to reach 50 since Alex Rodriguez in 2007. Two players hit 40 or more home runs in 2010 compared to five in 2009. The 30 home run level was reached by 18 players in 2010 compared to 30 in 2009. 
 
      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 six players reached all three milestones in 2010, the same as in 2009.  Albert Pujols and Miguel Cabrera were the only players who made it in both 2009 and 2010.
 
      The remarkable career of Albert Pujols merits further attention. He has now played exactly 10 full seasons in the major leagues, establishing his Hall of Fame credentials. In each season, he has batted over .300 with over 30 home runs and 100 RBIs. Only Babe Ruth (12) has more such seasons and his best was eight in a row. An average season for Pujols is .331-41-123. Surprisingly, he has led the National League in batting only once, in home runs twice and once in RBIs.    
 
Three players from each league achieved all three milestones in 2010. Pujols became the only player to do it in his first 10 seasons. There were two newcomers to the .300-30-100 club in 2010, Joey Votto and Carlos Gonzalez, bringing the total to 166 players who have registered at least one .300-30-100 season starting with Babe Ruth in 1920.
 
      Following is a listing of players who achieved triple milestones
in 2010:
 
Player           Times  BAVG-HR-RBI        Comments
National
Albert Pujols     10    .312-42-118 One of the all-time greats.
Joey Votto         1    .324-37-113 Strong contender for MVP.
Carlos Gonzalez    1    .336-34-117 An emerging superstar.
 
Player           Times  BAVG-HR-RBI        Comments
American
Miguel Cabrera     4    .328-38-126 New high in home runs.
Josh Hamilton      2    .359-32-100 Three RBIs in last weekend.
Paul Konerko       2    .312-39-111 Consistent all year.
 
      Four players achieved triple milestones in 2009 but fell short in 2010:
 
Player           Times    BAVG-HR-RBI    BAVG-HR-RBI    
                 In Past      2009           2010     Comments
Derrek Lee         2     .306-35-111    .260-19- 80 Couldn’t get untracked.
Ryan Braun         3     .320-32-114    .304-25-103 Power down.
Kendry Morales     2     .306-34-108    .290-11- 39 Season wrecked by injury.
Adam Lind          2     .305-35-114    .237-23- 72 Couldn’t overcome slow start.
 
 
      The biggest obstacle in reaching triple milestones in 2010 was batting average. Nine players had 30 home runs and 100 RBIs in 2010 but fell short of a .300 batting average.
 
Adrian Gonzalez          .298-31-101      Just missed.
Dan Uggla                .287-33-105      New highs in all three categories  
Corey Hart               .283-31-102      New highs in HR and RBI.           
Ryan Howard              .276-31-108      Well below his norms.
David Ortiz              .270-32-102      Came on strong after slow start.
Alex Rodriguez           .270-30-125      Is he starting a decline?
Jose Bautista            .260-54-124      The year’s big surprise.
Adam Dunn                .260-38-103      Typical Dunn year.
Mark Teixeira            .256-33-108      Another slow start.
 
      Four other players came close to triple milestones in 2010, just missing on home runs.
 
Robinson Cano            .319-29-109      Would have been first time.
Vladimir Guererro        .300-29-115      Has done it 8 times.
Matt Holliday            .312-28-103     Did it in 2006-2007.
Adrian Beltre            .321-28-102     Did it with Dodgers in 2004.
 
      A growing list contains the names of players, active in 2010, 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 very productive players but not at the same level they were in their peak years. Since this list was started in 2004, not one player has come back with another .300-30-100 season.
 
                                 Last
                .300-30-100  .300-30-100 
Player            Seasons      Season       2010     Comments 
Vladimir Guerrero    8           2006    .300-29-115 Comeback year fell just short.
Todd Helton          5           2003    .256- 8- 37 In serious decline.
Chipper Jones        5           2001    .265-10- 46 Has become injury prone.
Jason Giambi         4           2002    .244- 6- 35 Strictly a bench player now.
Magglio Ordonez      4           2002    .303-12- 59 Season cut short by injury. 
Ken Griffey, Jr.     3           1997    .184- 0-  7 Two generations are now gone.   
Lance Berkman        3           2006    .248-14- 58 Bat has slowed down.
David Ortiz          3           2007    .270-32-102 Still has power.
Jim Thome            2           2002    .283-25- 59 Still a useful player.
Aramis Ramirez       2           2004    .241-25- 83 Can’t stay healthy.
Miguel Tejada        2           2004    .269 15- 71 Gradual decline continues.
Travis Hafner        2           2006    .278-13- 50 Can’t play every day.
Vernon Wells         2           2006    .273-31- 88 Somewhat of a comeback.
Matt Holliday        2           2007    .312-28-103 Made it only with Rockies.
 
      In his 1988 Baseball Abstract, Bill James referred to triple
milestone seasons as "Hall of Fame Seasons". This was because all of the
eligible players with 5 or more triple milestone seasons had been
elected to the Hall of Fame. This correlation has continued to hold but is likely to break down when Juan Gonzalez becomes eligible in 2011.
 
            No teams had two players with triple milestones in 2009. With Joey Votto of the Reds making the list, 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.    
 
 
      Minor league players also recorded triple milestone seasons in 2010. 
 
Player            Team (Level)      Organization     Age   BAVG-HR-RBI  
 
Rich Poythress    High Desert (HiA) Seattle          22   .315-31-129
          
Paul Goldschmidt Visalia (HiA)      Arizona          22   .314-35-108
 
 
      Another had Triple Milestone Stats in the minors but not overall.
 
Mark Trumbo       Salt Lake City (AAA) Los Angeles   24   .301-36-122
                  Los Angeles (AL)                        .067- 0-  2
                                                          .294-36-124
      Another came very close.
 
Clint Robinson    NW Arkansas (AA) Kansas City       24   .335-29- 98
     
     
      No college players achieved triple milestones in 2009                                           
 
 
      Pitchers also strive for triple milestones – 20 wins, 200 strikeouts and an ERA under 3.00. No pitchers made it in 2009. However, in 2010, the year of the pitcher, two pitchers made it, Adam Wainwright (20-11, 213, 2.42) and Roy Halladay (21-10, 219, 2.44). Halladay made it in 2008 and Wainwright just missed in 2009.
 
 
TRIP2010.DOC
11/5/10

Edited to correct the number of times Albert Pujols has led the National League in RBIs.  11/7/10.

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