Alex Rodriguez is back, and he is going to be playing for the rest of this season. He’s going to move up some lists, and we’re going to track that because that’s what we do. This will be my only editorializing on it. Here goes:
Assertions: people, in general, do not care as much about A-Rod taking PEDs as they do about him being a jerk. Or rather, I think it’s the combo. I can think of no other reason for the reaction against him.
Andy Pettitte took PEDs, and people talk seriously about his HOF case. Jason Giambi took PEDs and is a beloved player who is talked of seriously as a future manager. A-Rod took PEDs and needs to be banned for eternity while listening to a never-ending loop of Barry Manilow jingles. There is no way that is explained simply by the fact that he took PEDs. Barry Bonds had the same thing happen to him.
Do I like that players took PEDs? No I don’t. Do I like it when players are jerks? No. But given how many jerks fans openly celebrate and how many PED users they openly celebrate, I think it’s really the combination that spells the end for a player. I don’t like A-Rod, but I don’t have the energy to hate him. So, here we go. These are the prominent statistical categories in which A-Rod is at or near the top of the mountain:
Home runs: 648, Currently fifth. He is 12 behind Mays, which you probably know and are angry about.
RBI: 1,952, Currently sixth. The 48 he needs to get to 2,000 would put him past Lou Gehrig and Bonds for fourth.
Runs scored: 1,899, Currently 10th. He actually just passed Gehrig and it would be pretty impossible for him to pass Musial, who is still 50 runs ahead of him, this season. Given that, I won’t track this one further.
Hits: 2,907, Currently 37th. The big thing here is the chase for 3,000. Still, he’ll move up several spots this year with the top 30 being an outside possibility. 3,000 will happen during the next season in which he plays.
Total bases: 5,423, Currently ninth. Carl Yastrzemski is 116 ahead of him. That’s certainly possible.
Strikeouts: 2,037, Currently fifth. Adam Dunn is next ahead of him, and there’s a big gap. Not that it would happen, anyway. I won’t track this further.
Hit by pitch: 168, Currently 15th. Carlos Delgado is four ahead of him. Given the near-universal hatred for Rodriguez, I can see him climbing the rankings here a bit.
Times on base: 4,294, Currently 28th. He’ll probably move into the top 25 if he stays healthy, though much higher than that will have to wait. He’ll pass Gary Sheffield in the next few days.
Onto happier topics, Yu Darvish had himself quite a week. He upped his strikeout pace a good bit, and here’s what he’s on track for depending on how hard the Rangers ride him:
Eight starts: 279 Ks
Nine starts: 288 Ks
10 starts: 297 Ks
Additionally, and you can file this under things-I-should-have-noticed-ages-ago, Darvish is striking out 12.12 batters per nine innings. That is the seventh-best total ever. He’s just ahead of Randy Johnson from 1998 and just behind Johnson from 1997.
Adam Wainwright is holding his ground and still striking out 7.4 batters for every batter he walks, good for 11th-best ever.
I will never doubt Miguel Cabrera again. After he found himself a little beat up, I assumed we were running out of things to track for him. Then he spent the week showing me I was wrong.
He has a real shot at slugging .700. That has only been done 35 times and by only 13 different players. His 1.154 OPS would represent a top-50 season. If he wins his third straight batting title, he will become the eighth player to do so. He is also now leading the lead in hits again while placing second to Mike Trout walks.
Oh, and he’s also leading the league in RBI and average while placing in second in homers, and he’s leading all three saber Triple Crown categories. So, yes, we will be paying attention to Cabrera for the rest of the year.
Among our other players, Joey Votto is still leading the league in on-base percentage, something you could have typed at just about any point during the last four years. Having heated up a bit himself, he’s also making a run at the walk/hit combo. He’s leading the universe in walks and is in second place in the NL in hits, just three behind Jean Segura.
Mike Trout showed up last week. He slipped back a little but still is leading the lead in walks while placing third in hits, making him the third player on our list to chase the rare accomplishment.
Chris Davis keeps on keepin’ hit three homers this week and is on pace for 59. He is also now on pace for 104 extra-base hits, which would be the sixth-best total ever.
Davis’s teammate, Manny Machado, also is on pace for 58 of something, but it’s doubles. The record is probably out of reach at this point, but I am still interested to see if he can manage 60, which is a very rare feat.
The Astros have done it. Thanks in part to there encounter with Darvish, they are once again on track to break the single-season record for strikeouts by a team. They are currently on pace for 1,537, which is eight more than the current record.
Baltimore was imperfect this week and upped their error pace to 49. That’d be a record, folks, and by a lot. The Rays currently sit at a 59-error pace and—get this—the Yankees are on pace for 64. All three of those marks are better than the old record of 65.
For most teams, there are about 45 games left in the season. We have two players on pace to strikeout 200 times and two more who are just a breath away. It’s getting interesting.
Chris Carter, 155 Ks, 215 K pace: I have run out of things to say about the frequency with which Carter strikes out.
Adam Dunn, 128 Ks, 177 K pace: I hate to say it, but it’s time to drop Dunn. He just isn’t striking out enough.
Mike Napoli, 155 Ks, 209 K pace: Napoli really turned it up this week. He’s actually tied Carter for the ML lead. Games played are all that separate them.
Dan Uggla, 146 Ks, 199 K pace: Come on, Danny. Just a little bit more. You’re almost there.
Chris Davis, 142 Ks, 195 K pace: Davis turned it up a little this week. Hard to believe he can strike out this much and still provide so much offensive value.
It was pointed out in last week’s comments that Matt Holliday is within shouting distance of Jim Rice‘s grounded-into-double-plays record. I’d been tracking that and then dropped it. I now shall bring it back. Holliday has 26 and is 10 away.
And now the list, which is suddenly very short.
Adrian Beltre has hit two doubles and needs 14 to reach 500. I think this one is going to come right down to the wire.
Juan Pierre (611) didn’t attempt a steal this week.
Michael Bourn needs to steal seven more bases to reach 300. I’m quite surprised by how little he’s run this year. I know he’s had some leg issues, but still, this is a very down season for him where steals are concerned.
Bartolo Colon needs two more starts to get to 400. Just two more.
Thanks for reading. As always, stats are through Monday’s games.