Thanks to the All-Star break, the boys have had a little less time to gain ground, but most have played five games since we last updated. Certainly worth taking a look at.
Last week, a commenter, Rich, mentioned that Alex Rodriguez and Derek Jeter are both moving up the all-time runs scored list. We’ll be tracking that for the rest of the year (ARod is 12 away from Tris Speaker at 11th and Jeter is five away from Eddie Collins for 16th), but I want to talk about how that comment perfectly highlighted the point of this column.
That is, there is always something we’re missing. Some player, somewhere, is doing something exceedingly rare or totally unique and we may never know about it. This column has been running for more than a month and you guys are still coming up with historic achievements for me to track. If it runs for 15 years, I’m sure you’ll still find something new. That’s the nature of baseball.
In honor Rich’s comment about ARod and Jeter, I want to start the main chunk of this column with an outlining of their remarkable achievements as teammates. As mentioned above, Rodriguez is 12th in runs; Jeter is 17th. Jeter is 14th in hits; Rodriguez is 42nd but climbing fast (he’ll approach the top 20 next year). Rodriguez is 12th in total bases; Jeter is 41st (but, again, climbing fast). A-Rod is fifth in home runs and eighth in RBI. Jeter is ninth in singles.
Having two all-time greats on a team at the same time isn’t unprecedented (some fellows named Ruth and Gehrig come to mind, or perhaps Bench and Morgan), but it certainly doesn’t happen often.
Now it’s time to talk about some of our regular features. I’m going to give Jim Thome a long chunk sometime in the next few weeks. Luckily, for now, he continues to strikeout at a record breaking pace. He is sitting on 2,516 strikeouts and needs only 81 to pass Reggie Jackson for the all-time record. He still needs to strikeout a little above his career pace, but we’re basically talking about a rounding error here. I want to be clear that I am in no way routing for Thome to fail. I like Thome quite a lot as a player. It’s just that the strikeout record is so cool. And it is the all-time record.
On that note, aggravatingly, he still needs to homer one more time to pass Sammy Sosa and be seventh by himself on the all-time list.
R.A. Dickey, we’re going to need a little more here. I’m not going to lie. I’m very excited by you. I enjoy the way you throw the baseball with knuckle-y gusto, but you are now on pace for only 23 wins. And that is not historic. Heck, Justin Verlander did better than that just last year. Let’s get on it, huh?
Oh, and while we’re at it: Only fifth in ERA and second in Ks? Come on. It’s like you’re not even trying. I’ll be expecting a 12 K, complete game shutout this week to get you back on track.
While we are talking about players suddenly falling off the pace, we need to talk about Joey Votto. As a Reds fan, this pains me deeply. Suddenly, he is behind Andrew McCutchen in slugging percentage. He is also still fifth in average (McCutchen leads that, too). I still feel good because, you know, he’s Joey Votto and if this is where he is after a rough patch, well, when he gets hot again, he’s going to be right back up there.
However, even when he’s going bad, Votto still hits doubles. He’s stayed on pace for 67 doubles, which would tie the record. The deeper we get into the season, the more interesting this will become.
The more I look at some of these players, the more it becomes clear how much regression matters. Over the course of his career, Adam Dunn has struck out roughly 1.2 times per game. So far this year, he’s striking out about 1.6 times per game, but his pace has been slowing. A few weeks ago, he was on pace to breeze past 260. Last week, he was on pace for 258. So what if he continues to regress and Ks at his normal rate for the rest of the year? In that case, he’ll finish with 226. That would just get him past Mark Reynolds‘ record of 223.
In other Adam Dunn achievements we’re tracking: he’s now 57 strikeouts away from 2,000, 10 homers away from 400, and he continues to finish 62.4 percent of his plate appearances with a walk, homer, or strike out. He’s on pace to have 438 of those at the end of the season.
And in brief:
The one A-Rod stat I didn’t mention above is his strikeouts. He’s now seven away from 2,000 and it looks like he’ll beat Adam Dunn there.
Todd Helton (567) hit no doubles, but Bobby Abreu (565) managed one. They still sit at 22nd and 23rd all-time.
David Ortiz got homer number 400, and thus ends his tenure here. Congratulations to Big Papi.
Find anything else interesting? Let me know in the comments.