Today is the exact mid-point of August. There are six weeks left in the season. Teams are looking at about 45 games left. Those players we’re still tracking are getting close to making history. They just have to keep being ridiculous a little longer.
To start this week, we’re going to take another look at the story of Adam Dunn and the Three True Outcomes. I’ll be giving you a lot of TTO content over the next few weeks, and I need to first take a moment to credit Mr. Paul Golba, who has been an enormous help with researching some of these numbers. So, yes, hats off to Paul.
Adam Dunn, you all know, is having a ridiculous season. You may not have known, however, that he has a real shot at winning the TTO triple crown. And not just for the AL. Dunn currently leads all of baseball in home runs, walks, and strikeouts. Has this every been done before? Yes. Does it happen often? No. And here’s where we use some of what Mr. Golba gave us.
A player has lead the league in all three TTO categories seven times. Four of those are Babe Ruth (1923, 24, 27, & 28). The others are Hack Wilson (1930), Mike Schmidt (1983), and Dale Murphy (1985). So, just by leading the AL in those categories, Dunn is looking to do something that hasn’t been done in 27 years. But it gets better.
The only player to lead all of baseball in TTOs is Babe Ruth. He did it in 1923, 24, & 27. That’s it, and that is really cool. Adam Dunn is currently in line to do something that hasn’t been done in 85 years and has only been done by Babe-Freaking-Ruth (for the record, Mike Schmidt was just a few Ks away from doing this 1983). This is exactly why I started writing this column.
So what are the odds he does it? Pretty good, I’d say. Unless he gets hurt, no one is catching him in strikeouts. There are a few players who maybe have a shot at catching him in the walks department, but second place in that category is Ben Zobrist, who is 10 behind. That’s a tall order with so little time remaining.
The real question comes with homers. Dunn has the slimmest possible lead over Josh Hamilton. There are several others not far behind. Remarkably, Dunn has never lead the league in home runs. Still, among those within striking distance, I’d probably bet on Dunn to hit the most homers over the next six weeks. Stay tuned, though.
In the other categories we’re tracking, Dunn has stayed solid. His total TTO pace projects him to finish with 397. Just slightly down from last week’s 400 and still on pace to pass Mark McGwire‘s record of 387. Similarly, his 235-strikeout pace would put him comfortably past Mark Reynold’s record of 223. All together, he’s ending his plate appearances with a TTO 57 percent of the time. He is also, lest we forget, keeping up the fast march toward 2,000 total strikeouts. Only 24 to go.
Aroldis Chapman saw his K/9 rate hold more or less steady. He’s still hanging out at an unheard of 16.74. Several people have pointed out that Craig Kimbrel also has a ridiculous K-rate. This is true. He is, however, still a full strikeout below Chapman’s numbers.
Since I mentioned the Cy Young rumblings about Chapman last week, there has been an explosion of content about whether Chapman and Kimbrel deserve to be serious contenders. I normally stay out of awards discussions because I think everything that can be said has been said and we tend to have the same discussions about different names year after year. However, I’ll try to dive into it in the next couple of weeks. I’ll also keep track of Kimbrel as long as he’s within hailing distance of Chapman.
The Red Sox, as a team, continue to tantalize with their barrage of doubles. They actually upped the pace a bit and currently project to 370 doubles. That is awfully, awfully close to the record of 376. Keep at it, kids.
ARod’s recovery is going well. Here’s your weekly, don’t-forget-about-him post: If Alex Rodriguez gets back on the field (no reason to think he won’t), he’ll pass Andres Galarraga for fourth all-time strike outs, Ty Cobb for seventh all-time in RBI, and Tris Speaker for 11th all-time in runs. Sure bets every one of those. He’s currently tied for 15th all-time in HBP.
Derek Jeter now needs only 10 singles to catch Honus Wagner. That may well happen by next week. Speaking of things that are about to happen, he needs only six runs to catch Craig Biggio for 14th all-time. Now let’s talk about something that happened. There are now only 12 players in major league history with more hits than Derek Jeter. Next up, Eddie Murray, whose 3255 hits are 11 more than Jeter’s current total. He is three HBP behind ARod and Kid Elberfield. He also needs hit into six more double plays to be 20th all-time.
R.A. Dickey is now tied for the NL lead in strikeouts. Given Stephen Strasburg‘s forthcoming shutdown, this bodes very well for his chances to become only the second knuckleball pitcher ever to lead the league in Ks.
Ryan Howard needs seven homers to get to 300. That’s roughly one a week for the rest of the season.
Jamey Wright need plunk only three batter to enter the top-20 all-time. A long shot, but it could happen.
Jason Giambi only needs to run into three pitches to tie Andres Galarraga for 11th all-time.
Trip across something new that you think I should be tracking? Let me know in the comments.