Currently historic: A tribute to Wainwrightby Jason Linden
July 24, 2013
Let's talk about Adam Wainwright. He's been getting very light treatment in the column so far because, frankly, the "historic" numbers aren't that interesting. I mean, walks per nine and K/BB ratio don't really have much pizzazz. But he is having a fantastic season.
As is the case with many pitchers, Wainwright has missed a lot of time to injury and he's now into his 30s. Given the rough year he had last year, I'm sure many people were figuring he wouldn't be great again (never mind that his peripherals were still good). But this year, he has taken another leap entirely. He isn't walking anyone and he's still striking batters out. That's what makes him special.
Right now, his strikeout to walk ratio is 8.06. That's the eighth best modern season ever. The list of players above him goes like this: Bret Saberhagen, Cliff Lee, Curt Schilling, Pedro Martinez, Greg Maddux, Pedro Martinez, Ben Sheets. That is good company. It's also a very contemporary list which has a whole lot to do with the prevalence of strikeouts in the modern game.
In any case, Wainwright is having a banner year, and he deserved to start the column at least once. Now that we've tipped our hat, let's see what else has been going on in this baseball equivalent of Thanksgiving break...
Our big hitters are still hitting. Joey Votto leads the league in OBP (I really think that's just about a slam dunk unless he gets hurt), but it's probably times to stop tracking the other markers we've been watching for him. He's going to finish the season having reached base many, many times, but not quite historically many, and he doesn't seem very likely to lead the league in hits (he's fifth, 11 back). Still, four times in a row leading the league in OBP is a serious and historic accomplishment.
Miguel Cabrera has seen his times-on-base pace dip a bit to 326. That's a top-30 season, but it sure would be nice to see if he could pick it up a little more. He also continues to lead the league in walks and hits, though Manny Machado is still hot on his heels in the hit department.
He is now losing in his quest to lead two Triple Crown categories after winning the previous year. Chris Davis now has a one RBI lead, though Cabrera still has a healthy lead in batting average.
And speaking of Chris Davis, he's now on a 59 home run pace. That would put him in the top 10, but just barely. He needs to knock a few this week if he's going to keep it up. He's still on pace for 107 extra-base hits though, and that would be really awesome.
The only other hitter we're tracking because of what happens when he makes contact is Manny Machado. That doubles record is not looking good. He's on pace for only 63 now. However, even if he just gets to 60 it will be something because no one has done that in a bajillion years.
Now let's talk about all kinds of strikeouts.
Yu Darvish is down to just a 280 strikeout pace, assuming 33 starts. I'm interested to hear how many starts Rangers fans think he'll get, but it's looking shaky. He needs a big game or two if we're going to keep tracking him.
The Astros have upped their pace just a little bit and are now on track for 1,506 strikeouts. 1,529 is still the record, so they have a climb yet, but this is the first time in weeks their pace has increased.
And now our list of striker outers:
Chris Carter, 128 Ks 209 K pace: Carter's pace has really come down, and though the record seems unlikely, he does still seem like a good bet for 200.
Adam Dunn, 111 Ks, 185 K pace: I can't believe I'm saying this, but soon it may be time to stop tracking Dunn. He's simply making too much contact.
Mike Napoli, 127 Ks, 202 K pace: Mike Napoli continues to impress. Especially given that he's had some time off through the year.
Dan Uggla, 120 Ks, 194 K pace: Uggla dropped off a bit since last we checked. He's still in the hunt, though.
There is one new and interesting stat to track this week. Reader Thomas emailed to let me know that the Orioles were on pace to commit only 50 errors this year. That would handily beat the old record of 65 set by the 2003 Seattle Mariners. Some things are going right in Baltimore this year.
Interestingly, in researching it, I found that this year's Rays are also on pace to break the old record by committing only 62 errors this season.
And now a return to our list...
Lately, Todd Helton seems to be trying to finish his career respectably. He had another double and is now tied with Wade Boggs for 19th all-time in doubles. Cap Anson is next with 582 followed quickly by Robin Yount (583) and Rafael Palmeiro (585).
Adrian Beltre did not double and still needs 15 to get to 500.
Albert Pujols homered once since we last checked in and now needs nine to enter the 500 club.
Runs batted in:
Albert also had a single RBI (the aforementioned homer) and needs eight to reach 1,500.
Juan Pierre's legs haven't done much lately. He still has 609 steals and 203 caught-stealings.
Michael Bourn did not steal a base and still needs 11 to get to 300.
Derek Jeter categories:
The Jete is on the DL, but supposedly coming back soon. I'm just going to reprint the categories here and hope we have something new next week...
-10,555 at bats places him 16th. Brooks Robinson is 99 away in 14th.
-11,889 plate appearances places him 19th. Paul Molitor is 14th and 278 away.
-1,869 runs places him 13th. Alex Rodriguez is 29 away in 10th.
-3,305 hits places him 11th. Paul Molitor is ninth and 14 away. With a minor miracle, he might think about Honus Wagner, who is 115 away.
-2,461 singles places him sixth. Willie Keeler is fifth with 2,513.
-4,507 times on base places him 17th. Eddie Murray is 14th with 4,606.
Mariano Rivera (1,090) needs 29 more appearances to catch John Franco for third. Basically, he needs to pitch every other day to get there.
Bartolo Colon needs five more starts to get to 400.
Thanks for reading. Let's see how interesting things can get after the All-Star break.
Jason has too many irons in the fire. He fancies himself a fiction writer and also writes about the Reds at Redleg Nation, books at Elephants for Bookends, and everything else at The Winesburg Eagle. Email him at winesburgeagle *at* gmail or follow him on Twitter @jasonlinden