Currently historic: A truly rare achievementby Jason Linden
May 08, 2013
Welcome back. We've got about 20 percent of the season under our belts now, and some interesting things are starting to happen. Let's take a look.
So here's something new: This year, Bartolo Colon has pitched 37.1 innings. Guess how many batters he's walked?
Right now, he is averaging 0.2 walks per nine innings. To find someone else in that league, you have to go back to George Zettlein who once walked six in 234 innings. He also struck out 10 that year. It was 1876. Times were different.
I don't know if Bartolo Colon is going to set a modern record for the infrequency with which he offers free passes. I do know he has been an excellent control pitcher for a long time and I'm going to pay attention.
By the way, in 1904, Cy Young finished the season with 0.687 walks per nine innings. That's the modern record. If Colon throws exactly 162 innings this season, he can walk 11 more batters and still beat that number. Stay tuned.
In 2007, Kenny Lofton played his final major league game. Since that time, there have been no active major leaguers with 600 stolen bases. Indeed, Lofton didn't reach that number until that final season. But now, the club has a new member.
This week, Juan Pierre stole base number 600 (and 601, 602, and 603). Pierre has never been a great player, but he has often been a solid one and he has always been able to run. He has fewer years in the majors than all but two of the men ahead of him on the list (dead-ball player Billy Hamilton had 14, the same as Pierre now has, and Vince Coleman had 13). If teams keep giving him the chance to play every day, he could move quite a bit higher on the list.
When Pierre plays, he still seems to be a good bet for 30 or more steals a season. He's off to a banner start this year, with 12 already. If he gets 20 more before the end of the season, he'll pass Kenny Lofton for 15th. Another season of 30 steals on top of that gets him to only 14th. One more and he's 12th.
To enter the top 10, Pierre would need 120 more steals than he has right now. That would tie him with Honus Wagner at 723. That seems like a tall task to me, but it's certainly possible. I hope Pierre continues to be good enough to convince teams to play him every day. We'll keep him on the list here as he continues his climb up the charts and his pursuit of 200 times being caught stealing.
Time for week two of strikeout tracking. Remember, we're tracking only players whose career numbers seem to indicate a reasonable chance of hitting 200 strikeouts.
Chris Carter, 51 Ks, 264 K pace: Carter's pace has slowed just slightly. Remarkably, it would take only a good game or two for him to be a league-average hitter.
Rickie Weeks 37 Ks, 199 K pace: Down a bit here. Still basically a 200 K pace, though.
Adam Dunn, 39 Ks, 216 K pace: Dunn turned it up a bit this week. His hitting has been awful so far this year, though. I wonder if he might be done (yes, or Dunn. Fine, fine, I made the joke, are you happy now?)
Will Middlebrooks, 38 Ks, 197 K pace: Down a bit. There was some sentiment in the comments last week that Middlebrooks is going to get only so many chances. I'll try to keep a close eye on him.
Pedro Alvarez, 35 Ks, 193 Ks pace: Exactly the same pace he was on last week.
Rick Ankiel, 35 Ks, 177 K pace: Ankiel is probably not going to K 200 times, he's just striking out so much while playing in only about 80 percent of his teams games that I have to track him. And in some of those games he's pinch-hitting. It's amazing.
Joey Votto has been walking a bit less lately (and is currently riding a nine-game hitting streak) and is now on pace for just 147 walks. That's still worth tracking as a decent week will put him back over the 150 walk pace.
The Astros actually upped their strikeout pace last week and are now averaging more than 10 per game. Their current pace would have them finish with 1,635. They really might make the current record of 1,387 look trivial as their current pace would have them pass it with almost a month to go in the season.
Now's it's time for our weekly list...
Todd Helton (573) is back from the DL, so the one double he needs to enter the top 20 should be forthcoming reasonably soon.
Adrian Beltre had a double this week and needs 31 more to reach 500.
Albert Pujols continues his march to 500. He now needs only 20, and 33 more will get him into the top 20.
Prince Fielder hit two homers this week and needs 32 to reach 300.
Todd Helton still needs 36 extra base hits to get to 1,000. We'll see.
Runs batted in:
Albert Pujols now needs 47 to reach 1,500.
Michael Bourn (277) is on the DL, but there are at least rumors of a rehab assignment soon. We'll keep him around.
Mariano Rivera is now in a tie with Dan Plesac for the sixth most appearances ever (1,064). Hoyt Wilhelm (1,070) and Dennis Eckersley (1,071) are next.
Andy Pettitte (497 starts), CC Sabathia (390), and Bartolo Colon (381) keep on keepin' on. Barry Zito started his 400th last week, and Roy Halladay (384) is hurt. (I think we all saw that coming, didn't we?)
Tim Hudson, who we've already talked about at some length, got win number 200 before last week's article was even up. It will be interesting to see if he can stick around long enough to get to 250. He might have an interesting Hall of Fame case if he does. Sabathia (195) didn't win any this week. He's try again next week.
Jonathan Papelbon (262) needs 38 to get to 300.
Ryan Dempster struck out only four last time out and needs 35 to reach 2000.
Pettitte needs only six to reach 1000.
Pittsburgh had a rough week and needs 22 wins to make it to 10,000.
Thanks for reading. As always, stats are through Monday's games. Tell me if I'm missing anything.
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