Currently historic: What are the odds?by Jason Linden
July 17, 2013
I am not so foolish as to call this time of the season the end of the first half. However, it is a nice rest and a good time to look at those we've been tracking and the odds they have of actually accomplishing their special feats. Let's go from what I think are the most likely to the least likely accomplishments.
1. Joey Votto leads the league in OBP for a fourth consecutive year. The only real competition Votto has here is his teammate, Shin-Soo Choo, who trails him by just nine points. However, Choo has been lighting it up lately and Votto has been steady-to-slumpish. So, unless Choo stays hot the rest of the year and Votto doesn't get hot again, this seems like a very safe bet. It's not 100 percent, but it's probably in the 90s somewhere.
2. Miguel Cabrera leads the league in hits and walks. As noted in previous weeks, this is a really rare feat. Cabrera looks primed to lead the league in walks and only Manny Machado is really on his heels in hits. Given that, we should assume Cabrera will be better than Machado for the rest of the season. I think there is maybe an 80-something percent chance this happens.
3. Adam Wainwright does something vaguely historic-ish. His walk rate and strikeout to walk ratio are both in historic territory, and though both have been falling lately, he seems to be locked in this year. I'd guess his odds of putting up a top-20 season in one of these categories hovers somewhere around 50 percent.
4. Two players strike out at least 200 times. Chris Carter, seems to be a lock. Our other candidates are less certain. Mike Napoli is on pace for 205 strikeouts while Dan Uggla and Adam Dunn are on pace for 198 and 190 respectively. This is by no means a sure bet, but I think there's a maybe a 40 or 50 percent chance somebody joins Carter on the podium.
5. Yu Darvish strikes out 300 batters. He's currently on pace for 287 if he gets 33 starts. However, given that Texas is in a pennant race and he is awesome, I can easily imagine the Rangers leaning on him a little extra and skipping other starters when the schedule allows. I'd guess there's a 40-ish percent chance this happens.
6. Miguel Cabrera leads at least two Triple Crown categories—he currently has the lead in average and RBIs. There's a good chance that holds. Maybe 35 percent. He'd be the first player to do it after winning the Triple Crown.
7. The Houston Astors break the team strikeout record. They need 1,529 to do it and are on pace for 1,502. That's not far off, but it's looking less likely. Maybe 30 percent.
8. Chris Carter breaks the single season strikeout record. He is on pace for 212. The record of 223 is held by Mark Reynolds. A bit of a slump and a second time through the league could up his numbers, but it's really hard to strike out that much. If Houston is going to break the record mentioned above, the Astros will need Carter's help. I think there's maybe a 25 percent chance he manages this.
9. Chris Davis has 100 extra-base hits. His current pace is for 108, which would be the third best total ever. A hundred has been done only 15 times and was last accomplished by four players in 2001 (Todd Helton, Barry Bonds, Sammy Sosa Luis Gonzalez). Those were different times. He's a good part of the way there and has a little room to fall off. Still, this is a tall order. Maybe 15 percent?
10. Chris Davis has a top-10 home run season. His current pace is for 62, and 59 would put him in the top 10. That's 22 homers in two and a half months. Doable, but tough. Players who make a leap like this are hard to predict. He might regress or he might be a fundamentally different player, it's hard to say. Ten percent, maybe a little more.
11. Miguel Cabrera has a top-20 times on base season. He's currently on pace for 330, and needs 331 to enter the top-20. It's possible, but not likely. Ten percent.
12. Manny Machado breaks the doubles record. He's on pace for 66. The record is 67. The odds on this are somewhere under 10 percent, but it sure is fun to track.
Accomplishments we will track, but with odds approaching zero: Shin-Soo Choo's HBP total, Matt Holliday's GIDP total, Cabrera and Davis' pursuit of the traditional and SABR Triple Crowns, Joey Votto's times on base.
Now it's time for the list. You may have heard that Derek Jeter is back (we're going to assume he doesn't go right back to the DL). That's going to have an impact...
No doubles for Todd Helton this week. He still has 577 and needs one more to move into a tie with Wade Boggs for 19th all-time.
Adrian Beltre also came up blank and still needs 15 to get to 500.
Albert Pujols homered twice since we last checked in and now needs 10 to enter the 500 club.
Runs batted in:
Albert also had a productive RBI week and needs nine to reach 1,500.
Juan Pierre's legs haven't done much lately. He still has 609 steals and 203 caught-stealings.
Michael Bourn swiped a base and needs 11 to get to 300.
Derek Jeter categories:
This list is extensive, so bear with me. I'm going to give his number and the highest place he could conceivably reach this season if he plays regularly.
-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 (1,089) needs 30 more appearances to catch John Franco for third.
Bartolo Colon needs six 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