Currently historic: Machado madnessby Jason Linden
June 26, 2013
Let us start right off by correcting a glaring omission. Manny Machado is going to break the doubles record. He currently has 34 and is on pace for 71. Now, you may be saying to yourself, "Linden's gone off his rocker. No one can know something like that for certain." But I do. Consider the following items:
1. Machado plays on the Orioles. Orioles are birds. Birds are fast. Fastness is good if you want to get to second base.
2. Machado plays on the same team as Chris Davis, who has also been out of his mind this year. Clearly, the Baltimore franchise has some kind of wizardry going on. You'll know this is legit when Matt Weiters starts hitting .350 next month.
3. The doubles record was set in 1931. That's 82 years ago, much too long for a record like that.
4. Lots of players have been making a run at this mark lately. Joey Votto did last year before his injury. There's been a real increase in seasons of 50-plus doubles in recent years.
5. Machado has averaged 53 doubles per 162 games over the course of his career,* so it's bound to happen eventually.
So there you have it, Machado to break doubles record. Maybe we should start picking days to see who can guess when it happens. My money is on Sept. 16. Sure, the Orioles are off that day, but this Machado kid is special.
The Astros need to bring Rick Ankiel back. Suddenly, they are only on pace to strike out 1,521 times. That's not getting it done, kids. Time to put your bat to the grindstone and whittle it down so small you couldn't hit a beach ball with it. The record, I'll remind you, is 1,529, and belongs to the Rattlesnakes of 2010.
Miguel Cabrera is having a ridiculous seasons right now. He currently leads the AL in runs, hits, walks, RBI, batting average, and on-base percentage. He is currently on pace to reach base 335 times, which would be the 14th-highest total ever.
And yet, Cabrera continues to battle for supremacy with Davis, who leads the league in home runs, slugging, and OPS. He is second in doubles, RBI, and average, and is third in OBP. Cabrera is on pace for 56 home runs, which would tie him for the 16th-best total ever. Add to that his 50-double pace, and he is aiming at 106 extra-base hits, which would be the fifth-best total ever.
And then there's Votto, who emerged from a slump this week. He is leading the league in walks and is five off the pace in hits. He is on pace to reach base 316 times this season, which would be the 50th-best result ever. Votto also looks like a good bet to lead the league in OBP for the fourth consecutive time, which has previously been accomplished only by Barry Bonds, Wade Boggs, Ted Williams, and Lou Gehrig.
So, out of all those numbers, we need to separate the wheat from the chaff in terms of what is truly historic. I will track the following things:
-Cabrera's Triple Crown chase (though that's becoming less likely as Davis builds on his home run lead)
-Cabrera's/Davis' sabr-triple crown stats (AVG, OBP, SLG)
-Davis' home run total
-Davis' extra-base hits total
-Cabrera's and Votto's times on base (though Votto needs to continue his increased pace)
-Votto's and Cabrera's attempts to lead the league in walks and hits
-Votto's pursuit of a fourth consecutive OBP crown
But there are a lot of permutations with these guys. If you feel I should be tracking something else, let me know by e-mail or in the comments.
Yu Darvish turned it up a little this week and is now back over a 300-strikeout pace. Assuming he gets 33 starts, his current pace would have him finish with 301 whiffs. If the Rangers, who are in a genuine playoff race, shuffle things around to give him an extra start or two, the task becomes much easier.
Bartolo Colon's walk rate is no longer worth tracking, but Adam Wainwright's 0.771 BB/9 is currently good for ninth all-time. He also is still hanging around in the K/BB department, as his 10.6 would rank second all-time if the season ended today.
For the first time this year, we only have one player on pace to strikeout 200 times. However, several others are only an eyelash away.
Chris Carter, 105 Ks, 218-K pace: Carter really slowed down this week and is currently not on pace to break the record of 223. But fear not, it's early yet.
Adam Dunn, 89 Ks, 195-K pace: Dunn picked it up this week and played like he belonged in the majors. I still believe he'll get to 200 punchouts.
Mike Napoli, 97 Ks, 199-K pace: Napoli, I continue to be less certain of, but there's no reason to drop him yet.
Dan Uggla, 98 Ks, 199-K pace: Napoli's clone on this list. I'm not betting on it, but stranger things have happened.
In less exciting, but still interesting, numbers, Shin-Soo Choo keeps getting plunked. He's on pace to be hit 40 times, which would be the second-highest post-1900 total.
Matt Holliday is now on pace to ground into 42 double plays this year. The highest total ever is Jim Rice's 36 in 1984. Holliday is already more than halfway there.
Todd Helton did not double. He still has 574 and still needs four to get to 19th all-time.
Adrian Beltre whacked a couple of doubles and now needs 20 to get to 500. That seems very doable to me.
David Ortiz also had a couple and currently sits on 497.
Albert Pujols needs 12 to reach 500. He's been picking it up lately.
Torii Hunter has now hit 300 home runs. He has been around long enough to make me feel old. I mean, I was in college when he got his first real shot. Yikes.
Runs batted in:
Pujols now needs 19 to reach 1,500. I'm guessing that takes about a month.
Juan Pierre (609) still needs 10 steal to get to 17th. He's also still six caught-stealings away from fifth all time.
Michael Bourn needs 13 to reach 300.
Mariano Rivera (1,082) needs 37 more appearances to catch John Franco for third. I was skeptical, but this might actually happen. This is his last year, so there's no reason to coddle him, and he's always been good for 60-70 appearances a year.
CC Sabathia (399) and Colon (390) ... you know the drill.
Sabathia needs only one win to get to 200. Also, I just realized that he's only six days older than me. It would be kind of neat if he won his 200th game in his 400th start.
Jonathan Papelbon had a really bad week, you may have heard. He needs 29 to get to 300. I feel like I should drop him, but saves are such odd things that I'll probably keep tracking this until it becomes impossible.
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
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