By Bill Gilbert
For the last several years, I have tracked the players who hit with power and enough consistency to record seasons with 30 home runs, 100 RBIs and a batting average of .300. In the year 2000, 26 players reached all three, but the number has fallen off to seven or eight the last few years.
With a month to go in the 2009 season, three American League players and four National League players are on target for a batting average of .300, 30 home runs and 100 RBIs. Seven players achieved these levels in 2008 but Albert Pujols is the only one who is repeating this year.
In addition, there are four additional players, two from each league, who are close and appear to have a realistic chance to reach these levels.
American League Players on Target – .300-24-81 (with stats as of 9/1)
- Miguel Cabrera, Detroit (.335-27-82) – Has done it twice before.
- Kendry Morales, Los Angeles Angels (.311-30-94) - Big time breakout candidate this year.
- Adam Lind, Toronto (.300-25-81) – Borderline in each category.
National League Players on Target
- Albert Pujols, St. Louis (.320-41-110) – Ninth straight year. Only Ruth, Gehrig and Manny have more.
- Prince Fielder, Milwaukee (.300-36-119) – Has the HR and RBIs. Needs to keep average up.
- Ryan Braun, Milwaukee (.310-28-95) – Part of Brewers one-two punch.
- Chase Utley, Philadelphia (.304-29-84) – Made it in 2006. Close several times.
American League Players Who Are Close -.290-22-76
- Joe Mauer, Minnesota (.367-25-79) – Clear MVP choice in AL. Leads AL in BAVG, OBP and Slugging Average.
- Justin Morneau, Minnesota (.290-29-96) – Made it in 2006.
National League Players Who Are Close – .290-22-76
- Ryan Zimmerman, Washington (299-27-90) – Should make it for first time.
- Derrek Lee, Chicago Cubs (.294-25-87) – Made it in 2005.
Here are the six players that achieved triple milestones in 2008 that are falling short this year:
- Alex Rodriguez – (270-23-70) – Lowest BAVG since 1995.
- Mark Teixeira – (.284-32-101) – Has everything except BAVG.
- Aubrey Huff – (.241-13-73) – Not even close to last year.
- Josh Hamilton – (.268-8-46) – Injuries a major factor
- Manny Ramirez – (.310-15-49) – Suspension too much to overcome.
- David Wright – (.324-8-55) – Can’t reach seats in new park.
Pitchers also have milestones to shoot for (20 wins, 200 strikeouts, ERA <3.00). Adam Wainwright of St. Louis (16, 164, 2.47) is on target to become the first pitcher to achieve all three milestones since Chris Carpenter in 2005.
Bill Gilbert is a baseball analyst and writer and member of the Society for American Baseball Research (SABR).