Sunday, August 20, 2006

Short Cuts

I-C-H-I-R-O spells 200
Ichiro leads baseball with 170 hits on the year, and is on-pace for 223. It would be his sixth-straight 200-hit season. Wade Boggs holds the American League record for consecutive 200-hit seasons with 7 (1982-88), and Willie Keeler holds the NL/ML record with 9 (1894-1901). Ichiro is one of six players to average at least 160 games played over the past three seasons; he is currently on a 363 consecutive games played streak.

Apropos of nothing, Boggs’ wikipedia entry says he coaches baseball at Gaither High School in Tampa. Gaither’s web-site, however, credits Frank Permuy with the head coach job. In 35 years, Coach Permuy’s teams have apparently racked-up 1,000+ wins.

The new power generation
Three players – Ryan Howard, David Ortiz and Alfonso Soriano – are on-pace for 50 homeruns. Travis Hafner and Albert Pujols are on the cusp. All but Ortiz are less than 30 years of age.

It’s been five years since that many players knocked 50 out of the yard. Last season, only Andruw Jones reached that level; in 2003 and 2004 no one did, while in 2002 there were only two – Alex Rodriguez and Jim Thome. You have to go back to the record-breaking 2001 season, when Bonds hit 73, Sosa 64 and Luis Gonzalez (57) and Alex Rodriguez (52) both broke the barrier.

But will we see 20?
Jays’ starter Roy Halladay won his third-straight start on Sunday to move to 16 wins on the season, the major league lead. Will Halladay, or any pitcher, get to the 20-win mark? The odds are against it. If Halladay started every fifth game through to the end of the season, he’d get seven more chances. At most, he’s looking at 8 or 9 starts. Despite his recent run of wins, he’s more likely to fall a decision short of the mark.

A few others stand an outside chance: six pitchers had 14-wins going into Sunday, including Santana, Schilling, Verlander, Garland, Johnson and Wang. If all fall short, it will the first time in the modern era that the 20-win mark wasn’t reached.

20-70 Club Watch
Since inventing the 20-70 club earlier this week I’ve been deluged with requests for updates on Jose Reyes’ performance as he seeks to join the exclusive organization (current membership: two). Well, that’s not entirely true, but I’m going to flog this horse right through to the finish line.

Reyes added to his numbers in the series-ending game against Philadelphia, but came up short against Colorado, going just 1-for-12 over the weekend series. Here’s how his performance looks as of Sunday:

Who's on first?
Bobby Abreu, that's who. In the four game series against the Boston Red Sox, newcomer Bobby Abreu earned his keep, putting up a .652 on-base percentage. Abreu reached base 15 times in 23 plate appearances, and struck-out 6 times. Since joining the "uber-team" (Epstein's phrase), Abreu's logged an OBP of .494 and slugged .527.

Milestone Watch: the Biggio file’s Milestone Watch feature is handy, but frustrating. You have to pick through a lot of clutter to find the interesting achievements. Coming up soon, the tracker projects:
  • Barry Bonds will pass his godfather this week for 9th on the career RBI list (with 1,904), and should move past Murray (1,918) in mid-September. If Bonds plays another year he will certainly move past Foxx, Cobb, and Musial (1,951) into fifth place, and conceivably could catch Gehrig (1,995).

  • Ken Griffey is due to hit his 564th homerun at the start of September, passing Reggie Jackson for 10th all-time.

  • Craig Biggio’s longevity has him moving up all kinds of milestone lists. By the end of this season he is projected to pass Anson, Brock, Brett and Wagner for the 15th most at-bats all-time, and reach 25th all-time for games played. Biggio should also pass Hornsby, Beckley, Keeler, and Robinson to move into 29th all-time for hits, pass Wagner for 8th all-time for doubles, and pass Gehringer and Molitor for 17th all-time for runs scored.

    Next season Biggio should become the 26th player to reach 3,000 hits, a milestone last achieved by Rafael Palmeiro. Only three active players have more than 2,500 hits for their career: Bonds (2,806), the ageless Julio Franco (2,552) and Steve Finley (2,510).


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