Lucroy making a run at Brewers’ RBI mark for catchers
Sports Stats ‘on Tapp’ is a sports statistics blog published with a focus on stats that go beyond the numbers.
Brewers catcher Jonathan Lucroy had a pair of RBIs last night in the team’s 9-3 win over the Cubs. Those RBIs give Lucroy 42 for the season, which places him first on the team in that category.
In looking at the Brewers history, there has been only one Brewers catcher who has led the team in RBIs in a season. Dave Nilsson did it in 1994 when he had 69 RBIs. If Lucroy maintains this pace, he could become the second backstop to lead the team in runs batted in.
Lucroy has 42 RBI in 64 games played. The Brewers have 87 games left on their schedule, and should Lucroy play in all 87 games (not likely) he is on a pace to drive in 99 for the season. Only one Brewers catcher has ever driven in 100 or more runs in a season; that was Ted Simmons in 1983 when he had 108 RBI while catching in 86 of 152 games that season.
Here’s a look at Brewers catchers who finished in the Top 3 in team RBI for a season (players must have caught 50% or more of the season’s games to qualify):
1973: Darrell Porter, 67 RBI (third on team)
1975: Darrell Porter, 60 RBI (tied for second on the team)
1981: Ted Simmons, 61 (third on team)
1983: Ted Simmons, 108 (second on team)
1994: Dave Nilsson, 69 (first on team)
Here’s a look at the most RBI by a Brewers catcher in a season (caught 50% or more of the season’s games to qualify)
1. Ted Simmons, 1983… 108
2. Ted Simmons, 1982… 97
3. Dave Nilsson, 1994… 69
4. B.J. Surhoff, 1991… 68
5. B.J. Surhoff, 1987… 68
Note: Through games of June 25, Lucroy ranks tied for second in the majors for catchers with 42 RBI (he is tied with Cards’ catcher Yadier Molina). Buster Posey leads all MLB catchers with 43 RBIs.
Follow Jerry on Twitter @StatsonTapp
Where does Albert Pujols rank among baseball’s all-time greatest hitters?
Sports Stats ‘on Tapp’ is a biweekly blog that is published every Wednesday and Friday with a bonus “SIX STATS…” posting every Friday.
With his three HRs in Game Three of the World Series, St. Louis Cardinals first baseman Albert Pujols continues to build an impressive resume that will likely get him into baseball’s Hall of Fame five years after his retirement. He has won three National League MVP awards (and finished second in the balloting three times), was the N.L. Rookie of the Year in 2001, and has been selected to nine N.L. All-Star teams.
But here’s the question: Where does Pujols rank among baseball’s all-time greatest hitters? Consider… a .328 career batting average, 445 homers and 100 or more RBIs in ten of his 11 seasons. Great credentials and numbers!
Let me offer the following criteria to analyze Pujols and how he compares with the other great hitters in the game’s history. My definition of a great hitter would include a player who hits for a high average, someone who hits for power, and a hitter with a great eye at the plate. To quantify what I just said, let’s look at how many hitters have accomplished the following in a season (Why the following criteria? It’s my blog!):
* Hit .300 or better
* Hit 30 or more home runs
* Walk 100 or more times
* Strike out less than 100 times.
With these numbers as a definition of a player who had a “great hitter” season, we see that only 28 players have had one or more “great hitter” seasons in major league history. In fact, this year only one player met the above criteria: Miguel Cabrera of the Detroit Tigers. Cabrera hit .344, slugged 30 home runs, walked 108 times and struck out 89 times.
Following are the players in baseball history who had one or more seasons where they batted over .300, hit 30 or more HRs, walked 100 or more times, and had less than 100 strikeouts.
‘Great Hitter’ Seasons, Player
11….. Babe Ruth
9….. Lou Gehrig, Barry Bonds
8….. Ted Williams
5….. Jimmie Foxx, Frank Thomas
4….. Mel Ott, Mickey Mantle
3….. Stan Musial, Gary Sheffield, Albert Pujols
2….. Ralph Kiner, Jason Giambi, Todd Helton
1….. Hack Wilson, Hank Greenberg, Duke Snider, Norm Cash, Willie McCovey, Carl Yastrzemski, Reggie Smith, George Brett, Dwight Evans, Jeff Bagwell, Chipper Jones, Brian Giles, Luis Gonzales
There’s no doubt that Pujols is one of the game’s greatest players and is definitely one of its great hitters. Exactly where does he rank among the greatest hitters? You be the judge! In fact, send me your ranking of your three greatest hitters in major league history. We’ll see how the voting plays out.
SIX STATS you might not know about… Baseball’s six most unlikely LCS MVPs
“SIX STATS…” is a bonus feature of Sports Stats ‘on Tapp’ and is published every Friday.
Over the history of the American League Championship Series and the National League Championship Series, there have been many memorable moments and many memorable performances. Some of those performances have come from players who are currently enshrined in baseball’s Hall of Fame. Included in that group are seven Hall of Famers who were LCS MVPs in their career: Willie Stargell, Ozzie Smith, George Brett, Dennis Eckersley, Rickey Henderson, Kirby Puckett and Roberto Alomar.
Of the 65 players, however, who have received an LCS MVP honor, there have been a few players who were the unexpected stars of the series; players who, if you would have set odds at the beginning of the series on the possibility of them winning the ALCS or NLCS MVP, would not have received much consideration.
Here are my choices for the six most unlikely LCS MVPs. Let the debate begin…
1. Eddie Perez, Atlanta, 1999. Known as a defensive standout, Perez took over as the Braves starting catcher when Javy Lopez was injured in late July. He batted .249 with 30 RBI in 107 games. In the NLCS, Perez collected 10 hits in six games and batted .500 for the NLCS with two home runs and five RBIs. He had only one hit in eight at-bats in the World Series. He had a career .253 batting average in 564 games.
2. Sterling Hitchcock, San Diego, 1998. A left-handed pitcher, Hitchcock had a very average career with 74 win and 76 losses and a 4.80 ERA. In 1998, he had a 9-7 record. In the NLCS, however, Hitchcock pitched two games against the Braves, winning both. He compiled a 0.90 ERA with 14 strikeouts in 10 innings of work. He got a no decision in one game of work in the ’98 World Series. He won Game Five of the 2001 World Series as a member of the New York Yankees.
3. Craig Counsell, Arizona, 2001. A two-time World Champion with the Marlins and Diamondbacks, Counsell is probably best known for scoring the winning run for Florida in Game Seven of the the 1997 World Series. A career .255 hitter, Counsell hit .275 in 141 games with Arizona during the 2001 regular season. In the NLCS he went 8-for-21, batting .381 and scored five runs while driving in four to earn NLCS MVP. He collected only two hits in 24 at-bats in the World Series that year, although he did hit a solo HR.
4. Mike Devereaux, Atlanta, 1995. A fleet-footed outfielder, Devereaux was a late-August trade acquisition of the Atlanta Braves in 1995. He hit only .255 with the Braves that season, but had the game-winning RBI in Game One of the NLCS and hit a three-run HR in Game Four leading the Braves to a sweep of Cincinnati on his way to MVP honors. He had only one hit in the 1995 World Series. He was a career .254 hitter with 105 home runs.
5. Adam Kennedy, Anaheim, 2002. Kennedy proved that one great game can make you a playoff series MVP. After hitting only seven home runs in the regular season, Kennedy hit three HRs in the deciding fifth game of the ALCS as the Angels beat the Twins four games to one to make it into the 2002 Fall Classic. Kennedy hit .357 in the ALCS with all of his RBIs coming in Game Five. He hit .280 in the 2002 World Series. He is a career .272 hitter
6. Marty Barrett, Boston, 1986. The Red Sox second baseman played 10 seasons in the majors compiling a .278 career average. Not only did he win the ALCS MVP after hitting .367 in the Red Sox seven-game series win over Anaheim, he also starred in the World Series by hitting .433. In that ’86 playoffs he set a major league record with 24 hits in 14 playoff games. He was known as an excellent bunter and led the A.L. in sacrifice bunts three consecutive years. Even though he hit .367 and .433 in those two ’86 series, Barrett hit over .300 in only one season.
Did you know? Kirk Gibson, MVP of the 1984 ALCS, never played in an All-Star Game.
20-game winners: Will the drought continue for these teams?
Sports Stats ‘on Tapp’ is a biweekly blog published every Wednesday and Sunday
Just under half of the major league teams (14 of the 30 teams) have not had a 20-game winning pitcher on their staff in this century. Two teams, Colorado and Tampa Bay, have never had a 20-game winner. Of those teams that have had a 20-game winner in their franchise’s history, two teams, San Diego and Washington (previously Montreal) have not had a 20-game winner since 1978.
Following are the teams that have the longest drought since their last 20-game winner.
Team Last 20-game winner year, pitcher
San Diego 1978-Gaylord Perry
Washington* 1978-Ross Grimsley
Baltimore 1984-Mike Boddicker
Milwaukee 1986-Teddy Higuera
Cincinnati 1988-Danny Jackson
Kansas City 1989-Bret Saberhagen
LA Dodgers 1990-Ramon Martinez
NY Mets 1990-Frank Viola
Pittsburgh 1991-John Smiley
Detroit 1991-Bill Gullickson
Colorado 1993-Never had a 20-game winner
San Francisco 1993-Bill Swift/John Burkett
Tampa Bay 1998-Never had a 20-game winner
Texas 1998-Rick Helling
* Previously Montreal
Note: With less than 60 games to go in the current season, it looks like most of the teams above will go another year without a 20-game winner. The Tigers, however, with Justin Verlander‘s 14 wins and going for number 15 today, have a good chance to give Detroit its first 20-game winner since Gullickson in 1991. Outside chances for this year include the Dodgers (Clayton Kershaw-12 wins), Brewers (Yovani Gallardo-12 wins) and Pirates (Kevin Correia-12 wins).