Repeating the Triple Crown

By Blaidd Drwg

Miguel Cabrera currently leads the American League in batting average (by a lot) and RBI (by a handful) and is second in HR (by a few), so I think it is safe to talk about the possibility of Miggy repeating his Triple Crown feat of 2012. The triple crown has been completed only 16 times in 125+ years of baseball and only 2 players have done it twice – Rogers Hornsby and Ted Williams. It got me thinking, how close has anyone actually gotten to completing back to back Triple Crowns? Thanks to baseball-reference.com, I can take a look:

 

Player Triple Crown Year Next Season Next Season AVG Next Season HR Next Season RBI AVG Behind(Ahead) HR Behind(Ahead) RBI Behind(Ahead)
Cabrera 2012 2013 1 2 1 (.027) 5 (5)
Yastrzemski 1967 1968 1 7 8 (.011) 19 35
F Robinson 1966 1967 2 4 3 .015 14 27
Mantle 1956 1957 2 3 6 .023 8 20
Williams 1947 1948 1 6 3 (.014) 14 28
Williams 1942 1946 2 2 2 .011 6 4
Medwick 1937 1938 4 6 1 .020 15 (6)
Gehrig 1934 1935 6 3 2 .020 6 51
Foxx 1933 1934 7 2 4 .029 5 35
Klein 1933 1934 * 5 * .051 15 55
Hornsby 1925 1926 * 7 6 .036 10 27
Hornsby 1922 1923 1 5 * (.013) 24 42
Cobb 1909 1910 2 2 2 .001 2 29
Lajoie 1901 1902 1 9 * (.002) 9 56
O’Neill 1887 1888 1 9 4 (.014) 8 5
Hines 1878 1879 1 5 5 (.009) 7 10

 

A couple of notes about the chart:

  • Next season refers to the season following their Triple Crown.
  • Next season AVG, HR, RBI refers to their league rank in each category in the season following their Triple Crown. An * means they were not in the top 10 in that category.
  • AVG, HR, RBI Behind (Ahead) refers to how far behind the leader they were in the season following the Triple Crown in each category. If the number is in (), it is how far ahead of the 2nd position they were in that category.
  • Cabrera’s ranks are through August 18th.
  • Ted Williams did not play in 1943 due to military service (or 1944 or 1945, which is why I used 1946).

It is interesting that no player has really come close to repeating the Triple Crown. Ty Cobb would be the one who was probably the closest, but he was a distant 2nd in the RBI race, so it really wasn’t all that close. You could make the argument that Ted Williams was closer, but it wouldn’t technically be back to back because of the 3 year gap. I wasn’t surprised to find that BA was the category that the player was most likely to lead the league in the next season, but it was a bit surprising to find that no triple crown player lead the league in HR the next season. I have a feeling that for most of these guys, their Triple Crown season represented their career year, which would go a long way to explaining that.

Can Miggy do it? It will be a fun ride over the next month and a half to find out.

Predicting the MLB Award Winners – the AL Edition

By Blaidd Drwd

It has been a fun season and the beauty of baseball is that we have the MLB awards to look forward to after the World Series, so we get to hold onto baseball just a little longer. I have decided to have some fun and try to predict the award winners. You will see two names for each aware – my vote is the guy who I would vote for and predicted winner is who I think the actual voters will pick. So here we go with the AL; the NL will follow later.

MVP – My Vote = Miguel Cabrera/ Predicted Winner = Miguel Cabrera

Cabrera has the Triple Crown and his team made the playoffs. He posted a 1.074 OPS in the second half of the season and was one of the main reasons for the Tigers run and eventual division title. He was the second best hitter in the AL according to offensive WAR but only 4th in overall WAR in the AL; and he didn’t even have the highest WAR on his team. Let’s face it; I think he is the last guy in baseball you want to face with the game on the line. I think the Triple Crown and the Tigers making the playoffs give him the vote.

The only other real contender in this race is Mike Trout. He lead all of baseball in both overall WAR (by 2.5 wins – that is a huge amount) and offensive WAR (by 1.1 wins), became the first rookie to score 100 runs, hit 30 HR and steal 40 bases and he did all of this missing the first month of the season when he was still in the minors. Oh, did I mention that he is only 20? I think the Angels not making the playoffs cost him the MVP – I really think he wins it if the Halos made the postseason.

ROY – My Vote = Mike Trout/ Predicted Winner = Mike Trout

The discussion begins and ends with Mike Trout. Trout had a WAR of 10.5, the next closest rookie? Yoenis Cespedes at 3.4.

He was really that much better than anyone else who was a rookie in 2012. Not only will Trout win, he will be a unanimous selection.

CY Young – My Vote = Justin Verlander/ Predicted Winner = David Price

This is one award that has a number of contenders with no one really a huge standout: David Price, Justin Verlander and Jered Weaver. Price and Weaver both won 20 games and were tied with an .800 win percentage. Price led the league in ERA, Weaver in WHIP. Verlander on the other hand was the only contender whose team made the playoffs and Verlander lead the league in IP, K CG and WAR. I think that those numbers are enough for me to give Verlander his second consecutive Cy Young, but voters like Wins and ERA and Price has the advantage in both of those, so I think the voters give it to him in a very close result.

It All Comes Down to This

By Blaidd Drwg

The playoffs are set, just a few teams jockeying for position.

Yankees and Orioles for the AL East – If the Yankees win, they win the division, so they control their own destiny. If they Orioles win and the Yankees lose, we get a tie breaker on Thursday. If the Orioles lose, the Yankees win the division.

Rangers and A’s for the AL West – man, this became a race all of a sudden. Both teams go into tonight’s game tied. The A’s are on fire, the Rangers are not. It should be a fun one to watch. The winner takes the division; the loser gets the wild card and has to fly cross country to play that game on Friday in NY or Baltimore if the Orioles win tonight.

The NL is set other than the Nats and Reds battling it out for the best record.

The most intriguing story line is Miguel Cabrera and his quest for the Triple Crown. Cabrera leads Mike Trout in BA by .007, Josh Hamilton in HR by 1 and Josh Hamilton in RBI by 11.

No one is going to catch Cabrera in RBI, so he has that one locked up.

For the HR’s, basically it is up to Hamilton. He needs 2 to take the lead and 1 to tie and is facing A’s rookie A.J Griffin. Hamilton has not homered in his last 8 games and has just 1 homer in 32 AB in Oakland this year. Cabrera should know if he has the HR title locked up before his game starts – the A’s/Rangers starts at 12:35 PM PT and the Tigers/Royals starts at 5:10 PM PT. I think I put my money on Cabrera winning this title outright as Hamilton won’t be swinging for the fences as the Rangers need to win this game.

BA is where it gets interesting. Trout faces the M’s and Blake Beavan this afternoon (3:40 PM PT start). Trout is a career 0-8 against Beavan and is just 12-41 at Safeco this season. If Trout manages to pull off a 4-4 afternoon, that would raise his average to .328571. Cabrera currently stands at .330645. Assuming that Trout goes 4-4, all Cabrera needs to do is to get 1 hit. It does not matter how many at bats he has. The only way that Cabrera does not win the title with a 4-4 day by Trout is if he goes 0-4 or worse. An 0-4 day would leave Cabrera at .328526 average, just a hair behind Trout. Cabrera should win this title too.

Regardless how you feel about the Triple Crown categories being over-rated, it is really cool to have something potentially happen that has not happened in 45 years.

 

UPDATE 3:54PM: Simply unbelievable – the A’s sweep the Rangers and take the division. The Nats get the NL best record and Cabrera locks up the HR and RBI titles. Mike Trout was hit by a pitch in his first at bat.