Amid all the talk of Robinson Cano having an MVP type season for the New York Yankees this season, there is a possibility that there may be a legitimate shot at someone achieving the batting Triple Crown for the first time in 43 years. To clarify, the batting Triple Crown is achieved by one person leading the league in the following categories: Batting Average, Home Runs and Runs Batted In. This milestone has been reached by only 14 players with Carl Yastrzemski of the Boston Red Sox being the last to do so in 1967. The Triple Crown has happened nine times in the American League while only five times in the National League. Two players have won the Triple Crown twice: Ted Williams (1942, 1947) of the Boston Red Sox and Rogers Hornsby (1922, 1925) of the St. Louis Cardinals. The remaining list is full of baseball royalty such as Nap Lajoie, Ty Cobb, Jimmie Foxx, Lou Gehrig, Mickey Mantle, Frank Robinson, Chuck Klein and Joe Medwick among others. So who among the current crop of Major League players in is contention? Read on.
- Miguel Cabrera
Last season, Cabrera garnered the one first place vote for MVP that did not go to eventual league MVP Joe Mauer. This season he continues the torrid pace with a .337 average (currently 3rd place behind Josh Hamilton .347 and Justin Morneau .342), 22 homers (currently tied for 2nd place behind Jose Bautista 25) and is first in RBI's with 79.
- Josh Hamilton of the Texas Rangers
Hamilton continues to write the story of his miraculous comeback from drug abuse and adversity by currently leading the majors with a .347 average, has 22 homers (currently tied for 2nd place behind Jose Bautista 25) and has 66 RBI's (currently 7th).
-Vladimir Guerrero of the Texas Rangers
Arguably the longshot of the three to win the Triple Crown, Guerrero has re-established himself as an offensive force in baseball after a number of injury plagued seasons with the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim (I really hate having to call the Angels that, LOL). Guerrero is batting .322 (currently 8th) with 20 homers (currently 11th) and 76 RBI (currently 2nd behind Miguel Cabrera)
There you go folks, here is a listing of some of the dominant well-rounded hitting in the post "*" baseball landscape (as my friend Harper refers to the "steroid" era) during the recently christened Year of the Pitcher. And speaking of the Year of the Pitcher.
-The National League ERA race
Ubaldo Jimenez generated the early season buzz in terms of a low ERA. As I posted on my Latinoball blog page on June 13, 2010 called Ubaldo Jimenez is Chasing History at the time Jimenez was 12-1 with 1.16 ERA. This placed him in the company of such pitchers as Juan Marichal and Eddie Cicotte while being in mentioned in the discussion of possibly reaching the pinnacle that Bob Gibson accomplished in 1968: 1.12 ERA. Since then, Jimenez is still on pace for an over 20-win season. He is currently 15-1 with a 2.20 ERA in 127 innings pitched with 3 complete games. Jimenez has 113 K's, 46 BB's and has given up 87 hits for a WHIP of 1.05. This is definitely not shabby in the least but Josh Johnson of the Florida Marlins has stepped his game up to trump Jimenez.
Johnson is currently 10-3 with a league leading 1.62 ERA in 128 innings pitched with 1 complete game. Johnson has 130 K's with only 28 BB's and has given up 96 hits for a WHIP of 0.97. This is especially impressive since the Florida Marlins are not an offensive force and Johnson has single-handed done his best to balance the lack of offense with a lack of runs allowed. In his last 10 starts, Johnson is 6-2 with a 0.76 ERA in 71 innings pitched. Johnson has only given up 6 earned runs in those last 10 starts. What is a shame is that in both losses in that stretch, Johnson has given up only 2 earned runs in 15 innings pitched (one was a 2-1 loss to the San Diego Padres and the other was a 1-0 loss where Roy Halliday pitched a perfect game for the Phillies). It gets even worse for Johnson. During the two no-decisions that he is credited with during that stretch, Johnson gave up only 2 earned runs in 14 innings pitched. That is truly amazing feat of pitching in a situation where run support is limited. But that's not all. Let me shed light on one more pitcher.
Adam Wainwright of the St. Louis Cardinals should not be left out of the discussion. Wainwright is currently 14-5 with a 2.02 ERA in 142.1 inning pitched with 4 complete games and 1 shutout. Wainwright has 130 K's, 30 BB's with 107 hits for a WHIP of 1.00. Wainwright poses a serious threat to both Jimenez and Johnson in the Cy Young award race. I'm thinking he's salivating for another crack at the award especially since he went 19-8 with a 2.63 ERA last season with the award going to San Francisco's Tim Lincecum.
As with the Triple Crown race in the AL, it'll be interesting to see which one of the three pitchers I highlighted will come out on top in the NL.
For Further Reading:
- Click Here for a listing of the Triple Crown Winners from Baseball Almanac.com