With the season nearing the halfway point, it’s a good time to check on hitters that are on target for the triple milestones of a .300 batting average, 30 home runs and 100 RBIs and which pitchers are on a pace for 20 wins, 200 strikeouts and an ERA under 3.00.
Since pitchers have recorded a number of extraordinary feats this year, it’s not surprising that an unusually high number of pitchers are on track for the triple milestones. Last year, only two made it and this year there are five on track, the highest number since 1971, when Ferguson Jenkins, Tom Seaver, Vida Blue, Mickey Lolich and Wilbur Wood all made it.
Here are the pitchers that are on target for the triple milestones of 20 wins, 200 strikeouts and an ERA under 3.00 through games of June 24.
The two pitchers that made it last year and also captured the Triple Crown in their leagues, Justin Verlander and Clayton Kershaw, are again pitching well, but are short on wins.
While 2012 appears to be a pitchers year, a surprisingly high number of hitters are having standout seasons. Ten hitters are on target for triple milestones, up from seven that made it last year.
Of the seven who made it last year, only Ryan Braun and Miguel Cabrera are repeating in 2012. Matt Kemp, Jacoby Ellsbury and Troy Tulowitzki have been derailed by injuries. Paul Konerko is short of RBIs and Jose Bautista is not hitting for average this year.
Not all of the pitchers and players on these lists are likely to remain there at the end of the year due to the possibility of injuries, slumps or in some cases, regression to the norm. Also, there are several players like Matt Holliday, Robinson Cano, Prince Fielder and Adam Jones who are close and could join the list if they keep producing.
Where is Albert Pujols - who has 10 triple milestone seasons to his credit? At .259-11-44, he has a long ways to go - but don’t count him out.
Bill Gilbert is a baseball analyst and writer and member of the Society for American Baseball Research (SABR).