With the 2006 season entering its final 3 weeks, ten players are on target to achieve the triple crown milestones of a .300 batting average, 30 home runs and 100 runs batted in. This is the same number as in 2005 but is down from the 13 who were on target at mid-season.
Consistent with the clear superiority of the American League this year, 7 of the 10 players on target are from the American League. Four other American Leaguers are close enough to have a shot while 6 other National Leaguers are within range.
Jermaine Dye .328-41-112 First time.
Vladimir Guerrero .328-28-109 Needs a couple of homers.
Justin Morneau .320-33-118 Terrific second half.
Manny Ramirez .318-34-101 Manny being Manny for 9th time.
Paul Konerko .312-32-103 Another first timer.
Travis Hafner .308-42-117 His season is over. He's in.
Four others are close.
Joe Crede .298-29- 91 Breakout year.
Carlos Lee .296-32-103 Doing it in both leagues.
Jim Thome .293-39- 97 Can't quite get average to .300.
David Ortiz .288-48-127 Hit .301 and .300 last 2 years.
Three others were on-target at mid-season but have fallen off the pace.
Miguel Tejada .330-22- 92 Where are the homers?
Magglio Ordonez .293-19- 92 Has done it 4 times.
Alexis Rios .292-16- 69 Season ruined by injury.
Two others made it in 2005 but will fall short in 2006.
Alex Rodriguez .282-31-105 An off-year for 2005 MVP.
Mark Teixeira .276-27- 91 Very poor first half.
The three National League players on-target are all first basemen.
Albert Pujols .321-45-115 Sixth straight year.
Ryan Howard .316-56-133 Emerging superstar.
Lance Berkman .312-39-112 Aiming for 3rd time.
Six others are close enough to have a chance.
Miguel Cabrera .339-25-102 Needs 5 home runs.
Matt Holliday .336-28- 83 Needs RBIs.
Garrett Atkins .326-25- 95 Coming on strong.
Chase Utley .304-28- 83 May be short on RBIs.
Adam LaRoche .296-30- 83 Strong second half.
Alfonso Soriano .293-45- 86 Could also get 45 SBs.
One player was on target at mid-season but has fallen off the pace.
David Wright .311-24-106 Short on homers.
Three others made it in 2005 but will fall short in 2006.
Derrek Lee .288- 6- 19 Missed most of season with injury.
Jason Bay .282-32- 93 Batting average dropped off.
Carlos Delgado .264-37- 98 Good power but low average.
In 2004, ten minor league players achieved triple milestones and seven did it in 2005. It appears that none made it in 2006.
In each of the past three years, one major league pitcher has achieved the milestones of 20 wins, 200 strikeouts and an ERA under 3.00. In 2003, it was Esteban Loaiza, in 2004, Johan Santana did it, and last year Chris Carpenter was the man. It appears there will also be one in 2006. Johan Santana with 18 wins, 230 strikeouts and an ERA of 2.75 is on target for his second triple milestone season. No other pitchers are close.
Bill Gilbert is a baseball analyst and writer and member of the Society for American Baseball Research (SABR).