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Tuesday, June 05, 2018

Mike Trout Is on His Way to the Best Season Ever

On Sunday, Mike Trout went 0-for-3, failing to reach base via hit or walk for only the eighth time in a game he’s started this season. Even so, he helped his team win. With the Angels up 2-0 on Texas in the fifth, Delino DeShields drove a ball to the wall in left-center, 103 feet from where Trout was standing when the pitch left Tyler Skaggs’s hand. Based on the distance and direction of the wall and the ball, an average outfielder would have had only a 19 percent chance of corralling the probable extra-base hit, according to Statcast. But Trout made the grab, running a nearly direct route (104 feet) and reaching a top speed of 29 feet per second. It was the unlikeliest catch that Trout has recorded in the 2015-18 Statcast era, and the latest highlight of the multitime MVP’s consistently extraordinary season.

...

By going 3-for-5 on Saturday with a single, a triple, a home run, and a tag-evading stolen base so slick that it required a replay review to sort out, Trout propelled himself to 5.3 wins above replacement, 1.2 WAR ahead of anyone else on the Baseball-Reference leaderboard. That put him on pace for a 14.6-WAR season, which would surpass Babe Ruth’s 14.1 in 1923 as the best ever by a position player.

Yeah, Trout, what is there to say ...

Count Vorror Rairol Mencoon (CoB) Posted: June 05, 2018 at 10:13 AM | 126 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: angels, babe ruth, big fish, the one that got away

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   1. eric Posted: June 05, 2018 at 10:56 AM (#5686133)
4332 line last night with a walk. The Mike Trout of last year with improved defense and (fingers crossed) able to play a full season is quite a player.

In fact, adding last year plus this year (a little over one full season):

776PAs
.310/.445/.647
195 OPS+
144 R
40 2B
6 3B
52 HR
111 RBI
35/4 SB/CS
145 BB
12.2 WAR
   2. BDC Posted: June 05, 2018 at 11:07 AM (#5686138)
Trout won his first MVP award in 2014 while walking 83 times and striking out 184. I remember people being a little concerned about that, as his ratio was going in the wrong direction, and his BA was down that year. (Still, an OBP of .377 in a .316 league is not bad :)

September 2016 through June 2018, Trout has walked more than he's struck out, 170-162.
   3. Nasty Nate Posted: June 05, 2018 at 11:10 AM (#5686141)
He has an outside shot at the rare R/HR/AVG "triple crown." Does that have a name? The Splinter Triple Crown?
   4. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: June 05, 2018 at 11:16 AM (#5686144)
So #3 got me wondering about Three True Outcomes triple crowns, and sure enough, Judge had the ninth in history last year and first since Dale Murphy in 1985. What struck me was the K totals of the winners: Babe Ruth (four times) and Hack Wilson between 1923 and 1930 with 81-93 Ks per season, then Mantle in 1958 with 120, then Schmidt and Murphy in the '80s with 148 and 141, and finally Judge with 208 (!).
   5. Baldrick Posted: June 05, 2018 at 11:20 AM (#5686149)
By going 3-for-5 on Saturday with a single, a triple, a home run, and a tag-evading stolen base so slick that it required a replay review to sort out, Trout propelled himself to 5.3 wins above replacement, 1.2 WAR ahead of anyone else on the Baseball-Reference leaderboard.

This article from like 36 hours ago is already out of date. He's up to 5.5 now.
   6. Rally Posted: June 05, 2018 at 11:21 AM (#5686150)
I cut the first 13 games of 2017 off the numbers in post 1, that gives us Trout's last 162 games played.

.310/.449/.648
138 runs
36 2b
5 3b
49 hr
101 RBI
33/4 SB/CS
138 BB
125 K

I don't get what the big deal is. He's supposed to be so great and Albert Pujols so terrible. But 162 games and 101 RBI - the same total Albert had last year in only 149 games.
   7. Nasty Nate Posted: June 05, 2018 at 11:22 AM (#5686153)
What about leading in 2B-3B-HR in the same season? I checked the usual suspects and couldn't find anyone. Cobb and Hornsby came close.
   8. Mefisto Posted: June 05, 2018 at 11:33 AM (#5686162)
Musial missed by 1 HR in 1948.
   9. jacksone (AKA It's OK...) Posted: June 05, 2018 at 11:36 AM (#5686163)
...19 percent chance of corralling the probable extra-base hit, according to Statcast...It was the unlikeliest catch that Trout has recorded in the 2015-18 Statcast era...


This surprises me, I assumed Trout would have had a successful catch on a lower percentage ball. Guess I forget he is 'only' an average center fielder.
   10. eric Posted: June 05, 2018 at 11:51 AM (#5686174)
This surprises me, I assumed Trout would have had a successful catch on a lower percentage ball. Guess I forget he is 'only' an average center fielder.


Makes me wonder where those percentages are coming from. Shouldn't the 19 percent chance be based off an "average" CFer?

If those percentages are determined by "balls like that"/"balls like that that are caught" across all MLB (however "balls like that" is determined) then it could be something where Buxton gets them at a high percentage rate and everyone else gets them almost never, which means an average CFer has nearly a 0% chance.

Or to put it another way, Ruth, McGwire, et al, having 60 HR seasons doesn't mean an Ozzie Smith has a positive percentage chance of hitting 60 HR.
   11. Don August(us) Cesar Geronimo Berroa Posted: June 05, 2018 at 11:54 AM (#5686175)
What about leading in 2B-3B-HR in the same season? I checked the usual suspects and couldn't find anyone. Cobb and Hornsby came close.
   8. Mefisto Posted: June 05, 2018 at 11:33 AM (#5686162)
Musial missed by 1 HR in 1948.


The award Joey Votto wins every year as the best baseball player from Canada is named after the only player to ever lead in 2b-3b-hr in the same year.

Tip O'Neill
   12. Nasty Nate Posted: June 05, 2018 at 11:58 AM (#5686179)
Thank you sir!
   13. eric Posted: June 05, 2018 at 12:06 PM (#5686188)
re: Tip O'Neill

From 1887 to 1888, his average dropped exactly 100 points. He still led the league in BA in 1888. I'm guessing that's a record.
   14. Booey Posted: June 05, 2018 at 12:07 PM (#5686189)
I cut the first 13 games of 2017 off the numbers in post 1, that gives us Trout's last 162 games played.

.310/.449/.648
138 runs
36 2b
5 3b
49 hr
101 RBI
33/4 SB/CS
138 BB
125 K


Other than the K's being a bit high, that looks just like a peak 1990's Bonds season.
   15. jacksone (AKA It's OK...) Posted: June 05, 2018 at 12:12 PM (#5686192)
Makes me wonder where those percentages are coming from. Shouldn't the 19 percent chance be based off an "average" CFer?

If those percentages are determined by "balls like that"/"balls like that that are caught" across all MLB (however "balls like that" is determined) then it could be something where Buxton gets them at a high percentage rate and everyone else gets them almost never, which means an average CFer has nearly a 0% chance.


Catch % is based off the distance a fielder needs to travel and the time the ball is in the air (the timer actually starts from when the ball leaves the pitcher's hand). % is based on all positions, s that 19% wasn't just CF chances, but all fielders who needed to travel 104 ft in whatever time the ball was in the air.
   16. Mefisto Posted: June 05, 2018 at 12:12 PM (#5686193)
@14: Not peak, average. At least from 1991-8.
   17. Booey Posted: June 05, 2018 at 12:24 PM (#5686199)
@14: Not peak, average. At least from 1991-8.


Same thing. He was putting up almost the same numbers every year.

Bonds averages from 1992-1998, per 162:

.308/.446/.618 (185 OPS+)
127 runs
35 2B
6 3B
43 HR
121 RBI
37/11 SB/CS
138 BB
84 K

And once more for reference, Trout, last 162:

.310/.449/.648
138 runs
36 2B
5 3B
49 HR
101 RBI
33/4 SB/CS
138 BB
125 K

Can't get much closer than that.

   18. You Know Nothing JT Snow (YR) Posted: June 05, 2018 at 01:16 PM (#5686252)
So do we let Trout get on the Baroids juice just as an academic exercise? Would Barry give up the secret recipe?
   19. Eddo Posted: June 05, 2018 at 02:04 PM (#5686292)
re: Tip O'Neill

From 1887 to 1888, his average dropped exactly 100 points. He still led the league in BA in 1888. I'm guessing that's a record.

Baseball Reference has Cap Anson leading the league in 1888 (344 vs. 335 for O'Neill).
   20. DavidFoss Posted: June 05, 2018 at 02:12 PM (#5686298)
Baseball Reference has Cap Anson leading the league in 1888 (344 vs. 335 for O'Neill).

O'Neill played in the AA (still strong in 1887-88). Anson played in the NL.

Also, O'Neill's average in 1887 is using the modern rules. In 1887, they tried counting walks as hits for a year so it was originally calculated as .492. The abandoned that experiment and adjusted his AVG back to .435. I only mention this because .435 is still extremely high and I have to remind myself whether it is before or after this adjustment -- it is after.
   21. Cooper Nielson Posted: June 05, 2018 at 03:28 PM (#5686362)
What about leading in 2B-3B-HR in the same season?

Jim Rice led the AL in triples and HR in his 1978 MVP season, and in 1977 he was first in HR and second in triples (1 behind Rod Carew). This always struck me as strange because he wasn't really known as a speedster. But in those two seasons, he wasn't even in the top 10 in doubles.
   22. Nasty Nate Posted: June 05, 2018 at 03:42 PM (#5686373)
Jim Rice led the AL in triples and HR in his 1978 MVP season, and in 1977 he was first in HR and second in triples (1 behind Rod Carew). This always struck me as strange because he wasn't really known as a speedster. But in those two seasons, he wasn't even in the top 10 in doubles.
The strangest triples season is probably Evan Gattis' 11 in 2015. He had one prior and none since.
   23. CheersUnusualPlays Posted: June 05, 2018 at 04:20 PM (#5686399)
Tommy Leach led the league in 3B/HR one year
   24. Rally Posted: June 05, 2018 at 04:24 PM (#5686402)
That is weird. That Gattis season is like Bert Campaneris's 1970 HR total.

Campy hit 22 that year. Never hit more than 6 before, never more than 8 after, and he played 19 seasons.
   25. EddieA Posted: June 05, 2018 at 04:25 PM (#5686404)
If he is having the best season ever, his teammates must be terrible.
   26. PreservedFish Posted: June 05, 2018 at 04:44 PM (#5686424)
The strangest triples season is probably Evan Gattis' 11 in 2015. He had one prior and none since.


When he hit his 7th or 8th I read a brief interview with him where he said that the first few were flukes but that it changed his mindset permanently, now outta the box he just thinks triple and he makes it happen. I guess he forgot that mindset over the winter?
   27. Ulysses S. Fairsmith Posted: June 05, 2018 at 04:46 PM (#5686425)
When Roger Connor retired, he was the all-time leader in both home runs and triples.
   28. Steve Balboni's Personal Trainer Posted: June 05, 2018 at 05:52 PM (#5686479)
Among currently active MLB players, how would you rank Trout in terms of mainstream American fame (or name ID)?

I asked my wife who Mike Trout was the other day, and she had no idea. She could name about 5 NBA players, about 5 NFL players (mainly quarterbacks), no hockey players. She couldn't name anybody who wasn't on the Red Sox in MLB (they are the local team). She can name Tiger Woods, as well.
   29. Walt Davis Posted: June 05, 2018 at 06:00 PM (#5686485)
He had a good number regularly throughout his career but if we put together a sporcle list of NL season triples leaders, I bet it would take most folks a very long while to get 1964.

With the vast dimensions from LCF to RF plus the occasional weird bounce off the Monster, I'd assume Fenway is a pretty good triples park. But Rice doesn't have a major triples split and in those two particularly seasons, only half came at Fenway.
   30. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: June 05, 2018 at 06:08 PM (#5686489)
Among currently active MLB players, how would you rank Trout in terms of mainstream American fame (or name ID)?
Now that Jeter is retired, I would say Trout is probably tied with every other player at approximately zero. Maybe behind Ichiro. The sad fact is that baseball players are no longer known by non-baseball fans.

EDIT: Aaron Judge being the exception, maybe, but how many non-baseball fans in Nebraska or Alabama or wherever would know who Judge is? Not many? I have no real idea. I know that even non-fans here in Chicago know Rizzo and Bryant, but elsewhere?
   31. Pat Rapper's Delight (as quoted on MLB Network) Posted: June 05, 2018 at 06:18 PM (#5686496)
if we put together a sporcle list of NL season triples leaders, I bet it would take most folks a very long while to get 1964.

Tim McCarver?

Just remembering him as the answer to a trivia question of last or maybe only catcher to lead league in triples...
   32. Booey Posted: June 05, 2018 at 06:20 PM (#5686498)
Now that Jeter is retired, I would say Trout is probably tied with every other player at approximately zero. Maybe behind Ichiro. The sad fact is that baseball players are no longer known by non-baseball fans.


I was just going to post the same thing. Trout might very well be the most famous player in MLB, yet there might literally be no baseball players who transcend their sport into national fame anymore. Just like with hockey.

My wife couldn't name any current MLB or NHL players, though to be fair she can only name one NFL player (Tom Brady) and 3 or 4 non or never local (Jazz) NBA players; LeBron, Steph Curry, and Kevin Durant. Plus "that guy with the ugly beard who dated Khloe Kardashian" (James Harden). Not sure that last one really counts.
   33. Never Give an Inge (Dave) Posted: June 05, 2018 at 06:21 PM (#5686500)


Among currently active MLB players, how would you rank Trout in terms of mainstream American fame (or name ID)?


I asked my wife who Mike Trout was the other day, and she had no idea. She could name about 5 NBA players, about 5 NFL players (mainly quarterbacks), no hockey players. She couldn't name anybody who wasn't on the Red Sox in MLB (they are the local team). She can name Tiger Woods, as well.


ESPN has released a list of "most famous" athletes each year for the last three years. It's a global list and it looks like the formula is based on internet searches, endorsement money and social media following. There are zero baseball (or hockey) players on the list, which surprises me considering you have a fair number of American football players on there, as well as cricketers, a few swimmers, and even a female badminton player.

Tiger is still #6.

The formula must have changed after the first year, because in 2016, you had Harper at #71, Trout at #73, Ortiz at #78, Cano at #85, Cabrera at #88, Tanaka at #89, Pujols at #93, and Matt Kemp (?) at #100. But no baseball players in 2017 or 2018.

   34. Baldrick Posted: June 05, 2018 at 06:24 PM (#5686502)
If he is having the best season ever, his teammates must be terrible.

They are.

Simmons is also very good. Ohtani is good. Upton is decent. That's...about it.
   35. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: June 05, 2018 at 06:31 PM (#5686506)
Ortiz at #78,
Yeah, I guess he was probably the most recent player to be known among non-fans. Kemp was probably on the list because didn't he date Rihanna or some such? Maybe people have heard of Verlander because of Kate Upton?
   36. Nasty Nate Posted: June 05, 2018 at 06:31 PM (#5686507)
With the vast dimensions from LCF to RF plus the occasional weird bounce off the Monster, I'd assume Fenway is a pretty good triples park.
I think it's below average, actually. The vast dimensions don't start until RCF and I'd guess the short fence in right turns some would-be triples into rulebook doubles.
   37. Booey Posted: June 05, 2018 at 06:35 PM (#5686512)
Ortiz at #78,

Yeah, I guess he was probably the most recent player to be known among non-fans.


A-Rod retired the same year, and I think he was also somewhat known by non fans (mostly for negative reasons). Ichiro was a couple years more recent than either, though.
   38. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: June 05, 2018 at 06:37 PM (#5686513)
That's right, I forgot that ARod stuck around as long as Papi did. I included Ichiro as a maybe among active players.

EDIT: Huh, it turns out Ichiro got released earlier this year. I was in Mexico getting married so I missed what I assume was a long thread. This is terrible - now I'm down to one active player older than me. Press on, Bartolo!
   39. AndrewJ Posted: June 05, 2018 at 07:10 PM (#5686530)
Just remembering [McCarver] as the answer to a trivia question of last or maybe only catcher to lead league in triples...


A rookie Carlton Fisk led the AL in triples in 1972.

   40. cardsfanboy Posted: June 05, 2018 at 07:24 PM (#5686541)
EDIT: Huh, it turns out Ichiro got released earlier this year. I was in Mexico getting married so I missed what I assume was a long thread. This is terrible - now I'm down to one active player older than me. Press on, Bartolo!


Not released, started to work for the front office for the remainder of the season, but has no intention of retiring officially.
   41. Infinite Yost (Voxter) Posted: June 05, 2018 at 10:37 PM (#5686683)
Pretty sure you'll see Scratchiro playing in Japan next year. I'd personally be disappointed if that didn't happen.
   42. Kiko Sakata Posted: June 05, 2018 at 10:48 PM (#5686693)
Not released, started to work for the front office for the remainder of the season, but has no intention of retiring officially.


There was speculation - that may have even been confirmed by somebody in the Mariners' organization - that Ichiro will probably play when the Mariners play in Japan to open the 2019 season. My guess is that will be Ichiro's last appearance for a Major League Baseball team.
   43. Walt Davis Posted: June 05, 2018 at 11:19 PM (#5686709)
Tim McCarver?

1966, also an odd one. In fairness, the 1964 leader I'm looking for actually tied for the NL lead with Dick Allen ... so, no, Dick Allen isn't the guy either. Lou Brock and Vada Pinson tied for second that year.
   44. Walt Davis Posted: June 05, 2018 at 11:34 PM (#5686718)
Here's a somewhat useful graphic comparing park dimensions. Fenway of course starts crazy short on the RF line but juts out quickly and you can see it's RF is deeper than just about any other park. CF is the shortest but of course it keeps going in to that well and that's still a pretty big wall in CF if I remember right -- not sure if there's a yellow line out there in those days but I better there wasn't in Rice's day.

Link: https://www.mlb.com/cut4/the-dimensions-of-every-big-league-ballpark-in-this-cool-infographic/c-73642276

Somewhere out there on the web there used to be ... and surely there's a current version somewhere ... a table of HR factors by park and direction. Fenway absolutely destroyed HRs to CF and RF (except right down the line) and of course greatly inflated them for LF. My memory is that overall it plays about neutral for HRs but that's a function of (mainly) inflating them for pull RHB and reducing them for most LHB. Ortiz hit 241 at home (19-21 in the Dome), 300 on the road (0-2 at Fenway). Williams 248 to 273 although he dealt with quite different road parks in his day; Mo 118/112 in his Boston years.
   45. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: June 06, 2018 at 01:46 AM (#5686758)
Not released, started to work for the front office for the remainder of the season, but has no intention of retiring officially.
Well, bbref said released, and his numbers agreed unanimously and overwhelmingly.
   46. SandyRiver Posted: June 06, 2018 at 08:36 AM (#5686793)
I think it's below average, actually. The vast dimensions don't start until RCF and I'd guess the short fence in right turns some would-be triples into rulebook doubles.


It's 385 to straightaway right; is it more distant in any other park (other than Coors, perhaps?) Hits down the line that neither hop over the low wall nor carom directly at the RF-er make for triples opportunity. Benintendi has a few like that this season. A much slower Mitch Moreland has one as well, though the fielder's brief fumble while picking up the ball helped. The Monster probably adds twice as many flyball HRs as it steals from ripped LDs. And there's no HR line on the tall OF wall between the Monster and the bullpens - can't remember there ever being one.
   47. , Posted: June 06, 2018 at 08:45 AM (#5686802)
How many of those deadball guys' HRs were inside the park? I'd think that was pretty common and the difference between a triple and an inside the park homer are pretty small.

But I could be wildly off-base with the thought.
   48. Nasty Nate Posted: June 06, 2018 at 08:57 AM (#5686814)
I think it's below average, actually. The vast dimensions don't start until RCF and I'd guess the short fence in right turns some would-be triples into rulebook doubles.


It's 385 to straightaway right...
I was referring to the triangle, and meant that the deep parts "start" in RCF if we are coming from the direction of LF, because upthread someone referenced LCF to RF.
   49. Endless Trash Posted: June 06, 2018 at 09:06 AM (#5686822)
Okay, someone needs to explain this Gattis thing because that is the most bonkers thing I have ever seen.

I mean players have weird homerun spikes all the time, but eleven triples? And you have twelve in your career? That demands an explanation.
   50. BDC Posted: June 06, 2018 at 10:53 AM (#5686887)
I went searching for "triples spikes" since WW2 but there was nothing quite to match Gattis. Dick Groat had an odd year when he first went to the Cardinals, in 1963. He had career highs in both triples (11) and doubles (43, to lead the league) at the age of 32. His previous highs had been 9 and 36 though (albeit in 1958), so that was not way out of line for Groat.

Brandon Crawford led the NL in triples in 2016 with 11, and has hit two since. Crawford did have a 10-triple season in 2014, though (4 in 2015). Crawford and Groat are both in the Lou Boudreau category, of guys highly regarded as defensive shortstops who aren't particularly speed merchants, though Crawford has decent power.
   51. Cooper Nielson Posted: June 06, 2018 at 11:20 AM (#5686912)
It's not so extreme, as he only had 4 more than his previous career high and Comerica often plays as a triples park, but it was weird to see Nicholas Castellanos lead the league in triples last year with 10.

Prior to 2017, in 423 games, he had just 14 triples and was 3/6 in SB/CS. Not exactly Lance Johnson.
   52. Barry`s_Lazy_Boy Posted: June 06, 2018 at 11:31 AM (#5686918)
Someone put together a video of all 12 Gattis career triples:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kaLoS8_9My8

It seems like a lot of luck contributed to a good year of hitting. My own interpretation.

San Fran deep RCF
Detroit deep RCF
Detroit RF corner with fortunate bounce to deaden ball
Houston LCF lucky bounce off CF mitt
Houston CF falls down on gimmicky hill
Houston CF, just a tiny bit of gimmicky hill
KC RCF, CFer deflects the ball
Houston LCF high off wall with weird yellow line
SF LCF, CF drops attempted catch right at top of wall
Houston deep RCF
Houston deep LCF off gimmicky wall
Seattle liner at RF who fell down, should have been three-base E9

Bonus video: Gattis grounds into triple play due to Base Abandonment
   53. Ithaca2323 Posted: June 06, 2018 at 11:50 AM (#5686938)
Edit- #52 shows I may be wrong about Gattis' season, but, in general, I think a lot of hitters, but especially slow runners, probably just automatically pencil in a double on any ball hit down the line or in the gap, and go out of the box accordingly. It strikes me as very likely that they might leave a few on the table every year because of that.

I think this clip is interesting, because, on several of these, you can see guys sprinting out of the box and running very hard the whole way, considering it's often late in a blowout. My completely unscientific analysis would say that, were these hitters not a triple short of the cycle during these ABs, quite a few of these hits would be doubles.

It's sort of weird, but I almost feel like sometimes, doubles are treated the same as a routine groundout. It's pretty apparent off the bat what's about to happen, everybody gives like 80% effort, the play ends as we'd expect. So then you get a guy like Gattis, or the "triple short of a cycle" guys, who just decide to go max effort from contact, and you can kind of take people by surprise and sneak in some three-baggers
   54. CheersUnusualPlays Posted: June 06, 2018 at 11:54 AM (#5686944)
re #47, Wiki has this about Tommy Leach; seems plausible, but I am sure citation needed

In 1902, while with the Pirates, he led the National League in home runs with a total of six. Each one was of the inside-the-park variety, which was not unusual in the "dead-ball era". 49 of Tommy Leach's 63 career home runs were inside-the-park, which is still a National League record.

Sam Crawford's wiki has this:
He was one of the greatest sluggers of the dead-ball era and still holds the Major League records for triples in a career (309) and inside-the-park home runs in a season (12). He has the second best all-time record for most inside-the-park home runs in a career (51)

Small sample size, but I would guess the majority of HR were inside-the park


   55. AuntBea calls himself Sky Panther Posted: June 06, 2018 at 12:00 PM (#5686948)
Small sample size, but I would guess the majority of HR were inside-the park
I would find baseball much more interesting if there were no outfield fence and the outfield extended indefinitely.
   56. PreservedFish Posted: June 06, 2018 at 12:01 PM (#5686949)
I watched the Gattis video!

There were more than a few total flukes. A few no-doubt triples that nearly anyone would have legged out, hit into deep deep gaps. But there were 2-3 that wouldn't have happened had Gattis not been hustling.
   57. JAHV Posted: June 06, 2018 at 12:01 PM (#5686950)
Someone put together a video of all 12 Gattis career triples:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kaLoS8_9My8


Thank you for that! A couple of things I love:

1. Evan Gattis doesn't wear batting gloves. I know most people are aware of that, but as someone who tried wearing batting gloves and hated it, I always appreciate the guys (Gattis, Vlad) who don't wear them.

2. Gattis busted his butt out of the box on all but one of those hits, even though there were a good chunk of them that were hit hard enough to potentially be a homerun. I know, I know, get off my lawn and all that, but a big part of my issue with batters showboating on a homerun is that sometimes it isn't a homerun! Get out of the box hard and see what happens! I'm pulling this number out of my butt, but I feel like 5% of doubles could be triples if guys ran hard out of the box. Okay, maybe 5% is too many. Maybe 2%. But there could be more triples!

Edit: Coke to Ithaca who basically said the same thing. Too often guys settle for a double when it could be more. Also after watching the "Triple short of the cycle" video, I miss 80's baseball.
   58. Tom Nawrocki Posted: June 06, 2018 at 12:02 PM (#5686951)
I think this clip is interesting, because, on several of these, you can see guys sprinting out of the box and running very hard the whole way, considering it's often late in a blowout. My completely unscientific analysis would say that, were these hitters not a triple short of the cycle during these ABs, quite a few of these hits would be doubles.


I agree with that, but on the other hand, because they're late in a blowout, it's safe to say that may of those hitters aren't being tactically optimal. In a one-run game, several of them wouldn't have risked making the first out of the inning at third base. But if it's 13-4 in the 8th inning, you might as well go for it.
   59. Ithaca2323 Posted: June 06, 2018 at 12:03 PM (#5686953)
To add on to my last post, I think of the infamous Alex Gordon play in the WS. Everything seems to indicate he'd have been out by forever had he tried to go for the HR. But that's partially because he probably wasn't going at a dead sprint right away, when the ball looked like it was either going to be an out or a single. And honestly, I wonder if he was then thinking triple until the ball got booted a second time behind him. How might the play have gone differently had he been psychic, seen what was going to happen, and decided to go 100% from the moment of contact?

   60. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: June 06, 2018 at 12:05 PM (#5686956)
as someone who tried wearing batting gloves and hated it
They probably weren't tight enough. Try unfastening and refastening them after every pitch.
   61. JAHV Posted: June 06, 2018 at 12:10 PM (#5686962)
I would find baseball much more interesting if there were no outfield fence and the outfield extended indefinitely.


It would make baseball more interesting! How deep would you play Mike Trout? That just means he ends up with a bunch of hustle doubles, which are more fun than homeruns.
   62. Steve Parris, Je t'aime Posted: June 06, 2018 at 12:11 PM (#5686963)
Is there an unwritten rule against going for the triple late in a blowout? I wouldn't be shocked.
   63. JAHV Posted: June 06, 2018 at 12:13 PM (#5686966)
They probably weren't tight enough. Try unfastening and refastening them after every pitch.


Should I also do a routine where I pull on them and tap my hand three times? I feel like that might help.
   64. PreservedFish Posted: June 06, 2018 at 12:19 PM (#5686969)
I would find baseball much more interesting if there were no outfield fence and the outfield extended indefinitely.


If this were literally true, just imagine how profoundly the game would change. It's a fun thing to think about. Would we still have 3 outfielders most of the time?
   65. PreservedFish Posted: June 06, 2018 at 12:21 PM (#5686971)
Get out of the box hard and see what happens! I'm pulling this number out of my butt, but I feel like 5% of doubles could be triples if guys ran hard out of the box.


Rickey's single-season high was 7. Wonder how many he could have hit had he been trying. He also might have been thinking, "I'll end up on third anyway, what's the rush?"
   66. My name is Votto, and I love to get blotto Posted: June 06, 2018 at 12:26 PM (#5686979)
Among currently active MLB players, how would you rank Trout in terms of mainstream American fame (or name ID)?


My wife does not follow sports at all, but knows about Otani. She might recognize a few of the Braves names*, although we haven't been to a game since they left Turner Field.



*during last year's World Series when the Dodgers pitchers were getting lit up, she suggested they bring in Bob Wickman.
   67. AuntBea calls himself Sky Panther Posted: June 06, 2018 at 12:29 PM (#5686981)
If this were literally true, just imagine how profoundly the game would change. It's a fun thing to think about. Would we still have 3 outfielders most of the time?
At the very least it would place a higher value on speed and arm strength, and would certainly increase the number of balls in play. You would also expect players to hustle a bit more out of the batter's box. And there would be a lot of relay throws from the outfield. Players would probably start to emphasize contact more again.

On the other hand, no dingers. At this point for me that would probably be a positive as well.
   68. eric Posted: June 06, 2018 at 12:29 PM (#5686982)
I definitely agree there would be more triples if batters went hard out of the box on every hit. Someone above surmised that 5% of doubles could be stretched to triples; I wouldn't be surprised if the actual percentage were even a bit higher than that.

However, I'm not convinced it's necessarily the right play. In order to maximize the number of bases a player gets on every hit, he has to run full speed at every moment, even those with an extremely low likelihood of resulting in an extra base. That means, in order for a batter to get those 2-4 extra triples per season (that is, 2-4 extra bases, since most of those presumably would have been doubles) he has to dramatically increase his energy expenditures throughout the entire season.

As anyone who has done HIIT or sprinting knows, the difference between going 80/90% and going 100% has dramatic effects on one's endurance. Even professional athletes juiced to the gills aren't immune. Is going 100% all the time and therefore having reduced effectiveness later in a game, and later in the (loooong) season really worth it for 2-4 extra bases?

I'm perfectly fine with players going 80/90% on plays that have a 95%+ likelihood of not changing even at 100% effort if it keeps those players fresher and able to perform at peak levels when necessary. Now, two outs in the bottom of the 9th inning of game 7 of the World Series, players had better go 100% with every step. But otherwise, decisions should be made not for maximizing the outcome of any one single play, but for maximizing a player's total value throughout the entire season.
   69. PreservedFish Posted: June 06, 2018 at 12:31 PM (#5686986)
I'd be fine with the fences moving way back. Homeruns are great, but they weren't any less great back in the 80s when 30 in a season was a prodigious total.
   70. dlf Posted: June 06, 2018 at 12:54 PM (#5687003)
... but they weren't any less great back in the 80s when 30 in a season was a prodigious total.


Reggie Jackson, the most influential power hitter of my youth went into the 40s twice. Mike Schmidt, the best power hitter of that generation, did it thrice. When I was 9, the AL leader had 32! And since we all know that baseball was at its best when I was 8-14, by golly these are the numbers that we should be looking for.
   71. BDC Posted: June 06, 2018 at 12:55 PM (#5687004)
Is going 100% all the time and therefore having reduced effectiveness later in a game, and later in the (loooong) season really worth it for 2-4 extra bases?

I don't necessarily disagree, but there are counter-examples. Pete Rose led the league in doubles five times, between ages 33 and 39. As you might imagine just from that context, he didn't really do it with either speed or power (in fact his doubles totals went way up as his triples and home runs were both declining). I watched him a lot in those years, and his strategy was simple: run out of the box like a madman, and if there's the slightest chance that the outfielder is going to play a base hit for a nonchalant single, get to second base before the ball does. (He very rarely got thrown out at second after hitting a single: you can look this up, though it takes a while on B-Ref, combing through the hit finders. So it was a good percentage play, not just hyperactivity.)

Rose played 160 games a year and hit .303 for his career, .304 lifetime in September, .321 lifetime in the postseason. Juiced to the gills may well have been part of the equation :) But it does suggest that some guys can be very effective adopting the extra-base approach.
   72. Pat Rapper's Delight (as quoted on MLB Network) Posted: June 06, 2018 at 12:57 PM (#5687007)
I would find baseball much more interesting if there were no outfield fence and the outfield extended indefinitely.

I'd sure get a kick of out watching OFs dive into McCovey Cove to chase splash BIP, fighting the kayakers and bystanders who also dive for them.
   73. stig-tossled, hornswoggled gef the typing mongoose Posted: June 06, 2018 at 12:58 PM (#5687010)
When I was 9, the AL leader had 32!


Without checking (which I will remedy momentarily), that's gotta be Bill Melton in ... '72?




ETA: Nope ... 33 for Melton in '71. Leaders had 32 in '65, '73, '74 & '76.
   74. dlf Posted: June 06, 2018 at 01:01 PM (#5687013)
Without checking (which I will remedy momentarily), that's gotta be Bill Melton in ... '72?


How old do you think I am, jerk?!?!? Nettles in '76.
   75. Tom Nawrocki Posted: June 06, 2018 at 01:06 PM (#5687020)
Bill Melton hit 33 in 1971. I remember that primarily because it was the first time any White Sox player had ever led the league on homers.
   76. Tom Nawrocki Posted: June 06, 2018 at 01:08 PM (#5687022)
However, I'm not convinced it's necessarily the right play.


Also, consider that it's unwise to make the first or third out of an inning at third base. That means it only makes sense to try to stretch a double into a triple, when the play is likely to be close, if there's one out.
   77. dlf Posted: June 06, 2018 at 01:13 PM (#5687027)
From '70 to '85, omitting the strike season, the league leader averaged just a hair under 40.5 per season. There were 15 league leading totals that started with a 3 and one that started with a 5.
   78. Hysterical & Useless Posted: June 06, 2018 at 01:16 PM (#5687032)
I didn't see anybody give the (surprising) 1964 NL triples leader, Ron Santo. So I will:

Ron Santo.
   79. Pat Rapper's Delight (as quoted on MLB Network) Posted: June 06, 2018 at 01:20 PM (#5687037)
Is Santo that surprising? Was he really slow? I mean, when he had legs, of course.
   80. JimMusComp likes Billy Eppler.... Posted: June 06, 2018 at 01:43 PM (#5687060)
#79 is awful, and hilarious - all at once.

Well played?
   81. Rally Posted: June 06, 2018 at 01:56 PM (#5687067)
On the other hand, no dingers. At this point for me that would probably be a positive as well.


You'd still have plenty of dingers. Just of the inside the park variety. Any hard hit ball that gets through the outfield gaps or over an OF's head would probably be a homerun for a fast runner.

You would need a lot more speed in the outfield. This means selecting smaller, faster athletes instead of the big slow long ball hitters.
   82. eric Posted: June 06, 2018 at 03:00 PM (#5687125)
I don't necessarily disagree, but there are counter-examples. Pete Rose led the league in doubles five times, between ages 33 and 39. As you might imagine just from that context, he didn't really do it with either speed or power (in fact his doubles totals went way up as his triples and home runs were both declining). I watched him a lot in those years, and his strategy was simple: run out of the box like a madman, and if there's the slightest chance that the outfielder is going to play a base hit for a nonchalant single, get to second base before the ball does. (He very rarely got thrown out at second after hitting a single: you can look this up, though it takes a while on B-Ref, combing through the hit finders. So it was a good percentage play, not just hyperactivity.)

Rose played 160 games a year and hit .303 for his career, .304 lifetime in September, .321 lifetime in the postseason. Juiced to the gills may well have been part of the equation :) But it does suggest that some guys can be very effective adopting the extra-base approach.


I agree that juiced to the gills probably factors in there, but, as well, stretching a single into a double has significantly more value than stretching a double into a triple (scoring position, no GIDP). As well, there are considerably more chances to stretch a single into a double than double to triple. Then, to see if you have a chance to get to third requires twice the "all-out" run of seeing if you have a chance to get to 2nd.

And, as Tom pointed out:

Also, consider that it's unwise to make the first or third out of an inning at third base. That means it only makes sense to try to stretch a double into a triple, when the play is likely to be close, if there's one out.


So the inherent strategic risks, not even counting the cumulative effects on the runner, are there, as well. Then, of course, there is the increased injury risk.

And, that was Pete Rose, who was an outlier in many ways.

So, in short, I agree that the question of when players should go all out vs saving themselves to some degree will have a nuanced answer, but I think that the costs of going for a very occasional triple probably outweigh the benefits of success in many situations.

Re: ITPHR--I also would love to see at least one official MLB game played in a park with no outfield walls. If they play games in Japan and the UK and wherever, why not play one in an open field?
   83. Don August(us) Cesar Geronimo Berroa Posted: June 06, 2018 at 03:12 PM (#5687136)
If he is having the best season ever, his teammates must be terrible.


I think it has been mentioned that Kole Calhoun has played regularly, and has an OPS+ of 5. I see an "oblique injury" has finally gotten him on the DL.
   84. Barry`s_Lazy_Boy Posted: June 06, 2018 at 04:48 PM (#5687217)
Is Santo that surprising? Was he really slow?

He insisted on clicking his heels after rounding each base.
   85. BDC Posted: June 06, 2018 at 04:59 PM (#5687224)
I also would love to see at least one official MLB game played in a park with no outfield walls. If they play games in Japan and the UK and wherever, why not play one in an open field?

They've played basketball games on the decks of aircraft carriers. Maybe play Kole Calhoun in deep right field and achieve two goals at once.
   86. Never Give an Inge (Dave) Posted: June 06, 2018 at 07:35 PM (#5687297)
If he is having the best season ever, his teammates must be terrible.

Just to pile on this, it's not like the numbers don't add up for the Angels and there's some reason to think Trout's value is overstated. If you add up the WAA for all the players on the Angels each year it usually jibes with their win total, within a reasonable margin of error. Sometimes it's a few wins higher, sometimes a few lower, but there is no pattern of the Angels underperforming based on the quality of their players. Other 2014, when they won 98 games (and outperformed their underlying WAA), his teammates have been pretty terrible.
   87. Endless Trash Posted: June 07, 2018 at 02:10 AM (#5687542)
I can buy the explanation that gattis started going balls to the wall on every hard hit because he started trying for triples once it became a thing, but why did he stop? How has he not had one since?!

Baseball, what a crazy game.
   88. Hank Gillette Posted: June 07, 2018 at 03:58 AM (#5687546)
I would find baseball much more interesting if there were no outfield fence and the outfield extended indefinitely.


As a fan, those outfield bleacher seats would really suck.
   89. Hank Gillette Posted: June 07, 2018 at 04:06 AM (#5687547)
As anyone who has done HIIT or sprinting knows, the difference between going 80/90% and going 100% has dramatic effects on one's endurance. Even professional athletes juiced to the gills aren't immune. Is going 100% all the time and therefore having reduced effectiveness later in a game, and later in the (loooong) season really worth it for 2-4 extra bases?


One could say the same thing about trying to steal a lot of bases. He usually did better, but the year Rickey Henderson stole 130 bases, his success rate was 75.6%. 172 stolen base attempts, and it barely helped his team at all. How much better could he have been by saving all that energy and staying on first (or second)?
   90. , Posted: June 07, 2018 at 08:59 AM (#5687563)
On the other hand, no dingers. At this point for me that would probably be a positive as well.

No walls will be hard to do but there is no reason, at this point, not to move every wall back 30 or 40 feet. As I argue anytime it comes up, if you make small changes to encourage contact, you'll eventually see a drop in TTO players and strategy.
   91. Lassus Posted: June 07, 2018 at 09:02 AM (#5687565)
No walls will be hard to do but there is no reason, at this point, not to move every wall back 30 or 40 feet.

Honestly, 10-20 feet would probably suffice, and be less jarring.
   92. PreservedFish Posted: June 07, 2018 at 09:11 AM (#5687568)
10-20 feet would make a difference in outcomes but I don't think it would make a difference in the players' mindsets. If you're Jonny Schoop or some other infielder that lives on the 20 homeruns you can hit, it's not going to be easy to just overhaul your swing and approach overnight. Remember, we already have the evidence of the extreme shift, where hitters are given an extreme and obvious incentive to change their approach, and few of them ever do.

If there were a change, it would probably very gradual and subtle. Very few would just say, "I'm gonna try and put the ball in play more now." It would just be the slow process of organic, incremental change as hitters do this or that and subconsciously respond to the results, over generations. The amazing example here is three point line in the NBA, which wasn't properly utilized for about 30 years. Maybe it still isn't being properly utilized now, maybe in 20 years Steph Curry will not be anywhere close to the single-season attempts record.
   93. Lassus Posted: June 07, 2018 at 09:14 AM (#5687569)
Yeah, I answered a question that hadn't been asked, fair.
   94. Benji Gil Gamesh VII - The Opt-Out Awakens Posted: June 07, 2018 at 09:20 AM (#5687573)
No walls will be hard to do but there is no reason, at this point, not to move every wall back 30 or 40 feet.
This will be radical and expensive to implement, and I see no reason to do this before making deliberate, subtle changes to the ball.

This may be just me, but in the last few years there seem to be many, many instances where off the bat, my eye/instinct says "there's no way that's going out"...and then it does. Or that it's clear it's going out, but where it lands is surprising (JD Martinez' HR off the tower the other night is an example).

I'm aware that I'm probably falling victim to confirmation bias, but the results of that recent study that pointed to the reduced drag of the ball made implicit sense to me for that reason.
   95. PreservedFish Posted: June 07, 2018 at 09:22 AM (#5687574)
I mean, just changing the outcomes might be worthwhile. I'd be interested in that. It would be pretty easy to do the math on how much it would cut down homerun rate - although it's anybody's guess how many of those would turn into hits and how many outs.

This may be just me, but in the last few years there seem to be many, many instances where off the bat, my eye/instinct says "there's no way that's going out"...and then it does.

100% agreed.
   96. Rally Posted: June 07, 2018 at 09:23 AM (#5687576)
10-20 feet would make a difference in outcomes but I don't think it would make a difference in the players' mindsets. If you're Jonny Schoop or some other infielder that lives on the 20 homeruns you can hit, it's not going to be easy to just overhaul your swing and approach overnight. Remember, we already have the evidence of the extreme shift, where hitters are given an extreme and obvious incentive to change their approach, and few of them ever do.


Maybe not change player approach but it would change who gets to play. In the current game I might want Jorge Soler as a corner OF. If I also have Jarrod Dyson I'd use him in a bench role, defensive replacement. Take away the fences and Soler sits while Dyson starts.
   97. SoSH U at work Posted: June 07, 2018 at 09:23 AM (#5687577)
Maybe it still isn't being properly utilized now, maybe in 20 years Steph Curry will not be anywhere close to the single-season attempts record.


And if that's the case, won't the NBA be in the same position we're in now when it comes to homers and whether the approach teams take is creating a game that's less watchable (if the NBA isn't already getting close to that point - I don't watch it, so I wouldn't know)? But a game where nothing but 3s are launched doesn't sound very appealing.
   98. Howie Menckel Posted: June 07, 2018 at 09:31 AM (#5687584)
Pete Rose led the league in doubles five times, between ages 33 and 39. As you might imagine just from that context, he didn't really do it with either speed or power (in fact his doubles totals went way up as his triples and home runs were both declining). I watched him a lot in those years, and his strategy was simple: run out of the box like a madman, and if there's the slightest chance that the outfielder is going to play a base hit for a nonchalant single, get to second base before the ball does.

this never gets mentioned anymore, so for you youngsters: Rose would sprint to first base AFTER A WALK.

his book was called "Charlie Hustle."
I didn't find it that impressive, but also not really a negative. just kind of weird.
   99. PreservedFish Posted: June 07, 2018 at 09:36 AM (#5687590)
96 - Agreed, and teams are smarter than they used to be, so they'd attack the question before April 1. Unlike in previous generations.
97 - Agreed
   100. , Posted: June 07, 2018 at 10:32 AM (#5687654)
@98: sprinting after a walk was neutral (not the massive positive it was made out to be). Busting his ass out of the box was probably more positive than new age thinking allows.
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