Three’s are nice. There is the Holy Trinity, the outs in a half inning, or the fact that three is a pleasing number for the eye to see in a painting. Building on that theme, I will break down three of the best hitters in baseball in what follows.
Troy Tulowitzki has been on fire, an if you weren’t aware of that you must be wearing your football jersey around each day paying no attention to the diamond. Tulo is hitting .351 over his lst 43 games, and over his last 48 games he has a 1.108 OPS. Those numbers are massive (duh). He also has 14 homers and 34 RBI, not to mention 24 runs scored in 18 September games. On the year he is up to .325-26-89-83-10, a fantastic top-20 effort that you can read about in this week’s MLB Player Rater piece. If he were to keep that level of production up over 550 at-bats – he had 543 last season but has just 422 this season – his effort would lead to a .325-34-116-108-13 season. Do you know how many shorstops seasons have ever been produced of .320-30-115-105-10? Try two. Once by Nomar Garciaparra (.323-35-122-111-12 in 1998) and once by Alex Rodriguez (.358-36-123-141-15 in 1996). Yes, Tulo has been balling.
Jack Bauer, I mean Joe Mauer (sorry my love of 24 shone through there), is currently on the shelf with a sore left knee. An MRI showed that there was only inflammation going on with his wheel, but he still might miss a few days. On the year he is hitting a superb .331. If he keeps his average up over .325 he will have his fourth season of .325+ (minimum 502 plate appearances), and that would tie Mickey Cochrane‘s all-time record for backstops. Mauer’s .408 career OBP is also second all-time (minimum 3,000 plate appearances), for a catcher behind Cochrane’s .419 mark. As for Mauer’s power, its been MIA just like I said it would about a million times this year (you can read about it in my MLB Predictions – Hitters piece). I said Mauer would never hit 30 homers, and in fact, “…it strains credulity to think that Mauer will once again be able to double his previously established level.” Mauer has nine homers, which if you remove his 28 homer outburst last season, would fit in quite nicely with his other seasons of six, nine, thirteen, seven and nine.
Joey Votto was scratched from the Reds lineup on Tuesday because of a sinus infection (he’s day-to-day like the rest of us). He is third in the NL in average (.323), third in homers (35), second in RBI (106), first in OBP (.423), second in SLG (.597) and first in OPS (1.020) in the NL.Toss in 100 runs and 15 steals, and Votto has been an absolute fantasy revalation. He has also been a beast in terms of his consistency with virutally identical production in each of the seasons two parts.
Pre All-Star break: .314/.422/.589
Post All-Star break: .336/.424/.608
He may or may not win the NL MVP award, but if he doesn’t finishin the top-3 you can conisder the election of the winner a total farce.
By Ray Flowers