votto, pujols, hamilton, bautista   2 comments

2010 has been quite a year for a number of hitters. as we get ready to move into september there are some players that could take center stage over the next 35 days or so. joey votto, albert pujols, josh hamilton, and jose bautista have all had outstanding years. out of that group only pujols might have a legitimate complaint that he’s “off pace” compared to his traditional excellence, but even then it would be slight.

while it’s been 43 years since our last triple crown (TC) in the major leagues, it’s been 73 years since the last national league triple crown winner (ducky medwick, 1937, cardinals).  pujols and votto are both making a serious run at becoming the next one in the history books.  while pujols’ bat was relatively quiet for the last three months (.291, .298, .267 for May thru July respectively), he’s been one of the hottest hitters in august batting .415 for the month as of the yesterday.  that has brought him right back into the hunt for batting average climbing up to .319.

meanwhile, joey votto has been consistent all year long and when i say that i mean consistently great.  while he’s not known for the power outbursts of prince albert’s ability, he’s been flexing his muscles on a regular basis.  he went deep in yesterday’s game to give him 31 for the year and on pace to hit around 40 for the season.  combine that with a .326 batting average and driving in lots of runs and you have another TC candidate.

if i were a betting man, and i’m not, i’d place all of your money on albert.  there are two sides to that bet.  first, it’s very, VERY difficult to reach the TC achievement.  it’s only been done 13 times in the majors since 1900.   the other side of that bet is the odds grow stronger that someone will eventually do it again and it has been over four decades since the last one.

let’s take a look at the number as of august 25th for these two super sluggers:

Player Average HR RBI’s
Albert Pujols .319 33 92
Joey Votto .326 31 90

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not to be overshadowed, let’s take a look at jose bautista and josh hamilton in the american league.  while neither of them have a chance for the triple crown, they have been just as valuable for their teams.

jose bautista has been around.  in his seventh season in the big leagues, he’s also on his fifth team.  he’s always been a guy that will hit around .235 and provide 15 homers give or take a couple.  but this year has been a break out year for the 29 year old.  whether he’s hit his groove or just having a fluke year doesn’t change how effective his contributions have been for the Jays.  his batting average this year is close to .260 and he’s shown tremendous power.  the power has always been there, but his average was so low that the power was never a serious factor for teams facing him.  but his average has gone up by about 25 points and his power is shining.  he had 24 dingers at the all-star break and has had 16 in the last 32 games since the break.  with 40 home runs right now, he’s on a pace to finish around 50 or slightly higher.  that’s a dramatic total within the new HGH and steroid scrutiny.

josh hamilton’s checkered past is well documented.  he had a stellar rookie year in 2007 with the reds after 8 years of struggling with substance abuse.  in 2008 he was traded to the rangers and suffered no sophomore jinx.  last year he struggled a bit, including a minor relapse during the off season between 08 and ’09.  he’s since been on the straight and narrow and he’s showing all of baseball just what he can do when he’s healthy and focused.

“It’s amazing how many scouts say he’s the best player they’ve ever seen.”
—Rangers GM Jon Daniels

that quote has been said, in various forms, by many managers, players, and scouts.  and this year he seems to be putting it all together.  it’s a glimpse of what could have/should have been during the years he battled his demons.   he’s batting .356 with 30 home runs, but he does more than just use his bat.  the rangers have benefited from his stellar defense, base running, and leadership.  is it just a coincidence that the rangers leading the american league west the same year hamilton is fully proving his worth?  sure they have lots of young talent and a terrific upper management with nolan ryan in control.  no one is denying that.  but hamilton’s leadership, grit, and fantastic all around skills have helped in pushing the entire team over the top.

these four players are the talk of baseball this year.  and next year when everyone starts getting their statis pro baseball cards, they will also be the players everyone will want on their team.  whether you’re using Statis Pro Advanced, DICE Baseball, or any of the other variants that are out there, these players cards are going to be excellent and in high demand for any leagues.  i can hardly wait!

-chief

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Posted 08/26/2010 by rick in Baseball

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2 responses to “votto, pujols, hamilton, bautista

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  1. I love old records that stand so I am rooting for no triple crown winners this year (or any future years).

    I am disappointed that the American League finally has a 40+ HR year by someone. The last two years it has been 39 HR that led the league. I am one of those, no I did not encourage the Steroid era because I did not like seeing 60, 70 HRs over and over by multiple players. The 90s and early 2000s turned me off to baseball. VERY off.

    Other than that though, I am enjoying Votto, Pujols, Hamilton and Bautista this year but I am enjoying the pitchers more!

    Aaron Williams
  2. i’m not opposed to a triple crown winner. i think that’s kind of cool. i DO, however, have a bad taste in my mouth from baseball of the 90s and early 00’s. there’s something special about a player hitting 40+ homers in a year … when it’s not tainted.

    and even if players were able to do that during that time frame LEGITIMATELY, the rest of the juiced era ruined their hard work. even Griffey, who probably was clean, is viewed through a filter of distrust simply because of the cheaters and dopers.

    and yeah … pitchers are doing a good job this year, too. look at Mariano Rivera! the old man with one pitch keeps doing it. amazing.

    -chief

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