Carlos Gonzalez's hot streak against the Astros isn't even the best of his career.
The Thursday Takeaway
In the 23-hour period spanning 8:00 p.m. MT on Wednesday and 7:00 p.m. MT on Thursday, it seemed irrelevant who Astros manager Brad Mills put on the mound—Carlos Gonzalez was going to hit a home run regardless.
Joey Votto's landslide victory over Albert Pujols is anything but a win for objective analysis.
On Friday, I struck a cautionary note about the nature of progress in voting. It's a great, good, and happy thing, of course, but one vote is just that. It was a lone data point, not a trend, and certainly not evidence of some massive shift in the electorate, either generationally or as a reflection of the broader use and applied knowledge of the better pitching metrics most of you reading this are already aware of. Admittedly, a lot of that was rooted in my natural capacity to nag and counterpunch—I'm often a scrupulous bore when it comes to pointing out silver linings or lone storm clouds. It's a way to make conversation, after all.
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The chances of someone leading the league in batting avearge, homers, and RBI have grown long in just a week.
Over the last two weeks I have utilized a neat simulation I built in order to assess the likelihood that a Triple Crown occurs this year. Simulations are the best way to make such a determination, as the three stats involved—batting average, home runs, and RBI—are intertwined. They might not always be connected, but it is more accurate to operate under this assumption than it is to multiply together the probabilities that a player leads the league in each category. When I ran through the rest of the season 10,000 times back on September 1, the feat was only achieved 777 times even though Albert Pujols and Joey Votto ranked either first or second in all three categories. Pujols won the Triple Crown in a whopping 663 of those 777 seasons, suggesting that the feat was unlikely to be achieved, but that Prince Albert was the heavy favorite.
Someone has replaced Prince Albert as the most likely to make history.
As September kicks into gear and the playoff races begin to heat up, another race is piquing the attention of a large population of baseball fans. The difference is that the race to which I am alluding is not assured of producing a winner. In fact, it has not produced a winner since 1967, when Carl Yasztremski led the American League on the mighty triumvirate of batting average, home runs, and runs batted in. Leading the league in each of these categories in the same season is referred to as the Triple Crown, and for the first time in quite a while, there exists a strong possibility that the feat will be achieved. Say what you will about the relative merits of the batting average and RBI stats, but cliché saber-oriented rants aside, leading the league in all three is incredibly impressive.
A look at the surprise home run hitters of 2010, relative to their pre-season PECOTA forecasts.
On Tuesday night in Kansas City, Blue Jays right fielder Jose Bautista launched his major league-leading 26th home run, continuing one of the most unexpected power surges in recent memory. Long known as a journeyman with decent patience and a modicum of power, few expected Bautista at this stage of his career to suddenly turn into a long-ball machine. It’s always fun to see players suddenly show a propensity for the long ball—perhaps we identify with players who manage the baseball equivalent of the young Marty McFly balling up his fist and decking Biff with an unexpected haymaker.