Who could be the next to win the batting Triple Crown?

In 2012, Venezuelan Miguel Cabrera became the first player in 45 years to lead the league in batting average (.330), home runs (44) and RBI (139). No one has won the hitting Triple Crown in the majors since Cabrera was named the American League MVP that season.

Since at-bats became an official statistic in 1920, 10 players have won the hitting Triple Crown. That includes some of the greatest hitters in major league history. Cabrera, who retires as a player after the 2023 season, is a perfect fit.

Who will be the next member of this elite group? The following players have the potential to win the Triple Crown, and we’ve divided them into three categories: favorites, contenders, and “dark horses.”

Juan Soto, Yankees
Soto’s personal bests in home runs and RBI were 35 and 110, respectively, slightly below typical Triple Crown standards. No player has won the Triple Crown with fewer than 114 RBIs, and since 1993, every league’s home run leader has hit at least 36 runs in a full season. But Soto turns 25 in October. He’s on the verge of the best period of his career, has already earned a slugger title, and will likely show more power as he matures, although playing half of the 2024 season at Yankee Stadium may not be able to do that at this point. Feel.

Aaron Judge, Yankees
Soto’s new teammates are very close to winning the Triple Crown in 2022. It’s still a historic year for Judge, who trails Venezuelan Luis Alas of the Twins by just five percentage points in American League batting average. Judge didn’t hit better than .287 in any of his seven other major league seasons, but his power gave him an edge in the other two categories of the Triple Crown. If he can improve his contact rate above 70% as he did in 2021 and 2022, Judge could become the third Yankee to accomplish the feat.

Shohei Ohtani, Dodgers
Let’s not forget that Ohtani came very close to winning the Triple Crown last August. He’s never hit over 100 runs in a season, but now with the Dodgers he should see his chances of hitting increases, even if he spends most of his time batting second. Triple Crown winners typically bat third or fourth, but we’ve recently seen some players lead their leagues in RBIs while primarily batting second. That includes Judge in 2022 (131 RBI), Josh Donaldson in 2015 (123) and Mike Trout in 2014 (111). Now that we know Ohtani can do it all on the diamond, what’s stopping the two-time unanimous MVP from adding a Triple Crown to his list of accomplishments?

Yordan Alvarez, Astros
Alvarez has everything it takes to be a Triple Crown candidate: He’s a formidable 28-year-old slugger with astonishing pure hitting ability and is a core part of the team’s offense that consistently scores points. Ranked in the top 10. .. After hitting 37 home runs in 2022, the Cuban hit 31 homers in just 114 games last year. Meanwhile, he and Freddie Freeman are the only players with an expected batting average of .300 or better over the past two seasons (at least 450 plate appearances).

Freddie Freeman, Dodgers
So why doesn’t Freeman fall into the top category? He hit 35 home runs just once in his illustrious career. Not that there should be an age bias, but Freeman’s date of birth must be taken into account. Lou Gehrig is the oldest player to win the Triple Crown; he was 31 during his incredible season in 1934. Freeman is 34 years old. He has a .324 average since the start of 2023 and is expected to get into the batter’s box with a lot of runners on base as he ranks last among “this is probably our best trio” . Saw it in the queue once. With power generation growing slightly, Freeman has an opportunity.

Corey Seager, Rangers
While Ohtani was in contact with the Triple Crown last year, Seager, who finished second in American League MVP voting, might have been a real threat to win the Triple Crown if not for injury. He batted a career-high .327 with 33 home runs and 96 RBIs, but missed 40 games with soreness in his left hamstring and right thumb. If we extrapolate these statistics to 162 games, Seager would lead the junior circuit with 45 home runs and 130 RBIs. It’s difficult to predict Seager’s health, as he has played fewer than 140 games in four of the past five full seasons.

Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Blue Jays
It would be easy to look at Guerrero’s MVP-level numbers in 2021 — .311 average, 48 home runs, 111 RBIs — and simply say, “Well, if he can repeat that season…” Unfortunately But the Dominicans haven’t even come close to replicating that performance since then. While Flood Jr. continues to post stellar hitting metrics, he hit 26 home runs in 156 games last year with a .264 average and .780 OPS. There are many theories as to why its production has declined, but no clear answer. However, Guerrero is only 24 years old, so the Dominican has time to regain his previous magic.

Bryce Harper, Phillies
Harper had a magical season in 2015, when he led the National League with 42 home runs and finished with a .330 average and just three thousandths away from winning the batting title. Six years after winning his first MVP award, Harper won his second trophy after amassing 35 homers and hitting .309 in 2021. Although he has just over 100 RBIs in his 12-year career, his RBI prospects benefit from a solid Phillies lineup. Additionally, Citizens Bank Park should be the deciding factor in Harper’s home run total. The key for him is his judgment of the strike zone; in 2015 and 2021, Harper’s swing rate on pitches outside the strike zone was nearly 70%. His swing rate has been below 25% in each of the past two seasons and he hit .290 in that span.

Ronald Acuña Jr., Braves; Mookie Betts, Dodgers
Unless something specific changes, neither Acuña Jr. nor Betts will win the hitting Triple Crown. This is not a bold prediction. The reason is simple: batting first in order hurts your chances of making runs. This is what happens when you guarantee at least one empty base plate appearance. How many Triple Crown winners have batted first in order? No — unless you want to count Grigg and Mickey Mantle as starting hitters in 1934 and 1956, respectively. Betts hit a record 107 runs as the leadoff hitter last year (Acuña hit 106).

Acuna and Betts are two of the best players in baseball by bWAR, and they will likely be the best again in 2024. But as long as they remain the lead batsmen in their respective lineups, the Triple Crown remains out of reach.

Fernando Tatis Jr., parent; Julio Rodriguez, Mariners
Tatis and Rodriguez each played 45 games last year, so both Dominicans have addressed some of the limitations of the previous pair of stars. Both have the potential to lead the league in hits. Tatis led the old circuit with 42 corner hits in 2021, while J-Rod, who was just 22, had 32 last year. However, even if these two talents finished second or third throughout the season, they would have a hard time competing in terms of batting average, as both their air-strike and out-of-zone batting averages were higher than those of other players. any other player on this list.

Mike Trout “Angel”
Despite missing a ton of playing time due to injury, we saw Trout put up incredible numbers. For example, the slugger hit 40 home runs in just 119 games in 2022. He also had three more seasons with at least 40 home runs and five full seasons with a home run average of .300 or better. But aside from Trout’s injury history, there may be another obstacle standing in his way of winning a Triple Crown: the Angels’ roster. Of the 12 Triple Crown winners since 1920, 10 have played for teams in the top 10 in scoring. The 2023 Angels, with Ohtani, rank 16th in scoring. While it’s difficult to predict how a team will perform from one year to the next, there’s reason to wonder if the 32-year-old slugger has enough players around him to reach triple digits in RBIs.

Paul Goldschmidt, Cardinals
Goldschmidt’s window to win the batting Triple Crown may have closed at age 36, but the veteran deserves to be included in this debate as he not too long ago posted impressive numbers in all three categories. score. Goldschmidt entered the final month of the 2022 season with a .335 batting average, 33 homers and 105 RBIs. A less-than-stellar September left him behind Jeff McNeil, Kyle Schwarber and Pete Alonso in their respective categories, but in the end Goldie ended up winning the NFC MVP award prize.

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