Batting in the usual order, here's another whimsical foray into full-season projections, with a look at Dustin Pedroia's stellar season following up on my Ellsbury-is-a-beast post the other day.
I'd ask you to indulge me this one more time, but after Pedroia's four-hit, homer-shy-of-the-cycle performance in which he extended his hitting streak to 23 games and improved his batting average to .548 lifetime as a cleanup hitter, I suspect we're all fine with jabbering admirably about his accomplishments this season. (Which Tony Mazz, Daigo Fujiwara, and I also did at some length on our Red Sox podcast. Check it out.)
One apparently necessary disclaimer: I'm not specifically comparing Pedroia to any of these players. I'm not saying his season is or will be better than, say, Joe Morgan's '73 or Barry Bonds '92. I'm certainly not saying counting stats are a better measure of a player's value or success compared to his peers than advanced metrics such as WAR or OPS+ and so on.
I'm simply having fun while tipping my size-8 cap to one more Red Sox player who is having a season so spectacular, if not quite transcendent, that it deserves proper acknowledgement of what it has been so far and what it could be. With me? Let's do this one more time.
Pedroia's current statistics: .303 batting average, 13 home runs, 51 RBIs, 20 stolen bases, 67 walks, 69 runs, 120 hits.
Pedroia's projected statistics, which are unassailable are absolutely sure to happen because they come from CBSSports.com, the host for my rotisserie baseball league which has never done me wrong except for suggesting I pick up Jorge Cantu that one time: .302 average, 21 homers, 82 RBIs, 32 stolen bases, 108 walks, 111 runs, 194 hits.
Number of players who have had at least 20 homers, 80 RBIs, 30 stolen bases, and 105 walks in a single season: Four, but it's been accomplished 12 times.
Even casual baseball fans know Arquimedez Pozo is one, having accomplished the feat a staggering nine times. But who are the other three? Gotcha! Pozo never did it once! I know, hard to believe, but true. While you let that stunning bit of information sink in, I'll give you the list of those who have gone 20-80-30-105 or better:
Barry Bonds: (1991-92, 1994-'97). With the acknowledgement that walks are the pivotal statistic in this particular exercise, I suppose it's no surprise that the five times he did it came in seasons before his hat size went from something like a 7 1/4 to bigger-than-most-mascot-heads, including Youppi's. For the sport of it, here are his HR/SB ratios from 1998 through 2004:
1998: 37 homers/28 steals. 1999:34/15. 2000: 49/11. 2001: 73/13. 2002: 46/9. 2003: 45/7. 2004: 45/6.
Fair to say we'll never see a baseball-reference page as mind-blowing as his ever again.
Bobby Abreu: (2001, '04, '05). Now, I doubt this surprises anyone since 20 homers, 30 steals, 100-plus walks and 80-plus RBIs is exactly what you'd expect an Abreu-in-his-prime season to look like. The amazing thing is that he didn't do it 2006, when it seemed like he accumulated those numbers against Red Sox pitching alone during the Yankees' five-game sweep of the Sox that August that unofficially snuffed out any hopes of having playoff
Joe Morgan: (1973, '76). The only player to overlap with Ellsbury's projection earlier in the week, and that's probably no surprise. He was such an outstanding all-around player -- arguably the greatest second baseman of all time -- that I'm almost starting to feel guilty that I can't write about him as a player without mentioning how abysmal he was as a broadcaster. The longer he is gone from the booth, the easier it will become to separate the two, I hope. Notably, '73 wasn't one of this two MVP seasons. He finished fourth in the balloting that season with 26 homers, 111 walks, and an .899 OPS, then won the award in 1975 and '76.
Jeff Bagwell: (1997, '99). Maybe failing to recognize how many amazing feats Bagwell accomplished in his career is a coping mechanism for Red Sox fans. It would explain why I, for one, completely forgot that he was stolen base threat who reached double figures in steals in 10 different seasons. Maybe it's because, should anyone among us recall that, yes, one of the most fearsome sluggers of his generation actually stole more than 30 bases twice in his career, or that in 1994, he slugged a Ruthian .750, or that in that same MVP season he led the National League in OPS (1.201), OPS+ (213), runs (104), RBIs (116), and total bases while batting .368 with 39 homers in 110 games, well, we might just find ourselves babbling "LarryAndersenScottCooperLarryAndersenScottCooper" more than we already have.
About Touching All The Bases
Irreverence and insight from Chad Finn, a Globe/Boston.com sports writer and media columnist. A winner of several national and regional writing awards, he is the founder and sole contributor to the TATB blog, which launched in December 2004. Yes, he realizes how lucky he is.