We're past the quarter mark of this season. 25% of the way into the year, there are several players that are playing pretty well, and some that are playing...not so well. While there is still 3/4 of the season left, we thought it would be pretty cool to take a look at the teams and players that are at least flirting with historical achievements thusfar this year, and what the odds were for history being made.
120 losses: Miami Marlins/Houston Astros
Both of these teams were expected to be bad this year...but historically bad? I'm not so sure of that. Through 46 games, the Astros and Marlins have identical 13-33 records, good for a pathetic .283 winning percentage. Over a full season, that's a 116 loss pace. Is it possible for either team to hit the 120 loss mark set by the 1962 Mets? To reach 120 losses, the Astros and/or Marlins would need to play at a .250 clip (or worse) over the rest of the season. No team played that poorly in April, and only the Brewers (4-15) have played that bad in May, though the Astros did reel off an impressive 8-46 (.148) stretch in July and August last season. The problem for both teams in reaching the "milestone" is that they're both likely going to be improving in the second half. The Marlins should be getting Giancarlo Stanton back in the next couple of weeks, and that should at least bump up their offense a bit. As for the Astros, we're reaching the point where they're cutting veterans loose and starting to play more young players that might have a lick of potential in the future. That's something that could go either way for them, but they can't exactly be any worse...right?
Odds: 8:1 (Marlins), 5:1 (Astros)
300 strikeouts: Yu Darvish
I broke down Darvish's chances of getting to 300 a couple of weeks ago, and his chances have taken a hit in his three starts since I wrote that piece. Darvish struck out 19 hitters in his three starts since, and has 97 for the season in ten starts. With roughly 22 starts left this season for Darvish, he'll need 203 strikeouts to get to 300 for the year, or nine strikeouts per start. After striking out at least nine in five of his first seven starts, Darvish has failed to tally nine K's in each of his last three outings. Now, I'm not saying Darvish won't get 300...but there's a reason that no one has gotten there since 2002.
Lowest walk rate of the modern era: Bartolo Colon/Adam Wainwright
The lowest walk rate in the modern era came in 2005, when Carlos Silva walked a miniscule 0.43 batters over nine innings. Bartolo Colon and Adam Wainwright are actually (currently) third and fourth all-time on that list, at 0.66 per nine and 0.75 per nine. In fact, before walking a total of three hitters over his last two starts, Colon walked only one hitter in his first seven starts, a span of 41 1/3 innings. Colon has always been stingy witht he walks over his career, but he's walked under 4% of the hitters he's faced during his A's career, which is outstanding. As for Wainwright, everyone knows that he started the season with 35 2/3 walkless innings, and he's walked six in 36 1/3 innings since. I don't think either pitcher will set the all-time mark, but Wainwright might have a chance at setting another mark..
Odds: 30:1 (Colon), 20:1 (Wainwright)
Best strikeout to walk ratio fo the modern era: Adam Wainwright
Three pitchers in the modern era have a strikeout to walk rate of better than 10:1: Cliff Lee in 2010 (10.28), Bret Saberhagen in the strike-shortened 1994 (11.00)...and Adam Wainwright in 2013 (11.50). Essentially, to even challenge for this record, one of two things needs to happen: you either need to walk absolutely no hitters, or you need to strike out hitters by the absolute truckload. Wainwright has the great combination of striking out nearly a batter per inning while walking less than one per nine. With Wainwright deeply into his prime as a pitcher, he could definitely make some waves here if continues to keep that walk rate low (even if not historically low).
Second straight Triple Crown: Miguel Cabrera
Scott took a look at Cabrera's chances at repeating last week, something that has never happened in baseball history. After Tuesday's games, Cabrera is second in the AL in homers, first in RBI, and first in batting average. His leads in RBI and batting average are massive, while he's just one homer behind Robinson Cano and Chris Davis, who have 13 to Cabrera's 12. Cabrera is playing lights out baseball right now, and barring an injury to him or Prince Fielder, I think he's got a very good shot at repeating, as crazy as that may sound.
40/40 season: Mike Trout
No one in the league thusfar is at double digits in both homers and steals, but Trout has nine of each. He homered 30 times and stole 49 bases, and very nearly won the AL MVP award. Now hitting second in the lineup, Trout is in a good place for the Angels, especially if Albert Pujols and Josh Hamilton start heading up, which would give Trout more pitches to hit. I think the question of a 40/40 season for Trout isn't "if", but "when"...and when could be this year.
223 strikeouts: Chris Carter
Everyone knew Carter would strike out a lot. I don't think anyone really expected he'd strike out *this* much, though. In 176 plate appearances, Carter has struck out 67 times. At that rate, he wouldn't even need 600 plate appearances to crack 200. I don't think the Astros would dare release or demote Carter, since he's the team leader in homers and is one of two above average offensive regulars along with Jose Altuve. However, he might end up getting traded in July and see his playing time gashed as he's thrown into a platoon.
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