Stat of the Day: Doubles
Abbreviation: 2B. Leaders: All Time: Tris Speaker (792). Single Season: Earl Webb (67 in 1931). Active: Todd Helton (570). 2012: Alex Gordon (51).
The double is much deeper a statistic than it may seem. On the surface, it is just a two-base hit. Look deeper, and one may find that the double is a precursor to power, especially in young players. Stan Musial did not hit more than 19 home runs in a season until he was 27 years old and in his sixth full season. However, he led the National League in doubles in 1943 at 48, 1944 at 51, and 1946 at 50 (he did not play in 1945). In 1948, when he had gained a few pounds, he turned those fence-bangers into fence-clearers, and saw his home run total jump from 19 to 39. He also hit 46 doubles to boot. As was said in the last update, by the time all was said and done, he had hit 475 home runs in his career. It is based off this example and others that when scouts look at a minor leaguer's statistics, they look at doubles as well as home runs to evaluate power and power potential. Another great thing about the double is that once a player hits one, he is already on second base and in scoring position so that a single will score him. This works the other way around as well; a double will almost always score anybody on base, granted a pitcher or David Ortiz isn't running. Another bonus to the double is that it is much more common than the home run. Not a single team hit more home runs than doubles last year, and the World Series winning Giants hit 287 doubles to just 103 home runs. For the Nationals, who had the best record in baseball, the number was 301-194. The closest any team came to even was the White Sox, who's final tally was 228-211. Note that the White Sox, with baseball's least doubles, finished 85-77 on the season, a .525 winning percentage to put them in second place in baseball's worst division. When it comes to doubles, the greatest doubler of all time is Tris Speaker, who knocked 792 doubles in his 22 year career, averaging 36 per season. From 1911-1927, he averaged 42.5 per season. He led the AL in doubles eight times, including four straight years from 1920-1923. He topped out in 1923 at 59, which at that point was the single season record. In 1926, George Burns broke Speaker's single season record, becoming the first player ever to double 60 times in a season, reaching 64 by season's end. That year, he also knocked in 114 runs and batted .358 for the Indians. Ten years later, Charlie Gehringer, Paul Waner, Hank Greenberg, Joe Medwick, and Earl Webb had all reached 60 doubles in a season. In fact, 60 doubles in a season has only been reached six times, and all six occurred between 1926-1936. In 1931, Earl Webb of the Boston Red Sox, who was 33 and in his fifth season of what would just be a seven year career, knocked a record 67 doubles in 151 games, breaking Burns' record of 64. Other than 1931, Webb never hit more than 30 doubles in a season, and he finished his seven year career with 56 home runs and a .306 average in 650 games, and would have been forgotten had it not been for his incredible 1931. In terms of all time records, only four players have reached 700 doubles for their career. Speaker was the first player in 1926, and the legendary Ty Cobb followed suit in 1928. Cobb finished with 723 doubles in his career, topping out at 47 in 1911. Stan Musial became the third man on the list in 1962, and he finished with 725 doubles, topping out at 53 in 1953. The most recent player to break 700 was Pete Rose in 1983, who retired in 1986 with 746 doubles, topping out with 51 in 1978. In broader terms, 14 players have reached 600, and 57 have reached 500. 172 players have accumulated 400 doubles in their careers. In more contemporary facts, 2012 was a good year for doubles, as it was the first year since 2009 in which a player reached 50, and the first since 2007 in which three did so. Last year, Alex Gordon (51), Albert Pujols (50), and Aramis Ramirez (50) broke the mark. Midseason, Joey Votto appeared to be on a record pace with 35 doubles heading into the All Star Break (four players were tied for second at 27), but an August injury caused him to finish with 44 in 111 games, good for seventh in the majors.
It was announced that the Cincinnati Reds will host the 2015 MLB All Star Game. The New York Mets are already set for 2013, as are the Minnesota Twins for 2014.
Outfielder Nyjer Morgan signed with the Yokohama DeNa BayStars of Japan's NPB.
Free Agent Signings
White Sox signed Matt Lindstrom (1-0, 2.68 ERA, 1.26 WHIP, 2013 age: 33) to a one year, $2.8 million deal.
Marlins agreed to terms with Chad Qualls (2-1, 5.33 ERA, 1.47 WHIP, 2013 age: 34) on a minor league deal.
Mariners signed Ronny Paulino (0 HR, 5 RBI, .254 AVG, 0 SB, 2013 age: 32) to a minor league deal.
Rays signed Juan Carlos Oviedo (Formerly Leo Nuñez, missed 2012 season, 4.34 career ERA, 92 saves, 2013 age: 31) to a minor league deal.
Diamondbacks traded Justin Upton (17 HR, 67 RBI, .280 AVG, 18 SB, 2013 age: 25) and Chris Johnson (15 HR, 76 RBI, .281 AVG, 5 SB, 2013 age: 28) to the Braves for Martin Prado (10 HR, 71 RBI, .301 AVG, 17 SB, 2013 age: 29), Randall Delgado (4-9, 4.37 ERA, 1.41 WHIP, 2013 age: 23), and minor leaguers Zeke Spruill (9-11, 3.67 ERA, 1.26 WHIP, 2013 age: 23), Nick Ahmed (6 HR, 49 RBI, .269 AVG, 40 SB at High Class A, 2013 age: 23), and Brandon Drury (6 HR, 51 RBI, .229 AVG, 3 SB at Class A, 2013 age: 20).
The coveted Justin Upton has finally landed. A five tool player, he will join his brother B.J., as well as Jason Heyward, in the Atlanta outfield. He has light-tower power, meaning when he hits home runs, they are long gone. He can also hit for average, as he hit .300 in 2009 and .289 in 2011. He can run, now having posted four straight seasons with at least 18 stolen bases. Upton is also a good fielder with an arm. Despite a down-year last year offensively, he is only 25 years old with over 100 career home runs, two All Star appearances, and a Silver Slugger. He broke out in 2009, when at 21 years old he hit 26 home runs, knocked in 86, and batted .300 with 20 stolen bases. After a down 2010, he put up another great season in 2011 at 23, hitting 31 home runs, knocking in 88, and batting .289 with 21 stolen bases. Last year was a down year offensively, with just 17 home runs and a .280 average. This probably reduced his trade value without keeping him from being a top catch in the trade market. One place he needs to improve is plate discipline, as he has struck out over 120 times each year since 2008 and has yet to walk 65 times in a season. Over his six year career (which he began at 19 years old), he hit 108 home runs, knocked in 363, and batted .278 with 80 stolen bases in 731 games. Aside from joining B.J. and Heyward in the outfield, he looks to bat in the middle of the order and help the Braves pose a significant threat to the Nationals in the NL East (though they will ultimately end up having to settle for second place like last year). The Braves also acquired Chris Johnson, who will go largely unnoticed next to the name "J. Upton" in a trade like this. While Upton is the main name in this trade and rightfully so, Johnson posted comparable numbers to Upton in 2012. A breakout 2012 meant 15 home runs, 76 RBI, and a .281 average for the Florida native, which bested Upton in the RBI and average categories by nine runs and one point, respectively. He will be Chipper Jones' successor at third base, meaning he will have some enormous shoes to fill with just 348 major league games under his belt. Over his four year career, he hit 33 home runs and batted .276 with ten stolen bases.
The main return to the Diamondbacks, who in my opinion got the short end of the stick in this trade, is Venezuela native Martin Prado. Originally intended to be Chipper's successor at third, he will instead be Chris Johnson's successor in Arizona. Prior to the trade, Prado had played all seven years of his major league career with the Braves, dating back to 2006. He burst onto the scene in 2009 when he jumped from obscure utility man to everyday player, hitting eleven home runs and batting .307 in 128 games. Back at it in 2010, he earned his first trip to the All Star Game, finishing with 15 home runs and a .307 average in 140 games. He hit 13 homers in 2011, but his average dropped to .260. In 2012, he not only bounced back offensively, but he added a whole new facet to his game. In a career high 156 games, he hit ten home runs and batted .301 with 17 stolen bases, smashing his previous career high of five set in 2010. His 42 doubles were also a career high. He holds a .295 career average. On the other side of the ball, he is as versatile as it gets in the field, appearing at every infield position and both corner outfield spots at some point in his Braves tenure. The Diamondbacks also acquired Randall Delgado, a 22 year old Panamanian righty with some major league experience. Delgado made his major league debut in 2011 at just 21, and went 1-1 with a 2.83 ERA and 1.23 WHIP in seven starts. Last year, while making 17 starts (as well as one relief appearance), he was 4-9 with a 4.37 ERA. Delgado also put some time in at AAA Gwinnett, where he was 4-3 with a 4.06 ERA. Zeke Spruill heads the trio of prospects, winning 38 games over a five year minor league tenure. At 18 years old back in 2008, Spruill, a Virginia native, was 7-0 with a 2.93 ERA in the Gulf Coast League. By 2011, at 21, he was 10-11 with a 3.19 ERA and 1.10 WHIP in 27 starts between High Class A Lynchburg and AA Mississippi. Back with Mississippi in 2012, he was 9-11 with a 3.67 ERA. Nick Ahmed is a speedy infielder out of UConn who broke out with 40 stolen bases last year at Lynchburg. He added 36 doubles, showing some potential for increased power. During the Carolina League Championship Series, the High Class A version of the AL or NL Championship series, Ahmed hit .357 with five doubles and two stolen bases in seven games, earning Championship Series MVP honors. Brandon Drury is the last prospect acquired by Arizona. The Oregon native has been playing professional ball since he was 17, and played extremely well for Rookie Level Danville in 2011. At 18 years old, he hit eight home runs and batted .347 in 63 games. Last year at Class A Rome, he struggled, batting .229 with six home runs in 123 games.
Teams followed in this update: Boston Red Sox, Washington Nationals, New York Yankees, Chicago Cubs, Tampa Bay Rays, Los Angeles Dodgers, Philadelphia Phillies, Atlanta Braves, Colorado Rockies
If your team is not included, please leave a comment.
HR: home runs. RBI: runs batted in. AVG: batting average. SB: stolen bases. ERA: earned run average. WHIP: walks/hits per innings pitched. K's: strikeouts. WPCT: winning percentage