Matt Kemp: Triple Crown Candidate

Ryan Braun: Triple Crown Candidate?

On June 16th, I wrote a blog about the baseball triple crown. I suggested five players in each league had a real shot at it. We’re now rapidly approaching the 2/3rds mark of the 2011 season. Let’s see how our super-hitters are doing,

In the National League, I had Matt Kemp, Prince Fielder, Ryan Braun, Lance Berkman and Albert Pujols down as potential candidates for a triple crown.

Right now, Kemp and Braun are still in the hunt, while Fielder, Berkman and Pujols seem to be out because of their relatively low batting averages.

Matt Kemp is number 1 in RBIs with 80 and number 2 in homers with 25, two behind Berkman, the leader at 27. This is a reverse of seven weeks ago when he was number one in homers and number 2 in RBIs. In batting average, he is 7th at 313, 30 points behind the leader Reyes. He was #2 in batting average at 333 seven weeks ago, so he has fallen off the pace somewhat, but there is still a 1/3 of a season left to catch up.

Ryan Braun is now 2nd in batting average at 324, 19 points behind Reyes. He is fourth in RBIs with 71, 9 behind Kemp and 6th in Home-runs with 21, six behind Berkman with 27. He has moved up from 5th to 4th in RBIs, from 7th to 6th in home-runs, and most impressively from 12th to 2nd in batting average.

Prince Fielder is 4th in home-runs with 23 (down from second) and 3rd in RBIs with 74 (down from first). However his batting average which was 16th at .300 has dropped to 27th at .286. This realistically eliminates him.

Lance Berkman has the same batting average problem. He is number 1 (up from 3rd) in home-runs with 27 , and number 5 (up from 6th) with 69 in RBIs. However, his batting average has dropped from 5th to a tie with Fielder for 26th place. We can take him off the list.

Albert Pujols, despite being injured for two weeks, went from 6th to 4th in Homers with 23 and from 10th to 9th in RBIs with 64. However his 38th place batting average of .275 has only moved to 33rd at .278. No triple crown this year for him, but a super-season with 30 home-run, 100 RBI, and a .300 batting average for him still is possible.

In the American League, Adrián González, David Ortiz, José Bautista, Paul Konerko and Miguel Cabrera were all in the top ten in the three categories. Now, however, only Bautista and Cabrera remain in the top ten in all three.Ortiz and Konerko have slipped out of contention due to batting average, while lack of home runs has destroyed González’ hope.

José Bautista is still in first in home-runs with 31. He has moved from 10th to 8th in RBIs with 71 (16 behind the leader González). He has dropped from 2nd to 4th in batting average at .323, almost 29 points behind the leader González.

Miguel Cabrera has moved from 8th to 6th in home runs with 22. He remains 8th in batting average at .312 (40 points behind González). In RBIs, he has dropped from 7th to 10th with 68 (19 behind González).

Adrián González is easily outdistancing the field as number 1 in RBIs (87, ten ahead of 2nd place Texeira) and number 1 in batting average at .352 (15 points ahead of number 2, Michael Young). However, he has dropped from 8th to 15th in home-runs. He has 17, which is 14 behind Bautista. His relative lack of home-runs eliminates him from the triple crown, but he has a great shot at winning the batting and RBI titles.

Paul Konerko has moved from 6th to 4th in home-runs with 24. He has dropped from 2nd to 5th in RBIs with 75 (12 behind the leader, González). He has dropped from 4th to 11th in batting average, now at .305 (47 points behind the leader). He is just too far behind in too many categories to have a realistic shot at the triple crown.

Finally, there’s David Ortiz. He has dropped from 7th to 10th in homers with 20, dropped from 8th to 11th in RBIs with 68, and has dropped from 5th to 15th in batting average down to .299. He too is having a great season, but not a triple crown one.

Thus in the race for the triple crown, we have two long shots left in each league, Kemp and Braun in the National League and Bautista and Cabrera in the American League.

Here’s the stats on these great hitters so far this season:

Name City Games Home runs RBIs Bat Aver.
Adrian Gonzalez BOS 102 17 87 0.352
Jose Bautista TOR 95 31 71 0.323
Miguel Cabrera DET 106 22 68 0.312
Paul Konerko CWS 101 24 75 0.305
David Ortiz BOS 98 20 68 0.299
 Leader  31  87  .352
Ryan Braun MIL 96 21 71 0.324
Matt Kemp LAD 105 25 80 0.313
Lance Berkman STL 92 27 69 0.286
Prince Fielder MIL 107 23 74 0.286
Albert Pujols STL 92 23 64 0.278
 Leader  27  80  .343 (Reyes)